Patagonia Nine Trails Pack 36L Review
The Patagonia Nine Trails 36L Pack ($199) is an extremely comfortable and lightweight trail pack. It is designed to be used for gear intensive day trips or light overnight trips.
Patagonia provided the backpack free of charge for testing and review.
The Nine Trails has a 36L capacity and weighs 2lbs 15.9 oz. The pack comes in two sizes; S/M and L/XL. The larger size gives an extra 2” in pack height (24.5'“). Those extra inches come in handy for taller individuals with athletic or longer builds.
The dimensions of the bag are 22.5”x10.5”x8” (S/M) and 24.5”x10.5”x8” (L/XL)
I took the Nine Trails Pack on a road trip to Randle, a town near Mt. Rainier in Washington state, then south to the Forks of Salmon and Marble Mountain wilderness in northern California. I finished the testing period with a weekend in rainy southern Washington spent hiking around the East Fork Lewis and Wind rivers.
This is the first Patagonia pack I’ve owned. The color, Viking Blue, is eye-catching and highly visible in wooded areas in the Pacific Northwest. As someone who recreates frequently on multi-use land, the pop of color was appreciated. I noticed right away that the pack is light weight and comfortable to use and wear.
The pack features a large interior pocket with a cinchable top entry as well as a 3/4 length side zip with snap closure. The interior space features a small zipper pouch for easy to lose items such as an ID, wallet, contact lenses and so on. It also has a zippered pocket for a hydration pouch (not included).
The top of the pack has a spacious pocket that can hold a group first aid kit or water bottle and personal supplies with room to spare. If you’ve ever upended a heavy pack at night in search of a head-lamp or half-way through a long hike in search of Sour Patch Kids, this pack is made with you in mind!
The top of the pack is also removable—a practical feature for ultra-light hikers or for carry around use at a campsite. The hip belt on the Nine Trails 36L Pack has pockets on each side for keeping smaller items close at hand. The outer panel has a mesh pocket large enough to hold extra gear or shoes as well as two side mesh pockets for water bottles.
The Nine Trails definitely holds up to the manufacturer’s claim: it’s the perfect size for a gear heavy day trip or a light-weight overnight. While I do tend to pack light, I was still impressed by how spacious the pack is overall. I lived out of it for two weeks during three different trips. I was able to pack all of the required items for a week-long road trip, a week-long kayaking trip and a weekend of day hiking and kayaking in the Washington Hills. Each trip was at least four days in length and I didn't have any problems finding my gear in the pack during that time.
The brain (top) and interior organization pockets allowed me to keep high use items close at hand. I used a few small bags to further organize my gear in the main compartment of the pack. The side entry zipper was a huge plus for quick access to the inside of the pack when I wanted a new shirt or my camera without upending the entire pack up.
Even fully loaded the pack was extremely comfortable to wear. For example at any given time I had a MSR Reactor stove, 32 oz water bottle, a group first aid, extra layers, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and bivy sac in the pack along with additional gear for snowshoeing, kayaking or hiking. That weighed in at about 30-35lbs.
The pack is one of the most comfortable I’ve ever used. It is on par with other high volume technical trail packs or small ascent packs. Padded foam at the hips and shoulders is combined with mesh venting for a lightweight and cool ride.
The exterior mesh pocket is a must for quickly stowing sandals or camp shoes during the day. It is also a good spot for friends to retrieve and replace shared items like water purifiers or group snacks. The rear facing entry to the brain (top) of the pack is also designed to be group use friendly. No more unshouldering your trail pack seconds after putting back on because you forgot the map, or Gummy Bears.
The Nine Trails 36L is an exceedingly comfortable and well designed trail pack ideal for novice and experienced hikers. The easily accessible interior makes packing and locating items a breeze. The lack of a built in rain cover is the only discernible downside. Otherwise this pack is a great addition to your gear closet for weekends on the trail or at your local crag.