There’s a very specific photography bag niche I’ve been looking to fill, and I think the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack 18L is just the right bag for this job.
I’m always traveling for my photography, whether it’s to the next town over or to a new country.
This typically means I’ve got one bag for my clothes and personal items and a second bag for my camera equipment.
Neither of my two bags is really suited for a quick day trip in a new city or a side hike when I’m camping out in the woods.
I’ve been looking for a lightweight, packable bag that’s still able to safely transport my camera equipment.
If you’ve been looking for a packable backpack, this review will help you decide if the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is right for you.
RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack 18L Specs
- Total weight is less than a pound (0.4kg)!
- Orange color is ideal for outdoors and bike riding
- Able to carry all of my day gear
- Top and back access made accessing my gear easy
- Strap and compartment design is excellent
- Adjustable straps provide a comfortable fit
- Stowing heavier travel tripods is a bit wobbly
- Lightweight design doesn’t offer much gear protection
- Not suited for heavy loads—consider 10 or so pounds this bag’s weight maximum
Here’s a quick rundown of the specs for the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack:
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||9.45 x 6.30 x 18.90 inches (24 x 16 x 38 cm)|
|Weight||0.9 pounds (0.4 kg)|
|Material||70D triple ripstop nylon (recycled)|
|Laptop compartment||Fits tablets and lightweight laptops|
|Compartments||Main compartment, side pockets with tie down cable, front stretch pocket, internal zip pocket|
|Features||Stowable design, adjustable shoulder straps, full-length back zipper, reflective details, chest and waist strap|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
Build & Appearance
The first thing I always consider when checking out a new bag is the build quality and, yes, the style.
The build quality of the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is right where I needed it to be, but there are some very important trade-offs that you need to consider.
This is a versatile bag that is designed to be packed into a larger bag and used when you’re taking day trips when you don’t need all of your gear.
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is made out of lightweight material that allows it to be packable and easy to carry, but this does mean it’s going to offer less protection for your gear than a more heavy duty bag would.
This backpack does not feel flimsy. The build quality feels very secure and I never felt that the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack was going to give way or rip while I was using it.
However, you definitely want to have a dedicated camera and lens case to use with this bag. The LowePro GearUp cases are a good option and they’re all designed to work with the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack.
Now, you know I’m going to talk about style. I love the look of the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack.
This bag just happened to come in one of my favorite shades of orange. The accent on the red pull tab as well as the black stretch pocket help tone down some of that overwhelming orange color.
I don’t mind my travel day bag being a little splashy. I’ve got more subtle options for when I’m at home and the larger bags I’m taking to professional shoots are all black anyways.
It was honestly refreshing to have a photography bag that wasn’t just black or gray.
The design and style of this bag are definitely aimed towards adventure, nature, and travel photographers. If you have a lot of other travel or outdoors gear, this bag is going to feel right at home with the rest of your equipment.
The last thing I want to touch on in terms of design is the standout feature of this bag. The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is built to be packable and it definitely delivers.
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack weighs less than a pound (0.4kg), and you can roll it up into something that’s roughly the size of a large water bottle, which is obvoiously great if you want to carry it inside another bag.
I had no problem stashing this into any of the other bags that I owned and would take on a longer trip or to a more complicated shoot.
If you approach this bag as a packable day bag option, the build quality is excellent.
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is surprisingly feature-packed given that this bag is designed to be a minimalist option.
The stretch pocket on the back was useful for quickly stashing my hat, down jacket, or even odds and ends like my lens cap.
The side pockets are a little deeper than on your average backpack. This gives you more stability when you’re trying to stash a tripod while you’re on the go.
I tested this bag with my Peak Design travel tripod, but that was definitely pushing the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack to the limit of what it could handle.
I would definitely recommend using this bag with either a more lightweight tripod or securing that tripod inside the main compartment.
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack has the full range of straps that you would expect on a full-size backpack. You can adjust the riding height of the bag, chest strap, and even a few secondary straps here and there.
It’s also easy to pack this bag up. All you have to do is roll it up and connect a latch to shrink it back down to storage size.
The interior features of the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack are where we start to encounter some of its minimalism. It’s got everything you need and nothing more.
The interior compartment is big enough to hold a surprising amount of gear. It’s also got access through a drawstring closure at the top as well as a zipper that runs the full length of the backpack on the backpack.
It was incredibly easy to access whatever equipment I wanted while using the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack.
To be honest, it has the ease of using a full size hiking backpack rather than the feeling of digging around in half of these other camera bags and slings.
The interior compartment also features a dedicated space for a small laptop or tablet. There’s also an internal zipper pocket which is where I threw my sunglasses, but it could also be a good spot for a credit card or bus pass.
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack says that it’s able to hold up to 18 L of stuff, but your mileage is going to vary a lot when it comes to these lightweight packable bags.
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack definitely feels the best when you have about half or more of the total volume full. I threw in a down jacket and rain jacket to help fill up some of that extra room and stabilize my camera gear inside this bag.
This bag is going to have no problem carrying your jacket, your camera, a few odds and ends, and some snacks. It’s also a good choice to take with you walking around a new city if you plan to pick up a small souvenir like some clothes or a book.
Here’s the gear I was able to fit into the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack:
- Packable down jacket
- Packable rain jacket
- Sony A7SII with extra battery
- Sony 24-70 mm lens
- Peak Design Travel Tripod
- iPad Pro
- Sunglasses and case
I still had a good amount of room in this bag and I would have felt comfortable adding a few more pounds to the total weight. However, I wouldn’t have pushed it much further than that even if I had room to spare.
The next time I take this bag out, I’m definitely going to pick up a camera and lens case for the added protection.
Ease of Use/Comfort
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is very easy to use. It’s modeled after full size hiking backpacks which means it has a somewhat standardized layout that is very intuitive to approach.
The bag is also incredibly comfortable. Despite the lightweight nature of this bag, the shoulder straps are fairly robust and could easily accommodate what this bag can hold.
You do need to make sure that you fill up a decent portion of the volume of this bag. If you try to throw in a loose mirrorless camera and lens, things are going to feel like they’re constantly bouncing around.
How I Tested the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack 18L
I wanted to test the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack in the exact working conditions I’d be using it. However, I didn’t have any photography trips coming up, so I had to improvise.
I packed the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack in a larger back and headed to the next city over to test this bag under some real travel conditions.
On a quick weekend trip, I took the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack out for a trip through the city and down to the beach.
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack held up on public transit, walking through crowded city blocks and hiking along the beachfront.
Even though the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack isn’t billed as being waterproof or water-resistant, I definitely wasn’t worried about any spray from the beach soaking my gear.
Alternatives to the RunAbout Daypack
There really aren’t many competitors for the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack. There are plenty of other lightweight, packable backpacks out there, but there aren’t any that are being designed by companies that focus on photographers.
With that said, we’re still talking about a lightweight bag that you can feasibly pack into a larger camera bag or suitcase for the express purpose of a quick day out taking some pictures.
Here’s a few other bags that you can consider.
- LowePro ProTactic TLZ
- Chrome Industries Niko Sling
- Peak Design Field Pouch or Everyday Sling
- WANDRD Roam
- Hex Ranger DSLR Sling
Click on the links above to see our reviews of each one, or make sure to check out our guide to the best backpacks for photographers.
Value for Money
At around $80, the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is good value for the money.
You’re going to be spending somewhere around $80 for a decent packable backpack from any brand.
While you’re definitely able to find some options that are cheaper than this, most of those are either too lightweight or have too few features to be useful for a photographer.
Is the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack waterproof?
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is not advertised as being waterproof or water resistant. However, in my experience it was able to withstand some very light exposure to water without getting its contents wet.
Can the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack fit a large lens?
You can fit larger lenses into the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack even if we’re talking about telephoto lenses 200 mm and larger. You just need to make sure that these lenses are protected inside the bag from accidental bumps or drops.
How durable is the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack?
The RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is made out of durable recycled nylon and is more than ready to handle your daily wear and tear. However, this is a lightweight bag and I wouldn’t put it through anything too strenuous.
RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack 18L Review | Conclusion
Overall, I think the RunAbout Pack-Away Daypack is the bag that finally meets my criteria for a day bag that I can pack into my larger traveling cases.
This bag was great for a day doing some photography just for myself, and I plan on throwing this into my (larger) bag every time I head out of town to take some pics.