Cotopaxi Taboche 55L Backpack

Full back view of backpack, Horsetheif Butte, Oregon.  Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Full back view of backpack, Horsetheif Butte, Oregon. Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Quick Overview

This Cotopaxi Tabochi 55L backpack ($190) comes in two colors, a jazzy Graphite/Fiery Red and an eye-catching Graphite/Aqua. This 55L pack weighs in at 4lb 17oz offering plenty of space for a multi-day backpacking trip.

My First Impression

Grabbing gear from pack.  Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Grabbing gear from pack. Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Right away, I enjoyed the contrasting Graphite/Fiery Red color combo, with its dark blue fabric, fiery red straps, and white buckles. The colors really stand out which is what I like in photos.

I’m very conscientious of weight, so I also noticed the pack was pretty reasonable in weight.

I’m a big fan of lots of pockets on backpacks, especially for multi-day backpacking trips when I want to keep things organized and easily accessible. This bag seemed to have pockets galore that were strategically placed for storage and can quickly grab or stuff items on the go.

I’m pretty picky about backpacks overall because they seem to create hotspots on my body during long treks. However, my initial impression about this backpack was positive considering its weight, storage compartments, cushioned framed, and style. With that said, I instantly wanted to put this pack to the test.

Specifications

This pack weighs in at 4.17lb which is excellent for a 55L backpack. Has enough storage room for quite a bit of gear for overnight backpacking trips.

Has the following specifications:

Pocket to store gloves.  Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Pocket to store gloves. Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Vertical strap pocket to store small items like lip balm or car keys.  Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Vertical strap pocket to store small items like lip balm or car keys. Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Raincover & pocket.  Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Raincover & pocket. Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

  • Dimensions 29.2 x 41.9 x 13.8 cm (11.5 x 16.5 x 5.5 in)

  • Dual vertical outer pockets – for stuffing items I most likely need right away (e.g., beanie, gloves, micro puffy, buff, etc.). With an inner mesh pocket for the rain cover.

  • Back panel has 4.5in of adjustment--fits torso lengths of 13.7 to 17.7in

  • Two side water bottle pockets

  • Two decently sized hip-belt pockets for quick access to my phone or snacks—no need to get hangry or miss out on an epic photo, speaking from experience.

  • A vertical mini pocket on the strap that can fit small items like Chapstick or car keys.

  • The brain of the backpack has both an outer and inner zipper pocket that stores an impressive amount of extra random gear.

  • An internal compartment that stores a water bladder

  • An inner mesh pocket for additional compartmentalized storage.

  • A spacious sleeping bag compartment.

Environmental & Social impact

One of the things I like most about Cotopaxi’s products is that they aim to create lasting products with a positive and measurable impact on the world. This Taboche backpack is no exception. It’s made in Bataan, Philippines and 2% of their revenue goes towards alleviated poverty which aligns with Cotopaxi’s motto of “Do Good”.

They also guarantee this bag to last 61 years! You can get it exchanged, replaced, or repaired in-house. I value organizations that offer in-house repairs because it reduces my overall carbon footprint by extending the life of products I already own but happen to need some TLC.

Views of Mt. Hood via North Side.  Photo courtesy Rebecca Ross

Views of Mt. Hood via North Side. Photo courtesy Rebecca Ross

Performance

I wore this backpacking on two occasions. The first outing was filling it with weight on a day hike to train for my upcoming mountaineering trips. The last thing I want to do is to wear a pack during a climb to discover mid-way that it may not be the right pack for me. Right away, I was impressed with how it fit. The cushioned back frame seemed to reduce hotspots. It also seemed to sit high enough on my waist to minimize unwanted pressure points on my hip bones.

The second outing was truly putting it to the test. I climbed Mt. Hood via the Sunshine route—a two-day climb that required me to lug all of my gear up and over Mt. Hood. Going as light as I could—my pack weighed 40lbs (with a rope, which was still substantially lighter than my 65lbs on Rainier), but yet a solid weight to test it out.

This was by far one of the most comfortable multi-day backpacks I’ve tried. When I’m not going ultra-light for a fast summit bid, I plan to make this pack my go to for sure.

Backpack Fit

This pack was great for my petite frame, sitting relatively comfortable on my waist. The pack has multi-directional straps that allowed me to get the straps nice and snug in every direction to prevent the pack from swaying around. Although, I did have an excessive length of straps flapping in the wind, this just means it can adjust to a wide range of body frames.

Side view of backpack.  Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

Side view of backpack. Photo courtesy Nathan Kaul

For me, most bags put too much pressure on my hips—and having tight hips, to begin with, adds a lot of discomfort on long hikes. I was literally relieved to focus on my climb as opposed to mentally ignoring hip discomfort.

My shoulders did feel sore after my climb, but then again, I had been wearing the pack for 17-hours straight (with minimal breaks), any weight on the shoulders for that duration would cause some discomfort.

My Overall Impression:

As an avid backpacker and climber, I think this backpack will be a staple for going on those multi-day trips when I need to carry quite a bit of gear.

I really liked having a large compartment for my sleeping bag – made for an easy stow-away, in fact, it was large enough I could add some extra items in addition to my summer compact sleeping bag. Yet, the sleeping bag compartment didn’t excessively remove space from the main compartment for the rest of my clothes and gear.

The biggest thing I noticed right away, which was odd, was that the bag is missing a hole for my bladder hose. Lack of this feature caused my water hose to sit awkwardly out of my bag with nowhere to go. It’s not a deal breaker, but an unusual feature to lack in a multi-day backpack.

Bladder hole or no hole, I foresee this pack seeing a lot of adventure activities.