I have owned The North Face, Big Shot daypack for nearly four years and it has been my constant companion throughout this time. Durable, versatile and feature packed, it has been thoroughly tested throughout. Suffering from a great deal of abuse, extremes of weather, rough handling and my obsession with trying to squeeze just one more item into it, it has coped with them all admirably.
It has been used as a general daypack both locally and in various parts of the world, including the extremes of Iceland and Egypt. I have used it to transport all manner of items from my laptop, waterproof/windproof clothing and more often than not as a camera bag. It has even been used as a multi-day pack whilst I trekked for ten days in Corsica. The compression straps on the sides enabling me to carry a few extra items, such as tripod and thermarest mat on the outside.
Bigger than the average pack
At 33 litres it is above average size for a daypack, but this is part of its beauty, its versatility. This additional space allows it to be used for more than just a daypack.
It is packed with features; a laptop sleeve capable of taking a 17 inch model which can also double as a sleeve for a hydration bladder, with a clip and a port in the top, so it can be fully integrated. Front pockets and multiple inner ‘organiser’ sleeves provide ample storage space for personal belongings and gadgets. There are also outer mesh pockets for carrying additional water bottles or other items. I have had trekking poles, tripods, head torches, and sleeping mats all secured in them, when used in conjunction with the compression straps.
It may not actually be designed for carrying heavy loads, but it copes very well with them. The hip belt is not padded but provides sufficient support for the portage of all of your equipment for extended treks. There is a mesh back and ‘spine channel’ for ventilation and comfort and the shoulder straps are lightly padded but adjustable enough to enable the wearer to position them to suit their personal physique. There is also a chest clip for extra comfort.
Tough and durable
The material is apparently called ballistics nylon, I am unsure what that actually means but it is certainly hard wearing, fairly light and the zips seem both rugged enough and resistant to rain. My only negative observation however is; that it does not include a raincover, but these can be purchased separately, at this price though it should include one.
It comes in a variety of colours for the fashion conscious, though black is probably best suited to hide all the abuse it is likely to receive. If you are in the market for a daypack, which I believe is a great choice for savvy travellers. Combined with a larger pack or duffel; you will not go far wrong with the Big Shot.
*Dependent on the current exchange rates.