Granite Gear Dagger 22 Backpack Review

Granite Gear Dagger 22 Backpack Review

The Granite Gear Dagger 22 is a technical daypack that’s equally at home on the trail, for traveling, or on the campus. It’s organized like Granite Gear’s multi-day backpacks with a long front stretch pocket, side water bottle pockets, and compression straps, only with much less volume.  The top opens wide a U-shaped zipper that proves easy access to contents without a lot of searching. If you want a no-fuss backpack for day hiking that can be also be used for more urban pursuits, the Dagger is sure to please.

Specs at a Glance

  • Volume: 22L
  • Weigh: 1 lb 8 oz
  • Pockets: 4
  • Torso length: 16″-21″
  • Type: Panel Loader
  • Frame: Plastic Framesheet
  • Hip belt: Yes, removable webbing strap
  • Hydration compatible: Yes
  • Max recommended load: 20 pounds

The Granite Gear Dagger 22 is a lightweight daypack that’s good for carrying your 10 essentials on day hikes. Three deep stretch mesh pockets on the sides and front are good for carrying water bottles or stuffing extra clothes, while compression straps on the exterior let you carry bulky items like snowshoes or trekking poles with ease. The main access point is a U-shaped zipper that opens wide so you can easily find items inside. There’s also a small wallet-sized zippered top pocket accessible from the top of the back behind the shoulder straps. It that’s handy for storing personal items like cards or keys, although a key fob is not supplied.

The Dagger is a panel loader with a U-shaped top zipper. The external stretch pocket layout is identical to Granite Gear's multi-day packs.
The Dagger is a panel loader with a U-shaped top zipper. The external stretch pocket layout is like Granite Gear’s multi-day packs.

The Dagger has a webbing style hip belt that is not load-bearing but is designed to hold the pack close to your back so it doesn’t bounce around. The hip belt can be removed if you prefer to hike without one or to use the pack while wearing a climbing harness, while two ice ax loops on the front of the pack can be used to hold ice axes or poles when you want your hands free.

The back panel is lightly padded for comfort while a flexible internal framesheet helps prevent sharp-corner items inside the pack from poking you in the back. The framesheet is accessible from inside the pack and can be removed if you want. I like keeping it in because it makes the backpack easier to pack, especially when I carry a heavy laptop for air and train travel.

S-shaped shoulder straps make the pack comfortable for men and women,
S-shaped shoulder straps make the pack comfortable for men and women, while daisy chains make it easy to add accessory pockets,

The shoulder straps are padded with the same polyethylene foam use to cover the back of the pack. They’re S-shaped with soft interior edges, making the Dagger a good pack for women and men. The shoulder straps are covered with daisy chains, making it easy to hang accessory pockets from them. Long load lifters, which are rare on packs of this volume are also included, which can be useful if you have to overload the pack and need to pull it forward and closer to your torso so it doesn’t pull you backward and off-balance.

Comparable Hiking Daypacks

Make / ModelSizingRaincoverPriceWomen's Model
Osprey Talon 22Adjustable$110Osprey Tempest 20
Deuter Speed Lite 24Fixed Length$105Deuter Speed Lite 22 SL
Patagonia Nine Trails 28Fixed Length$159Patagonia Nine Trails 26
Deuter Trail 30Fixed LengthIncluded$135Deuter Trail 28 SL
Osprey Stratos 36AdjustableIncluded$170Osprey Sirrus 36
REI Trail 25Fixed LengthIncluded$80REI Trail 25
Mystery Ranch Scree 32Adjustable$189Wms Mystery Ranch Scree 32
Kelty Redwing 32Fixed Length$100Unisex only
REI Traverse 35Fixed LengthIncluded$139Wms REI Traverse 35
Gregory Zulu 30AdjustableIncluded$150Gregory Jade 28

Recommendation

The Granite Gear Dagger 22 is a great little pack that has the same layout as a multi-day ultralight-style backpack but is lower volume and more convenient to use than a roll-top or a pack with a top lid.  The features I like the best are the removable hip belt and the daisy chains on the shoulder straps, which are features you don’t find on a lot of daypacks. I also like how well the pack expands when you fill it up with extra clothes and compress it back again when you pull the side compression straps closed. If you’re used using a larger backpack on weekends but want something smaller for day hikes and commuting, I think you’ll appreciate the Granite Gear Dagger 22 Backpack.

Disclosure: Granite Gear provided the author with a backpack for this review.

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8 comments

  1. Nice to see a review of this, thanks! I’ve been waiting a while since Granite Gear announced these day packs. Do you happen to have any experience with the roll-top day pack, the Scurry? I’m glad you showed this one with snowshoes on the side as I really want something bigger than my tiny summer day pack for use in the winter.

    • Not yet. I was surprised by how much the Dagger can carry in terms of external gear, like those snowshoes. I’ve even carried snowshoes and crampons with it at the same time, in addition to all my layers inside.

  2. It can be a challenge finding a good daypack for a long torso. In your opinion, would it be a good fit for someone on the high end of the torso length? I’ve looked at adjustable torso length daypacks but like Granite Gear design.

  3. Good size for spring hiking in WMNF when you still need most of your winter gear. Spring 2021, that is. :(

  4. Is this pack compatible with using a hydration bladder?

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