We were excited to test out the new pack line from Patagonia, but unfortunately, it didn't entirely deliver. Women's specific pack models tend to have narrower shoulder straps with less space between them to fit a women's body better; however, there is still some space between them. The straps on the Patagonia Nine Trails 26 are cut so closely together that they rub annoyingly against our neck, and as a result, this was one of the least comfortable packs that we tested. While there are some other things to appreciate about the Nine Trails, they are overshadowed by the poor design. From the looks of things, the men's version has wider straps, so if you're super keen on all things Patagonia and this pack, consider that option instead.
Patagonia Nine Trails 26 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Sleek design, zipper extends down the pack for easy access.
Cons: Expensive, shoulder strap design is too narrow, uncomfortable.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
New for 2018, the Patagonia Nine Trails 26 is a large-sized daypack with a sleek and simple design. It's constructed from ripstop nylon and plain-weave nylon. It comes in two sizes, S/M and L/XL. We tested the L/XL version, which has a 20-inch back length.
We gave the Nine Trails the lowest score for comfort out of all of the models in this review. While there is a good amount of padding on the hip belt and shoulder straps, the narrow cut of the shoulder straps left them pressing in and rubbing annoyingly against our necks. By the end of a two-hour hike, we couldn't wait to get this pack off. We had several women try it out to make sure it wasn't just one person's experience, and we all felt the same thing. Women's specific daypacks are typically cut with narrower shoulder straps than the men's versions, but Patagonia overshot the mark a little on this one.
While the overall design for this pack is somewhat minimal, it does have some reasonably versatile features. There are pockets on both sides of the hip belt and an inner sleeve for a hydration bladder. There are two smaller pockets for storing little items, one of the outside and one inside the main compartment, and the outer stretch mesh pocket expands quite a bit and can fit extra layers. The side compression straps work well and can hold your trekking poles, but there is no ice axe loop. There's no rain cover either, though the material has a polyurethane coating and a DWR finish.
This pack weighs 2 pounds 2 ounces in the L/XL size that we tested. That's about the middle of the "pack" when it comes to the rest of the models in our test group. Since it has the largest volume (26L), it does have a good weight to volume ratio.
Ease of Use
We gave the Nine Trails a good score for ease of use. Its U-shaped zipper extends down further on one side. That makes it easier to access stuff at the bottom of the pack. It comes in two sizes so that you can fine-tune the fit from the get-go. The shoulder straps have load lifting tensioners also. The Gregory Jade 28 is also available in two sizes but is a lot more comfortable, so look to that model instead of this one if you want a larger daypack.
This daypack has some construction details that should help it last a long time, including a reinforced bottom and 200D Cordura ripstop nylon throughout. However, the stretchy outside side and front pockets are likely not going to last as long.
The Nine Trails has a large capacity and can fit a whole day's worth of gear and then some. If you tend to take a lot on your day hikes, say because you're hiking with small kids or in variable climates, then this is a good choice if it fits.
This pack retails for $160, which is the most expensive daypack in this review. The CamelBak Sequoia 22, our Editors' Choice winner, is slightly less expensive ($150) but comes with a hydration reservoir and is a better performing pack for the price.
It takes a while to perfect a pack's design and construction, and while we're sure Patagonia puts a lot of time and attention into theirs, they missed the mark a little with the shoulder strap design on the women's Nine Trails 26. Hopefully, their next iteration fits a little bit better, and you can always try out the men's version as that option should have more space in between the straps.
— Cam McKenzie Ring and Maggie Brandenburg