|The RikSak loaded with enough stuff for a long dayhike.|
This summer, just before I began my seasonal employment at a summer camp, Grant Sible of Gossamer Gear gave me one of GG’s new RikSak packs in return for helping out at Sectionhiker’s lightweight backpacking talk in Boston. I thought it was a nice gesture, although I really had no use for a stuff sack with backpack straps.
Oh, was I wrong.
For the rest of the summer I used the RikSak almost every day. It doesn’t have much capacity, and it has no frills, but isn’t that what I’ve been saying is the best feature of a backpacking pack? Why should it be any different for a day pack? REI had been making something like this for years now, and it’s almost literally just a stuff sack with backpack straps. REI’s has attachment points and a heavier fabric, but Gossamer Gear’s is sleek silnylon with 4-inch wide pack straps, at one fifth the weight of the REI version.
The RikSak was perfect for carrying around a water bottle and a few minor things around camp while running errands, but I still didn’t think it was necessary. When I headed out on the camp trip to Attean Pond for some paddling, though, I realized just how great this little pack is. In the middle of the canoe trip, we parked on the north end of Attean Pond to climb a short two-mile trail to Sally Mountain, carrying only daypacks. The RikSak held lunch, water, and a bulky first aid kit just fine. Later, on several climbs of Mount Monadnock, it did the same. I started to see just how nice this design is. Instead of my big, heavy daypack that I usually carry, the RikSak is pretty much everything you need for a quick hike up and down a summit.
|Atop Mount Clay on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire. The RikSak was perfect for a Presidential Traverse.|
Even on longer day hikes, I’ve decided that the RikSak is pretty much all I need. For the Presidential Northern Loop at the end of the summer, I took only the RikSak for an 18+ mile, all-day haul over Mounts Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison. The bag comfortably held my wind shirt, two water bottles, all day snacks and lunch, phone, wallet, car keys, map, and headlamp. I probably should have had my first aid kit with me as well, but there was room to spare (and my kit is pretty tiny, as well). If I hadn’t been hiking by constant water sources (the AMC White Mountain Huts), I could have fit plenty of water treatment in the form of Aqua Mira or Micropur tablets. No problem.
Packing the RikSak is not elegant. It’s a stuff sack. When I first put on the pack with a few water bottles, they tend to poke me in the back since they don’t sit perfectly upright. Within a few minutes of walking, though, the bottles settle and the pack is perfectly comfortable. I’m sure the 4-inch wide pack straps help. I don’t think they need to be so wide, since I would never carry more than 10 pounds in the pack (the fabric could take it, but what’s the point?).
The only minor gripe I have is that the EZC2 cord that cinches the opening of the bag is just a hair wide for the cord lock. It works, but the cord lock will eventually fray the line, I think. It’s not a huge issue, and if it were I could easily switch to a larger cord lock for only a fraction of an ounce more in weight.
Bottom line: I’m glad I have one of these. I won’t take it with me in my overnight pack, but it’s great for day hikes. If I had a much heavier overnight pack, I might take this along for side trips to peaks, or if I were through-hiking it would be a great slackpacking pack or town pack.