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EMS Packable Pack

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: EMS Packable Pack daypack (under 35l)

Best for summer and ultralight hiking, this pack is a bargain, even at EMS list price of $40. Can hold a maximum of 25 lbs, although you will be happier at 15 to 19 lbs. The material is tougher than it looks, the seams are properly stitched, and the value is awesome, for a 25L (1500 cu in) 9 ounce pack.


  • Price
  • Material


  • Lack of attachment/loops
  • Lack of hip belt
  • Lack of shoulder strap cushion

I used it in March for a two-day /one-night 30-mile R/T on the Appalachian Trail, the weekend that many NB thru-hikers were starting. It held up well and I even had a 20-degree down bag / 2 pound tent / inflatable mattress along with all my gear, food and liquids.

People were envious because they thought I was a snobbish thru-hiker with a small pack, when there were many people carrying 60 lb loads (!!) and others with fancy Zpacks $500 tents and pricey Osprey packs. I was carrying close to right under 20 lbs, so a hip belt would have been nice. The same bag for summer hiking and with my 50-degree equipment would be closer to 12 lbs, so this is a deal.

The top lid pocket can hold a decent amount of stuff you may need at a moment's notice. The side pockets will hold all the fluids you want, the only problem being that they may be oversized and stuff/bottles may fall out if you do not pack properly.

I used a foldable, semi-hard emergency space blanket inside as a pad for my back, since this pack does not have one and it was pretty decent. You can also use egg-crate foam, of the firmer kind The front strap can be cinched down to prevent gear sloshing. Nothing broke.

I have now used this pack on three short hikes and overall, it is, in my book, a BUY.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $30

Have you ever been backpacking and needed a smaller, stowable pack for exploring the area or bagging a nearby peak? Or travelling and just needed a no-frills pack in a pinch? This pack from EMS fits the bill.

It packs down real small (grapefruit sized), has a surprising amount of storage space and two exterior mesh pockets which hold 1 liter sized bottles or extra clothing, if desired. There is a large main compartment and a hydration sleeve inside as well. A simple drawstring and stopper cinches the main compartment closed. A top lid covers the main compartment and it has a small zippered pocket for holding your keys and wallet, etc., (it also doubles as the pocket in which the pack stuffs into).

The material is strong, lightweight, stitched well and the shoulder straps are comfortable even without padding. It is not water resistent but the material does dry quickly.

This pack is plenty compact to throw in a backpack, in your car, in your luggage, you get the point. This compares to the REI Flash 18 and I believe the EMS is better constructed and more functional than the REI brand.

Design: top loading daypack
Size: 1500 cu. in. according to EMS website
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 15
Height of Owner: 6 ft
Price Paid: $24

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Price Historic Range: $12.98-$32.00
Reviewers Paid: $24.00-$30.00
Product Details from EMS »

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