I’m an ultralight fanatic, so when I say the decidedly full-featured Crosstrail passes muster, it’s a high compliment. My initial impression was unenthusiastic, as the pack’s weight was more than I hoped for. But after using the pack for four months—including trips to Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and Pinnacles National Parks—I’m a believer. (The 32 LT is for longer torsos, while the 30 ST is sized for smaller frames.)
Organization is well-designed: In addition to the top-loading drawstring closure, a U-shape zipper on the front of the pack allows you to access the main packbag’s bottom without removing items on top. This setup proved convenient when I donned and shedded layers throughout the day as temps fluctuated. A generous side water bottle pocket kept my Nalgene off the ground when I bent over, and an easy-access, built-in rain fly came in handy on a wet day in Muir Woods. The hipbelt pockets are a bit small for my liking, but the righthand one has an adjustable zipper which expands the compartment to accommodate an iPhone 11 and snacks or a pair of gloves. Finally, a spacious exterior mesh pocket held binoculars, a tripod, and a rain jacket.
The hipbelt and shoulder straps are quite comfortable, and the load did not shift as I navigated some tight areas in Utah’s Snow Canyon State Park. I found that the sufficient padding led to no clavicle or lower-back soreness when I was carrying 12-pound loads. The airflow through the mesh backpanel is adequate, but I didn’t hike in temps above 55°F.
Overall, the Crosstrail is a solid pick for a dayhike or short overnight trip. – Robin Mino, Basecamp member and gear tester
Want to test gear for Backpacker? Email our gear editor Eli Bernstein at email@example.com