An ultralight daypack


Often on a long distance walk I miss having a small pack for side trips or even just around town on resupply days. Yes, I can use my big pack but it always seems clumsy when hardly full and I can’t then store gear in it. Lids that become bumbags can be useful but usually aren’t very big. It’s also useful to have a small pack for travelling to and from the start of a long walk. But unless there’s somewhere to store it you then have to carry it the whole trip. I was contemplating this not so long ago when compiling a gear list for my next long walk, which takes place this autumn, when a tiny bundle arrived for testing that solved the problem.

Unpacking the tiny stuffsack revealed a 24-litre silicone Cordura pack, the Matador Freerain 24. It’s got mesh shoulder straps with stabiliser straps, a big zipped front pocket and mesh side pockets yet only weighs 149 grams including the stuffsack. It has a buckled roll top and taped seams and so can double as a waterproof stuffsack for spare clothing and sleeping bag. The weight is only 11 grams more than the stuffsacks I would normally use.

The Freerain 24 needs careful packing of course as there’s no padding in the back. A sit mat or clothing can be used to stop hard objects poking you in the back. There’s no hipbelt or even a waist strap and the shoulder straps are only lightly padded but it’s still quite comfortable with a light load. The Freerain is well-made with bar tacking at stress points and shoulder straps and should last well with care.

I wouldn’t choose the Freerain as a general daypack but to carry just in case or on long trips it’s excellent. It’s coming to California and across the High Sierra with me shortly.

£50