Daypacks: hip belt or no hip belt?

10:46 p.m. on October 6, 2018 (EDT)
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Despite already having a much higher balance on my credit card than I'd like, I just ordered a new daypack.  How many do I have already?  Half a dozen, at least.  I must be nuts.  But it was half off.  At least there's that.

Anyway, it has no hip belt.  I've never found them that functional on a daypack.  First off, the weight of a day pack isn't enough that you really need to transfer weight to your hips.  Second, unless you have a pretty short torso, most day packs aren't long enough for the belt to effectively transfer weight to your hips, more like a waist belt.  It adds expense, weight, complexity, and it mostly just gets in the way.  Years ago, everybody day hiked with rucksacks.  They didn't really have daypacks with hip belts.  At least that's the way I remember.  I'm talking about 40 years ago.  Things are a little foggy.  The Kelty Redwing was popular.  

The one thing I'll miss is the little pocket on the belt.  I've found that very useful for stashing a snack that I can access without taking the pack off.

8:44 a.m. on October 7, 2018 (EDT)
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I like the ride of a pack with a hip belt, daypack or backpack. On a daypack I find that the hip belt does transfer some weight, but more importantly it snugs the load against my back so the pack doesn't swing around if I'm scrambling or break into a short sprint (I'm not a trail runner). 

I also like having a pocket on the hip belt, especially for a daypack without a side pocket, so I picked one up from Gossamer Gear (link) and rigged a way to attach it to the daypack's belt, now I can have my camera or some snacks at my fingertips.

6:47 p.m. on October 7, 2018 (EDT)
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I now use one pack for everything.  ULA Circuit has a very comfortable and adjustable waist belt.  The waist belt has two pockets which hold a camera and a compass on the left and a compact revolver on the right.  I love the thing. 

I cannot imagine having 3 day packs and I used to work outdoors all the time. 

8:15 p.m. on October 7, 2018 (EDT)
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As JR stated, a waist belt on a day pack comes in handy when you do not want your load shifting and altering your balance, when doing things like skiing, boulder hoping or rock climbing.  But if you stick to trail walking, you probably will not miss it.


8:33 p.m. on October 7, 2018 (EDT)
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My answer would be mostly dependent on how much weight and volume you are carrying in the daypack.

9:12 p.m. on October 7, 2018 (EDT)
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I use a hip-pack (Mountainsmith Tour) for most day-trips and sweaty summer overnight and I traded the shoulders for the hips in exchange for a secure ride and ventilation on my back...can't recommend it enough!

7:30 a.m. on October 8, 2018 (EDT)
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If the pack has a belt you can use it or not as you see fit. If it has no belt then you don't have a choice. I prefer having the choice.

It isn't about weight transfer at all. The belt keeps the pack from bouncing around.

3:41 p.m. on October 9, 2018 (EDT)
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some daypacks I use have a hip belt that isn't meant to support weight, but they have a belt to keep the pack close to your body. examples: Cold Cold World Ozone, Wild Things Guide Pack, golite ion. the first two are climbing-oriented and built to absorb rock scrapes and other abuse. the Ion is a discontinued frameless ultralight, small and suited to carry no more than 10-15 - but comfortable, simple, and durable.

One smaller one has a very light but usable hip belt: Deuter (discontinued model made for skiing/boarding) with a half-belt that sits on your hips. 

others have a hip belt, which is good because they can carry more weight. examples: Mystery Ranch Snapdragon, Gregory Citro 25, Boreas Lost Coast 45 liter. These also have a frame of sorts, either a hard plastic frame sheet or a light metal wire frame.  

all good - depends on what you want to use them for.  

February 20, 2020
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