Fastpacking

First Look: Patagonia’s Nine Trails 18L Backpack

The Nine Trails is a minimalist pack is a great fit for everything from day hikes with friends to a multi-day fastpacking venture.

Patagonia’s Nine Trails 18L Backpack
Material: CORDURA® nylon ripstop water repellant fabric
Weight: 1 lb, 6.9 oz.
Price: $130

Patagonia says its Nine Trails pack is for “moving quickly and comfortably on scrambles and hikes where you don’t need to pack the kitchen sink.” Just by looking at it, you can see it’s not an ultra-lightweight running backpack meant to only hold a camelback and a few snacks. The Nine Trails is better suited for fastpacking all-day run/hikes in variable conditions. It could fit a few layers, a hammock and rain protection, and lightweight food for a few days. For its size, I would get the best use out of it on day hikes and weekend fastpacking.

The Nine Trails efficiently makes room for hydration, with two 32 oz water bottle pockets on the side and room for a bladder in the back. The fit comes in two sizes, small/medium and large/XL, and was built for a woman’s body (other packs in the Nine Trails series are unisex) with shorter straps and torso than a men’s pack.

The pack straps down with two adjustable front straps to prevent bouncing, and while the pack will not feel as molded to you as a hydration pack would, it stays relatively secure while running technical terrain and downhill. There are two side pockets that fit all iPhone sizes and snacks snugly (snugly enough that you may have to stop and fiddle with a phone to get it safely back inside.) There is a zippered pocket within the pack for smaller items, perfect for finding keys, phones or inhalers quickly.

On the outside of the pack is my favorite feature—a large stretch pocket that could fit an extra jacket plus extraneous snacks, sunglasses, whatever items you’re taking on and off frequently and don’t want to unzip for. The pocket is taught enough to prevent your gear from falling out, even on scrambles or technical terrain. Keeping more weight in this outer pocket (as all backpackers could tell you) will cause a bit more bouncing of the pack than if things were packed inside, closer to your back, but the movement is not unruly.

Shuffle your gear through the Nine Trails’ many pockets to find the arrangement that best suits your adventuring, then hit the trails.

Brooke Stephenson is the editorial intern at Trail Runner. She is prone to losing peanut butter-covered spoons in the pockets of her many backpacks.