Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack 26 ReviewPrice: $80 List Pros: Packable, light, comfortable shoulder, sternum, and hip straps
Cons: Uncomfortably floppy, expensive, not very durable
Dimensions (Packed out): In use: 22x12x10" Compressed: 8x6x4"
Different sizes?: O/S
A packable, lightweight daypack, the 26-liter Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack is perfect for tossing into your luggage for shorter adventures during your travels since it collapses down into its own zip-up pouch. Similar to our Top Pick, the REI Stuff Travel Daypack 22, this Patagonia pack is made of lighter-weight material and offers four more liters of space; however, it is more than double the price of the REI pack and we realized that we never really needed those four extra liters. We really like the convenience and styling of the Patagonia pack, but discovered that it sacrifices some comfort and durability for packability. While its shoulder straps are quite comfortable, we found that the pack is very floppy and saggy unless it is 3/4 of the way full or more, making it awkward to carry. This pack is a good option for its convenience as a collapsible travel daypack, but it wasn't our go-to choice for hiking and biking around town when we didn't need a pack that would fold up and fit easily into another pack or suitcase. If you're like us and you really like the idea of this pack, but want something cheaper and more durable, be sure to check out our Top Pick Award-winner: the 22-liter REI Stuff Travel Daypack. Alternatively, take a look at the Editors' Choice Award-winner: the Osprey Farpoint 55, which is a 55-liter backpack with a detachable daypack.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack features slightly more comfortable, breathable shoulder straps than the REI Stuff Travel Pack. While our testers found that the straps on the REI pack rubbed uncomfortably into the shoulders, the Patagonia pack's straps are made with a smoother mesh and sleeker edging that minimizes chafing. The sternum and hip straps also help relieve the shoulders from a heavier load; however, women should note that the sternum strap on this one-size-fits-all pack didn't fit our female testers super comfortably, as the sternum strap (which only adjusts an inch-and-a-half up and down) has a tendency to fall right across the bust. Although this non-structured pack conveniently folds up into itself, it flops around uncomfortably when it's less than 3/4 of the way full. Additionally, when using the top pouch for important items like a phone or wallet, we found that the pack collapsed in on itself. To combat this problem, one of our testers used a clipboard to supplement the flimsy foam along the back, which improved the performance of this pack significantly.
Functionality and Features
The Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack's greatest attribute (aside from its cool Patagonia styling) is its packability. Like the REI Stuff Travel Daypack, this pack folds into an internal pocket that measures 8x6x4 inches. This pouch also has a gear loop for easy clipping. If you're looking for a spacious, quick drying daypack to toss into your existing luggage, or you decide to purchase a travel pack that doesn't have a detachable daypack like the Osprey Farpoint or the Eagle Creek Rincon, then the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack is a great option. Also, this pack is not specifically hydration compatible like our Best Buy award-winner, the Kelty Redwing.
Ease of Packing and Unpacking
A 26-liter pack, the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack will easily hold everything you would need for a day hike or a day exploring a far-away city. We actually found this pack to be a bigger than we usually needed it to be (which was a bummer since it's not really comfortable unless it's 3/4 of the way full). Unlike the daypack on the Osprey Farpoint, that has a zipper opening that exposes half of the pack, the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack opens up from a drawstring at the top, which makes it a little harder to find things. On the plus side, more space makes it easier to stuff in last minute items or dig around to find hidden items. We liked the deep outer drop-in pockets for easy access to water bottles (it fit a Nalgene-style bottle) and other necessities, the zipper pocket in the lid, and the internal zippered pouch. This internal zipper pouch is perfect for passport, wallet, and other valuables, especially when you're in crowded zones where pick pocketing and even backpack slashing are potential threats. The pack also features two sets of vertical gear loops and a set of gear straps at the bottom of the pack. Originally, our testers thought the bottom loops would be useful for a yoga mat or sleeping pad, but found that the straps are oddly not long enough to wrap around anything much wider than a set of trekking poles.
Made of nylon double-ripstop fabric (40D and 210D), this pack also has a polyurethane coating and a silicone finish. The base of the pack is made of the slightly heavier duty fabric, which is the same material used for the entire REI pack. Although we didn't experience any rips or tears in our pack, it didn't strike us as particularly long-lasting and we wouldn't recommend it for activities where you expect heavy abrasion, like multi-pitch rock climbing or caving, for example. We were also disappointed by the durability of the shoulder straps: one of the straps came unstitched from the main pack at the corner and began fraying (after approximately three months of relatively light use). On the plus side, Patagonia has a killer repair and warranty division, but it was a bummer to see this product fall apart, especially when it's made by a company so committed to environmentalism and reducing consumer waste.
As the name suggests, the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack is quite light. This pack saves weight by sacrificing any type of structure or frame other than lightweight foam. At 10.7 ounces, it's about the same weight as the REI Stuff Travel Pack, but offers four more liters of space. It's also significantly lighter than either of the detachable daypacks offered on the Osprey Farpoint and Eagle Creek Rincon.
At about $80, this pack just seemed over-priced. Sure it has Patagonia's super cool styling, but for a pack that started to fall apart after just three months, we suggest opting for something less expensive and more durable like the REI Stuff Travel Daypack.
Patagonia also sells the Patagonia Refugio, which is an all-around versatile pack that you can use to bring with you to work, on trips, and on short hikes. With its padded laptop compartment and smartphone compatible sleeve, it makes the cross-over between sport use and around town use better than any of the other packs we tested.
— Amanda Fenn
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Most recent review: April 20, 2013
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