Our Favorite Patagonia Backpacks

  • October 7, 2020
  • / By Keith Terrell
Man Jumping Between Boulders

Backpacks are a classic element of outdoor activity. There is hardly a way to hike or bike or camp without them. And while there are a few options when it comes to making these items, you want to go with a company that not only provides durable products but also has respect for the environment.

Man Jumping Between Boulders

Here are some of our top picks of their backpacks, a detailed review, and buying guide. 

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Patagonia Unisex Refugio 28L

Best Unisex:

Refugio 28L

Patagonia Men's Black Hole

Best Men's:

Black Hole 25L

Patagonia Women's Chacabuco Pack 28L

Best Women's: Chacabuco 28L

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole 20L

Best Ultralight: Ultralight Black Hole 20L

Patagonia Atom Sling 8L

Best Sling Style:

Atom 8L

Patagonia Unisex Refugio 28L - Best Unisex

This is a great unisex backpack with a roomy main compartment. It has a padded laptop sleeve for a 15-inch device. In addition to that, it includes a lined pocket that will nicely fit a tablet.

The front compartment has a lot of pockets for all the knick-knacks like your electronics and their cords. There is also an easy stash pocket in the front for the little items. There are two water bottle pockets on the side that can also be used for your hat and gloves.

There is an airflow mesh on the back panel and a shoulder harness that is great for all the times you need to carry the backpack. The sternum strap has many layers and is removable.

Patagonia Unisex Refugio 28L

Source: patagonia.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19 x 12 x 8 inches
  • Volume: 28 liters
  • Weight: 1 pound, 7.5 ounces
  • Body: 7.4-oz 630-denier
  • Material: 100% nylon (50% recycled, 50% high-tenacity)
  • Lining: 100% recycled polyester
  • A polyurethane coating and a durable water repellent finish.

Benefits

The main compartment is huge and roomy. It has two sleeves for a laptop and a tablet which is not something many manufacturers offer. The laptop sleeve has a hydration reservoir too. This comes in handy when you’re out in the trails.

The side pockets for water bottles double up as holders for muddy gear. The front compartment has multiple pockets for all the loose items you will need when you’re outdoors. The sternum strap is adjustable and removable.

So you can use this as a casual backpack too. Although, Patagonia has another model which is made especially for that purpose.

Pros

  • It is big and the zippers are durable.
  • It has a great organizer in the front compartment with all of its pockets.
  • The side pockets are large enough for you to use them however you want.
  • It has two laptop sleeves.

Cons

  • The sternum strap is not the most durable item.
  • It is a bit expensive.

Verdict

This is a good backpack, whether you want to take it with you on a camping trip or use it casually. It is unisex so it looks great on men and women.

The sternum is not so great but it is removable and easy to do without. It has two laptop sleeves which is one more than what the competition offers. 

Overall, totally recommended.


Patagonia Men's Black Hole - Best Men’s

This is a dapper-looking multicolor daypack for men from Patagonia. It is a burly daypack with enough space for all essentials and then some. It is tough and weather resistant. So it protects your gear from bad weather and can also take a little bit of rough handling. 

The main compartment comes with a padded sleeve that is great for most 15-inch laptops and can also be used as a hydration reservoir. There is a mesh pocket for keys and an organizer panel for phones and other small items. 

It has a bucket opening and a traditional lid. There is also a stash pocket that closes with a reverse coil zipper. It has an excellent front pocket and a daisy chain too.

Patagonia Men's Black Hole

Source: patagonia.com

Specifications

  • Material: 100% polyester
  • Volume: 25 liters
  • Dimensions: 20.9 x 11 x 6.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) finish
  • Large main compartment with a padded sleeve for a 15-inch laptop

Benefits

This bag is made of denier polyester ripstop materials. Not only is it durable but also functional thanks to a daisy chain that secures a skateboard or a yoga mat.

The front pocket has stealthy zippers and is great for quick-access items. The padded shoulder straps are comfortable and the back panel is molded so it stops moisture but allows airflow.

Pros

  • It is made of denier polyester ripstop materials, which makes the bag abrasion-resistant.
  • The laptop sleeve doubles up as a hydration reservoir.
  • It has a durable water repellent finish.
  • It comes with a daisy chain to strap a helmet, skateboard, or a yoga mat.
  • The water bottle pockets on the side are stretchable.
  • The shoulder straps are padded for comfort.
  • The front stash pocket is great for organizing travel documents, sunglasses, and phones.
  • It is 100% recyclable.

Cons

  • It comes only in one size and color.
  • It has only one compartment.
  • The main compartment does not shut with a zipper.

Verdict

This is a sturdy daypack that doubles up as a pretty great backpack for camping trips. The main compartment is large and fits all the essentials well. It is weather-resistant and comes with an awesome front pocket.

The zippers are tucked in well. So, they don’t stick out in an ugly fashion. The daisy chain is an added benefit. The DWR finish is the icing on the cake.


Patagonia Women's Chacabuco 28L - Best Women’s

This one has a nice and big main compartment that fits all your gear quite comfortably. There is also a versatile tablet sleeve that is padded and lined. There is an entire compartment dedicated to a 15-inch laptop. But that’s not it.

There is also an easy stash pocket in the front for sunglasses and small electronics, a classic Patagonia offer. There’s two large pockets on the side. You can use them to store water bottles.

The airflow mesh back panel is comfortable and there is also a shoulder harness. There is also an extra cord for bike helmets and other gear like a skateboard.

Patagonia Women's Chacabuco Pack 28L

Source: patagonia.com

Specifications

  • Weight: 1 pound, 5.6 ounces
  • Material: 100% nylon (50% recycled, 50% high tenacity)
  • Lining: 100% recycled polyester
  • Volume: 28 liters
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.5 x 5 inches
  • Polyurethane coating and a durable water-repellent finish

Benefits

There is only one main compartment but there is a separate laptop sleeve. The main compartment, however, has a padded and lined tablet sleeve inside. The company says the side pockets for water bottles also work for hats, gloves, and muddy gear too but since they are not mesh pockets, that might not be the best idea. 

The easy stash pocket is great for those of us who don’t like searching the bag endlessly for miscellaneous items. The airflow back panel is great when you are outdoors in the summer. And the shoulder harness is built for all-day carrying ease. The extra cord is made of elastic and adjustable.

Pros

  • The laptop sleeve is separate from the main compartment.
  • There is a padded tablet sleeve inside the main compartment in addition to the separate laptop sleeve.
  • The fit of the harness is modified to suit the needs of women who are outdoorsy.
  • The adjustable external cord is an easy way to carry and access gear like bike helmets.
  • It is made of recyclable materials.

Cons

  • It can be a bit too small for your taste.
  • The chest strap can be a bit too high.
  • The front pocket is a bit big for something that is made for small items.

Verdict

This one is made for women but it is a pretty good daypack for both genders. Apart from classic Patagonia touches like recyclable raw materials, an organizer pocket, an easy stash front pocket, and two great side pockets for water bottles, it has a couple of extra features. The separate laptop pocket is a much-appreciated modification. 

It also has a chest strap, which even when a bit high, can be a useful feature. The bag itself is medium-sized but works well as casual wear and an outdoorsy backpack. It has a lot more pros than cons and that should account for something.


Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole 20L - Best Ultralight

True to its name, this is an ultra-lightweight backpack from Patagonia. It is made of 100% recycled nylon. It is also strong because of the ripstop fabric used in the making of this very durable bag.

It is weather-resistant and packing is a joy with this one. It has an easy access top-loading design with a drawcord for closure. It has a stash pocket for smaller items like sunglasses and it closes with a zipper. This backpack has a daisy chain that comes in handy if you are carrying larger items like a helmet or a yoga pad or maybe an extra rain shell.

There is an airflow mesh on the back panel to make temperatures during those summer hikes tolerable. And the shoulder harness is great for all-day carrying. It also has a sternum strap along with the shoulder pads.

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole 20L

Source: patagonia.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 6 inches
  • Volume: 20 liters
  • Weight: 10.93 ounces
  • Material: 100% recycled nylon (50% post-consumer recycled/ 22% solution dyed)
  • Adjustable sternum strap that accommodates layers
  • Polyurethane coating on the back and silicone coating on the face

Benefits

The bag has a ripstop treated with silicone face coating. The back has a polyurethane coating which keeps it weather resistant. There is a drawcord that closes the main compartment which some prefer over a zipper since it makes packing gear quick and easy.

There is a micro daisy chain on the outside which gives you plenty of lashing options for extra gear. The mesh on the back panel is soft and highly breathable. The sternum strap is adjustable and accommodates layering.

Pros

  • At 10 ounces, this is an ultra-lightweight bag.
  • The sternum strap is useful when you are hiking outdoors.
  • It is made of 100% recyclable nylon.
  • It is weather-resistant.
  • It uses the easy access top-loading mechanism which is great when packing a bunch of gear.
  • It is made of ripstop fabric.

Cons

  • The lack of a zipper for the main (and only compartment) can be a bummer.
  • This is lightweight but probably because it has no laptop and tablet sleeves.
  • It can work only as a secondary bag because it is quite small.

Verdict

This is a sturdy one even if it is slightly small. You can use this exclusively for gear and probably nothing else. It is useful as an extra bag for leftovers or even trash when returning for a nature hike or a camping weekend. It is compact and looks great. But it is not your primary bag.


Patagonia Atom 8L - Best Sling Style

This one is a great sling-style bag with style and utility. With its two easy-access compartments it is already better than most sling-style bags. These are great for everyday essential items.

The strap itself is ergonomically designed and keeps it close to your body at all times. It also has a couple of compression straps to help you carry a yoga mat or an extra jacket.

In traditional Patagonia style, it has a soft mesh on the back panel and a shoulder harness. It has an expandable chest pocket for your phone. The main compartment also has a dedicated tablet sleeve.

Patagonia Atom Sling 8L

Source: patagonia.com

Specifications

  • Material: 100% nylon (50% recycled, 50% high-tenacity)
  • Weight: 10.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: 17 x 10 x 3 inches
  • Volume: 8 liters
  • Polyurethane coating and a durable water-repellent finish

Benefits

This sling bag has an asymmetrical harness that keeps the bag close to your body. That makes it easy to carry it on your back all day long. The two exterior compression straps keep the bag steady and you can avoid the annoyance of a shifty pack.

The mesh on the back panel is made of breathable materials. The shoulder harness makes it easy to carry the pack all day long. It also has a roomy chest pocket in which you can keep your phone and reach for it rather easily.

Pros

  • It has two (almost) main pockets which is more than most other sling bags.
  • The dedicated tablet sleeve is an added advantage.
  • It is very light.
  • The asymmetrical harness is very helpful in keeping the bag close.
  • The compression straps to keep the bag steady are a huge plus.
  • It has a polyurethane coating and a durable water repellent finish.

Cons

  • It is a bit smaller than the other bags in this category.
  • It comes only in one size.
  • It does not have an easy access pocket for miscellaneous items.

Verdict

This is a pretty good side bag to have. If you don’t have too many things but enough to take a bag along, this is the one for you. It has style and functionality which is a rare thing in these types of bags. It is highly recommended if you want to throw in a couple of books, a tab, and a few knick-knacks.


A Brief Introduction to Patagonia, Inc.

This is a clothing and gear company that has been around since the 1970s. But the groundwork for it began long before that. Yvon Chouinard, the founder, was an accomplished rock climber who also sold hand-forged mountain climbing gear in the late 1950s.

At the time, he had a company called Chouinard Equipment. The idea of Patagonia, though, did not come along until the mid-1960s when he partnered with Tom Frost. They worked on improving the products and addressing the supply and demand issue.

Man, Mountain and a Lake

Let’s Start At the Beginning

In the 1970s, the first Patagonia store called Great Pacific Iron Works opened in Santa Clara St close to Chouinard’s blacksmith shop. The place was a Hobson meat-packing shop before the store came about.

Almost a decade later, both Patagonia and Chouinard Equipment came to be incorporated within the Great Pacific Iron Works and the name was changed to Lost Arrow Corporation.

Over time, the company expanded its product line. It included apparel for outdoor activities like surfing. They also added backpacks, camping food, and sleeping bags to the menu. Today, they have apparel and accessories for mountain biking, fly fishing, and trail running among other sports.

Patagonia: A Success Story

One of the biggest things that Patagonia advocated as a company is its value system. They believe that a corporation that was started by climbers and surfers has grown into what it is today because of the minimalist style they promote in life and sport.

It has been around for about 40 years now and it believes in supporting grassroots groups and encouraging activism, especially with respect to the environmental crisis we face today. In their own words, they take pride in connecting individuals with action over the pressing issues of the day.

Part of that is their commitment to using eco-friendly raw materials that are mostly, if not entirely, recyclable.