TETON Sports Trailrunner Review
Cons: No storage, difficult to fill and clean
Manufacturer: Teton Sports
Our Analysis and Test Results
Is the TETON Sports Trailrunner 2.0 our Editors' Choice or Best Buy? Top Pick? No, not even close. What this pack does have is a low price and it does work well enough for occasional use. For the recreational day-hiker or someone who may occasionally carry a water bottle on their walks and wants to try something new, this pack is worth a look.
Ease of Drinking
The TrailRunner has a two-liter BPA free hydration bladder included. This water supply is connected ultimately to the bite valve via a potentially problematic threaded fitting on the kink-free drinking hose.
We actually did experience kinking at the top of the shoulder just outside the drinking hose exit port on the left shoulder. The drinking hose had a mind of its own and seemed to like to bend sharply before traveling down the shoulder strap. While the kink didn't completely obstruct the drinking hose, it restricted the already less than impressive flow that much more.
With that exception, the drinking hose remained kink-free during our testing. The bite valve supplied with the TrailRunner delivers an adequate but not impressive flow of water. Our testers all commented on the effort needed to satisfy their thirst while on the trail.
The TrailRunner also has a push-to-close style bite valve; slide the valve forward to open and back up to close. The mechanism seems to work, although we still experienced an occasional drip even with the valve supposedly closed. If you're a light water sipper, this may be a non-issue, but for those of us who tend to gulp now and then, it's not ideal.
Ease of Filling
The hydration bladder of the TrailRunner has an ample supply of water once filled, carrying two liters of liquid goodness. The bladder can be accessed via an opening on the main pack compartment itself which opens completely across the top and is secured with a one-inch hook and loop closure. On the outer half of the pouch is a flap that folds over the upper part of the hydration bladder.
This flap needs to be pulled upward out of the bag in order to access the bladder. Once you've done this, there is a simple hook and loop strap to loop through the water bag to keep it upright. Undo this and remove the hydration bladder approximately 6" to access the fill port which is 2" in diameter and capped. We felt like we needed to exercise extra caution with the hydration bladder since it seems thin and flimsy, not in the same league as many of the other higher-end packs in our lineup.
The TrailRunner has one of the smallest bladder openings in our test. This doesn't affect filling if you've got access to a sink, especially if it's a deep sink. For other water sources, it may prove a tougher task to fill up than our other test packs with their wider openings and better handles.
Once loaded with water and a jacket strapped to the external bungee cord on the back of the pack, we found that the TrailRunner carried well enough, though we were not overly impressed. Our testers with narrower shoulders commented that the pack straps were too wide and had to be cinched in with the sternum strap. Our testers with broader shoulders didn't mind the fit, and the shoulder straps stayed put where they should.
The independently thinking drinking hose rode annoyingly, either rubbing users' arms or chests. Perhaps shortening the hose by a few inches would help? The TETON Sports TrailRunner is a simple hydration pack and has a lightweight 420D ripstop body attached to a padded, insulated, and somewhat ventilated mesh back panel. We found the ventilation was not in the same league as other well-ventilated packs, but then the price is over $100 cheaper than many competitor models. The simple two-layer mesh shoulder straps did an okay job supporting the hydration pack and the primary adjustable webbing waist belt kept the pack from bouncing around too much. Overall, for an inexpensive hydration pack, the comfort level is okay, though it doesn't compare to the more expensive models.
Being a minimalist lightweight pack, the TrailRunner's storage is limited. The pack only has one dedicated storage area, which is a simple unsecured mesh sleeve on the back of the pack with an external stretch bungee cord to pull over it.
If you're gentle, you can possibly store soft items inside the main body, along with the hydration bladder, although there would be nothing to protect the bladder from your gear. A simple zipper would likely puncture the seemingly fragile bladder. TETON Sports says the pack will carry wallets, phones, and snacks, which sounds pretty accurate after testing. We found that strapping a light shell jacket under the bungee worked well and didn't affect the carry of the pack. For an inexpensive lightweight pack, the TrailRunner carries just enough for a short day out.
Here's one area where this affordable model stands out. While it lacks in other metrics, it is indeed lightweight. Coming in with a measured weight of 12.8 ounces, the Trailrunner weighs in among the lightest packs in our lineup.
Ease of Cleaning
The TrailRunner is the most difficult to clean in our test lineup. The opening of this pack is the smallest in our test. To clean, the bladder is removed from the main pouch, and for better or worse, the drinking hose can be unscrewed from the bladder which gives easy access to brushing it out. Cleaning the hydration bladder proves more difficult with the narrow 2" opening. Where all of the other packs can easily be cleaned by hand with a cloth, sponge, or brush, the bladder of the TrailRunner can really only be cleaned with a relatively narrow bottle brush.
The drinking hose is easily accessed for cleaning from the threaded fitting on the bladder end. Unfortunately, we were unable to remove the bite valve for complete cleaning.
The valve has a similar fitting like all the other packs, but when we attempted to pull and twist it to remove the valve, we stopped for fear of breaking it. Cleaning the inside helped us relive the past when we let our hydration bladders become microbiology experiments since they were a pain to clean.
As one of the most inexpensive hydration packs we've ever tested, the TrailRunner 2.0 is a basic pack with a low weight and adequate comfort for broader shoulders, perhaps providing some value for the right user. In comparison to any other product in this review, though, this model feels cheap, lacks longevity, and falls behind in all performance metrics except trail weight.
If you're an occasional hydration pack user and don't need anything fancy, check out the TETON Sports TrailRunner 2.0. It'll carry your water and a couple of small extras without breaking the bank.
— Jason Cronk