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REI Co-op Trail 25 - Women's Review

An inexpensive daypack for those on a budget or who don't use hip belts.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $80 List | $79.95 at REI
Pros:  Inexpensive, lightweight, included rain cover
Cons:  Hipbelt is only a strap, poor ventilation, lots of dangling straps
Manufacturer:   REI
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 21, 2018
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Comfort - 30% 6
  • Features - 30% 8
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Adjustability - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Daypacks used to be simple pieces of gear that didn't cost a lot of money. These days, most are made with fancy high-tech materials and intricate designs, and their price reflects that. Thankfully, the folks at REI are still producing high-quality packs at a reasonable price, and we're happy to give their Trail 25 pack our Best Buy award. It's a roomy and versatile daypack with some nice extra features, and it's only half the price of some of the other packs in this review. It doesn't have a hip belt (unless you count the piece of one-inch webbing, which doesn't do much), so if you tend to day hike with a lot of gear, you may want a different option. The shoulder straps are well-padded though, and it can carry a light load comfortably. If you plan on going on epic long day hikes, our Editors' Choice winner, the CamelBak Sequoia 22, is a better option. We also preferred the Osprey Tempest 20 for around town wear. And if you like the price point of this pack but want something a little bigger (and with a hip belt), REI makes a Trail 40 that retails for $119.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Co-op Trail 25 is a lightweight-for-the-size daypack with lots of room and lots of features. It's made with lightweight nylon and weighs 31 ounces. It comes in one size only (17-19 inch torso length).

Performance Comparison


Our Best Buy winner is lightweight and packed with great features  minus a proper hipbelt. Best of all  it's affordable!
Our Best Buy winner is lightweight and packed with great features, minus a proper hipbelt. Best of all, it's affordable!

Comfort


We rated this pack fairly low for comfort, mostly due to the lack of a proper hip belt. The shoulder straps are well-padded and comfortable, but all of the weight in your pack ends up on them.


There is a one-inch webbing hip belt, but it does little to transfer the weight off of your shoulders and on to your hips. There's a reason why most other packs that we tested have a 3-4 inch padded hip belt, and it's time REI did too! Webbing hip belts like this one help prevent the bag from shifting around too much, but that is about it. REI even states that this pack is rated to hold up to 30 pounds, but there's no way you'd want to carry that much weight without a hip belt. The 40L version of this pack does have a proper hip belt, and we'd love to see that on this model as well. If you plan on carrying a lot of weight on your day hikes, look to something like the Gregory Jade 28. It has a frame suspension and a well-padded hip belt, which helps take the load off of your shoulders.

The nylon webbing hip belt. If you crank it down to try and get some weight to transfer onto your hips  you'll experience the joys of one-inch webbing digging into your sides. If you don't  all the weight will be on your shoulders.
The nylon webbing hip belt. If you crank it down to try and get some weight to transfer onto your hips, you'll experience the joys of one-inch webbing digging into your sides. If you don't, all the weight will be on your shoulders.

While there is a bit of framing in the back of the Trail 25, it's easily pushed outward, particularly if you have a full hydration bladder in the sleeve. That means that you'll feel like the pack is pushing into you once it's full, which is both uncomfortable and reduces airflow. The back is made of mesh to help with ventilation and keep you less sweaty, but compared to the open mesh back of the Osprey Sirrus 24 and the Deuter Futura 22 SL, this pack was not as good as ventilating.

There is a lot of padding on the lumbar area  but this pack lacks airflow. While it worked well in cooler weather  on warmer days we wished there was more ventilation in the back.
There is a lot of padding on the lumbar area, but this pack lacks airflow. While it worked well in cooler weather, on warmer days we wished there was more ventilation in the back.

Features


The Trail 25 had some great features that we loved and only a few that we weren't so excited about, hence our 8/10 rating for this category.


We liked the stowable rain cover, which is low profile and doesn't take up too much room in the bottom of the pack or stick out like the Osprey Sirrus 24's does. The trekking pole fasteners work well and double as ice axe holders, and there are several mesh pockets both inside and outside the bag for organizing your gear.

A rain cover is a great feature. It weighs next to nothing  so you won't notice it in your pack until you need it!
A rain cover is a great feature. It weighs next to nothing, so you won't notice it in your pack until you need it!

What we weren't so excited about was all of the straps. There are straps on the bottom, for securing a sleeping bag or pad, and more at the top for the same. There are also dual daisy chains sewn onto the outside for ten more attachment points. With the large internal volume and ability to attach tons of gear on the outside, you could easily take this pack on an overnight trip, but without a proper hip belt, your shoulders would not be too happy! Frankly, it's a little too much on the external strap option, and we'd rather see a full hip belt instead.

So many straps! While this helps you attach a lot of extras to the outside of this bag  that is not always a good thing.
So many straps! While this helps you attach a lot of extras to the outside of this bag, that is not always a good thing.

Weight


This pack weighs 31 ounces, landing it in the middle of the "pack" weight-wise. It's great that REI was able to keep this pack on the lighter side, particularly considering that it's also one of the largest packs that we tested, though some of that weight savings undoubtedly come at the expense of a load-bearing hip belt.


A lighter option to consider that does have a hip belt is the Lowe Alpine Aeon ND20, our Top Pick for Short Hikes. Even lighter than the Aeon is the Mammut Lithia Speed 15 (19 ounces), which also comes with a hip belt but can't carry quite as much as the Trail. The heaviest packs in this review, like the Osprey Sirrus 24 and Gregory Jade 28, have padded hip belts, external frames, and open mesh backs, which make them more comfortable and breathable. They're 10-12 ounces heavier, but we feel like that extra weight is worth it.

We like things that are lightweight here at OutdoorGearLab  and this pack shaves some weight by not having a functional hip belt  but we'd take the few extra ounces for more comfort overall.
We like things that are lightweight here at OutdoorGearLab, and this pack shaves some weight by not having a functional hip belt, but we'd take the few extra ounces for more comfort overall.

Adjustability


This daypack lacks a little in adjustability, and as the chart below shows, other models are more adjustable than this one.


It comes in one size only and has a 17-inch torso length. REI says that it fits 17-19 inch torsos, and it did indeed fit our main tester and her 19-inch torso. In fact, this pack might feel a little large on shorter ladies. (The one bonus to no hip belt is that the exact sizing of the back is not quite as important.) The shoulder straps have no load-lifting tensioners, which means that if you carry a lot of weight in it, the weight will sit on your lumbar area. If you are a petite hiker, you might find a better fit in the Osprey Tempest 20.

This daypack is only available in one size and is not that adjustable  however  it did fit our 5'6 tester well. If you have a torso length that is shorter than 17" or longer than 19" you might not get as good a fit.
This daypack is only available in one size and is not that adjustable, however, it did fit our 5'6 tester well. If you have a torso length that is shorter than 17" or longer than 19" you might not get as good a fit.

Durability


We didn't experience any durability issues during our testing period but did notice some complaints about the Trail series in other online user reviews, including seams blowing out and zipper quality issues, and our score reflects that a little.


The body of the pack is lightweight rip-stop nylon, but the bottom is a slightly thicker nylon, which we appreciate as it is a high-wear spot in most bags. We also had to take into account that REI only warranties its product now for the first year against defects — after that, you are out of luck. Other companies, like Osprey, offer a lifetime guarantee, which is something worth paying a little extra for if you are notoriously hard on your gear.

We didn't experience any issues firsthand in our testing period  but we do know from prior experience that mesh water bottle holders like this one are easily torn up by sharp plants and rocks.
We didn't experience any issues firsthand in our testing period, but we do know from prior experience that mesh water bottle holders like this one are easily torn up by sharp plants and rocks.

Best Applications


This is a great daypack for those who either pack super light or don't like to use hip belts on their day hikes. While there are enough extra attachments on the outside of the REI Trail 25 to carry gear for an overnight trip, it's hard for us to recommend it for that purpose, as your shoulders probably won't be very happy if you load this pack down and then hike for miles in it. Light day hikes are the way to go with this model, and we found it particularly useful when heading out with some young kids. We were able to stuff three rain jackets and extra layers in it along with snacks without it being too heavy.

Heading out for a stroll in the Trail 25. This model can hold all that you need for a day out on the trail  though you don't want to pack it too full as it doesn't have a hip belt.
Heading out for a stroll in the Trail 25. This model can hold all that you need for a day out on the trail, though you don't want to pack it too full as it doesn't have a hip belt.

Value


This pack retails for $80, which is a real steal in a category full of $130-$150 packs. If you're getting into hiking and laying out a lot of money for all of the gear you need (shoes/boots/clothes/camping equipment, etc.), you can save a lot of money on this purchase and still get a decent bag.

Conclusion


The REI Co-op Trail 25 has a lot going for it, including comfortable shoulder straps, great features, and lightweight construction. If it had a proper hip belt, it would even be in contention for our Editors' Choice award, but unfortunately, that compromised its comfort a bit. Hip belts aren't for everyone though, and if you're the type of hiker who rarely does theirs up on a day hike, then this might be the best choice for you.


Cam McKenzie Ring