Home Hiking REI Trail 40 Hiking Daypack In-Depth Review

REI Trail 40 Hiking Daypack In-Depth Review

47 min read

Rei Trail 40 Review

In This Guide
  • Why the REI Trail 40?
  • The Other Daypack Options
  • What Makes the REI Trail 40 Great
  • What Types of Hikes Can You Use It On?
  • Feature Walkthrough
  • REI Trail 40 Video

The REI Trail 40 is my go-to backpack for day hikes and weekend overnights. Finding the correct daypack was powerful; there have been lots of choices to take a look at. In the top, the REI Trail 40’s many positives outweighed just a few minor downsides. The REI Trail 40 is as gentle as packs half its measurement, has loads of room to retailer gear and is properly thought out with tons of sensible options for anybody hitting the path. Oh, and it really works nice as a carry-on bag for journey too. Here’s why I really like the REI Trail 40 after months of testing.

REI has up to date this pack (Sep 2018) and I’m utilizing a distinct pack now. You can see which pack that I’m utilizing now on my gear web page.
My New Hiking Backpack

Why The REI Trail 40?

Rei Trail 40 and Cris Hazzard
Here’s the REI Trail 40 out within the wild. It has all the things I would like for an amazing hiking backpack.

I went on the hunt for a brand new daypack after my outdated goto pack, the Camelback Fourteener 24, obtained discontinued. My standards for an amazing daypack is:

  • It can carry all of the gear I would want for any day hike, whether or not a brief jaunt or a 20 mile+ hike in harsh circumstances like Cactus to Clouds.
  • It can maintain a 3L hydration bladder and a minimum of two extra 1.5L water bottles (like those you may choose up at any gasoline station) for a complete of 6L of water storage.
  • It’s gentle and cozy.
  • It has exterior pockets for simple entry to snacks, a GPS, and many others.

The REI Trail 40 is the very best daypack I’ve ever owned. – REI Reviewer

Other Daypacks That I Tested

Rei Trail 40 1
The daypack selections might be overwhelming. I examined a bunch so that you just don’t should.

Here are the opposite packs that I examined and the way they evaluate to the REI Trail 40.

  • Camelbak Fourteener – I had the old version of this pack and cherished it. The new model is a bit beefier and has double hip belts. It wasn’t as snug as the primary model for me, and it has solely half the capability of the REI Trail 40.
  • Camelbak MULE – This was an amazing hiking daypack years in the past, however they’ve shrunk the carrying capability to cater to mountain biking, so it’s not a superb possibility anymore.
  • Osprey Stratos 24 – This was one in all my first daypacks once I obtained into hiking and the brand new mannequin is great. It’s snug and properly thought out. The draw back was the dimensions. Even although the printed capability is 24L, I had hassle getting all the things for an extended day hike in right here. And it didn’t have as many exterior pockets as I normally like. If you’re doing shorter hikes, it is a good possibility.
  • Osprey Talon 22 – Another good possibility from Osprey, however had related issues to the Stratos. There wasn’t sufficient room for an extended hike. I additionally had a tough time accessing among the pockets. On the REI Trail 40 I can attain into a superb portion of the pockets with the pack on, with the Talon, I needed to take away the pack to entry the hip belt pockets. The Talon is a good light-duty pack for brief hikes.
  • Osprey Stratos 36 – The closest I got here to the REI Trail 40 was the Osprey Talon 36, the Stratos 36 was a stable pack. I selected the REI pack over this one as a result of the exterior pockets labored higher for me, particularly the mesh pocket that permit me put moist gear in it (extra on that later). It was additionally just a bit too small for in a single day journeys.

I’ve used the REI Trail 40 on intensive journeys. Though it is just a 40L I can pack sufficient on the within and outdoors pouches to final me 5 days on path. Very sturdy for the lengthy haul, extraordinarily snug. I’ve used lots of packs within the army and from different manufacturers, these are the very best. – REI Reviewer

REI Gear Is Getting Better and Better

Rei Trail 40 3
REI merchandise are getting higher and higher. Take these beefy zippers for instance. REI made them a bit outsized with the intention to yank and tug the hell out of them and so they carry on working.

REI gear has been round for some time, but it surely wasn’t at all times that nice (and relying on what you had been ). However, in the previous couple of years, REI has been dramatically bettering its product line. They evolved the traditional product development process to include people who use the products. REI recruited their 12,000 staff and hundreds of REI members to assist them resolve what to make and tips on how to make it, working with them to see how they used the gear, what was good, and what could possibly be higher.

REI merchandise have such nice options. They mix all the very best from different manufacturers and nonetheless handle to incorporate extra of their very own design! – REI Reviewer

And the outcomes have been glorious. I’ve been testing different gear like sleeping baggage, tents, clothes, and bigger packs, and the REI choices have usually been prime contenders, if not the very best. And they’re usually inexpensive than different choices (however not essentially cheap). For instance, the REI Trail 40 is about 60-70% of the price of the Osprey Stratos 36.

The REI Trail 40 Is a Roomy Pack

Most daypacks have between 20-35 liters of capability. The REI Trail 40 has 40 liters and weights as a lot as a 20-liter pack. So there’s lots of room. What this implies for my on a regular basis hikes is that I by no means should get intelligent about becoming gear within the pack, by no means should jam gear in, and don’t should clip a bunch of drugs on the skin once I do an extended (or winter) hike. There is at all times sufficient room for no matter I wanted.

Rei Trail 40 5
You can match a ton of drugs into the pack. All of this gear (winter bag, tent, sleeping pad) suits INSIDE the REI Trail 40.

And not like another packs that didn’t have lots of pockets, there’s a good mixture of inside and outdoors pockets on the Trail 40. In basic, I find yourself organizing my gear like this:

  • Extra layers and emergency gear in the principle pack compartment
  • Snacks and kit that I entry a number of occasions on a hike in one of many outer pockets
  • Extra water bottles within the facet pockets (they’ll maintain 1.5L bottles)
  • Wet or pungent gear within the outer mesh pocket

If you might have minimal gear the pack might be fairly empty, with the heavy stuff accumulating on the underside of the pack. There’s a faculty of thought that you must distribute your heavier gear alongside the again or on the highest of the pack. What I do is pack my heavier gear in stuff-sack and put it within the bungee twine alongside the again of the again. I additionally put some heavier gear within the prime inside pocket. This helps stability the pack out.

Rei Trail 40 4
There aren’t any inside compression straps, however a bungee alongside the backbone permits you to distribute gear alongside the size of the pack.

I additionally use a distinct pack for actually brief or simple hikes. If you’re going out for a 2-miler within the native park, this pack can be overkill. In that case, I simply used my Flash 22 pack, which is minimal and small.

I lately bought the REI Trail 40 from REI in Anchorage AK. After finishing a at some point 23 mile hike on Crow Pass Trail, I understand that it could actually’t get any higher than this. I had 32lbs price of drugs and water and don’t have something dangerous to say in regards to the match. It felt simply pretty much as good as 30lbs can with out inflicting any uncommon discomfort. The full zipper proved to be handy once I wanted to get issues out of the underside of the bag and it’s simple to regulate the weight by tightening and loosening the assorted factors of adjustment. The hiking pole inserts and straps labored flawlessly and got here in useful all through the day. Packing and organizing this bag was a breeze due to the total zipper and the price is unbelievably cheaper than different main model names. If your in search of an amazing day pack that’s sturdy and received’t value you an arm & a leg then look no additional. I might suggest this to anybody doing day hikes or gentle pack tenting journeys. – REI Reviewer

The REI Trail 40 For Backpacking

Rei Trail 40 6
You can carry your entire gear internally for an in a single day backpack if you happen to pack proper. This shot has all of the gear that you just see in an earlier picture inside it.

I discussed that this was a daypack evaluate, and I primarily do day hikes with this pack. But the Trail 40 sufficiently big to do in a single day journeys as properly. It’s not large, however you may match a tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and cooking gear inside or inside and outdoors of the pack. The candy spot for this pack was a weekend backpacking journey. I had sufficient room to suit all the things I wanted. I are inclined to pack on the sunshine facet, so if you happen to carry a ton of stuff with you, you may wish to get a much bigger pack for in a single day journeys.

This pack is unbelievable! I’m thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and I wanted a brand new pack about midway by way of my journey. I obtained this pack as a result of it was precisely the dimensions I wanted for my summer season gear setup, and it regarded prefer it was a properly thought out design. I couldn’t be happier! This pack has already made it 600 miles and nonetheless feels as snug as ever. Whoever considered the design with the totally opening important pocket and the mind hooked up to the principle body of the pack is sensible. I actually can not consider something dangerous to say about this pack. I positively suggest this pack for each day hikes and something longer. It is ideal for my thru-hike! – REI Reviewer

Rei Trail 40 Packed Front
Here’s what the pack appears to be like like full. I’ve a 2 person tent, winter bag, sleeping pad, food, garments, and different emergency gear all contained in the pack.
Rei Trail 40 Packed Right
Here’s a view of the total pack from the facet.
Rei Trail 40 Packed Left
Here’s a view from the opposite facet.
Rei Trail 40 8
The straps and padding are beefy sufficient to hold a good load. 35lbs is about as excessive as you’d wish to go.

Oh, And It Works As a Carry-On Bag Too

Rei Trail 40 24
There’s a pocket on the again of the inside that matches as much as a 15″ laptop computer properly. I additionally use this pocket for soiled laundry and trash on backpacking journeys.

The REI Trail 40 can also be an amazing journey pack. It’s sized to be an authorized carryon pack, and there’s a sleeve (not padded) that matches a laptop computer as much as 15 inches. It suits sufficient garments and kit for per week of journey, and I used it on just a few (non-hiking) journeys. I’ve additionally used it as a carry-on for hiking journeys that I wanted to fly to. I simply pack the Trail 40, deliver it on the airplane, after which hit the path with it once I get there. If you try this, simply bear in mind to take away any blades or goodies that received’t move by way of safety.If you hike and journey, utilizing the Trail 40 saves you from having to get two totally different packs.

I exploit this pack all over the place I’m going. I take it with me when if I’m on a day hike or only a day round city. – REI Reviewer

If you’re solely in search of a pack to journey with, you could be higher served by a travel-specific pack just like the Osprey Farpoint 40.

REI Trail 40 Video

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REI Trail 40 Feature Walkthrough

Straps and Fit

Overall, the REI Trail 40 looks like a much bigger pack, however a lot lighter. The padding on the hip belt and shoulder straps is beefy and cozy. When I first started utilizing the pack, I assumed it could be overkill, however after sporting it for some time, it’s been nice, particularly when it’s actually loaded with gear.

It weighs 2 lbs 14oz, which is roughly the identical (if not lighter) than a lot of the daypacks which are half its measurement. It’s gentle, and this helps to make it snug It has a 3mm spring-steel perimeter body to provide the pack construction and rigidity.

Rei Trail 40 28
The padding on the straps is beefy. The again of the pack has two massive padding sections with an open channel down the again that lets your again breath.
Rei Trail 40 9
Similarly, the hip pad belts are properly padded.
Rei Trail 40 25
Unlike another packs, you tighten the hip belt by pulling the straps inward, which is intuitive and simple.
Rei Trail 40 10
The sternum strap might be adjusted by pulling on the strap. It also can transfer up and down on the shoulder straps to a place that’s most snug for you.
Rei Trail 40 11
The shoulder straps have two adjustment factors. Here’s the underside one, which tightens by pulling.
Rei Trail 40 14
And then you may alter the strap from the highest too. Being in a position to alter the highest and backside allows you to customise the place the pack sits in your again and adapt to your particular body.

Been utilizing the REI Trail 40 as my crag bag for 2 years now. This beefy pack has been overloaded and thrown within the filth, however its nonetheless preventing. I normally have over 30lbs of climbing gear within the pack. I’ve by no means had points with consolation or match, regardless of how lengthy the strategy. – REI Reviewer

Pockets and Storage

The important compartment is fairly large and sufficiently big for all the things from a day hike to a multi-day hike. I’ve discovered that 30 lbs is about as excessive as I’m going with gear in right here earlier than it feels prefer it’s beginning to pressure (and will get uncomfortable). REI lists the utmost gear weight at 35 lbs.

Rei Trail 40 12
Here’s the large important compartment. The zipper opens on 3 sides, making it simple to pack, particularly if you happen to use stuff sacks or cubes.
Rei Trail 40 15
There are 4 outsized zippers that can help you get within the pack just a few other ways.
Rei Trail 40 26
If you do have the hooks over the zipper (in order that it opens from the highest), it’s also possible to entry the underside by unzipping the opposite 2 (of 4) zippers.
Rei Trail 40 36
Here’s a element of hooking the trekking pole clasp over the zipper, permitting you to only open the highest. If you don’t hook it over the zipper, you may pull the zipper down all the best way and open it up like within the first picture, which had all three sides totally open.
Rei Trail 40 26
If you do have the hooks over the zipper (in order that it opens from the highest), it’s also possible to entry the underside by unzipping the opposite 2 (of 4) zippers.

Gear will accumulate on the backside of your again, and there aren’t any compression straps inside, but it surely does have a bungee twine the place you may jam your heavier gear in.

Rei Trail 40 13
The bungee twine expands and has an adjustment push on the top, permitting you to stuff and maintain no matter gear you want alongside the backbone of the pack.
Rei Trail 40 22
There’s additionally an inside mesh pocket on the prime of your pack, on the flap. It’s one other good option to put heavier gadgets towards the highest if you happen to’re attempting to distribute the weight evenly.
Rei Trail 40 19
There’s a facet mesh pocket on the inside. It’s useful for small gadgets like a first-aid equipment. It additionally holds tent stakes properly.
Rei Trail 40 38
On the other facet of that mesh pocket is a reverse pocket. This is nice for stuffing tent poles in and maintaining them upright. When I pack my tent, I normally take it out of the tent bag and pack the elements individually because it packs higher.

As I discussed earlier, there’s a ton of out of doors storage on this pack. The key to packing it’s maintaining the stuff you want useful in these outer pockets.

I really like the outer stretch mesh to rapidly get to rain or windproof gadgets, the facet pocket to entry your valuables, and the 4 other ways you may open the pack and rapidly get to something. – REI Reviewer

Rei Trail 40 16
The proper facet pocket is mesh–you may put moist gear in there. It additionally suits a 1.5L gasoline station water bottle or Nalgene bottle.
Rei Trail 40 34
The different facet has two staggered pockets, each of which match large water bottles. These pockets are additionally useful for snacks or further layers.
Rei Trail 40 17
There’s a giant zippered mesh pocket on the again of the pack that’s nice for moist or damp gear.
Rei Trail 40 37
There’s additionally an extended exterior pocket on the facet.
Rei Trail 40 Top Pocket
Lastly, there’s a giant pocket on prime for gear you wish to maintain useful. I maintain my headlamp, a blade, my keys, and many others up right here.

This pack will change into a cult basic. This bag is simply excellent. For a purchasing journey within the metropolis or hiking up a peak. It appears to be like nice and has all of the options you want and nothing that you just don’t. It’s very snug to put on with heavy hundreds and when it’s empty it’s nonetheless snug, some packs float round annoyingly once they don’t have a lot weight in them however this bag stays put. The zip system is genius and makes the pack a pleasure to make use of; no extra unpacking the bag to get to stuff on the underside. It has simply sufficient pockets to be helpful and never so many who it’s important to maintain loosing stuff in them. – REI Reviewer

Hip Belt

Rei Trail 40 Hip Belt
The hip belt tightens by pulling it inwards, which is a brilliant and sensible. Some packs require you to tug backward, away from the pack, to tighten, which didn’t work so properly.

The hip belts on the REI Trail 40 really feel like a much bigger pack. This might be nice for assist, however normally, I don’t have a lot gear in a daypack that I actually need the assist of a hip belt. So I had combined emotions right here. If you don’t wish to use the hip belt, you may’t take it off (or tie it off beneath). So it’s important to use the hip belt. I did get used to at all times utilizing it, and it’s nice.

I like the massive hip belt pockets which are openable when you have the pack on. You’d be stunned at what number of packs I attempted that had the hip belt too far again to open if you had it on. I additionally actually preferred the best way the belt tightens, which is by pulling outward, not inward. This movement was a lot simpler and gave me a cosy match. And bear in mind, don’t make your belt too tight, you may get dangerous chafe of your hips.

Rei Trail 40 39
There are pockets on the hip belt too. One facet has a mesh pocket.
Rei Trail 40 35
The different hip belt pocket pouch is sealed. Both are accessible when you might have the pack on and are nice for a telephone, instruments, or snacks.

Hydration Pack

The solely bone I’ve to select with this pack is the hydration pocket. The opening for the highest is tight, and when your pack is full and you might be placing 3L of water in, it may be powerful to get the bladder in. I did work out tips on how to make it simpler, but it surely took me some time. Just carry up (or reverse) the shoulder straps and push again towards the pack body and again panel, which is able to open the hole up sufficient for the bladder. You might need to squeeze it in a bit, but it surely works. Once you get the underside of the bladder in, simply shake the pack and let the weight of the water deliver it down. There’s a hook on the prime to carry the bladder in place. One the bladder is in, there are clips on the chest strap to maintain the tube shut.

Rei Trail 40 31
The hydration bladder pocket is on the again, and the pocket that the bladder sits in is separate from the remainder of the inside of the pack. You simply pull the pocket open, slide the bladder in, after which hook the highest onto the blue hook to carry it in place.

The excellent news is that it suits any 3L bladder. I’ve used it with a Camelbak 3L and a Platypus 3L with none problem. It’s actually about which bladder you favor (or which you might have laying round). I’ll say that the Platypus 3L may be very simple to fill, open, and shut. You don’t should line up the threads completely such as you do a Camelbak. The Playtpus additionally suits on the hook properly.

Rei Trail 40 Hydration Tube
The proper shoulder strap has the usual hydration tube clip.

External Attachments

I’m not large on having lots of gear strapped and hooked onto the skin of my pack, however you definitely have the chance to connect gear on the REI Trail 40.

Rei Trail 40 21
The again flap has webbing hooks you could lash gear onto or clip carabiners onto.
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There are two expandable straps on the underside to connect a tent, sleeping pad, or sleeping bag.
Rei Trail 40 Top Bottom Straps
Here’s one other view of the underside straps with the trekking poles hooked up.
Rei Trail 40 20
There are additionally two straps on the highest you could alter for a sleeping pad, tent, and many others.
Rei Trail 40 33
The prime straps even have clip-on hooks so you may simply open and shut them.
Rei Trail 40 27
The shoulder straps have webbing you could clip a GPS or different gear onto.
Rei Trail 40 29
There’s additionally an space on the sternum strap the place you may clip gear onto.
Rei Trail 4 Trekking Poles
The clips that shut the zipper off up prime (that I confirmed earlier) are additionally the trekking pole prime clips. You simply wrap it across the pole and hook it in to safe the trekking pole.
Rei Trail 40 18
The backside of the trekking pole goes into these little eyelets. They’re made out of steel, as are the opposite clips on the pack.

Rain Cover

Rei Trail 40 23
There’s a rain cowl stuffed into the underside pocket. The rain cowl is just not hooked up to the pack, so you should use the pocket for one thing else if you wish to.
Rei Trail 40 Top Rain Cover
Here’s what a full pack with the rain cowl on appears to be like like. When the pack is full, the trekking poles received’t match underneath the quilt, however when the pack is much less full, you may wrangle it over the poles.


Not a lot to say right here other than the truth that it’s sturdy and I haven’t had any put on issues. It’s made out of 210-denier nylon and has high-quality YKK zippers. I haven’t pampered it and it will get thrown round fairly a bit. It’s doing nice after 6 months of standard use.

Is the REI Trail 40 Worth It?

Should you get the REI Trail 40? Yes. Unless you solely do actually brief hikes, this pack will serve you properly. It’s sufficiently big for all ranges of day hikes, whether or not 5 miles, 20 miles, summer season, or winter. You can use it for weekend overnights. Some folks even use it for prolonged through-hikes. Every characteristic is properly thought out and has clearly been tweaked and honed by real-world REI testers. It’s super-light and accessible in quite a lot of colours, a number of sizes, and customized variations for women and males. And it’s inexpensive than the alternate options. It’s onerous to discover a draw back on the REI Trail 40. I’ve been utilizing it for months and it’s nice. Give it a strive, I feel you’ll find it irresistible.

Gets higher the extra I exploit it. – REI Reviewer

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