I was pleasantly surprised to discover the EMS Packable Daypack on the sale rack of my local EMS store earlier this week while shopping with my mom. Literally, my first impression was “I’m psyched about this backpack!” My mom concurred and we left the store with one of each color! Here’s why:
The EMS Packable Daypack is a 1500 cubic inch “travel pack” made of 70D ripstop nylon. The pack weighs in at a scant 9oz and won’t put a big dent in your wallet at only $40 MSRP. This simple pack carries an array of great features. These include comfortable mesh shoulder straps with an adjustable chest strap, a zippered pocket in the “brain” (top of the pack), and two stretch side pockets each capable of holding a regular-sized Nalgene bottle. The pack comes in the following colors: green, blue, black, and purple.
The best part about this pack is that the whole thing folds up into its “brain pocket” to produce a highly stow-able backpack that easily fits within a kayak day-hatch. This feature really caught my eye because I’ve been looking for a backpack that could be stashed away within my kayak and used to carry my gear while hiking on island stop-overs and for portaging gear more efficiently from the beach to the campsite. This pack really fits the bill! I’ve found it to be comfortable so long as the load is light or the trip is a quick one. Despite its small volume this pack is still large enough to carry all of the essentials (jacket, towel, gadgets, snack, ect) and then some. Finally, the rip-stop nylon is inherently splash proof which adds to its utility as a “kayaking backpack” although I would still keep my stuff in dry bags while on the water just to be safe.
This is a great little pack but I’d be amiss in review if I weren’t to address the fact that the best feature of this pack is also its biggest limiting factor. The stow-able nature of the pack prevents the incorporation of any sort of solid frame. Combine this with the lack of a waist strap and it’s easy to understand why the pack is not suited to comfortably carry heavier loads over any distance. If this pack were to be re-designed in the future I’d love to see the addition of a simple waist strap even if that meant a slight increase in cost.
Overall, the EMS Packable Backpack is a highly stow-able and versatile pack that can be easily stashed in your kayak and called upon to shoulder gear on quick island explorations and campsite portages!
Pros: Lightweight (9oz), affordable ($40 MSRP), packable, splash proof, comfortable with light loads
Cons: No waist strap or frame to support heavier loads, not waterproof.
Kayak Dave Rating: