Hey gang,

I’m back from a little winter hiatus. The holidays can be a bit of a hassle, trying to balance, work, travel and shopping but Trail Mix is rolling along again so let’s get after it.

Sooooooo, a Christmas present to myself just showed up at the house this week and I wanted to show you guys.

It’s a Pa’lante V2 Pack and already I’m saying it’s the best backpack I’ve ever owned. Now if you’re a bells-and-whistles guy or gal, then this pack is NOT for you. It’s called the Simple Pack for a reason. It’ basically just a tube that you can cram stuff into, with a few little touches that separate it from most other ultralight packs I’ve seen. (I’d bet pretty good money that there are not too many UL packs I have not seen or researched at this point.)

But rather than a full review I thought I’d point out the cool features on this thing  and the one thing I’m not crazy about. A couple things to consider first. This is an ultralight pack, weighing under 15 ounces total. You really should not carry more than 20 pounds in this thing because it will likely be pretty uncomfortable. It does have a stashable hip belt that can help you balance weight if need be, but that’s not really how this pack is intended to be used. It’s for traveling light and fast.

Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get to a couple things that are smart.

First, when you open this pack the whole way, the mouth is huge. It appears to be designed so that you can pretty clearly see inside the pack and get stuff in and out easily without fumbling with a narrow top. I didn’t realize how important this was until I had a pack in which the opening was narrow. It sucks and is now something I strongly consider in a pack. So good job by the guys at Pa’lante for doing this right.

The opening at the top is really wide. Smart design.

Next, lets talk about the stretchy nylon on the shoulder straps. These little pockets are killer. I’m always fighting for a place for my phone when I hike because I use it to take a lot of photos. This pocket is perfect for that. I’ll likely use the other one for a small canister of bug spray.

Now, the genius of this bag is the bottom and is the thing that sold me on the pack. There’s a pocket on the very bottom, made out of a stretchy material. What good is that you ask? Well, I’m gonna tell ya! It’s designed so you can keep food in it so you don’t have to stop hiking to grab a snack. Just reach around with one hand and pull out a snack. It’s brilliant. It’s one of those ideas that I’m guessing other pack makers are rushing to imitate. When I hike I don’t want to stop unless I need to so this is huge for me. In my ideal world, a backpack will be made in a way that allows me to access everything I need during the day without having to open the pack. I don’t want to open that thing until I’m in camp. That might seem like a small thing but  having to load my pack once in the morning is all I want to do. I prefer if everything else is accessible without having to dig around inside the pack. Pa’lante, which is owned by avid hikers, gets this and that’s how it’s designed. By the way, the stretchy has a wide opening on one side and on the other is a small hole. It’s a place to tuck wrappers and trash after you’re done eating, basically separating trash from food. Dang, that’s smart.

The famed bottom pocket. This works as good as advertised.

If I have one complaint, it’s the side pockets. I wish they were just a tiny bit deeper. The Smart Water bottle I typically use feels like it’s going to fall out, especially when I have my Sawyer filter on top. In fairness, it hasn’t fallen out but I’d just love a little more depth. I’ll adjust.

The side pocket is my only minor complaint. I wish it was a little deeper.

I’m looking forward to getting this out for a few days soon, but I’m not much for sleeping outside when it’s 3 degrees so that might have to wait, but I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going. For now, I’m breaking it in as a bag I carry around daily with my running clothes and lunch. Lol!

If you want more information on the company and their packs, head here. These packs are not always in production, so if you see them for sale, don’t wait. Go pick one up!

Until next time, friends!