Small packs rock. They are the glue that holds stuff together, the screw that joins the pieces, the lube that… well, you get the idea. If you look at all your outdoor gear and pick the piece that you use most often, your favorite small pack has got to be at the top of that list. Work, play, school, it does it all, and Black Diamond's Bullet 16 aims to be the one pack that rules them all.
And it pretty much does, if what you're looking for is an ultra-clean design that can flow through your daily routine with nary a snag. The Bullet 16 is designed for cragging, hence the clean profile, but you'll end up using it for everything. The 16L interior space is perfectly proportioned: about 5 inches deep and 8 inches wide at the bottom, getting a bit less deep but wider at the top. There is a roughly 7×7 inch exterior pocket on the top, inside there's a small mesh pocket with key keeper, and on top a very convenient grab handle, a useful feature often overlooked on small packs.
On the part of the pack touching your back is a full-length sleeve where you can tuck in the shoulder straps if you want to use it as a haul bag, and there's a small loop with hook-and-loop closure above the inner mesh bag for a hydration pouch if that's your thing, and you can route the drinking tube through a hole in the top. You can even remove the quarter-inch foam backpanel with a little bit of work, although it's nice to have if your storing any hard or pokey things.
We've used the Bullet 16 for everything from a briefcase substitute for work, to carrying food and layers for a family outing, to tablet and laptop bag. It's just the perfect size, and the contoured shoulder straps are oh-so-comfy. In fact, the straps are unusual in that you don't feel like you have to have the sternum strap connected for casual carry, unlike a lot of packs that just don't feel right without it. Another nice touch: the hip belt can be removed as well. The zippers are also full size, making them easy to operate. The whole thing just works. About the only ding we can put on the Bullet 16 is that it's a bit pricey for a small daypack with minimal features, but we feel the thoughtful design and durability -it's overbuilt, really, in a good way – mean it will last a long time to recoup your investment, while serving in any capacity you see fit along the way.