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Can you recommend a good daypack for sightseeing?

I'm going to the Amazon and Machu Picchu in June. What pack would you recommend to carry cameras, binocs, books, and other personal items while sightseeing? John Santa Fe, New Mexico

A: Well, it depends. If you have a mix of stuff that's equally weighted between those items you mention, then just about AODP (Any Ol' Day Pack) will work just fine. The Arc'Teryx Razor 20 ($149;, for instance, is a sleek little 1,000-cubic-inch pack with a simple panel-load design, two interior pockets, and a stretch cord for tying jackets and similar items to the outside. It also folds down flat so will fit easily into your main travel luggage. REI's Traverse ($60; has side pockets that can give you easy access to smaller items—water bottles or binoculars. Deuter's Futura 28 ($89; has a clever bottom pocket for dirty or wet clothing—something that might come in handy. Plus it has inside pockets for storing maps and other items.

Orion Trekker II

If you're carrying a lot of camera gear, a more photo-specific pack might be the ticket (on the downside, those packs also can scream, "Expensive camera gear inside!"). Lowepro's Orion Trekker II ($60; manages to be somewhat discrete while providing room for a digital or film SLR, some lenses, MP3 player, extra clothes, and other travel essentials. It has adjustable interior partitions so you can adapt it almost any way you want. The design cleverly houses your camera doodads in a zip-open, padded lower section, which helps distribute your heavier clobber in the proper place and better protects your expensive gadgetry. A good choice for travel, in my view.

Check out Outside's brand-spanking-new Gear Blog for a review of Mountainsmith's line of new camera bags, among other pieces of the latest outdoor swag.

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Filed To: Day Packs
Lead Photo: courtesy, Lowepro