A good day pack is essential to any successful hiking trip, but finding a pack that works for you can be a little trickier. I find that a good day pack blends capacity with comfort. Each year I find myself gravitating towards certain packs and this year it has been the Platypus Sprinter XT 25. There is enough room to throw in extra layers and hauls a massive three liters of water. Along with this review the good people at Cascade Designs have been gracious enough to give away a MSR Model 9 T-Shirt to a lucky winner. Check out the box at the end of the article to enter to win.
The capacity of the Sprinter XT 25 is between 23-25 liters depending on the size you get. This can be a little big for some activities but I find it to be a perfect size for hiking with my family or when I need a little extra room for layers or gear. It easily fit 5 raincoats and snacks for the whole family while hiking around the Wasatch Mountains.
This pack is also full of options. It has a main compartment that fits layers, first-aid kit and more. There is another pockets just for the hydration reservoir but can also fit extras if needs be. The two pockets on the waist belt are perfect for sunscreen and snacks or anything else small that you need quick access to. There is another small pocket on top of this bag that I throw snacks in as well. But for me, I found that I was using the mesh stash pocket on the back of the pack all day long. When hiking on rainy days it was a great place to stash the shell between rain.
This pack is not waterproof but Platypus has done a good job at making it weatherproof. The pack has taped-seams and a waterproof coating on the fabric of the bag. It is rounded off with water-resistant zippers. If you are caught in rain storm or even an early snowstorm this fall this pack will keep your contents dry. I never had this pack in a downpour so I don't know at what point your stuff would get wet but it easily fended off light rain like a charm.
The hydration reservoir is 3 liter which can be a little much for a short one mile hike but it is great for those 4+ mile hikes. Water is one of those things that you just don't want to run out of while hiking so having a little too much is never a bad idea. The reservoir has a wide opening which is great when filling with ice, but also makes cleaning a breeze. There is also a simple, yet secure system that keeps the reservoir from sliding to the bottom of the pack. Another great feature is the quick-connect tube. This makes it nice when needing to get the reservoir out of the pack. You can just simply disconnect the tube and leave it in pace while filling or clean the reservoir. You can also route the tube on the left or right but also coming from the top or bottom.
The waist belt can be adjusted to have full support, little support or stowed completely away, making carrying option endless. For trekking poles there is a quick system to secure them to the pack when you are not using them and need your hands free. The Platypus comes with enough straps to secure the load as well as hook on a helmet or ice axes, but the best part is that they can all be stashed away to leave a clean look.
This extra room came in handy this summer while hiking some slot canyons in southern Utah. I was able to pack lunch as well as extra water. It was hot and most people that we came across had run out of water. But not my family, we were set. The mesh pocket on the back makes a great baby carrier as well when your daughter is tired of carrying her doll. (Disclaimer: Not for real babies!)
The Verdict: The Sprint XT 25 is a great day pack that has plenty of room for all the extras and a big 3 liter reservoir. It carries nicely and has straps so you can secure items to the outside of the pack. If you are looking for a pack for just yourself this might be a little big. But even if it was just my wife and I, I would reach for this pack on most hikes this summer. Now that fall is here, having this extra room is essential for extra layers.
Product provided for free by the manufacturer for review purposes.