Must Have Day Pack for Families on the Go - What? How?

Friday, October 18, 2013

The day pack; Consolidating your family's needs for the day into one small, comfortable to carry, and easy to access bag.

We might not always venture as far away from home as Walt Disney World, but our family of four is often out and about. I always say that we function far better on weekends when we get out of the house together than if we stay home and lazily sit around in our pjs. The adults in our house would probably opt for pjs over an outing, but we are far too sick of cleaning up the playroom to argue this point.

When you have littles, you also become their personal Sherpa. You become the holder of both treasured items and trash. You are the provider of the magic tantrum avoidance snack. You are the keeper of the amusements. There is lots to manage. There are many thoughts of a wreckless youth when you could slip your debit card and ID in your back pocket and walk out the door. (Yes, in the time before cellphones.) Those days are over and you now require a BAG.

Allow me to introduce you to the most amazing day pack ever. The CamelBack Day Star (recently redesigned!). I chose this bag because I knew that I would likely be the one carrying it, otherwise I would be annoying my husband to stop and let me get this or that or tuck this in or having a hissy because he had rummaged through it to get something for me and moved the diapers and WHERE ARE THE DIAPERS? (Yes, you can go with a diapered child with this pack and STILL have room! It is Uh-Mazing!) You could say I am a little Type A. Besides, he would be pushing the children in a stroller through the early fall Florida heat, how could I also ask him to carry the bag?

The Day Star is designed for a woman's body and is extremely lightweight. It is the most comfortable pack I have ever carried and even when it is very full, I never feel strained carrying it (unless a child hops onto my shoulders and then we are VERY uncomfortable). I have this bag on in nearly every photo from our trip in 2011. The only time I am not wearing it was when we might have taken a shot on the Carpets or Dumbo and that is because it so easy to take off and a cinch to stow at your feet.

This bag will meet all your needs; a large main body compartment for organizing bigger items, snacks, and in our case loveys. The zippers for the main section do not zip all the way down the sides which can make it a bit more challenging to get to what you put at the very bottom, but I like that because it also control my overpacking urges. The side pockets are a stretchy breathable mesh for phones, point and shoot cameras, tour maps, Times Guides, water bottles, or wet socks. There is an additional zippered pocket in the front that has a few smaller zippered pockets for other items. Mine always has a mini first aid kit, ibuprofen, and we found it was a good sunglass stash spot.

The best part of this bag by far is the CamelBak water reservoir, which comes included. We had never had any experience with a reservoir before we took this to Disney World and it was easy to use.  Even the world's greatest skeptic ("you spent how much on a BACKPACK?!") was practically attached to the bite valve for the entire trip. We filled it with a mix of ice from the machines at the resort and bottled water we had purchased in the morning and it was cold for most of the morning until we filled it up again. It made for a really easy way to keep the kids hydrated and a distraction in line for everyone. When my not yet two year old son got a little antsy during an attraction, as toddlers will do, this worked 99.99% of the time to keep him occupied. It distracted him from his momentary disinterest enough to bring him back to a place of peace and that made me one very happy Mama.

One note on the Bite Valves. You must bite the valve before it will work and when you are asking small children to bite things, they often do. We have needed some replacement valves which are very easy to find and affordable (recently spent $12 for a pack of 3).

Lest you think this bag would be one and done, we have used this bag for countless other things with great success. This is her third season of college football, third year apple picking, and she continues to meet our family's needs, even as the kids grow. Our Day Star is our go to for every family outing, whether it is an adventure outdoors or in. I could not more highly recommend you check this out.

Now. What to stuff her full of for a day at the parks?

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