REI Co-op Trailbreak 60 ($149)

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3 lbs. 13 oz.

Ripstop nylon

60L

Wallet-friendly price and a nice feature set.

Limited carrying comfort and only offered in one torso size.

For those looking for value or trying their hand at backpacking, REI’s own collection is an excellent base to begin. The Co-op’s brand-name gear isn’t a big hit regarding efficiency or weight-savings, however the cost is reasonable and the quality and features are a good fit for novice users. The basic Trailbreak pack is a great example of what’s available You get a basic foam padding on the hipbelt and backpanel as well as the frame is made of steel that provides support and structure and a 35-pound maximum load that is suitable for a variety of multi-day and overnight excursions. Although it’s only available only in one dimension (note that there are separate female and male versions) it comes with the ability to adjust the length of your torso which means you can use it for yourself or pass it on to your children or even gift it to someone else when you decide to upgrade to a higher-performance model. With a price of $149, it’s difficult to not be satisfied with the Trailbreak.

What will you sacrifice when you choose REI’s entry-level pack over the more expensive choices in this list? When the miles accumulate you’ll probably notice that the suspension system, back-ventilation and cushioning aren’t as good as the high-end quality of the packs above or even REI’s own Traverse 70. Additionally, at $56 more it’s this Kelty Coyote is a much more suitable option to haul massive loads. We also love the flexibility of the adjustable length for the torso however, you’ll probably find a better fit using an option that is available with a range of sizes (especially when you’re large or have a small frame). However The Trailbreak is among the most well-thought-out backpacks we’ve seen at this price It’s a great choice for those who are new to backpacking or those who just go out once or twice a year.