Our writer spent years trying to find the perfect daypack. This is it.
I bring my backpack everywhere I go. I bring it to work, filled with a water bottle, lunch, and a laptop. I carry it around on the weekends, packed with what my wife calls “toys” but I call “necessities.” (You never know when you’ll need emergency access to a book, earbuds, or a post-coffee mint.) And I bring it on hikes, stuffed with a Leatherman, layers, camera, and snacks. For me, having a good daypack is nonnegotiable.
Of course, finding one is another story. I’ve gone through several and discovered the hard way that features matter. For a while, I used a beautiful-looking leather flap-top pack. But the leather made me sweat on hot days, and the flap top made access to my gear a three-step process. I had a motorcycle backpack that worked wonderfully on my motorcycle but was full of moto-specific features that were worthless everywhere else. Finally, last year I discovered the Heimplanet Arc Backpack ($140) and haven’t looked back since.
Heimplanet first appeared on the market in 2011 with innovative tents that looked like they came from a future full of clean lines and simple functionality. Last year, the company brought that same aesthetic to backpacks. The Arc is a 20-liter offering in its Motion Series—packs designed to move with you whether you’re biking to the office or tackling a weekend peak. The 3D molded EVA foam back panel and shoulder straps allow for maximum airflow. The inner laptop/hydration compartment means I can swap out my laptop for a CamelBak on the weekends. Other details—like easily removable hip and sternum straps, gear loops, hydration ports, and a stretchy front pocket—optimize performance and versatility without compromising on style.
The Arc is not fully waterproof, but there is a waterproof side pocket for your phone or camera, and the PU laminated zippers tend to keep your goods dry in light rain. Twenty liters isn’t very big, so the Arc won’t sustain you on a lengthy trip, but for day-to-day use, I haven’t shouldered anything better.