It’s easy to get caught up chasing that next great adventure. I’ll be first to admit it. Backcountry yurt trips, multi-day hikes, weeks-long road trips. It’s what clogs our feeds and fills our daydreams, promoting a narrative that adventure is only worthwhile when hardcore. But for most of us, with real life responsibilities and full time jobs that once revolved around an office (and may soon again), it’s those grab-and-go, weeknight, early morning, weekend experiences that really feed the soul.
Every trip demands appropriate gear, but when time is tight and moves need to be made fast, a single pack that you can trust is essential—especially when carrying only the essentials. For us, the perfect item for impromptu trips, escapist day hikes, and thoroughly planned micro adventures alike is the Daybreak from Maine-based Hyperlite Mountain Gear, makers of ultralight backpacks, shelters, and accessories.
Weighing in at just 1.27 lbs with a carrying capacity of 17 liters, this expert-engineered daypack finds an impressive balance between strength, weight (or lack of), and performance. It’s designed to carry everything you need and nothing you don’t—and to feel comfortable and featherlight on your back on both brief day hikes and 24 hour endurance missions alike.
Made in the USA by the most well-known gear brand in the niche ultralight hiking space, the Daybreak is effectively the EDC little brother of a pack line trusted by thru-hikers around the world—pick any random handful of hikers on the PCT, AT, or CDT, at any given time and chances are you’ll find a dusty white HMG pack proudly on the back of some sunburned hiker trash. In other words, if the world’s gnarliest backpackers trust it, you can too.
And as with HMG’s larger workload packs, the Daybreak too is designed and built of legendarily lightweight Dyneema Composite Fabric, making it exceptionally strong, highly abrasion resistant, and nearly waterproof.
Three external pockets and a central shock cord system add considerable storage space to the modest 17L interior (which features a laptop sleeve for good measure), while a sternum strap and stowable 1.5” hip belt ensure a secure load even at a good clip. It’s minimal, but more than capable.
Oh, and there’s an ice axe loop too, in case, you know, you need that.
For everyday carry in town, and fast and efficient trips on the trail, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak ($210) gets our vote, time and again.