Reviews You Can Rely On

REI Co-op Trail 25 - Women's Review

A durable, versatile pack that's both easy to use and easy on your wallet
rei co-op trail 25 for women daypack review
Credit: REI Co-op
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $80 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Great access to your gear, big pockets, simple yet versatile
Cons:  Unsupportive hip belt, not the most breathable back panel
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Madison Botzet ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 13, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Versatility - 25% 8.0
  • Ease of Use - 25% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Durability - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The REI Trail 25 is just as at home on hiking trails, as commuting to work, as on a short backcountry skiing adventure. This pack not only can do-it-all, but it comes at a price tag that's hard to beat. The Trail 25 is durable and comes with some pretty neat features, such as a rain cover and large U-zip opening, that make it useful for many different sports. If you want a supportive, hiking-specific pack this probably isn't the one for you. But if you're just as likely to grab this bag for a quick jaunt as to commute to work - and want something budget-friendly - then the Trail 25 might be just what you're looking for.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great access to your gear, big pockets, simple yet versatileLightweight, easy to access contents, internal organization, fun colorsShockingly lightweight, padded shoulder straps, useful features, packs into own pocketLightweight, useful features, flap to cover cinch top, inexpensiveInsanely light, packs up super tiny, fits slightly larger people
Cons Unsupportive hip belt, not the most breathable back panelNo hip belt, no padding or support, small side pocketsNo hip belt, small overall size, no back padding - can feel contentsSmall fit, hip belt not load-bearingNearly no features, only one big pocket, super thin fabric, can feel contents
Bottom Line A durable, versatile pack that's both easy to use and easy on your walletTons of fun colors and just the right amount of convenience and functionality for casual useAn ultralight solution that doesn't cut out all the comfort and featuresA good, grab-and-go bag for smaller users, but not ideal for long hikes or heavy loadsA bare-bones ultralight pack for those really dedicated to cutting out ounces
Rating Categories REI Co-op Trail 25... Cotopaxi Batac 16L Osprey Ultralight S... REI Co-op Flash 18... Sea to Summit Ultra...
Comfort (25%)
7.0
6.0
3.0
4.0
3.0
Versatility (25%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
3.0
5.0
Ease of Use (25%)
8.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
4.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
10.0
9.0
10.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
3.0
Specs REI Co-op Trail 25... Cotopaxi Batac 16L Osprey Ultralight S... REI Co-op Flash 18... Sea to Summit Ultra...
Measured Weight 30 oz. 11 oz. 4 oz. 10 oz. 3 oz.
Volume/Capacity 25L 16L 18L 18L 20L
Back Construction HDPE framesheet Lightweight nylon Lightweight nylon Lightly padded back panel Lightweight nylon
Hydration Inner hydration sleeve Internal hydration sleeve None Internal hydration sleeve None
Hipbelt Yes, removable No No Yes, removable No
Compartments 1 1 1 1 1
Rain Cover Yes No No No No
Additional pockets 5 3 2 1 0
Outside Carry Options Pole fasteners, side mesh pockets with elastic enclosure Daisy chain, 2 side pockets Side pocket Various small loops, one tool loop (need bungee or webbing to secure poles to daisy chain) Short daisy chain
Whistle Yes No No Yes No
Key Clip No Yes Yes Yes No
Materials Recycled nylon 75D-210D nylon (sometimes ripstop; individual pieces may vary) 40D Nylon ripstop Recycled nylon 30D ripstop nylon
Notable Features Ability to add REI Trail 2 Waistpack for more storage, contoured foam harness, raincover included, bottom is reinforced to be abraison resistant Side-opening small pocket, internal organizational pockets Packs into its own pocket Removable back padding, cinch closure cover, removable sternum strap, converts into a stuff sack Packs into its own pocket, carabiner included

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Trail 25 weighs 30 ounces and is made from recycled nylon. It only comes in one size but touts a women's specific fit in the harness. If you want more capacity you're in luck: REI also makes the larger Trail 40 pack.

Performance Comparison


rei co-op trail 25 for women daypack review - the trail 25 has intuitive features that make it a great pack for...
The Trail 25 has intuitive features that make it a great pack for hiking and commuting alike.
Credit: Jeff Mogavero

Comfort


Out of the box and up against technical packs with load-bearing hip belts and adjustable frames, the Trail 25 seemed a little lackluster. But surprisingly, it held its own and performed decently well in this metric. While it's not the most comfortable pack we've ever tested for hiking with heavy loads, the back cushion was thick enough to feel comfy against our backs with moderate to light loads. Also, the cushioning is placed so that there are vertical and horizontal channels that air can move through. This means that it has some ventilation which is very nice on a hot summer day. The back panel also features a flexible plastic sheet that helps to prevent bulging. We would still advise that you pack thoughtfully to ensure that there's nothing pokey sticking into your back. The other great comfort feature in the pack is the harness. It is made from contoured foam designed to fit women's narrower physiques. Our testers found the harness to be soft and comfy, even after miles of hiking with a loaded pack.


While the webbing-only hip belt makes this pack versatile, it only helps to stabilize your load; it isn't ideal for taking weight off of your shoulders. If you pack light for a day hike though, this shouldn't be an issue anyway. However, if you tend to pack heavy or are into all-day hikes where you need lots of stuff you may want to consider a more traditional, technical hiking pack. Though we wish the hip belt was a bit more supportive, there are other things to love about the Trail 25 that make up for it.

rei co-op trail 25 for women daypack review - one of the only things about the trail 25 that left us wanting more...
One of the only things about the Trail 25 that left us wanting more was the hipbelt. It is meant to stabilize a load, not to transfer weight to the hips. The upside is that you can easily stow the hipbelt to use for commuting or traveling.
Credit: Jeff Mogavero

Versatility


The Trail has all the features you want, and none that you don't. The back panel is flexible so it moves with you — great for activities where you aren't as upright as hiking, like biking or scrambling. Also, the hip belt tucks away when not used. Other packs with a more supportive hip belt aren't as useful for travel due to the hip belt being clunky and uncomfortable when not strapped. The REI Trail's webbing hip belt does make for a nice commuter or travel pack. Of note, one of our favorite features of this pack is the built-in rain cover, a unique addition to a daypack.


One of the limiting factors of versatility is a pack's overall capacity. While the Trail 25 touts a good bit of capacity, it isn't ideal for long, winter adventures where you might need more for extra layers and food. It also might not be best for the mom who's schlepping her kids' gear around on a long day hike too. Despite it not being the biggest pack we've tested, our testers think that you can comfortably fit all your day hike needs in a pack with 25 liters of capacity. The Trail is still pretty roomy and packs well enough that it feels bigger than 25 liters.

Pulling the included rain cover out of the dedicated stow pocket.
Pulling the included rain cover out of the dedicated stow pocket.
The rain cover is easy to use and fits nicely.
The rain cover is easy to use and fits nicely.

Ease of Use


The Trail 25 scores well in Ease of Use given how thoughtfully designed it is. One of our favorite things about it is the large, U-zip opening that makes it easy to pack and unpack your bag. This is essential for grabbing the raincoat that you left at the bottom of your bag. The two outside pockets are deep, functional, and perfect for securely carrying water bottles or bear spray. Our testers found that the top zip pocket was big enough that a full-size map fits and it was pretty easy to access too. Additionally, the Trail comes with an integrated rain cover that we found to be easy to put on and take off. Bonus points that we don't have to remember to bring one! The zippers and buckles operated smoothly too, leaving us with little to worry about on the trail.


The only thing we wished the Trail 25 had is pockets on the hip belt so we could easily access our phone, snacks, or a map. If you would like more storage that's easily accessible, you can purchase the compatible REI Trail 2 Waistpack. Also, it isn't the most adjustable pack - the torso length is fixed and it only comes in one size. However, it ends up fitting most people because it doesn't have a load-bearing hip belt that needs to sit in the right place. Despite this, it is still an incredibly well-designed, simple pack to use, making our testers eager to use it and earning the Trail a high score.

rei co-op trail 25 for women daypack review - packs with large u-zip tops - like the rei trail shown here-  are...
Packs with large U-zip tops - like the REI Trail shown here- are among the easiest to use.
Credit: Jeff Mogavero

Weight


The Trail 25L was right about average in terms of weight, weighing in at 30 ounces. There aren't too many things to take off of it to lighten the load, but the weight does include the integrated rain cover.


Ounce for ounce, the Trail 25 has a decent capacity. We love that you can fit a lot of stuff in it.

rei co-op trail 25 for women daypack review - not the lightest pack we've ever tested, but the features more than...
Not the lightest pack we've ever tested, but the features more than makeup for the extra weight.
Credit: Madison Botzet

Durability


The Trail is a sturdy choice for your hiking adventures or as an airplane carry-on. It is made with recycled Nylon and the bottom is reinforced to be abrasion-resistant.


After many miles of field testing, we have no concerns about the durability of this pack. There is a lot less mesh on this bag than in many others we have tested, and less mesh means less of a chance of ripping it. The mesh that is on the bag for the side pockets is pretty thick too.

rei co-op trail 25 for women daypack review - a very durable pack due to the use of thick recycled nylon and the...
A very durable pack due to the use of thick recycled Nylon and the minimal use of mesh.
Credit: Madison Botzet

Value


The REI Trail is one of the best-value packs out there. At the low-end of the cost spectrum, it is rare to get a bag that is durable, easy to use, and versatile. It's worth noting that usually, you pay for what you get. So, if you want a more technical, supportive pack, it might be worth spending the extra money. However, the Trail 25 gives you a lot of bang for your buck at a reasonable price. It's one of our favorite bags that we've tested in this price range.

Conclusion


If you want a hiking pack that you can just as easily take to a coffee shop or on an airplane, the Trail 25 might be for you. Our testers love how versatile and simple this bag is and feel that it could probably work for just about anyone. REI's thoughtful design shines through in the budget-friendly pack.

rei co-op trail 25 for women daypack review - we love using this pack for our daily commutes!
We love using this pack for our daily commutes!
Credit: Jeffrey Mogavero

Madison Botzet
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