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REI Ridgeline 65 Backpack

REI Ridgeline 65 Backpack – Back to the basics backpack.

REI has taken the basic backpacking pack and given it some modern day features. You won’t find a wide assortment of bells and whistles here. What you will find is all the necessities you would expect to find on a good backpacking backpack. Quality craftsmanship and well thought out design are the features that make the REI Ridgeline 65 Backpack really shine. If you are a recreational backpacker who is looking for a good backpack that can handle a variety of trip in a variety of locations, the REI Ridgeline 65 Backpack is it.

Make no mistake, just because the REI Ridgeline 65 Backpack isn’t bogged down with tons of special features, pockets, and straps, does not mean that it is a sub par and cheaply made backpack.

Rather than overloading you with a number of features that you would probably never need, REI decided to concentrate on the stuff that you will need and how they can make it better. By concentrating on the basics, they have turned a basic backpack design into an outstanding backcountry staple. The end result is a work horse of a backpack that is ideal for multi day trips.

One such improved feature on the REI Ridgeline 65 Backpack is the hip belt. An important part of the pack, the hip belt helps to stabilize your load and take much of the weight off you back.

The hip belt on the REI Ridgeline 65 Backpack uses a special ActivMotion design that allows the belt to pivot as you move. This means that you get unrestricted movement and stability even when covering uneven ground or bouldering. This is just one of the many features that make the REI Ridgeline 65 Backpack such an awesome all around backpack.

The quick & dirty:

Where you can get one:
REI: $199

Why it rocks:

  • Perimeter-style, lightweight tubular aluminum frame provides structure without restricting movement, and it keeps pack weight low
  • ActivMotion hipbelt pivots as you move, delivering a balanced load by keeping it centered and stable as you move over uneven terrain
  • Precurved waistbelt is designed to wrap hip bones for a natural fit from day one
  • Hipbelt webbing system allows you to use a natural forward pulling motion for quick, easy cinching and precise adjustment
  • Precurved shoulder straps match your anatomy for nonbinding comfort on and off the trail
  • Durable molded-foam backpanel is designed to improve body contact comfort, with channels for air circulation to keep your back cool and dry
  • A rip-and-stick torso adjustment lets you dial in a precise fit for a variety of torso lengths
  • Enjoy dual access through the top-loading opening and the J-shaped, zippered, front-panel opening; zipper is water resistant
  • Removable top lid pocket with water repellent zipper lets you stash your essentials to bring into tent, so pack can stay outside or in vestibule
  • Hydration-compatible design features an internal reservoir sleeve and dual exit ports for drinking tube; hydration reservoir sold separately
  • Side compression straps secure both large and small loads for increased stability
  • Two side pockets—one zip and one mesh—hold water bottles, energy bars and other essentials you want close at hand
  • Hipbelt pocket stores those small essentials you want at your finger tips such as lip balm and sunscreen
  • Lash points on the other side of hipbelt let you attach camera and GPA pouches
  • Quick release straps on bottom of pack let you attach sleeping pad; tool attachment points on front of pack for lashing on trekking poles and ice axes
  • Durable nylon construction provides high abrasion resistance with low weight; polyurethane coated for weather resistance

Seat-of-the-pants rating: 10 out of 10

If you are looking for a quality, lightweight and stripped down backpacking pack, it’s hard to go wrong with the REI Ridgeline. If today’s stripped-down packs are a little too austere for your tastes, but full-featured packs are too heavy, you’ll find the Ridgeline just right. It’s light enough for weekend duty but doesn’t require a minimalist approach to packing. Plus, at 65 L, this pack is big enough that you can still throw that bottle of booze in your pack to enjoy by the campfire (though you’ll still be responsible for carrying it up the mountain).

Looking to Buy? Here’s where you can get one:
REI: $199