I like big packs and I can’t deny! Annnnd sometimes I like small packs too, like the REI Jet UL. This has become my go-to pack for short light hikes due to its 1lb 6oz non-weight and intelligent design.
The Jet packs 1,800ci while making some good design choices: sternum strap, dual tool loops, elastic compression strap, hydration compatible and my personal favorite, two mesh side pockets. Too many light packs leave out the pockets, which add so much utility for so little weight.
Three mesh stand-off pads give a little airflow on your back, and the foam framesheet can be removed to save a few ounces. The mesh shoulder straps and waist belt are contoured, comfortable and breathable, the fixed top lid has a key keeper and the main compartment has toggles for attaching your bladder – no, not that one, the one you drink from.
My only quibble: there’s a zipper pocket on the right waist belt, but nothing on the left. REI and other vendors make this mistake on a number of their packs, leaving a perfectly handy location for a small pocket blank. Oh well, a small blemish on an otherwise perfect pack.