Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: REI Traverse 30 Women's Backpack

My goal this summer was to hike my first 14er, which I did, and will post about ASAP! In order to do this, I knew I needed the proper gear, and thus my backpack search began. My beloved Camelbak M.U.L.E. NV just wasn't going to do the job, I needed more volume to hold those 10+ essential items. I compared and read reviews online from multiple sources, and then went and tried on 5 different packs loaded with weights.

I chose the REI Traverse 30 Women's Backpack.

I chose this pack for a number of reasons, mainly because I like how streamlined it is, while still having plenty of pockets - 1 main compartment, 4 organizational pockets, and one small pocket on the hip belt.  There are also mesh pockets on either side to carry water bottles or snacks, and an internal sleeve to hold a 3.0L reservoir. The major bonuses for me with this pack are 1) the hidden rain cover which many of the competitors I looked at did not have, and 2) it appeals to the green nerd in me... this pack is made of 100% recycled PET polyester fabric. Which means this pack keeps 24 16-oz. plastic bottles out of landfills. :)

This pack lived up to it's hype. It easily held the essentials, with room to spare for additional items that would be necessary for longer hikes. On Saturday, we hiked ~5.5 hours and the pack was comfortable. I really liked having the easily accessible side pockets for my water bottle of Pure Fitness and snacks, and the hip belt pocket that perfectly held my chapstick, camera, and tissues.

The only downside I could find for this pack is that there isn't a small organizational pocket inside to hold things like my ID, search & rescue card, and cash (in case I need to pay-off a bear?). I'm concerned that it's too easy for this type stuff to fall out, or get accidentally pulled out of the existing pockets. However, this isn't such a big deal as I've figured out a work around. I plan to get, or find in my closet somewhere, a change purse type thing to hold such items and attach it to a hook in the main compartment. Problem solved.

Another plus with purchasing this pack through REI is if for whatever reason this pack doesn't hold up, I can return it to REI no questions asked.

Here's a list of the other major competitors (for me):
I really thought I was going to get the CamelBak Fourteener (in the yellow/charcoal color)... but REI was sold out in the store, and after calling around and not finding it anywhere in order to try it out with weights - I decided to go with the Traverse. I still want it. I mean, it's called the Fourteener! Bad, I know...

I might have to start collecting packs like I collect Coach purses. :D

Here's my collection so far, aren't they purty?


  1. So... I felt I should add that now that I've been hiking more, that I should make a comment that I still LOVE this pack! I don't need the organizational smaller pocket that I mentioned above because really, after I thought about it - I need to carry my ID and such on my body in case something happens and I loose my pack (NOT the plan, but being realistic).

  2. Stumbled on your review while looking for info on REI's Traverse Women's Packs. Thanks for the insight and the update that you still like the pack.


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