Review: The River pack


The River pack is a small pack for the trail where hydration is the key to finishing well. A long local day hike where your destination is a 14er, or a hot springs so secret threats must be made to get you to admit where they are. Runners will appreciate that it wears like a vest with the shoulder straps connected at the back. Result? It doesn't cut into your shoulders when fully loaded, like when your hydration system is topped off.

The River Pack


Made to move

A recent hike into Colorado's Indian Peaks Wilderness made it clear how nice it was to have a pack that moved as one with the body. This was most evident when hopping from boulder to boulder down a huge field of sofa-sized talus. To minimize pack bounce the sternum strap was adjusted down and the waist belt given an extra tug. With this lightweight pack the waist belt isn't for bearing the load, it's only two liters, as much as it's for holding the pack snug against your back, or loose, as the case calls for it. 

Small but Organized

There's a thin panel against your back. To get inside, open the horseshoe shaped zipper around the perimeter. It won't access the main compartment, but is perfect for stashing an extra layer that will add some insulation between your back and the water bladder so it stays cool longer. 

There are two main compartments – a main with zipper access up top, and a smaller front pocket.  Admittedly small in size, it's large enough for an extra layer, a few gadgets, a snack, and plenty of water (over two liters if you add water bottles in the side pockets). If you're running a hose for hydration the River has ports on either side. 

The River is great for short hikes, long runs and longer rides.