REI Co-op Trail 25 - Women's Review
Cons: Unsupportive hip belt, not the most breathable back panel
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Trail 25 - Women's
$79.95 at REI
|$60 List||$35 List|
$34.95 at Amazon
$39.95 at REI
|$39.95 at REI|
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|Pros||Great access to your gear, big pockets, simple yet versatile||Lightweight, easy to access contents, internal organization, fun colors||Shockingly lightweight, padded shoulder straps, useful features, packs into own pocket||Lightweight, useful features, flap to cover cinch top, inexpensive||Insanely light, packs up super tiny, fits slightly larger people|
|Cons||Unsupportive hip belt, not the most breathable back panel||No hip belt, no padding or support, small side pockets||No hip belt, small overall size, no back padding - can feel contents||Small fit, hip belt not load-bearing||Nearly no features, only one big pocket, super thin fabric, can feel contents|
|Bottom Line||A durable, versatile pack that's both easy to use and easy on your wallet||Tons of fun colors and just the right amount of convenience and functionality for casual use||An ultralight solution that doesn't cut out all the comfort and features||A good, grab-and-go bag for smaller users, but not ideal for long hikes or heavy loads||A bare-bones ultralight pack for those really dedicated to cutting out ounces|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Trail 25...||Cotopaxi Batac 16L||Osprey Ultralight S...||REI Co-op Flash 18...||Sea to Summit Ultra...|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Trail 25...||Cotopaxi Batac 16L||Osprey Ultralight S...||REI Co-op Flash 18...||Sea to Summit Ultra...|
|Measured Weight||30 oz.||11 oz.||4 oz.||10 oz.||3 oz.|
|Back Construction||HDPE framesheet||Lightweight nylon||Lightweight nylon||Lightly padded back panel||Lightweight nylon|
|Hydration||Inner hydration sleeve||Internal hydration sleeve||None||Internal hydration sleeve||None|
|Hipbelt||Yes, removable||No||No||Yes, removable||No|
|Outside Carry Options||Pole fasteners, side mesh pockets with elastic enclosure||Daisy chain, 2 side pockets||Side pocket||Various small loops, one tool loop (need bungee or webbing to secure poles to daisy chain)||Short daisy chain|
|Materials||Recycled nylon||75D-210D nylon (sometimes ripstop; individual pieces may vary)||40D Nylon ripstop||Recycled nylon||30D ripstop nylon|
|Notable Features||Ability to add REI Trail 2 Waistpack for more storage, contoured foam harness, raincover included, bottom is reinforced to be abraison resistant||Side-opening small pocket, internal organizational pockets||Packs into its own pocket||Removable back padding, cinch closure cover, removable sternum strap, converts into a stuff sack||Packs into its own pocket, carabiner included|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Trail 25 weighs 30 ounces and is made from recycled nylon. It only comes in one size but touts a women's specific fit in the harness. If you want more capacity you're in luck: REI also makes the larger Trail 40 pack.
Out of the box and up against technical packs with load-bearing hip belts and adjustable frames, the Trail 25 seemed a little lackluster. But surprisingly, it held its own and performed decently well in this metric. While it's not the most comfortable pack we've ever tested for hiking with heavy loads, the back cushion was thick enough to feel comfy against our backs with moderate to light loads. Also, the cushioning is placed so that there are vertical and horizontal channels that air can move through. This means that it has some ventilation which is very nice on a hot summer day. The back panel also features a flexible plastic sheet that helps to prevent bulging. We would still advise that you pack thoughtfully to ensure that there's nothing pokey sticking into your back. The other great comfort feature in the pack is the harness. It is made from contoured foam designed to fit women's narrower physiques. Our testers found the harness to be soft and comfy, even after miles of hiking with a loaded pack.
While the webbing-only hip belt makes this pack versatile, it only helps to stabilize your load; it isn't ideal for taking weight off of your shoulders. If you pack light for a day hike though, this shouldn't be an issue anyway. However, if you tend to pack heavy or are into all-day hikes where you need lots of stuff you may want to consider a more traditional, technical hiking pack. Though we wish the hip belt was a bit more supportive, there are other things to love about the Trail 25 that make up for it.
The Trail has all the features you want, and none that you don't. The back panel is flexible so it moves with you — great for activities where you aren't as upright as hiking, like biking or scrambling. Also, the hip belt tucks away when not used. Other packs with a more supportive hip belt aren't as useful for travel due to the hip belt being clunky and uncomfortable when not strapped. The REI Trail's webbing hip belt does make for a nice commuter or travel pack. Of note, one of our favorite features of this pack is the built-in rain cover, a unique addition to a daypack.
One of the limiting factors of versatility is a pack's overall capacity. While the Trail 25 touts a good bit of capacity, it isn't ideal for long, winter adventures where you might need more for extra layers and food. It also might not be best for the mom who's schlepping her kids' gear around on a long day hike too. Despite it not being the biggest pack we've tested, our testers think that you can comfortably fit all your day hike needs in a pack with 25 liters of capacity. The Trail is still pretty roomy and packs well enough that it feels bigger than 25 liters.
Ease of Use
The Trail 25 scores well in Ease of Use given how thoughtfully designed it is. One of our favorite things about it is the large, U-zip opening that makes it easy to pack and unpack your bag. This is essential for grabbing the raincoat that you left at the bottom of your bag. The two outside pockets are deep, functional, and perfect for securely carrying water bottles or bear spray. Our testers found that the top zip pocket was big enough that a full-size map fits and it was pretty easy to access too. Additionally, the Trail comes with an integrated rain cover that we found to be easy to put on and take off. Bonus points that we don't have to remember to bring one! The zippers and buckles operated smoothly too, leaving us with little to worry about on the trail.
The only thing we wished the Trail 25 had is pockets on the hip belt so we could easily access our phone, snacks, or a map. If you would like more storage that's easily accessible, you can purchase the compatible REI Trail 2 Waistpack. Also, it isn't the most adjustable pack - the torso length is fixed and it only comes in one size. However, it ends up fitting most people because it doesn't have a load-bearing hip belt that needs to sit in the right place. Despite this, it is still an incredibly well-designed, simple pack to use, making our testers eager to use it and earning the Trail a high score.
The Trail 25L was right about average in terms of weight, weighing in at 30 ounces. There aren't too many things to take off of it to lighten the load, but the weight does include the integrated rain cover.
Ounce for ounce, the Trail 25 has a decent capacity. We love that you can fit a lot of stuff in it.
The Trail is a sturdy choice for your hiking adventures or as an airplane carry-on. It is made with recycled Nylon and the bottom is reinforced to be abrasion-resistant.
After many miles of field testing, we have no concerns about the durability of this pack. There is a lot less mesh on this bag than in many others we have tested, and less mesh means less of a chance of ripping it. The mesh that is on the bag for the side pockets is pretty thick too.
The REI Trail is one of the best-value packs out there. At the low-end of the cost spectrum, it is rare to get a bag that is durable, easy to use, and versatile. It's worth noting that usually, you pay for what you get. So, if you want a more technical, supportive pack, it might be worth spending the extra money. However, the Trail 25 gives you a lot of bang for your buck at a reasonable price. It's one of our favorite bags that we've tested in this price range.
If you want a hiking pack that you can just as easily take to a coffee shop or on an airplane, the Trail 25 might be for you. Our testers love how versatile and simple this bag is and feel that it could probably work for just about anyone. REI's thoughtful design shines through in the budget-friendly pack.
— Madison Botzet
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