Review: Super-light Hikpro foldable travel/backpacking book bag

The super compact Hikpro daypack in all its sexy backpacking glory.  Photo by Clay Duda.
The super compact Hikpro daypack in all its sexy backpacking glory. Copco coffee cup and thrift store table cloth not included.

This is a first. I think. I’ve written a lot over the years, so there’s a chance I’m just forgetting something, but I’m pretty sure this is my first ever official product review — not counting book or movie reviews, of course.

In some ways this little Hikpro backpack drove me to do it. Long story short, I love this thing. It does everything the Hikpro marketing folks say it’ll do, and it’s cheap. That’s about all I could ask for.

I decided to drop $20 on the compactable backpack because it was just that: a cheap, light, small, foldable day pack that could fit in pretty much any overnight or multi-day trip bag and not be a burden. There are no shortage of options for similar packs, but the Hikpro looks pretty much like a normal book bag, is one of the cheapest on the market, and has earned some pretty stellar reviews.

It is pretty small, but that’s sort of the point. For me and my wife it’s been a perfect fit. It can hold both of our 750 ml Camel water bottles, two hoodies, a DSLR with a 24-70 mm lens, a small first aid pack, some trail mix and that’s about it. Oh, and sometimes I cram the ol’ Eno DoubleNest hammock in the mix. It all fits, but it can be a stretch.

I bought the black one from Hikpro on Amazon for $20 and spent a few extra bucks on other gear to qualify for free shipping. Hikpro shipped it quickly, it was exactly as described, and it even came with instructions for folding the backpack back into its little pouch. I still don’t think I’ve folded it right, but it all fits back in there pretty easily with a little push and shove.

The Hikpro book bag in action. That's a volcano in the background: Cinder Cone at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo by Jimmy Ware.
The Hikpro book bag in action. That’s a volcano in the background — Cinder Cone at Lassen Volcanic National Park to be exact. Photo by Jimmy Ware.

Over the past month or so I’ve taken it up a volcano and through a thorny thicket, plus I’ve toured it around town a bit just to get a feel for it. It’s made mostly of nylon, which claims to be water and tear resistant. So far that’s proven to be true. It’s seen a few splashes though nothing major. It has run up against a briar patch, and while it took a lashing there haven’t been any picks or snags in the material.

At 20 liters it’s slightly smaller than what most teenagers use to tote books to high school. There’s also a 25 liter design that retails for just a few bucks more. According to the Amazon description it’s about 18” tall and 12” wide when fully open, and it folds up to just 4.5” x 5”. It weighs 6.5 ounces.

Honestly, I haven’t weighed or measured it myself, but those numbers are close enough to be trusted.

The book bag includes three (yes three!) zipper compartments, including the main hole and a small pocket on the outside. But what’s cool is the little bag the daypack folds into forms a third small, zipper-able pocket inside the main compartment perfect for holding keys, bug spray or other little knick-knacks you may need easy access to.

See: Interior pocket. Photo by Clay Duda.

There are four neon cloth loops near the zipper ends, which may be a nice security feature as long as any would-be thief doesn’t think to bring along a knife. Or as long as the would-be thief doesn’t have the purvey to run off with the entire bag and sort things out later. But, if nothing else, the bright colors and reflectors provide a bit of visibility to the otherwise down-toned bag (I bought the black one, but it’s also available in navy, purple, and red). And as you can tell from all the lines in this picture on Amazon, it’s said to be pretty durable and even comes with a five-year warranty to back up that claim.

When weight or size isn’t an issue I still tend to grab one of the old, traditional Jansport or Dickies packs we have laying around the house. They’re a little more comfortable when carrying heavier loads and offer a little more padding and support. But when it comes to traveling or back-country outings I expect this Hikpro to be my go-to day pack for many years to come.

We’ll see how it holds up.

Compact Hikpro daypack. Photo by Clay Duda.



Clay Duda is a freelance journalist and photographer. People usually pay him to write things. Here he does it for free.