Best for mountain running and fast and light day trips
Plusses: Light, well featured, comfortable
Minuses: Low abrasion resistance
300g / 20l
Features: This is a roll-top pack with a fully seam-taped main sack of 40D Sil Nylon ripstop, but with no reinforced areas. Wide, anatomic and breathable shoulder straps have large pockets for food or accessories. There are large stretchy mesh pockets at the sides and waist belt and a reflective overflow bungee on the outside. You can stash your walking poles while on the go, too.
Fit: It comes in one size and is designed to be worn high on the back, with the waistbelt sitting higher than with a typical pack, so its position is less critical. People with big shoulders or chests might find that the shoulder strap pockets are awkward to reach or that the upper sternum strap is too high. I’m 1.76m and slim and it fitted me perfectly, but try one on before you buy it.
Comfort: You’ll forget you’re wearing this pack. It’s designed to fit like a limpet with body-hugging coverage. However, the back panel is thin and flexible, so you’ll have to pack carefully to ensure nothing digs in. Adding a water bladder provides a bit more support and protection, although the sleeve entrance is not wide enough for all bladder designs.
In use: The pack’s high-riding, stable design is great for fast movers, and the main sack has plenty of room for storm gear and extra food – making it optimal for full days rather than short trips. The shoulder strap pockets are just big enough for a 6.2-inch screen phone, but easily roomy enough for energy bars or a small headlamp, although the zipper pulls could be more prominent. My only real complaint is that the hip belt pockets are a little far back. They’re awkward to reach, but are generously sized. When the pack’s not full, the overflow/compression bungee works well to lock down the pack’s load.
Value: Compared with similar packs, the Trailblazer is good value.
Verdict: The Trailblazer ticks the boxes when lightweight and stability are paramount. It has great features, but lacking base reinforcement it may not be the most durable pack.