Deuter’s Futura 22 daypack
Deuter Futura 22 daypack (courtesy, REI)

Which daypack’s best for a petite woman?

I'm trying to find a daypack for my five-foot-tall wife for an upcoming vacation to Colorado. She has tried on several different models from Jansport to The North Face, but they’re not quite right. She wants no more than 1,800 cubic inches, easy access to a water bottle, and a stowable hip belt. Any suggestions? Bruce Omaha, Nebraska

Deuter’s Futura 22 daypack

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All of those packs you mention are perfectly OK, but I think you need to get out of the one-size-fits-all arena and find a pack that comes in at least two different sizes. Three would be best, but that’s a longshot.

Deuter’s Futura 22 daypack

Deuter’s Futura 22 daypack Deuter Futura 22 daypack

For instance, Marmot’s Eiger 30 ($99; comes in right at 1,800 cubic inches in the medium size (it’s also available in large). Though it’s not woman specific, it’s an excellent all-around daypack, with a suspension that can take some weight, two water-bottle pockets, and the ability to hold a hydration pouch. Deuter’s Futura 22 ($95; would be another good choice. It’s designed and sized specifically for women under five feet, seven inches. It also holds 1,350 cubic inches worth of stuff and can take a hydration pouch. The same can be said for Mountainsmith’s Lola 30 ($130), which is designed for women and is available in a short-torso model. It’s slightly smaller (1,200 cu) than the Futura.

If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, you should also check out L.L. Bean’s woman-specific Celia Daypack ($59;, which comes in three sizes, has two large water-bottle pockets, and can hold a hydration bladder. The small size fits a 15- to 17-inch torso and has 1,700 cubic inches of capacity.

As always, she’ll need to try on several packs to see what fits best, loading them with 15 to 20 pounds to replicate trail conditions. For water bottle access, all of these, except maybe the Celia, will require her to take the pack off and fish the bottle out. But that shouldn’t be too much of a hardship. Or, you can retrofit a water bottle holder that fits the waist belt, such as Lowe Alpine’s descriptively named Waistbelt Bottle Pocket ($15;

You’ve seen our picks for 2006 Gear of the Year, and now the entire 2006 Outside Buyer’s Guide is online. Check out this year’s more than 400 must-have gear items, including a comprehensive women’s section.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: courtesy, REI