The Novara Commuter Pack
The Novara Commuter Pack (courtesy, REI)

Who makes a good day pack for hiking and mountain biking?

I'm looking for a good day pack that I can use both hiking and mountain biking. I'm 6'5" and need to find one that will fit properly. Justin Rineyville, KY

The Novara Commuter Pack

Mountain biking and hiking are not all THAT different, but I do both and see the need for a pack that can go both ways.

The Novara Commuter Pack The Novara Commuter Pack

A pack I’ve grown very fond of this past winter, as a bike-commute pack, is REI‘s Novara Commuter Pack ($69.50). Don’t let the name fool you. This is an excellent all-purpose bike/hike pack. It has a very generous 1,480 cubic inches of stuffable space, a single large compartment plus two smaller ones, various cubbies and tie-ons for odds and ends, and an excellent, close-fitting suspension. Even has a rain cover that pulls out of a zippered pocket at the bottom of the pack. It could hold some hiking clothes, hydration bladder, and much more. Plus it has the snug-to-the-back fit that’s ideal for mountain biking.

CamelBak‘s Fourteener ($125) is a tad bigger, with room for day-hike gear and hydration bladders. Two compartments, plus main compartment, good suspension, and lots of room for things. Nice pack.

When I’m out mountain biking for the day, I wear an Ultimate Direction‘s pack that is no longer made but that is very similar to that company’s current Hornet ($95). It can take a HUGE hydration bladder and still has room similar to the REI and CamelBak packs for assorted gear. Less water carried, more room for gear. I like the way the Ultimate Direction pack organizes gear, with a secondary packet that is perfect for keys/energy bars/gloves/hat. A little different pack layout than the other two, and very nicely done. Perfectly suitable for hiking, too.

So there you go.

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