last year, I tried a couple of carry with systems different from backpacks. (the backpack is hot, and taking it off to fiddle inside for what I want... I wondered if having things more accessible would make a difference, or feel cooler temperature wise) a mesh trecker vest and a shotgun shell belt. both had ample room for:
- one liter nalgene with led screw on top (guyot designs firefly, great lantern)
(OR) 2 liter platypus with drinking tube
- spork, (guyot designs... check out their stuff) My first year, I forgot utensils, and had a couple of taco bell sporks in my car door. They worked fine! now I make sure there are a couple there always.
- cheap insulated mug with lid, closed loop handle, and carabiner
- ziplock bag: first aid wipe in foil packet, bandaids, small neosporin, small tube of sunscreen, chapstick, couple of safety pins, little bit of duct tape
- ziplock bag: notepad, pen
- ziplock bag: cheap digital camera
- ziplock bag: (or two) gorp
- ziplock bag: travel kleenex, good for nose, or empty JOTS
- goggles (small fold up clear, and a larger pair of polarized sunglass type)
- small leatherman "juice" yes, the pliers! but the blade is tiny so, I always have a pocket knife with a more standard size blade in my pants/shorts pocket.
- couple of feet of lightweight rope or cord (tied to my bike lock key) and a couple of cord locks (the ones with plunger and spring) this made a good gift for someone who's hat was prone to flying off.
- small one battery flashlight, or led clip on hat light
- plastic grocery moop bag
if I was on my bike, this all went in the basket along with a nylon bag holding an alien multi tool, plastic tire irons, tire patches, small tire pump, and bike light
to be honest, neither one felt super comfortable, and neither was the perfect grab and go solution I hoped for, but practice and familiarity can be worked on. I did not miss the ache in my neck and shoulder from a hanging bottle of water, and shoulder bag. (interim backpack alternative) Lots of pockets requires some functioning memory, lol. I put patches I have received on the shotgun belt pouch, and added some blacklight plastic ornaments too. I sewed velcro on the pouch pockets to keep them closed up as well.