Field test and review
Over the years I have collected a number of packs of varying styles, shapes and sizes. Most people generally have a single pack for day hikes and one for overnight hikes, but I do find that I use different packs based on the conditions and length of the hike.
In December 2016, my wife and I spent 10 days on the Overland Track in Tasmania, exploring the many of the side trips along the trail. It was during this adventure that I started to think ‘wouldn’t it be great to have a lightweight pack that I could simply roll up and stuff into my over night pack so that when we needed to drop our packs for a side trip (which often took 3-5 hours) I could pull it out to carry my snacks, water and safety equipment. My standard day packs were just too bulky for this application, so I started looking for an ultralight daypack that I could take along on such trips.
Thanks to Montem, I was recently sent a Diadema 18L Hiking Daypack to field test. The Diadema 18L Daypack combines lightweight water resistant ripstop nylon with an ultra-light and tear resistant design. This bag has an extremely packable design which easily stuffs into your luggage or larger pack. The Diadema is available in a choice of two colour options, navy and white or turquoise and yellow. I chose the later as it is a personal preference of mine to carry bright coloured gear as it makes it easier for people to spot you in case of emergency.
Having an extra pack that takes up almost no space is a lifesaver when you are traveling. While I use this pack primarily for overnight hikes, I have also used it for day hikes, when travelling interstate or even as a great pack for days at the beach. While my original intent was to utilise this pack for overnight hike side trips I a have been quite surprised at its versatility and range of use.
While researching ultralight packs I thought that a pack this small and light (280g) would have no features at all, but surprisingly it comes with quite a few.
- Padded mesh straps for comfortable carry
- large main compartment with draw-string top and navy and 18L of internal space
- Internal hydration pocket
- Zippered external stash pocket
- Safety whistle built into the chest strap
- Compresses down to a tiny size (around the size of a large orange)
- 2 fun colour options (navy and white or turquoise and yellow)
- Water resistant ripstop nylon
While this tiny pack has many features, the purpose of the field test was to see how well they would perform.
Padded Mesh Straps
To help keep this pack comfortable and light Montem has added adjustable mesh straps to this pack. As you would expect, they are not of the same thickness and comfort as a larger and heavier pack, but for such an ultralight you will be amazed how good they are. The straps themselves are light weight, breathable and full adjustable over the shoulders, waist and chest. It is worth keeping in mind that this pack is not meant for big loads or super heavy items, so if you plan on carry big, heavy loads, it would be wise to also invest in a more robust pack for this purpose.
Starting on the outside, the Diadema comes with Zippered external stash pocket that is perfect for gear that you need to access quickly. I use this pocket for stashing my compass, knife, whistle, PLB sunglasses, hat and snacks that I want to be able to access quickly.
Internally, the Diadema comes with a large hydration bladder sleeve which can easily contain a 3L hydration pack. At the top of the sleeve there is a small Velcro strap, used to secure the bladder to the pack and stop it sliding down the sleeve as water is consumed. My suggestion for improvement here would be to replace the Velcro with a lightweight clip as I found that the Velcro was not strong enough to hold the weight of the full bladder and kept coming undone.
The main compartment is one open, deep space, accessible from the top only, in which you can easily store all the gear you will need to a day hike. As the pack does not have any frame, I found it very flexible and was amazed at how much I could actually stuff into it.
Water Resistant Ripstop Nylon
For any ultralight pack to be ultralight it needs to be manufactured using lightweight materials. With this comes compromise in terms of strength, unless you intend on paying hundreds on a military designed product. This pack is super lightweight and not made of the same heavy-duty materials that a traditional day pack would be. You can stuff lots of things in here, but be careful with heavy/sharp objects as they may damage the fabric. I have personally used this pack now for several months and only recently noticed a small tear in the outer wall due to me getting hooked up on a tree. The ripstop nylon seemed to do what it is intended to and the tear has remained small. I just need to be more careful.
I have tested this pack in snow, rain and sunshine and found it performed as expected in these conditions. Light rain seemed to simply bead and fall off the pack. Snow, being dry, also fell of as I walked along the trail. It was only when the rain became heavy and on a recent trip in Tasmania’s South West, where we were hammered by horizontal hail that water entered the pack. So remember, it is water resistant, not water proof, so my suggestion is to invest in a rain cover or stuff all of your gear inside water proof stuff sacks before loading your pack. When the pack did get wet, its lightweight structure meant that it dried quickly which was a real benefit when I needed to return it to my overnight pack at the end of the day.
The Diadema 18L Hiking Daypack is the perfect, cost effective, way to add a day pack to your travel or overnight gear without the extra space or weight you would normally expect. Despite the small size of this ultralight pack, you also get handy features such as external pocket, hydration pockets and comfortable mesh straps. I am impressed by this packs versatilely and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an ultralight pack.
- Capacity: 18L
- Material: 100% Woven Ripstop Nylon
- Weight: 280g
- Water Resistant
- Puncture Resistant
- Mesh Straps for added comfort
- Hydration Sleeve
- Size (mm): 510 x 340 x 120
Buy direct from Montem for USD69.99
Field Tested by
Darren Edwards > www.trailhiking.com.au