I've been wanting a new daypack for a while. (Hey, mine is a decade old.) So far, I haven't been able to find anything I like in stores. Some backpacks are really designed just for carrying books. Some are teeny-tiny, and I'm the kind of girl who carries the ten essentials and never runs short of water. But most of the trail packs are ludicrously overbuilt - they feature dozens of pockets and flaps and loops for ice axes. Around here, you never need an ice axe. Around anywhere, you don't need a dozen pockets to sort your gear, unless you have a serious problem with OCD - "OmiGOD, my lip balm CAN'T be in the SAME POCKET as my Leatherman!" I guess I could ignore all these pockets if it weren't that they really add up to extra weight. There are day packs that weigh over three pounds empty. There's something wrong when a daypack weighs as much as a pack for week-long backpacking trips.
I'm not eschewing all pockets; I understand the utility of a few outside pockets for commonly used items. I don't use Camelbaks, so side pockets for water bottles that I can reach without removing my pack are dead useful. But ... really.
Anyway, I think I've found the perfect pack. The catch is, I'll have to order it online, and it's not made by a company that I can find much of in stores around here. (You'd think the top-rated bag in the latest Backpacker gear rankings would be easier to find, yes?) That gives me pause, because it has to fit and be comfortable.
For some reason, a lot of the packs I've tried have straps that rub the back and sides of my neck where they enter the top of the pack. My neck isn't that wide - especially relative to a man's pack - so I don't know what the issue is. But I'm not going to hike 18 miles with chafing. I'm not looking forward to having to return gear bought by mail if it doesn't fit me.