Last week I did a fairly long day hike up a very steep trail with a relatively heavy pack (at least heavy for day hiking - obviously it's heavier for backpacking). One thing I really noticed was the difference between how my backpacking pack (REI Flash 52) and my daypack (Camelbak MULE) handle weight. While backpacking, the majority of the pack's weight is on my hips, and the shoulders really just hold it in place. With my daypack, most of the weight is on my shoulders, and even if I do the hip belt up tight, the pack rides up and kind of folds so the weight is all back on my shoulders again. I have had the Camelbak pack for years, and it's never really bothered me that much before, but having just bought the REI pack for backpacking, I'm noticing a huge difference in the quality of the suspension between the two.
So here's the question... does anyone know of any daypacks that have a good suspension system and either a stiffened framesheet or some kind of internal frame to stop them collapsing? I went to REI and took a look at the Gregory Jade 28, but that kind of seems like overkill... it's a lot bigger than I need and I could almost use it for weekends! I'm looking for something in the 18-20 litre range that will hold a full Camelbak bladder, will let me strap snowshoes on it in the winter, and will comfortably haul a jacket, lunch, 10 essentials and a DSLR + 1 or 2 lenses.