I’m a big fan of small backpacks. Small backpacks allow you to pack light, which saves you money on luggage fees, but more importantly they give you increased flexibility and freedom because you can easily change plans at the last minute when you’re not weighed down by stuff. I’m also a huge fan of daypacks.
What’s the difference between a daypack and a backpack? To me, a daypack is a bag that you carry around with you during the day or for up to one overnight. Ideally daypacks are much smaller than backpacks, which prevents you from overpacking. They also ideally have easily accessible pockets to get at everything you need to get out during the day. KEEN (the maker of some of my favorite travel shoes) has a new line backpacks and sent us their new Aliso daypack to test out. Here’s my review.
Keen Aliso Daypack Review: The Pros
Well Organized with Good Pockets
The Aliso is a very well-organized backpack. There is one easily accessible pocket on the side for a water bottle and a pocket in front for other items you need to grab frequently. Inside the bag there are two large pockets against the back (which are perfect for a laptop or tablet) and another zipper pocket on the front. Plus, there’s a clip, which is a great spot to hang keys.
I really like the size of the daypack. It’s 22L, which is on the smaller side, but it prevents you from overpacking (as I do whenever I have more space). If you’re looking for something slightly larger, Keen has a 28L (the Tilden Daypack) and a 35L (the Ellwood Daypack). To give you a sense of backpack size in the context of school, I would consider the Aliso to have enough space for an elementary school books and papers, the Tilden to have enough space for books for a high-schooler, and the Ellwood be large enough to carry the books you had in college.
Almost as important as the organization of a bag is amount of padding. The Keen daypacks are extremely comfortable and have something they call “Wishbone strap technology” which distributes load weight across the shoulders. Whatever the technology is, it works. Even loaded down with multiple of water bottles, you can barely tell you have anything on your shoulders.
Check out the pictures of the Keen Daypacks — these aren’t the backpacks you grew up with. They are great looking and I’ve gotten many compliments on my Aliso.
Weatherproof and Durable
The bottom of the bag is weatherproof, which means your stuff won’t get damaged if you accidentally set the daypack down in a small puddle. And the material for the bag as a whole is very durable; we’ve been carrying around the bag for about a month and it still looks brand new.
Bonus: Makes a Great Diaper Bag
With an 18 month old who is constantly “go-go-going” (his words), a traditional diaper bag doesn’t quite cut it anymore. We have a Skip Hop and a Petunia Picklebottom and both feel too bulky when I’m chasing my son around. The Keen Aliso Daypack, on the other hand, fits everything my son needs for a day and is far more comfortable to carry. We will be taking this with us as our daypack/diaper bag of choice when we head to Vancouver next month.
Aliso Daypack Review: The Cons
Honestly, the Aliso daypack is an awesome small daypack. There are almost no drawbacks that I can think of. The only thing I would do to improve it is that I would have added a second water bottle holder/side pocket to the other side of the bag. One pocket is nice, but two would have been better.
If you’re looking for a small, well organized, extra padded and comfortable daypack, the Aliso is the bag for you. You can buy it on Amazon with free shipping for $60.
Disclaimer: Keen sent us the Aliso backpack to review. This post also contains affiliate links, which help us provide great content for free. Thanks for your support!