I’ve been trying to find a good day pack over the last year or so. My beloved Jansport is starting to show wear in the shoulder straps and I decided to leave it packed away in Colorado. I’d begun to use my Teton Sports Summit 1500 as a default daypack after I got it in August but gave it away to a friend in need leaving me essentially daypack-less. When I opened my duffel bag of Columbia Sportswear goodness in Park City and found the Vixen, I was delighted.
Over the last month or so, I’ve been using it on all of our hikes. I’ve never had a pack that had an air gap between the back and the pack and was excited to try it. The gap is supported by two metal rods. This does create a pretty narrow tunnel to the pack which I find a bit annoying sometimes. The gap is nice but I still sweat plenty at the hip strap & support. Inside the body of the pack is a pocket for a hydration bladder. Beyond that, it’s one big space which is plenty of room for my day hiking needs.
The hip belt is too big for me. I wear the pack with the straps all the way tightened and it’s still not quite snug enough around my hips with just a t-shirt. Similarly, the straps on the shoulder straps are really long—I’m planning on cutting them down next time I’m around a sewing machine.
The outside water bottle pockets are the perfect size to hold a Nalgene; too many packs have pockets that are too small to hold one well. If I really want to I can reach around and pull them out without taking the pack off. It also has a large open front pocket. I wasn’t really sure what I would use this for but Sprocket’s trail bowl lives here so it’s always available (and if it’s still a little damp it doesn’t get my stuff wet). At the very top of the pack is a small pocket that I use for keys and a cell phone.
One of the biggest downsides I can see to this pack is durability of the light stretchy material that makes up the water bottle and front pockets. Mine has numerous “snags” from being dragged through desert brush—although for primarily trail hikers this would not be a concern. The low profile does do well when it comes to scrambling around through the brush though!
This pack was provided by Columbia Sportswear to me as part of the #omniten program for review. All opinions are my own.