While some hiking backpacks cram as many functions into as few liters as possible, others opt for the opposite tack: achieve utility through minimalism. This was precisely what Patagonia strove for in its Nine Trails packs, which launched last spring, and the company (as usual) landed its mark.
Instead of multiple compartments and various access points, the Nine Trails backpack has one spacious main compartment that’s accessed through a large U-shaped zipper. On the exterior are multiple stretchy sleeve-style pockets for storing items that need to be access routinely on the trail, like extra layers, water bottles and snacks. That’s essentially it, and the backpack is a success because of that simplicity (it’s one of our favorite daypacks for hiking). The bag isn’t without a couple of extras though — there are small zippered stash pockets inside, on the top and on the hipbelt, and a hydration sleeve with a port for the hose.
Compared to other hiking bags in Patagonia’s line, the Nine Trails is still new, but right now it’s on sale for 34 percent off at Mountain Steals.