Category: Luggage

Osprey Daylite Daypack Review: Road Tested After 1 Year Of Heavy Use

The Osprey Daylite Daypack is a small backpack designed for hiking or short sightseeing excursions but built with features more common in larger bags. Most daypacks are usually very simple, lacking comfort and versatility; falling apart soon after you’ve forgotten how cheap the price was.

Although I generally treat my electronics tenderly, the luggage I carry it around in takes a beating. Reviews of backpacks when they’re new can be useful but seeing how they hold up after an extended period of travel shows you if they’re really worth the their price. This is my review of the Osprey Daylite Daypack, after a year of torturing traveling with it to over 10 countries.

Good Size For Many Uses

My primary carry-on backpack, the Swissgear Scansmart 1900 is very accommodating to all of the electronics I travel with but not very practical for lighter daily use or doubling as a sports bag. Since I’ve been using the reliable Sojourn 60L as my primary check-in luggage for years, I decided to try the Osprey Daylite, hoping it too would be worth the sightly higher price tag.

osprey daylite daypack

The Daylite is 22 x 22 x 45 centimeters, holding roughly 13 liters in two main compartments. It weighs 450 grams (~1 lbs), has mesh shoulder straps, and a foam back to help keep your back cool. (Nobody likes excessive lower back sweat.) The chest and waist straps (38-55 centimeters) keep the Daylite close to your body so it doesn’t smack into you back and forth when hiking – additionally they help make the Daylite a very comfortable backpack to jog with.

osprey daylite daypack  Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Backpack, Black

buy from amazon

13 liters is a good size to carry a pair of shoes, plus some extra clothes; the main compartment of the Daylite also holds the Swissgear Hanging Toiletry Kit (which makes for an ideal electronics organizer) perfectly when placed sideways. The smaller front compartment has a few dividers, good for keys, but they actually make the front pocket fairly useless. Being on the outside, it’s a tempting target for pickpockets so you’re not likely to store anything of importance there. Unfortunately, the front pocket with the dividers is just too small to be useful for much else.

Dual side pockets for water bottles and the hydro-bladder on the back remind you Osprey designed the Daylite with hikers in mind. With that in mind, the Daylite isn’t waterproof, although it’s very water resistant and can easily keep its contents dry after hours of strong rain.

Tougher Than Expected

Stretched, drenched, tossed about, the Daylite looks nearly new after a year of using it almost every day. Aside from some slight color fading on the interior pockets you can see in the video above, the Daylite looks flawless – especially after a wash. Add that as another benefit to the Daylite: being machine washable then drying in less than a few hours in open air. (Much faster than these quick-dry towels.)

For sightseeing, the Daylite lets you be selective about what you take from your hotel room when you’re out and about so you can travel light and leave your non-essential valuables locked up. A bit more expensive (they cost around $60) than a lot of other daypacks, for the price the Daylite is a versatile daypack that’s sure to last over many, many years of use.

How Long Does It Really Take For A Quick-Dry Towel To Dry?

What might seem like a silly question at first can be an important one for your time management when traveling. Microfiber, or quick-dry, towels are designed for campers and frequent travelers when they’re not likely to find a drying machine. Although they’re called “quick-dry” – and do dry faster than cotton, for example – the amount of time it takes varies widely depending if they’re hanging in a hotel room or by the beach.

Knowing the amount of time it takes to the average microfiber towel to dry in a variety of conditions can help you plan prior to packing. (A towel that’s even slightly damp can make your entire backpack smell of feet by the time you reach your destination.) As you can watch in the video above, I ran several experiments in order to determine average dry times indoors and out so you have a good idea of how many hours before prior to packing to hang your towel.

The Test Conditions

I ran four basic drying experiments with the REI Co-op Multi Towel Lite Large I’ve been traveling with for years in several common travel conditions.

  • Test 1: Indoors on a clothesline.
  • Test 2: Indoors hanging from a hook.
  • Test 3: Outdoors in the shade.
  • Test 4: Outdoors in direct sunlight.

rei quick dry towel

The ambient temperature in all the tests was between 20-22C (68F-72F). The Multi Towel Lite was completely dry at the beginning of each test; I took a shower, then used the quick-dry towel. I then hung the towel, set a stopwatch, and checked in occasionally to see the progress of water evaporation. These were the results:

  • Test 1: Indoors on a clothesline: 8 hours 5 minutes.
  • Test 2: Indoors hanging from a hook: 7 hours 58 minutes.
  • Test 3: Outdoors in the shade: 2 hours 43 minutes.
  • Test 4: Outdoors in direct sunlight: 36 minutes.

Indoor Versus Out

It’s probably not surprising that drying the towel outdoors was less time consuming. Though the difference in drying time – nearly 6 hours – might be a bit unexpected. How the towel was hung didn’t make much difference but it’s clear outdoors is preferable; even if the outdoor temperature is the same or less than indoors.

The Over-Under

Add more time obviously if you’re got longer hair needing more water absorption from the towel. Of course, you can shave even more time off by wringing the towel, or placing it near or (carefully) on a heater. Indoor drying times though are going to be 8 hours, in ideal conditions like I had during these small experiments. I suspect I greatly underestimated dry times in general, which has probably cost me a few extra laundry washes on several trips.

So, if you’re going to be using a quick-dry towel, keep in mind to schedule your shower a bit earlier on travel days when you might not have access to a balcony or backyard. Don’t pack more than two weeks of stuff, even for longer trips, and following the 80% rule might give your clothes just enough air not to stink for times you’re feeling a little less patient.

The Bags And Other Non-Electronic Gear I Travel With (And Highly Recommend For Travelers)

osprey sojourn 60

I carry a lot of electronics and when I recently posted all of the gadgets I travel with, many of you sent me messages asking what that gear was kept in. We often focus on the complex items, forgetting about the simple, yet critical bags, covers, and cases that protect our valuables.

These are the road-tested, non-electronic items I have used, in some cases for years, and would recommend for your travels as well.

Luggage: Osprey Packs Sojourn Wheeled Luggage, 60L

osprey sojourn

The Osprey Sojourn 60L is a good medium between the larger 80L and compact 45L versions. The “L” is for liters of volume, roughly 63.5 centimeters (25 inches) by 35.56 cm (14 in) by 35.56 cm. It’s a roller; which I find preferable to a backpack so if you have another smaller backpack you don’t have to wear both in the “double turtle” tourist configuration. The Sojourn 60L does have backpack straps if you need to carry it on your back (a feature I’ve rarely used) but more useful are the interior compression straps. Those make it much easy to keep your belongings from dancing about, plus takes pressure off the exterior zippers. I have used the same Osprey Sojourn 60L for years, on hundreds of flights, over 6 continents, and they hold up incredibly well.

Electronics Backpack: SwissGear 1900 Scansmart Laptop Bag

swissgear smartscan 1900 laptop bag

This backpack has 15 pockets and comfortably holds all of my electronics, including the DJI Mavic Drone. Made of 1200D ballistic polyester fabric; I used a smaller version, the Wenger Synergy for over 12 years – only changing to the larger SwissGear 1900 to accommodate the addition of a drone.

Daypack: Osprey Daylite

osprey daylite

Carrying around a bag full of all your gadgets isn’t practical or very wise so for days out exploring. Fitting nicely into the Sojourn, the Osprey Daylite (22.86 cm x 22.86 cm x 45.72 cm) is an ideal size for a day pack, trips to the gym, or jiu-jitsu classes. It can carry a DSLR, Mavic Drone, gym clothes, though not all at once, it’s close. Weighing only 426 grams (.94 pounds) with a ventilated back panel, the Daylite is comfortable, small, plus has compression straps for times you need to push its capacity.

Cable Organizer: Cocoon Grid-It 10.5 x 7.5-Inch Organizer

I had put off organizing my cables for a long time but after another time in airport security having to pull out a clump of cords, send them back through the X-ray, and attempt to shake all the tangles out I decided on the Cocoon Grid-It, 5 x 7.5 inch organizer. It’s about the size of a standard sheet of paper with a very slim profile, plus its designed in a way that you don’t need to be very organized to make use of the Cocoon’s organizational benefits. Put the cable where they fit, then be on your way.

Toiletry Bag: SwissGear Deluxe Framed Toiletry Kit

swissgear deluxe toiletry kit

SwissGear make very durable products that are well thought out in design to an extent it’s easy to forget how useful they are. The main pockets of the SwissGear Deluxe Framed Kit are lined with rubber to make them water-resistant – ideal for packing deodorant, perfumes, shampoos or anything else you don’t want leaking into your luggage.

Drone Carrying Case: SwissGear Hanging Toiletry Kit

swissgear hanging toiletry kit

For those of you looking into a drone to travel with, the DJI Mavic Pro is a good combination of size (it’s collapsible) with excellent video quality (shoots 4K). Many of the hard cases sold for the Mavic are big, adding unnecessary bulk to a drone designed to be small. The SwissGear Hanging Toiletry Kit, odd as it may seem, is a soft case that perfectly fits the Mavic (in its sleeve), the remote controller (in the Altura Small Neoprene Pouch Bag), and charging cables nearly perfectly.

Laptop Sleeve: Incase Icon Sleeve

incase icon laptop sleeve

The Incase Icon Sleeve is a soft cover made for a number of laptops and what I keep my Macbook Pro in. The Incase has saved my laptop from what could have been a devastating fall at airport security, protecting it from the effects of traveling.

Wallet: J.Fold Men’s Roadster Torrent Slimfold

jfold wallet

Slim, durable, and as you may have guessed by now, with plenty of pockets.

A Few Other Covers And Cases

I don’t want to neglect mentioning the Moleskine Classic (5 x 8.25) Notebook. Although I tend not to be loyal to a particular notebook brand, I can recommend the Moleskine (5 x 8.25) because of the large writing surface for a compact journal. (The pages also fold flat; i.e. no gigantic hump when you’re writing in the middle of the notebook.)

Lastly, for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS45 camera, I use an off brand, particularly mundane looking black case. Another benefit to cases are they can reduce the perceived value of what’s in them and uglifying your gadgets when they’re public can make them less enticing for pickpockets. Like any good case or backpack, you want something functional, not much bigger than the things it’s carrying, with of course, plenty of pockets.

Backpackers Not Spending As Much As Other Travelers Is A Myth And Why That’s Important To Local Economies

istanbul cafe laptop

One of the biggest travel myths is that backpackers are cheap tourists who don’t provide economic incentives for tourism boards to focus on catering to them. At first glance, it’s easy to see why many make this assumption, most backpackers take great efforts to spend as little as possible, trying to stretch every cent efficiently at the cost of numerous comforts. The opposite perception is that luxury travelers pay top-dollar for resorts, dumping loads of cash into local economies over packed weekends at seaside resorts.

For a long time, backpackers weren’t really studied in terms of their spending habits but growing evidence shows budget travelers spend as much as luxury ones. Additionally, figures indicate a larger percentage of backpacker money spent goes to benefiting local economies. Tourism boards around the world: take note.

Time Versus Money

Many people in sectors of the travel industry often harbor a slight disdain for backpackers, complaining they are practically useless for their overall bottom lines since they “don’t spend.” According to researchers from MIT, people around the world tend to spend the same percentage of their overall time, and budget, traveling. Called the “Time Travel Budget” Theory, anthropologists have determined that the more free time we have – the more we travel; independent of our economic class.

kosovo clock tower pristina

Spending The Same Over A Longer Period Of Time

Even in the most liberal of European nations, vacation times around the world for full-time workers tends to top out at around a month. The average backpacker travels for nearly twice that time – about 58 days. Although these figures vary from country to country, it’s estimated the average American spends about $3,251 for a 12-day vacation.

bogota journalist park

According to budget travel expert Nomadic Matt, $50 a day for a backpacker is a reasonable goal. (Keep in mind all of these numbers include transportation, meals, lodging, etc.)

Adding it all up, backpackers and regular travelers spend about the same amount on traveling annually; just over different periods of time.

Spreading The Wealth

There’s also growing evidence that larger percentages of money spent by backpackers goes to local economies. Most resorts and international hotel chains in third-world countries are owned by foreign companies. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) estimates that only 20-60% of first world income makes it back to local economies from traditional travel expenditures. Studies like these on the tourism leakage effect are why nations like Malaysia and South Africa are focusing more on enticing backpackers.

bogota fruit vendor

Getting off the beaten path is also a backpacker trait and when they do, they also spread the money they’re spending outside of large cities and traditional tourism hubs according to this study of Australia. (Backpackers add 3.2 billion U.S. dollars annual to the tourism industry there.)

Why It’s Important

Backpackers are often under the perception of being economic leeches. Such misconceptions have lead tourism boards globally to dismiss catering to this growing portion of travelers; plus all the money they spend locally. Like the myth that Americans travel less than other people around the world, backpackers not having a positive economic impact has lead many poor countries to focus on luxury travelers – a group of visitors who might spend a bit more in less time but whose cash goes a little further out of local range.

Dell Might Have Made The Best Electronics Backpack For Travelers

dell premier backpack

The Dell Premier Backpack is one of the best designed, protective, and practical backpacks for travelers who pack a lot of gadgets so good, it has me reconsidering the computer bag I’ve used for 10 years. Once you get your hands on one, you might consider changing too, particularly if you like getting through airport security lines a bit faster.

Pretty, Powerful Package

Dell recently sent me the latest XPS 12 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrid (you can read my full review here) but before I had a chance to notice its slick frame, the Premier Backpack stood out. What you pack your electronics in is important; to protect from the elements but mostly the constant putdown-pickup-shove-in-an-overhead-smash-smash-squeeze our hand baggage gets subjected to. (How many times have you trampoline-jammed a backpack under an airplane seat as if there isn’t hundreds of dollars worth of electronics in it?)

dell premier backpackDell Premier Backpack (1PD0H)

amazon buy now

For starters, the exterior of the Premier Backpack (which really needs a cooler name) has a synthetic fabric exterior, lined with fleece. The Premier Backpack isn’t officially waterproof but keeps out water sufficient enough to protect its guts on a rainy day. Dell has also reinforced the exterior with extra padding in the places most likely to get scuffed, like corners and around the zippers.

dell premier backpackPockets For Laptop Cushion

I’m not sure why more electronics bags don’t feature a soft fabric interior for laptop and tablet compartments but the Dell Premier does. Each of the three compartment pockets big enough to fit a 15 inch laptop have a fleece lining, so you don’t need an extra case for your XPS 2-in-1, for example. There are also key, phone, pen, digital camera, SD card, and other pockets to fit all of your tech gear with accompanying charging cables. If you like pockets, the Dell Premier Backpack is a great carry-on option for you.

Checkpoint Friendly For U.S. Travel

The Dell Premier unzips into two flat compartments that are Transportation Security Administration (TSA) friendly, meaning you shouldn’t have to take out your tablet or laptop for the bag at security checkpoints. Unfortunately that’s a feature only useful in the United States but time-saving if you live or travel there frequently.

Being TSA-friendly is a feature my beloved SwissGear SmartScan backpack doesn’t have – neither is being light. The Dell Premier weighs 2.6 pounds (~1.18 kg) versus the SmartScan’s beefier 3.2 lbs (~1.5 kg). For something that’s filled with expensive metal clinging to your jet-lagged back, those grams can feel like a big difference.

The SwissGear is still a good option for a laptop backpack but now not the only one. The Dell Premier Backpack is one your should seriously consider if you’re looking for a new laptop backpack or decide to purchase the XPS 2-in-1. By now you might be wondering if I got paid to write this glowing review but no, I didn’t, and don’t take money to say nice things. Simply put, if you want a bag as good as your electronics, the Dell Premier is one of the best backpacks to buy for frequent travelers.

3 Weird Habits I’ve Developed From Traveling Full-Time

chicago bean

Recently counting back 8 things I’ve learned from traveling the world made me realize that while traveling has become my normal, some habits I’ve adopted are not. Although this isn’t a particularly useful list, you might find these weird habits I’ve picked up from traveling to over 80 countries somewhat enlightening, mildly entertaining, and revealing of one universal truth.

1. Everything Fits In One Bag Plus Carry-On

Instead of a closet, I’ve got an Osprey Sojourn 25-Inch 60 Liter roller-convertible bag that fits my entire wardrobe. Having a luggage-limit-weight-constrained portable closet means many of the things I wear have become multi-purpose clothes. You learn to shop this way to maximize the versatility of each article of clothing for various occasions.

london street market

osprey sojourn 60 literOsprey Sojourn Wheeled Luggage (25-Inch/60 Liter, Metal Grey)

amazon buy now

2. Priority To The Gadgets Bag

If one piece of luggage filled with clothes is my closet, the other Swissgear computer backpack is my office, living room, telephone and television. Receiving packing priority to make sure nothing is forgotten begins and ends with a bag I’ve noticed for many is more of an afterthought.

dell xps 12 2016

swissgear backpackSwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900 (Black)

amazon buy now

3. In With One Shirt Out With The Other

When something is added to the collection, another is discarded if damaged or donated if not. Shopping for new clothes means concurrently thinking about what’s inevitably being replaced. Living out of such a small area has, over time, made me notice how little one actually needs. Like a gas, we tend to fill up our living environment primarily based on its size, with increasing pressures whether it’s zippers or apartment walls we’re cramming with stuff.

london petticoat lane market

Remember, packing for two weeks is no different than packing for two months.

Rearranging Randomness

There are a number of other peculiarities I could over-pack here, like the slight uneasiness of not having a trip to planned to several countries or always booking one-way tickets, but whatever our habits are, they are in the pursuit of routine. The world is an unpredictable place whether we’re traveling around it or not. Our passions drive us to indulge in excitement to varying degrees of risk, with the familiar keeping us grounded. Keeping the balance between the two is important, whatever funky ways we go about it.

What are some of your weird travel habits? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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