need hiking day pack that fits underneath airplane seat

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) need hiking day pack that fits underneath airplane seat

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 28 total)
  • Author
  • #3806703
    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    I’m about to head to Ireland for a trek around the Kerry Way. Woo! I’ll be hiking with only a day pack, and staying in B&Bs at night, incredible luxury for me, never have done this before. I’ll bring a small roller bag with stuff for night time and post-hike tourism, and a day pack for hiking. I just bought a Gregory Jade 33 on sale, and it hits most of my requirements, but I think it will be just too tall to stash under an airplane seat. I’m really hoping not to check anything, because we have multiple connecting flights. My son’s over there now at a university, and his suitcase went missing for almost two weeks because he checked it.

    So… I need a day pack with decent hip belt pockets and a real hipbelt, not a flimsy bit of strap. Decent structure (like a foam pad) since I’ll be carrying it all day long. I probably can do with 25L. I got the Jade 33 because I could use the extra room it has for other types of trips like fall berry picking, but now it won’t work for this one (I may return it) and because the one I have now (an Osprey that is falling apart and has a broken chest strap) is 30L and has always worked well. It was just the right size to fit under a seat, but sufficiently large to carry the buckets for a berry trip.

    In the pack for this trip I’ll carry:

    • full rain gear
    • extra socks
    • gloves and beanie
    • a fleece
    • lunch and water
    • a very small first aid kit and sunscreen (wishful thinking)
    • phone and lipstick charger
    • headlamp, just in case
    • small purse for money and cards
    • sit pad

    Any suggestions for a new day pack? They are also breathtakingly expensive; what the hell happened! they now cost what a full 50-60L pack used to cost.

    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    Can you give us an upper spending limit?

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    You need to charge your lipstick?

    But seriously, have you considered adding a hip pack? That would fit inside of any carry on pack in an airplane, and add extra space–a surprising amount!–for your hiking. Plus the darn things are convenient.  If you turn one around and wear it up front, it carries necessities great and keeps you from having to take off your pack for, say, a map or a snack. , or sunglasses. or:

    lunch and water
    a very small first aid kit and sunscreen (wishful thinking)
    phone and lipstick charger
    headlamp, just in case
    small purse for money and cards

    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    Price – prefer to keep it under $200. Unless the perfect one exists at a higher price! Like, truly perfect.

    I think it would be annoying to have two hipbelts strapped around me. And having to have two things when one should do.

    Diane “Piper” Soini
    BPL Member


    Locale: Santa Barbara

    I have found some great packs at the thrift store. We might have really good thrift stores here, but recently I found a nice turquoise REI day pack there for $6.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    “I think it would be annoying to have two hipbelts strapped around me. And having to have two things when one should do.”

    Understood. I thought the same. It’s nice to have your phone right in front, and other things as well. I hate carrying my phone in my front pocket, but others have no issue with that. Best wishes,  sounds like a great trip!

    baja bob
    BPL Member


    Locale: West

    AONIJIE 30L off Amazon for $80 or Osprey has a new running vest straps pack out Talon Velocity 30L $200. Both will probably fit under the airline seat.

    Michael D
    BPL Member


    I use an Aonijie 30L around town. If you run the numbers, the main compartment comes in at 20L and I think the rest is in external pockets. I like the pack a lot, but I think the strap setup is scaled for Asian dimensions. I’m 175#, 5″9″ and the “vest” doesn’t quite vest it for me, but it’s still very comfortable. Looking at your list, I think everything would fit, though. If you’re less meaty than I am, it might be an excellent choice.

    I often carry a Eddie Bauer cirrus light down jacket of a fleece, and a light wind jacket in it, with my lunch, a water bottle, laptop, some first aid stuff, chargers, etc. It hugs my back really well without the belt so that the load isn’t really on my shoulders, making it the most comfy day pack I’ve ever had. And from Amazon it’s returnable.

    Link .
    BPL Member


    deuter Speed Lite 25 . has hip belt with pockets unlike the AONIJIE 30L which is as you say a “flimsy bit of strap.” the Deuter at amazon is $84.95 right now and $120 at Speed Lite at REI . I have never used one so I can’t give you first hand info.

    Dustin V
    BPL Member


    +1 on adding a waist pack. It’s a versatile option.

    Or maybe find a narrow roll-top pack that you can roll down far enough to fit under the seat.

    My usual hiking partner and I did an overnighter in HI when we had overlapping family vacations. I used a little daypack with a waist pack and he brought is usual frameless roll-top and just rolled it way down for the flight.

    I liked that the daypack waist belt didn’t get hung up under the plane seat, in the car and everywhere else I used it on the trip, but my partner’s pack did much better on the hike.

    BPL Member


    Check out Wapta 30

    Mark Messonnier
    BPL Member


    Timely discussion at SectionHiker.  Sounds like you could have been one of the commenters.

    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    Yes, checking every possibility. Looks like a friend may be able to stitch a chest strap onto my old Osprey. The hip belt pockets are still an issue, and the foam backing is disintegrating, but it may be the best option to just stick with the one I’ve got! I haven’t really found anything that someone actually knows will fit under an airline seat, which is essential.

    Frederick Allington
    BPL Member


    Locale: S.N.R.A.

    It doesn’t seem that you have that much to carry and a hip belt strikes me as overkill. I have been using a Zack’s Sub Nero 30L for my day hikes and it is perfect for carrying food, water and extra layers etc…

    BPL Member


    Zpacks Sub Nero 30 L. $225.  You can also add hipbelt with 1 or 2 pockets.  The pockets are pretty nice use them on my Nero pack and I can use them on  my sub Nero if needed..

    The pack is awesome and @ 30l it swallow great.

    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    Hmmm, that Zpacks bag looks pretty decent, although a bit pricy. Without any frame, it should squish under an airline seat without too much protest from flight attendants. I would need to add a hip belt; this aging body needs all the support it can get!

    John Z
    BPL Member


    The Zpacks website states that the Bagger Ultra 25L Backpack “Fits nicely under airplane seats when used as a carry-on.”

    Greg Pehrson
    BPL Member


    Locale: playa del caballo blanco

    Hi AK, it looks like each airline has different dimensions for under seat storage that vary by several inches–from 14″ long to 18.5″ long, similar variations for other dimensions). I found this chart.  (It’s from a suitcase manufacturer that I am unfamiliar with and it doesn’t have the date when it was written). It may be worth it to check with the airlines and find out the exact dimensions for the planes for your flights.

    I agree that sticking with a pack you know you’re comfortable with, and that works for you and that you’ve stowed under a plane seat before, may be the best option, especially if your trip is imminent.


    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    Yeah, I need a good hip belt. Rain gear and all the rest starts to add up.

    I know AK Granola doesn’t want a waist pack, but still, I use the Gossamer Gear Bumster at 3.5 ounces. It would fit inside any pack you carried on, as mentioned, in case you end up needing the extra bit. I’m not trying to mansplain or convince! I hope  you find a single pack to work for you.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Colorado

    Just thinking in a slightly different direction here, but if you don’t completely fill your Gregory 33 for the flight, maybe you can just roll up (or fold over) the top part and stuff it under the seat. I don’t have firsthand experience with it, but I assume it’s not structured.

    David P
    BPL Member


    I recently acquired a 30 l SMD Wy’east pack and just flew to Utah with it partially filled and stuffed under the seat in front of me. As long as a pack of about that size is not filled to capacity, I think many options could work for you. Find something you like and you can make it work. Unless you are flying Frontier, it seems rare for airline staff to inspect a bag that is in the ballpark of a reasonable size.
    I really liked the Wy’east with the added Wingbelt that has pockets but minimal padding. The pockets felt a bit bulky at first but I got used to them. Sticker shock is a reality… there are plenty of sites for used/ resold gear if you have the time to hunt and gather.

    Haakon R
    BPL Member


    Maybe not available in time for your trip, but the Six Moons ADC 35L seems like an interesting travel option.

    Chase Reeves review of the 45L:

    YouTube video

    David D
    BPL Member


    I’ve noticed on most transatlantic flights that the window seat has narrower underseat storage, very uncomfortable even for just my size 14s.   Improve your odds and maybe avoid those.

    Bill in Roswell
    BPL Member


    Locale: Roswell, GA, USA

    Gossamer Gear Kumo fits all your criteria. A Kumo replaced a Gregory Zulu 30. Zulu was a nice pack but the Kumo is more versatile. I will never have a pack without waistbelt pockets!,

    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    That Kumo looks really nice! But why do they make the mesh pocket slanted? Seems like a waste of usable space. I really like the features of the Gossamer Gear packs in general.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 28 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Get the Newsletter

Get our free Handbook and Receive our weekly newsletter to see what's new at Backpacking Light!

Gear Research & Discovery Tools