by Diane Spicer
Not all backpacks are created alike.
Nor should they be.
Each has a purpose, with an intended type of user.
This gear review reveals how the REI Co-op Beyonder backpack will carry its weight in your many roles as a hiker, commuter and traveler.
This Hiking For Her gear review features the REI Beyonder Pack, which looks like this in Sea Forest.
A color note: It looks more turquoise to the naked eye than the bright blue it may appear on your screen in my photos. You can see REI's photos here if you'd like to compare.
Hiking For Her received this pack to do a full and impartial free review of its performance and quality.
As with all Hiking For Her reviews, all photos and honest opinions are my own. I share them to give you insight into the best hiking gear.
You also need to know that as an REI Co-op affiliate and a long time member since the 1970s, I believe in their products and customer policies.
Hiking For Her receives a small percentage of your cost if you buy through this website. You are charged nothing extra.
Now let's go through what makes this little pack tick. There's a lot to say!
The tech specs tell you what the designers intend for you to do with this backpack.
The REI Beyonder Pack uses recycled polyester to build a pack with 17.5 liter capacity.
So right away, you know this is a compact pack, suitable for daily use and short and/or easy dayhikes.
That puts it into the sweet spot that is often empty on a hiker's gear list:
Can one pack really do all that?
Excellent question, but first...
Let's start with the outside, then work our way inside. We'll take a look at the quality and finish up with how the pack feels and performs.
Note that I am a short female, and my comments on how the pack fits may not reflect your own experience.
Also note that I've been at this hiking thing a long, long time and I know how to spot a good design when I see it. So again, my comments may not reflect your approach to hiking gear, but I'm going to share them anyway ;)
The first thing I look for on the front exterior of a backpack is pockets. You need a place to put the things you want frequently, whether on a hike or during your morning commute.
And you want those pockets to zip closed, for security and to keep out grit.
So it's good to see this exterior zip pocket placed low on the outside of the front of the pack. It's where you can easily slide open the access and get at your snacks, phone, and car keys.
SPOILER ALERT: There is an even better place to stash those things inside the pack. I'll get there in a minute.
There are two bottle pockets, as you would expect on a backpack.
But here is a new-to-me feature:
Great idea! No more worries about a slender bottle slipping out and getting left behind on a plane seat.
The snaps are on both the left and right bottle pockets.
This backpack ventilates the places you sweat when wearing it. Good thinking!
Note the presence of an adjustable sternum strap.
I would never consider wearing a backpack without one, it's that important for a good fit.
You can tug on the shoulder and hip straps until you get the fit just right.
Trail tip: Please do that each time you wear a backpack, to protect your spine. This is especially important if you are not conditioned to carrying a load.
This little pack has plenty of space for everything you need in a day.
The compartment closest to the back of the pack has two sleeves:
The main compartment has a horizontal tab with two snaps to secure the removable pouch.
And plenty of room for food, a jacket, and whatever your day is going to need.
You can think of quality as value for money. Only you can determine which price point brings you value. This pack costs $119 US at the time of this writing.
But you can also think of quality as durability.
And for that, we turn to materials and construction in this REI Beyonder Pack review.
This pack is constructed using recycled polyester (bluesign® approved).
Polyester is durable, so it can stand up to anything you spill or throw at it, won't snag or easily abrade, and looks great.
Recycled materials keeps trash out of landfills, so that feels good.
But what does bluesign® approved mean?
A backpack you use on a daily basis needs to stand up to a lot of tugs, tosses and hoists.
So take a quick glance at these thoughtful features:
Not sure about you, but I'm always in a hurry to get on the trail or train or plane, or into my favorite coffee shop.
So I want a backpack that I can sling on, buckle up, and forget about.
And that describes this backpack perfectly.
Adjust the straps for your height, waist and snugness preference. Then forget it's there.
As a female, I appreciate the curved shoulder straps to fit my contours.
Here are my favorite features on the REI Beyonder pack:
Every single feature is either adjustable or has enough capacity to do the job.
In this case, hauling stuff you need for work, play or travel.
It's a great little pack and that's why I'm sharing it with you.
One note on hiking with this pack: Use it only for a short or easy (flat, well maintained) trail.
You've just seen what the REI Beyonder Pack review considers a great piece of gear.
But there are three more members of the Beyonder gear family:
See them all here.
So let's put it all together.
This pack is small, designed for lighter loads and shorter distances.
It's adjustable for proper fit, padded for comfort, and has plenty of storage capacity for all sorts of gear and technology.
Versatility makes a hiker's heart sing, and this pack is the definition of versatile. It's able to carry your stuff downtown AND take you through a day hike. Maybe even on the same day!
It looks good, as in streamlined and not too "backpacky".
It stands up to grit, moisture and abrasion thanks to recycled polyester.
Plus, it's priced right.
And if you're an REI Co-op member, you will receive 10% back with your end-of-year rebate. Such a deal!
See it here, and then make room in your gear closet for this handy, attractive and well designed little pack.
Thanks for stopping by to read this REI Beyonder Pack review!