Top 12 Most Innovative Daypacks

Our Top Picks

Design Innovation

This list isn’t meant to be a guide for which daypack to buy, it’s meant to honor daypacks that are influencing modern design practices.

Fundamentally, we don’t care about marketing claims or flashy features, its about the level of value each pack has brought to the carry community – in one form or another. 

The packs on this list are either time-tested or instant classics and we wanted to pay homage to the value of their incremental innovation. 

Daypacks

Top Pick: #12

Mystery Ranch has built a roster of innovative frames that feature a unique “load-shelf” and the Pop Up is a new series that utilizes telescopic poles, similar to trekking pole technology. 

Due to its commercial success for hunters, we believe the Pop Up has the potential to revolutionize outdoor daypack frames. 

Daypacks

Top Pick: #11

Matador is the 800 lb gorilla of packable daypacks and their next evolution is the Beast18, which features an innovative foldable steel wireframe – making this pack more rigid than previous iterations. 

The Beast18 is the first of its kind and we believe it represents the future of packable daypack designs.  

Daypacks

Top Pick: #10

As one of the first packs to successfully introduce the concept of modularity to urban carry, the Arkiv system paved the way for the popular “ecosystem” model that’s now being used by bag manufacturers. 

Surviving the competition, the Arkiv R6 has become the sole long-lasting fully modular daypack system on the market.   

Daypacks

Top Pick: #9

Launched in 1978, the Kanken is one of the most popular and iconic daypacks of all time. Its clamshell-like opening and tote-style grab handles have influenced a variety of pack designs over the past 43 years.  

The Kanken is an O.G. pack that has its merits and has stood the test of time – longer than any other pack on the market.   

Daypacks

Top Pick: #8

One of the most popular camera daypacks of the past few years, the success of the Everyday Backpack has spawned a wave of creative Kickstarter campaigns  – ones building off the innovations of this pack. 

Modular internal organization, external access, and use of magnetic closures, were all redefined by the PD Everyday Backpack. 

Daypacks

Top Pick: #7

The granddaddy of crossover packs, the Synapse was designed as an all-rounder – from hiking, to EDC, to travel. It’s a pack that was ahead of its time as crossover gear has only recently become popular. 

Tom Binh is a carry legend pioneer and the Synapse is one of his most successful packs, for a good reason.

Daypacks

Top Pick: #6

An icon with a cult following, the GR1 is recognizable by its minimalist tacticool aesthetic. Designed to be bombproof and haul heavy loads, the GR1 changed the carry landscape for EDC and one-bag travel. 

Over time, the GR1 has become a benchmark for durability and functional simplicity across the carry spectrum.

Daypacks

Top Pick: #5

A new release, but an instant classic… the Apex is one of the sexiest daypacks ever created. It also features a variety of design innovations that marry fashion with active multi-functionality.

We consider the Apex to be a highly versatile pack that will be pivotal in the advancement of crossover gear form.

Daypacks

Top Pick: #4

The Assault Pack 30 is characterized by a revolutionary access system. Designed for military use, this sleek looking pack reinvented the concept of panel loading as well as side pocket construction. 

In short, it’s a well-thought-out pack that’s highly adaptable and versatile for a range of environments. 

Daypacks

Top Pick: #3

The Crew Cab is a military pack that redefined load-carriage and set the foundational concept for “load-shelfs” – which have become a core feature for civilian hunting packs. 

Although heavy, the Crew Cab is the gold standard for comfort and no other pack can match its weight dispersing black magic.  

Daypacks

Top Pick: #2

The creme-de-la-creme of minimalism, the Nomin is the Holy Grail of urban carry. It’s use of unique patterning with advanced materials and overall clean silhouette, make this pack certified drool worthy. 

Thoughtful simplicity is what makes this pack special and ultimately what we’d refer to as “functional art.”

Daypacks

Top Pick: #1

The Holy Grail of crossover carry, the 3DAP is the king of utilitarian design. Its iconic 3-ZIP configuration and adjustable Futura Yoke system is the result of divine intervention and Gleason ingenuity.  

The 3DAP is hands down our favorite pack of all time due to its versatility, toughness and dream-like carry comfort.  

Want to Keep Exploring?

Join the Adventure.

North of Known (NOK). All Rights Reserved © 2022

Scroll to Top