The Madden Dan’s pack is made by Madden Equipment in Boulder Colorado. The pack comes in at 20L with one main storage pocket and one front slash zippered pocket. The bag is made out of 1000D Cordura and a 420D Nylon inner. It is also accompanied by all YKK zippers. Madden Equipment is a smaller company that makes high-quality handmade gear right in Boulder. All Madden Equipment gear comes with a lifetime guarantee. Madden was the first US outdoor company to introduce Cordura to the European marketplace back in the late ‘70s. It’s been part of the Madden brand identity the past 40 years.
This is the first pack by Madden that I have had. The Dan’s pack is their smallest and cheapest backpack coming in at $100 even. The backpack has excelled at a quick day trip bag or a small EDC bag with how streamlined yet functional it is.
The bag has one main storage compartment like most bags with two slots for documents or a laptop against the back. There is minimal padding on this bag and especially in and around the main pocket so if you are going to be carrying a laptop I suggest a separate laptop sleeve.
On the front, there is a horizontal slash pocket that is gusseted and can really hold more than one would think. This pocket is expected on a bag like this or any backpack really, however, the addition of the gusset completely transforms the pocket and makes it more functional. Most other bags with a front slash pocket are very hard to access when the core of the bag is stuffed full. Even when I had this pack full this pocket allowed me to pull out my easy access items effortlessly.
With carrying this bag there was one thing I noticed time and time again. Without the addition of any harness or suspension the bag really hugged my back. If I were using this bag for hiking, rucking, biking etc. I would have hated this as my back would get extremely sweaty fast. Since I was using this pack as intended for my EDC this feature was great. There is nothing more awkward then a pack that is stiff and will not bend with you, especially on a crowed bus or through the town. Most of my EDC or school bags do not have any kind of suspension just for this reason alone, my Tom Bihn Synapse 25 being a great example.
The shoulder straps on this bag are fairly normal. There is enough padding to help out if you decide to carry a heavier load for the day but not to the point that when you only have a few items in the bag they will look out of place.
The back of the bag is also slightly padded and made with the same 1000D cordura, so no mesh or anything to help breathe. I would have liked to see some kind of mesh backing here just to help a bit with the breathability although, at $100 I didn’t except this pack to be full of features.
The bag is simple and I love that about it. There are a couple very neat pieces sewn on throughout the bag like the 100% Bison leather patch on the front upper corner or the bag. The small and subtle Madden Equipment logo on the bottom right. If you take a look at the back of the bag there is even a small Colorado state flag attached. Lastly, on the inside there is a tag showing who hand made your bag along with a U.S.A flag. I love seeing these type of tags on bags validate their authenticity and heritage.
- Very affordable
- Military grade materials
- Handmade Colorado features
- Streamlined, simple
- Front gusseted pocket
- Not very breathable
- Not much padding
Who this pack suits
- Someone looking for a daypack built in the USA with a lifetime guarantee
- Someone who wants a small streamlined day pack
- Someone who wants high-grade materials and features at a great price
Who it doesn't
- Someone looking for a backpack that excels at carrying a laptop
- Someone who will be in very hot weather and needs a pack that can breathe
- Anyone looking for a hiking or overnight backpack