Hyperlite Daybreak 17 - Mountain Flexibility and Safety

Hyperlite Daybreak 17 - Mountain Flexibility and Safety

I have been resort skiing with a pack for many years now. I find that it offers a great deal of flexibility on the mountain. It accommodates extra layers such as a Gore-Tex jacket I can put on or take off as needed or even a Yeti mug with coffee which is awesome on the lift. It also adds an extra layer of safety because I can carry things like a medical kit in case things go south. For this role, I have been using an Osprey commuter-style pack, designed more for riding a bike or day hiking. It has worked perfectly for a long time, even though it was not specifically designed for skiing.

The moment Hyperlite dropped the Daybreak 17, I sensed it could give my faithful Osprey a run for its money. What hooked me were its dimensions, the material it’s made from, and the simplicity and efficiencies of its features. My decade-long journey with the Osprey has been nothing short of epic, standing strong through countless adventures. It did have some drawbacks in the resort skiing category. 

It's not waterproof, a bit clunky for travel, and packs features unused on the slopes. Its thin fabric, great for city biking, became a liability amid tree runs and pole dodging, threatening a mountain-side gear explosion.

Enter the Daybreak 17, initially tagged for day hikes, commutes, and everyday use. Yet, sizing it up, I saw a match made in ski heaven. The real game-changer? Dyneema Composite Fabric. Almost waterproof, tear-resilient, and should one occur, the material “locks” keeping equipment safe. It is also feather-light which is nice because its easy to forget that you are wearing it which is a near dream, It also had a mandatory feature needed for resort skiing - an outer elastic stash pocket, a perfect safe space when on the ski lift when I need to take my gloves off. It it a resort-specific designed bag? No, but it just happens to be perfect for it. 

Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of its features and how they work well for me:

Externally, the tilted water bottle holders house my Yeti and Nalgene—secured with a dummy cord and Nite Ice clip. The exterior stash pocket, crowned with elastic is my go-to glove drop spot on the lift or any hasty storage need. There is also an adjustable shock cord outside which is perfect for throwing a layer somewhere securing quickly and also for compressing the pack, a must for streamlining the pack when skiing. There is also an ice tool loop which might hopefully get some use this year. 


The straps are rugged and well-designed. The chest strap, which is great on lengthy runs or hikes, harbors an undercover high-pitched rescue whistle—a gem often overlooked. In a pinch it can help get someone’s attention quickly should you need it in an emergency. A discreet waist strap hides well in the pack when not in use. For this size of a pack, I likely will not need it except when I need to lash my skis during an uphill ski touring event. It’s great to have though and I am very happy with the way they designed it. Despite the pack’s petite size, it sits well on my shoulders - an initial worry when I was thinking about buying it. 

The internal storage is sealed with an expansive dual zipper. This can be used to strategically position the pack opening on the side of the pack when on the lift or to secure your gear should one zipper fail. The internal storage size easily accommodates essentials and is just the right size for a one-day trip philosophy. A tiny zippered interior pocket internally in the pack secures vital items like my wallet and keys. An internal laptop sleeve with elastic on top is big enough for a 13" laptop. I likely will never put my laptop in here but for me, it's a perfect spot to help stay organized for items that are important to be able to grab quickly - such as a medical kit. This sleeve is a high-vis orange which is nice for bouncing light into the pack and could also double as a signaling panel in a really bad pinch.


I would also add that although I have been using it primarily for a resort skiing pack, I expect this will go in my luggage on every future trip. It’s so light and packable, it will be hard to find an excuse not to bring it. It is always nice to have a small pack for adventures. Looking forward to many years to come with this thing. 

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