Having a lightweight day pack makes any adventure more accessible, comfortable, and possible. Most people tend to travel with a big backpack, a large duffel, or a rolling suitcase, but when you hit the trail for a day hike or a head to the beach for a few hours, you only need the essentials. On my NOLS course, we were all issued Lowe Alpine summit packs. They. Rock. In 2007, it felt like the most advanced piece of my backpacking kit. It allowed me to compress my sleeping bag, summit a peak with only the necessary gear, and worked as a makeshift pillow as well. My first summit pack taught me the value of a secondary backpack. Even though that Lowe Alpine pack does not make it out into the wilderness very much anymore, I took its teachings to heart.
The Marmot Kompressor is my updated version of the Summit pack. Weighing in at a non-trivial 10.2 oz, this pack delivers features that will make those extra ounces worth your while. As you should expect, the whole pack can fit inside its lid pocket. This is definitely convenient when it comes to packing, but also means that you actually have two pockets to work with, which is a big bonus. Once deployed, the full pack can hold about 18 liters worth of gear. As far as features go, there aren’t too many. Remember, this is a summit pack. Inside the main compartment you will find a hydration sleeve. On the rear exterior you’ve got some daisy chain loops. And, of course, you have compression straps… hence the name. Of those three, I have found the hydration sleeve and compression straps to be most useful. Once you’ve inserted your hydration bladder, the pack almost feels like it has an internal frame. The compression straps allow you to keep things nice a squared away when the pack is on your back so that it doesn’t bounce around too much. All positive aspects of this pack’s minimalist design.
None of that may sound very exciting, but this pack is like Goldilocks’ third bowl of porridge. The 70 denier Ripstop means you’ve got a durable, yet lightweight pack that can stand the test of time. The addition of a sternum and multiple compression straps means that neither your gear nor your pack will bounce around on your back. So when you’re asking yourself what you might need to take on that week long trip to Florence or for your next extended trip in the Sierras, remember Occam’s razor: the most simple explanation is often the best.