Are Patagonia backpacks good? or are you just paying for the brand name?
There are very few brands that travelers the world over will love. One such brand is Patagonia – one of the most popular brands known for its reliable, and eco-friendly backpacks.
Even though Patagonia is unquestionably a well-known brand, you could still be skeptical of their backpacks.
Plus, their bags aren’t cheaply priced.
Before you sink $100 or more into a backpack, I’m here to tell you what makes this brand special, and where it is lacking, so you can know exactly what you’re paying for and if buying Patagonia is worth it.
Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
Yes, I do believe that Patagonia backpacks are worth the price because I know they are practical and durable enough to withstand the rigors of travel and even outdoor activities.
I also appreciate the features these backpacks offer, including padded shoulder straps and back panels for support, several pockets and compartments to keep your things organized, and the option to choose from different sizes, depending on what works for you.
And of course, I am a big fan of Patagonia’s strong commitment to environmental responsibility; this is a company that consistently uses recycled materials in several of their bags.
I know that their backpacks are fairly pricey compared to low-cost brands, which can be a big turnoff for some people.
Still need for detail?
Below is a more thorough rundown of the benefits of buying a Patagonia backpack for individual circumstances to see if they are a right fit for you:
There’s no question that Patagonia makes reliable, durable bags.
Let’s get into the details, shall we…
For the backpack’s exterior and lining, Patagonia uses durable, weather-resistant, and eco-friendly fabrics like recycled nylon and polyester that are bluesign® approved.
Some of their other backpacks, such as the Black Hole packs, come with a durable TPU (polyurethane) coating to shield your possessions from the elements, which is they are more than capable of handling rugged camping, hiking, or backpacking conditions.
In fact, the reason there’s a sheen on some of their bags is that it’s combined with a TPU film laminate for excellent abrasion resistance, tear strength, and water resistance.
That said, Patagonia bags are water resistant but not waterproof due to the absence of waterproof zippers and sealed seams in packs like the Black Hole Duffel.
But as you and I both know, a backpack is made of more than just materials.
This is why you’ll be happy to hear that Patagonia uses heavy-duty YKK zippers (considered to be the “OG” of zippers), along with premium Duraflex plastic or metal hardware to make all their backpacks that are in turn, rigorously tested in their own backyard—the mountains of California.
They put their backpacks through some of the most difficult tests to ensure they can withstand whatever you throw at them.
Best of all, Patagonia bags are made to be recyclable or repairable when their useful lives are eventually over, further extending the lifetime of the backpack.
In fact, you can even trade-in or buy a used Patagonia bag!
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With 50 years of experience in the bag, you can trust that Patagonia knows a thing or two about making very durable backpacks.
Plus, bags from this brand has consistently received favorable reviews and ratings from various review sites and actual users who have used their bags.
In fact, I have recommended Patagonia backpacks to frequent flyers, women, and European travelers, and is even among my best-rated backpack brands you can trust.
Not to mention, you can feel good knowing anything you buy from Patagonia is eco-friendly.
3. Most of their bags are quite comfortable to wear
Experience has taught me that straps that cut deep also cut trips short.
Thankfully that’s not the case with Patagonia bags.
My search shows that most, if not all their backpacks have wide shoulder straps with a bit of extra cushioning and mesh breathability that helps with weight distribution.
This cushioning extends to the back panel that allows you to wear your backpack without undue back sweat.
I’ll admit that Patagonia’s technical backpacks for hiking or alpine climbing aren’t as comfortable compared to backpacking backpacks from Osprey that have Anti-Gravity Suspension System which makes even heavy loads seem lightweight.
That said, Patagonia is not sorely left behind. Even if it’s a backpack for travel, everyday use, for keeping your laptop, or even technical adventures, I like that they are designed to fit a wide range of body types thanks to their adjustable straps and hip belts.
Gear experts agree at Matadornetwork.com that the Patagonia Black Hole backpacks are comfortable for both short trips and long journeys. The respected team at Pack Hacker in their review says that the Refugio Backpack from Patagonia is lightweight and comfortable to carry long distances.
Moreover, here at Travelcessories.com, Patagonia backpacks have made my list of recommended options for women, frequent travelers, and everyday use because of how comfortable they are to wear thanks to their padded shoulder straps, breathable back panel, sternum straps, and more.
The only thing I would say is not to overload your Patagonia backpack if you plan to do a lot of walking around or wear it for long hours unless you’re using the adjustable straps and waist belt because the shoulder paddings are not usually thickly padded enough.
4. They are available in many sizes with handy organizational features
If you want options, Patagonia is ready to indulge you.
When I checked their website, I saw that most of their backpacks are available in multiple categories so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
There are sizes: S/M (small/medium), L/XL (large/extra-large), and ALL, which are one-size-fits-all backpacks.
And you get to select a bag base on the carrying capacity you want- 20L and under; 21-30L, 31-45L, etc.
As if that’s not enough, you can make a selection based on gender- women, men, and unisex fit so you can better pick an option that truly fits flush against your back.
In addition, I like that many of these bags have organizational features like different compartments and pockets which can help arrange different items, which is why they are such a popular choice for travelers, commuters, and outdoor enthusiasts.
5. Patagonia offers a laudable lifetime warranty and repair programs
When I shop online, I want to be confident that the item I’m spending my money on will last and that, if there’s a problem, it will be fixed or replaced. I imagine you do too.
This is why one of my favorite things about Patagonia’s backpacks is their Ironclad Guaranteeand repair program.
If you’re ever in need of a repair, just take your Patagonia bag to an authorized Patagonia dealer, or directly to the company, and they’ll take fix it up for you.
Best of all, you can recycle old products.
According to Patagonia, recycling old Patagonia bags that you no longer wish to carry around can help cut waste by 20% to 30%, thanks to their Worn Wear recycling program.
Plus, you can even buy a used Patagonia bag at a lesser price!
I mean, how lovely is that?
I have frequently observed that Patagonia makes reliable, all-purpose backpacks.
I found that a Patagonia backpack will get the job done whether you’re heading out for a day hike, exploring a new city, or just need a reliable bag to bring your laptop and other everyday necessities to work.
Simply pick a bag size that you can carry around effortlessly; I suggest something between 20-40 liters.
And with their stylish design, they’re not only practical but also look great, while the durable construction ensures that your Patagonia backpack will withstand even the toughest conditions, making it the perfect choice for any adventure.
7. Patagonia makes different backpacks for different purposes
Patagonia makes different backpacks for different purposes- from travel backpacks to technical packs, and laptop daypacks as well as everyday packs.
Each type of backpack is designed with a specific purpose in mind.
So, if you’re looking for a backpack to take on a hike, you’ll want to choose a technical pack. but if you’re looking for a backpack to carry your laptop in, you’ll want to choose a laptop pack.
8. Patagonia is a sustainable and ethical brand with good customer service
As someone who values sustainability and ethical practices among manufacturers, Patagonia has always been a brand I admire and trust.
Patagonia stands out in the business for its devotion to doing good, from its use of environmentally friendly materials to its commitment to fair work standards and energy-efficient manufacturing processes to reduce waste.
Compared to North Face and other competitors, this company has a stronger environmental ethos and is considerably more transparent about its materials sourcing, supply chain, and sustainability approach.
Patagonia also works with suppliers who share their commitment to sustainability and also donates 1% of their profits to environmental causes.
Additionally, they have excellent customer service, which just increases my respect for the company.
There are reviews online where the brand is praised for their timely response, whether it’s with a return, exchange, repair services or just answering a question, which is a rare and refreshing find in today’s market.
So, whether you’re using your backpack to carry only the necessities for the day or a weekend camping trip, you can feel good knowing that you’re choosing a responsible brand.
Drawbacks of Patagonia backpacks
Even though Patagonia backpacks are good, there are still a few drawbacks you should know about:
Patagonia backpacks are expensive
As someone who is always looking for a good deal, I understand why some people might be put off by the price tag on Patagonia backpacks.
It’s no secret that they can be on the pricier side compared to other options on the market. However, I also know that you get what you pay for and that high-quality products often come with a higher price tag.
In the end, it all comes down to personal priorities and budget.
For some, the extra cost may be worth it for the peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re supporting a sustainable and ethical brand. For others, the cost might not be feasible and they may need to look for other, more affordable options.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, I would recommend checking out some of the other brands available like The North Face, or better still, wait for when Patagonia has sales!
They are more functional than they are fashionable
I personally don’t mind the aesthetics of Patagonia backpacks, but I’ve had friends and colleagues complain that they appear too technical and outdoorsy for their tastes. You may also share this sentiment.
Taste is relative, but what I do know however is that their backpacks can withstand even the most demanding situations, be it daily commutes, hikes, camping trips, or other outdoor adventures.
So if you’re looking for a backpack that will last you a long time and be able to take whatever you throw at it, I trust Patagonia backpacks to serve you well.
Just don’t expect to turn any heads with their bags.
If fashion is a big deal to you, you might want to look at more stylish and ethical brands like Fjällräven, Terra Thread, Everlane, United by Blue, Lo & Sons, etc.
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Limited backpack options compared to the competition
Patagonia has limited backpack options compared to its competitors like The North Face and Osprey.
So if you’re looking for a specific type of backpack like kid packs, mountain biking packs, trail running packs, or luggage, Patagonia likely won’t be your go-to.
But this is not always a disadvantage.
With the limited number of backpack options, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed when choosing the right one for your needs.
So while it may not have the widest selection, Patagonia is still worth considering when shopping for a new backpack.
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Other Backpack Brand Alternatives
There are other backpack brands out there that can be compared to Patagonia backpacks in terms of innovation, design, durability, and other cool features.
Let’s take a look at these three;
The North Face
The North Face is widely regarded as a reliable backpack brand and a great alternative to Patagonia.
Since 1966, the brand has been in the game of producing some of the finest gear, including the popular Borealis, Surge, and the Jester backpack.
And a majority of its backpacks come with a lifetime warranty.
Compared to Patagonia, North Face offers quality gear at a much more affordable price, making it a great option for budget-minded shoppers.
Also, North Face has a wider range of options than Patagonia, so you’re sure to find something that fits your needs and style.
All in all, the two brands are top competitors known for manufacturing backpacks that are made from durable materials and construction, so you know they’ll last.
Related: Are North Face Backpacks Worth it?
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If you’re looking for an alternative to Patagonia, Osprey is a great option.
They’re both renowned brands in the outdoor world that focus on quality and performance, so you can be sure you’re getting a high-quality product no matter which one you choose.
Osprey produces a wider range of products including backpacks, travel bags, sleeping bags, outdoor gear, and more.
They come in different sizes, colors, and styles, so if you’re looking for something specific, you may want to stick with them.
Plus, Osprey has some of the best packs and bags on the market with raving reviews praising its years of hard service!
However, Patagonia has a stronger focus on environmental sustainability than Osprey, so if that’s important to you, they may be the better brand.
Although both companies are renowned for their high-quality backpacks, I believe GORUCK outperforms Patagonia in terms of durability and toughness.
And I have facts to back this up.
The military-grade, heavy-duty materials used in GORUCK backpacks, like 1000D Cordura fabric and YKK zippers, along with strict quality control, ensures that they will hold up to hard use and weather.
Backpacks from Patagonia, on the other hand, are often made from lightweight, eco-friendlier materials, like recycled nylon and polyester. These materials are strong, but they are not as resilient as those used to make GORUCK backpacks. Although these materials are strong, they are not as resilient as those found in GORUCK backpacks.
In addition, I’d argue that GORUCK packs are designed for more rigorous use.
These packs are more tactical and are designed to be high performing in demanding environments like long-term travel, rucking and ruck workouts, making them perfect for hauling hundreds of pounds up mountains regularly.
And similar to Patagonia’s warranty and repair program, I also appreciate that you get to use your GORUCK bag for a very long, long time thanks to their Scars Lifetime Guarantee.
As you can see, Patagonia backpacks are durable and sustainably well-made.
However, I think GORUCK would be preferable if you want something more rugged and able to withstand the abuse of a tough outdoor adventure.
Closing Thoughts – are Patagonia backpacks good?
Yes, I believe Patagonia backpacks are good.
For years, regular commuters and outdoor enthusiasts like myself, who prefer sustainably made and functional backpacks that can withstand any trip, have long favoured Patagonia backpacks.
And even though they are not as affordable as North Face or as rugged as GORUCK packs, I still think you won’t regret purchasing a Patagonia backpack for a very long time,
It’s obvious I’m a fan of this brand, and I’m curious whether you are, too (or not). Have you used any of their bags?
I would like to know your thoughts in the comments!
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