The Patagonia Altvia Daypack is an excellent hiking backpack for day trips. I liked the design's simplicity, as larger bags can be challenging to pack. It has enough quick-access points to make grabbing a drink, snack, or poles easy and comes in two sizes. It's a shame the bag isn't fully waterproof, and the pockets on the hip belt are pretty small, but it's still an excellent option for day-long walks.
Spacious with good top access
Light, comfortable, and adjustable fit
Made from recycled materials
Only water resistant
Hip belt pockets are small
Side pockets are a little shallow
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As an experienced long-distance walker, I really love backpacks with multiple compartments for easy storage. But these can quickly get complicated to pack, which is why I enjoyed the simplicity of the Patagonia Altvia Daypack.
It has a straightforward design without dozens of internal pockets and external straps, but it has everything you'd need for a day's hike, which is why I still think it's one of the best hiking backpacks you can get right now.
The main compartment is spacious and flexible and seems much more significant than its quoted 14-liter capacity. The comfortable bag comes in two sizes, so it suits male and female body types.
Although it doesn't have a host of fancy attachments or design features, it does have enough loops and elastic strapping to hang on helmets, poles, and other external gear.
Patagonia Altvia Daypack review: price and warranty
The Patagonia Altvia Daypack retails for $109/£90, although you can often find it discounted in Patagonia's seasonal sales. This makes it about the same price as the much larger, 30-liter Vaude Brenta 30.
You can apportion part of this premium price to the Patagonia brand name, but it's also because of the bag's sleek design, which feels high-quality. But for your money, you do get some benefits.
The company's IronClad guarantee means you can also return an item for repair no matter how old it is (though there's a charge to fix 'reasonable wear and tear'). At the end of its life, Patagonia will take it back for recycling.
Patagonia Altvia Daypack review: design
For a 14-liter bag, the Altvia has plenty of space, and the main compartment zips open around to the sides, making it super accessible and wide. And I was pleased to find that it can fit a decent amount of clothing, food, and gear.
Impressively, it doesn't feel half the size of many of the 30-liter bags on the market. This is because most of the space is given over to the main section rather than having layers of compartments.
The durable bag comes in grey, black, or orange and is entirely made from recycled nylon and polyester. This makes it stand out, as other brands tend to use a combination of recycled and new materials.
Patagonia's environmental credentials stretch to the shell, boot, and rain covers. These are all coated with water-resistant polyurethane (PU), free from perfluorinated chemicals that harm the ozone.
The Patagonia Altvia Daypack comes in three fit sizes (small, medium, and large). And if the 14-liter capacity won't be large enough, the Altvia line extends to 22, 28, and 36-liter editions.
Patagonia Altvia Daypack review: storage and organization
The main storage area opens from the front and includes a sleeve that could hold a small laptop. At the top of the bag is a shallow pocket with a key clip that is big enough to keep your phone.
You'll also find a medium pocket in the middle of the front panel for climbing clips or loose items. The elastic strapping on the front helps store trekking poles and awkwardly shaped equipment.
Meanwhile, the two hip pockets, although on the small side, can carry a few sweet treats. There are water bottle meshes on each side, but these are relatively shallow, and taller bottles can wiggle free.
Patagonia Altvia Daypack review: fit and comfort
With lightly padded, aerated shoulder straps, the back sits comfortably and has the additional support of the hip belt. The chest straps have five adjustable heights, although the clips to move them up and down are rather fiddly.
The most significant benefit is the breathable back panel which provides enough airflow to prevent heavy sweating on hot days but is not so firm that it digs into your back. There is also a rain cover tucked away in the bottom pocket, which is helpful as the pack itself is only water resistant.
As someone who struggles to find backpacks that fit my smaller build, I was pleasantly surprised with the Altvia and found it easy to wear out on the trails all day.
It also doesn't feel too big and bulky, so it is easy to throw in the back of the car or slide into the foot well. Its smaller size meant that I found it a good option for everyday use, like a gym bag or commuting backpack, rather like the Fjällräven Ulvö 30.
Patagonia Altvia Daypack review: verdict
The Patagonia Altvia Daypack is an excellent, compact bag with everything you'd need for a day out on a hike. It was easy to carry over extended periods and would be suitable for walkers, hikers, climbers, and commuters.
There were a few minor drawbacks—the side mesh pockets are pretty shallow, and the hip pockets relatively small—but no notable failings. At just 14 liters, it is pretty compact, so if you're hoping for multi-day trips, you'll be better off with a larger hiking backpack.
Fjällräven Ulvö 30
The Fjällräven Ulvö 30 is another excellent day bag designed for shorter walks and long commutes. It's fully waterproof, has several organization pockets, and has a sleek design.
Vaude Brenta 30
Alternatively, go large and opt for the Vaude Brenta 30, a 30-liter hiking backpack with a supportive steel frame. The material isn't waterproof but has a rain cover for wet conditions.
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Lily Canter is a freelance money, health and lifestyle journalist with more than 20 years' experience. She writes about fitness for Runner's World and Trail Running magazines and focuses on personal finance for Yahoo! Finance UK, Metro, The Guardian, and the Mail on Sunday. In her spare time she is an ultra-runner, canicrosser and running coach. She also co-hosts the award-winning podcast Freelancing for Journalists.
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