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REI Trailmade 60 Backpack Review

REI Trailmade 60 Backpack Revie

The REI Trailmade 60 is a high quality affordable and lightweight multi-day backpack that’s great for beginner backpacking or backpackers on a budget. Priced at just $149, 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 really 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) will fit horizontally inside

Backpack Storage and Organization

The 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. The sleeping bag compartment zipper is shielded from rain by a large external flap, 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 with 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 pick 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, in part 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 really dial in a near-custom fit. To adjust the torso length, you raise or lower the shoulder straps, which increases or decreases the distance to the hip belt so it corresponds to your measured torso length. On the Trailmade, 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 that many backpack manufacturers fail to include. The only downside is the lengths available are whole numbers from 17″-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 so you get great load the hip transfer. The hip belt is well padded and pre-curved so it locks to your body and won’t slip. It has a push-forward tensioning system so it’s 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 also 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. A lot of 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

Men's ModelWeightWomen's Model
Osprey Exos 582 lbs 10 ozOsprey Eja 58
Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 601 lbs 5.4 ozZpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60
Osprey Atmos AG 654 lbs 10 ozOsprey Aura AG 65
REI Flash 552 lbs 13 ozREI Flash 55
Deuter Aircontact Ultra 50+52 lbs 10.7 ozDeuter Aircontact Ultra SL45+5
Granite Gear Blaze 603 lbsGranite Gear Blaze 60
Gregory Zulu 653 lbs 11 ozGregory Jade 63
Osprey Kestrel 483 lbs 9 ozOsprey Kyte 48
Gregory Paragon 583 lbs 8 ozGregory Maven 55
Six Moon Designs Flight X2 lbs 6.8 ozS-shaped shoulder straps available


Backpacking does not have to be expensive and the REI Trailmade 60 is a testament to that fact. We are floored by how high quality, comfortable, and functional this backpack is, considering its low price point, and rate it a best buy. The adjustable torso length and side water bottle pockets are the features we like 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.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

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  1. Disregarding the 5-liter difference in capacity and the difference in weight, how would you compare this pack to the REI Flash 55 pack? Which carries more comfortably, gives better access to things you use during the day, etc?

    • The Trailmade has a two points of access – the top/and bottom not one. You must use a rain cover if you want to use the bottom access and hike in rainy weather. It has a fixed (sewn on lid) so you must carry a bear canister inside. You can’t move around all the straps and pockets the same way you can on the Flash. Other than that it’s hard to compare them since one is a roll top and the other a top lid pack. I think they bath carry very well. Just depends on what you want an dhow much you’re willing to pay.

  2. Did you intend to include the weight in the specs? I don’t see it.

  3. I like replaceable hip belts because they allow substitution of heavier belts when carrying more weight and extend the life of the pack many years. Can you mention when a pack has a replaceable belt? Thank you for the reviews!

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