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April 2020 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Packs / Day packs

Montane Trailblazer 30

Price:

$189

Our Rating:

At a glance
Pluses: Stability, easy access to gear, comfort
Minuses: Limited airflow between pack and user’s back, lightweight fabrics

800g / 30-litres

Features: The pack has a body-hugging harness with an open mesh back panel and perforated foam padding that wicks moisture but doesn’t promote airflow. It is super-stable with two chest straps that lockdown excess movement. There are multiple large and accessible pockets, including on the harness and hipbelt, and a large stretch stash pocket on the front. It has a quick-release top opening and two pole carrying systems. 

Fit: With an adjustable back length and a unique dual adjuster on each shoulder strap, I was able to fine-tune the fit and carry position to match my size and the loads I was carrying. 

Comfort: The body-hugging harness limits airflow, so expect a sweatier back. However, because the load is carried as close to your body as possible, stability and comfort are improved.

In use: A favourite feature is the quick-opening top – simply pull the opening apart rather than fumble with a drawcord lock. It’s a good feature when you need to quickly reach for your raincoat or numb fingers aren’t working well.

The two harness pockets allowed convenient access to my navigation items and camera. The larger hipbelt pockets, which curve around the hip from the base of the pack, can hold a number of items and snacks.
Capacity is excellent and I filled it to its max with all the gear I’d take on an overnighter, proving its versatility as a weekender, too.

Despite the full load, the pack always felt stable: it stayed glued to my back and didn’t wobble or threaten to throw me off balance. The double chest-strap helps here and is a clip-on, tug-off system – no buckles in sight.

I found the side water bottle pockets difficult to reach while wearing the pack – better to place a reservoir inside the pack. There’s a front and underarm pole carrying system, but the underarm system could only hold one pole, so I didn’t use this. Strapping two poles to the front of the pack was simple and secure. 

Value: At the top of the daypack price range, but it’s big enough to stretch to a stripped-back overnighter if required. 4/5

Verdict: A fully-featured daypack ideal for exposed trails where stability and balance are key. 

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