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HomeHikingThe REI Trailmade 60L: A Budget-Friendly Backpacking Option

The REI Trailmade 60L: A Budget-Friendly Backpacking Option


The REI Trailmade 60L is a high-quality, affordable, and lightweight multi-day backpack that’s great for beginner backpacking or backpackers on a budget. Priced at just $129 (on sale), it is a best buy with an adjustable length torso, so you get a perfect fit, a well-padded pre-curved hip belt, easy-to-reach side water bottle pockets, and plenty of external compression straps. It’s also available in extended sizes if you have a little extra weight around the middle. If you’re looking for a very comfortable, high-quality, low-cost backpack, the Trailmade 60 is hard to beat!

Specs at a Glance

    • Capacity: 60 Liters
    • Weight: 3lbs 6oz
    • Type: Internal Frame
    • Gender: Men’s (Women’s model available)
    • Adjustable Torso Length: Yes
    • Fits Torso Length: 17-21 inches
    • Fits Waist/Hips: Regular: 32-42 inches, Extended: 42-58 inches
    • Hydration ready: Yes
    • Pack Access: Top / bottom
    • Top lid: Yes
    • Sleeping Pad compartment: Yes
    • Hip Belt Pockets: Yes
    • Floating Lid: No
    • Load Lifters: Yes
    • Raincover Included: No
    • Bear Canister Compatibility: A BV500 (and all smaller sizes) fits horizontally inside.

Backpack Storage and Organization

The REI Trailmade is a 60-liter backpack, which is the volume I recommend for most multi-day backpacking trips up to 5 days. It is large enough to store a large-sized Bearvault BV500 bear canister horizontally inside the backpack, which is a huge win!

The pack has two access points: a drawstring closure under a top lid pocket and a sleeping bag compartment with an external zipper at the base. A large external flap shields the sleeping bag compartment zipper from rain, but you’ll want to use an REI rain cover size for a 60-liter pack to keep the contents dry if it rains.

The Trailmade has an optional sleeping bag compartment and hatch.
The Trailmade has an optional sleeping bag compartment and hatch.

The pack is hydration-compatible and has a large internal hydration pocket. It is sized to hold a 3L reservoir and has a center hose port with two elastic hose keepers on each shoulder strap, so you can choose the side you prefer.

It has six external pockets: a large zippered pocket with a key fob in the top lid, an open gusseted front stuff pocket to hold loose layers and overflow, two open side pockets, and two large hip belt pockets. The side pockets are aligned directly behind the hip belt and not sewn farther back on the sides of the pack bag making it very easy to pull out and replace bottles while wearing the pack.

The side pockets are positioned directly behind the hip belt and not farther back along the sides, making them much easier to reach.
The side pockets are positioned directly behind the hip belt and not farther back along the sides, making them much easier to reach.

REI has been using this side pocket design on multiple backpacks over the past 10 years and it’s still unique among backpack manufacturers. If you prefer using water bottles over a hydration reservoir, you’ll really like these side pockets because they’re so much easier to use. They’re sized for one-liter Nalgene bottles but are large enough to accommodate tent poles or a fishing rod if you want to carry tall skinny objects and secure them to the side of the pack using its side compression straps.

The hip belt pockets are also easy to use, partly because they are so large.  For example, I can fit a Smartphone and multiple snack bars in one without any problem. Both are hard-faced with fabric for improved durability and water resistance.

Adjustable Torso Length and Suspension

You adjust the torso by moving the shoulder strap yoke up or down.
You adjust the torso by moving the shoulder strap yoke up or down.

The Trailmade has an adjustable torso length, so you can dial in a near-custom fit. To adjust the torso length, you raise or lower the shoulder straps, increasing or decreasing the distance to the hip belt to correspond to your measured torso length. On the Trailmade 60, this is done by threading a velcro tab through webbing on the back of the pack so that it corresponds to your torso length. It’s super simple to use and won’t slip under load.

The torso lengths are labeled so you know exactly where to adjust the yoke—something many backpack manufacturers fail to include. The only downside is that the lengths available range from 17″ to 21″ and do not include half-inch increments for a more precise fit. The women’s model is available in shorter torso lengths since women are generally shorter than men.

The hipbelt is available in a regular and extended size for people of all shapes.
The hipbelt is available in a regular and extended size for people of all shapes.

The Trailmade 60 has a steel perimeter frame that slots into the lumbar area behind the hip belt, allowing for great load transfer. The hip belt is well padded and pre-curved, locking to your body and won’t slip. It also has a push-forward tensioning system, making it easy to tighten when worn.

The hip belt is available in two sizes: regular and “extended” for people with larger girths. REI, once again, leads the “pack” (no pun intended) when it comes to making the outdoors accessible to people of all sizes and shapes.

External straps make it easy to lash gear to the backpack
External straps make it easy to lash gear to the backpack

Backpack Compression and Attachment Points

The Trailmade has two tiers of side compression straps, so it’s easy to lash bulky gear to the side of the backpack, including a foam pad, tent body, poles, or snowshoes. There are webbing straps that cover the sleeping bag pocket and are ideal for carrying a pad or tent if it won’t fit inside the pack. Many companies don’t include the latter even though it greatly expands the utility of the backpack on longer trips or ones involving “family” where you have to carry someone else’s gear.

More recommended adjustable torso length backpacks

Recommendation

Backpacking does not have to be expensive, and the REI Trailmade 60 is a testament to that fact. Considering its low price point, we are floored by how high quality, comfortable, and functional this backpack is, and rate it a best buy. The features we like the adjustable torso length and side water bottle pockets the most. If you want a backpack that has them but is still lower weight, we also recommend looking at the REI Flash 55 which we rate highly and is also far less expensive than comparable backpacks.

Buy at REI

 

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

SectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.



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