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  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Storage 80% 80%
  • Accessories 70% 70%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Price: $150

What We Like: Price.

What We Don’t: Limited accessories. 

Men’s

One Size

60 L 

30 x 13 x 13 in

76.2 x 33 x 33 cm

3.81 lbs

1.73 kg

Women’s

One Size

60 L 

28 x 13 x 13 in

71.1 x 33 x 33 cm

3.69 lbs

1.67 kg

In the world of expensive and innovative camping gear and accessories, the REI Trailbreak is a nice step back. It is simply designed and made with nothing more than the absolute essentials. For anyone just starting to get into camping who wants to get a backpack that will carry things, as they are made to do, for a price that will keep your pockets fairly heavy, this pack is a great starting point. It has everything you may need, including side stretch pockets, a top lid with lots of storage, and sleeping pad straps. 

The material sags quite a bit if the pack is not fully stuffed which can be annoying as the compression straps aren’t the best. For a starter backpack, though, it is a great place to start.

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Best Backpacking Backpack: REI Trailbreak 60 - Gear Hacker

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Price

Backpacking can become a very expensive hobby. With the amount of high tech gear available, it can be a bit nerve-racking to know where to begin. The REI Co-op Trailbreak 60 makes the search for an entry-level backpack easy. At $150, the Trailbreak is an inexpensive option for just starting, getting out there, and working out what type of accessories you may want to look for in a more advanced backpack as you become more experienced in the backcountry. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: REI Trailbreak 60 - Gear Hacker

Comfort and Suspension

The Trailbreak 60 comes in both a female and male fit. Unlike other packs on our list, there is only one size of each backpack. The Trailbreak does include torso adjustment to help customize the fit for each user.

The internal frame is made of spring steel to support heavier loads and distribute the weight to the hips where padded hipbelts keep the backpack supported and comfortable. There is contoured padding flowing from the back panel and into the shoulder straps to promote airflow and comfort. Unfortunately, there is minimal meshing throughout the padding to increase the airflow, and this may create some hot spots during long days or in warmer climates. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: REI Trailbreak 60 - Gear Hacker

REI has included compression straps to keep gear secure and closer to the user’s center of gravity for a smoother hiking experience. Strangely, when the Trailbreak 60 is not fully stuffed, it seems to sag quite a lot and may shift while moving. This problem could be alleviated with some additional straps to help limit the shifting. 

Features and Convenience

If the REI Co-op Trailbreak 60 was a cellphone, it would be an old Motorola flip phone. You can make calls, send texts, even play a couple of games, but sadly there’s no YouTube or Instagram. The backpack comes with very basic features but nothing that will make you think “wow.” 

There is a drawstring opening for the main compartment. Inside of the main compartment is a hydration sleeve with a velcro hang loop and a central hose port. The bottom of the pack includes a zippered pocket for a sleeping bag and a removable divider to access the main compartment. The top lip is removable and has a large zippered pocket⁠—large enough to hold all of your smaller items such as toiletries, headlamp, and some snacks. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: REI Trailbreak 60 - Gear Hacker

The hipbelt includes two zippered pockets to hold your cellphone and cherished snacks. On the side of the pack are water bottle pockets that may be accessible while wearing the pack, depending on your shoulder flexibility. 

Along the front of the pack is a stuff pocket. The pocket is made of nylon instead of mesh, so it won’t stretch to help air out wet equipment. There are two drain holes on the bottom to help moisture escape and hopefully not soak into the main compartment. 

On the outside of the pack are several areas to attach bulky gear. At the bottom of the Trailbreak are non-removable sleeping pad straps for a foam sleeping pad or a well-packaged tent. The Trailbreak also has some gear loops along the sides of the pack that could be used for gear attachment. 

A big miss for the Trailbreak is not having a dedicated trekking pole attachment system. Trekking poles could be strapped onto the pack with the side compression straps, but they are not very secure in this position. The pack does include a single ice axe gear loop, which could also be adjusted to hold trekking poles. Everything is in the details, and unfortunately, there are not many details in this pack.   

Best Backpacking Backpack: REI Trailbreak 60 - Gear Hacker

Weight and Material

The REI Co-op Trailbreak 60 is made of ripstop nylon that meets Bluesign Criteria, meaning that their nylon has been made responsibly and sustainably. The Bluesign designation also shows that they consider their people, environment, and resources throughout their operations. REI has been a leader in environmental stewardship while teaching its members how to adventure responsibly, and it certainly helps that they practice what they preach. 

The Trailbreak 60 weighs 3.81lbs and 3.69lbs for men and women, respectively. For a 60 L pack, these numbers are quite good. Only the Granite Gear Blaze, a lightweight through hiking pack, and the Gregory Stout and Amber are lighter than the Trailbreak on our list. The weight saving comes at the cost of a less developed back panel and some missing accessories that would help to make the Trailbreak a fairly competitive backpack. 

The Bottom Line

REI backpacks are often great entry-level packs and do have quite a dedicated following in most cases. The Trailbreak is just missing too much for it to be a sought after backpack. Don’t get me wrong, the price is excellent at $150. But for ten more dollars, you could get the Kelty Coyote 65l, a pack that was built with a better back panel and some more features. 

 

All in all, if you are just starting to get into camping and want a pack that will hold everything you need for a weekend away, the REI Co-op Trailbreak will do just that without burning a hole in your pocket. 

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