One aspect of our adventures that has taken a lot of tweaking is in the area of bags and hydration packs. Because of this, we have accumulated several bags over the years (some of which we use for different purposes). We finally have a collection that meets all of our needs for each activity.
I purchased my first Camelbak for biking, so I looked for something small and light. I only needed it to carry water and a couple of small items, such as keys and a phone. After trying on bags at a couple of stores, I landed on the Aurora. At a cost of around $70, this felt like quite an investment for one of our first major outdoor gear purchases. This bag met my needs for a long time, providing adequate water for 30 mile bicycling trips and holding my small amount of needed items. The bag has been machine washed a few times and still looks as good as new.
Products from Amazon.com‹ ›
Camelbak Daystar 18:
My next bag purchase came in the form of the Camelbak Daystar 18. I was able to get this bag on sale for less than $50, and I bought it shortly after we purchased our kayak. We began making longer trips and spending most of the day on the water, so I wanted something to hold a few additional items. As our trips progressed and after a few mishaps, I began packing emergency blankets, snacks, a hoodie, bug spray, flashlight/headlamp, and sunscreen into my bag, along with a full bladder of water. For kayaking trips, I usually put the bag inside a Sea to Summit dry bag and strap into the front of the kayak. The bag has been machine washed many times and is holding up well. I have also taken it on several day hiking trips with similar items packed inside, and it has been a great little, lightweight bag.
Products from Amazon.com
Price: Check on Amazon
Osprey Mira 34L:
My most recent bag purchase is an Osprey Mira 34L, with a 2.5 liter hydration bladder. This bag has become my go-to bag for general travel and for longer hiking trips. I like the design of the hip belt and back on Osprey bags, allowing for airflow to keep me cooler while also supporting most of the weight on my hips. The bag is big enough that I can pack enough clothing for a week or two (with some strategy in how they are used/washed), toiletries, and all outdoor essentials. I use this as my carry-on and place under the seat or in the overhead bin. I very rarely check a bag anymore.
I like that this bag can be used as a travel bag and double as my hydration/hiking bag when I get to my destination. I can just pull out my cube of clothes, etc, to leave in the cabin/hotel/rental car and take just my pack with water and essentials. This bag is a more substantial investment, at around $170. I would rather spend a bit extra on higher quality products that will last a long time versus going cheaper and having to replace them sooner. Osprey bags also come with lifetime warranties.