LivingTravelReview: KING Traverse 30 Day Pack

Review: KING Traverse 30 Day Pack

Update, February 2017: The REI Traverse 30-Day Pack is no longer available from the manufacturer, although you can still find it second-hand or elsewhere.

REI has introduced the Traverse 28 instead, a slightly smaller and narrower package available in men’s and women’s versions, with added features like a large pocket for wet clothes on the back. Read more about that model here.


 Finding a good multipurpose pack for city, hiking, and travel use is a challenge.

Each of those environments has different requirements, and trying to make a package that is useful everywhere often results in one that is not very useful anywhere.

When my old backpack started to fall apart, I wasn’t too upset, it had always been too small for my liking. I wanted a bigger, sturdier package that could handle day hikes, weekend trips, and everyday use, and I finally settled on the REI Traverse 30.

After several months of use, this is how it goes.



With a sculpted foam back, adjustable straps and hip belt, and a metal frame, the Traverse definitely looks like a pack made for walking. Combined with the external holders for water bottles and hiking poles, plus an internal sleeve for a hydration pack, there’s no question that it was designed with long days on the trail in mind.

Unsurprisingly, the herd has performed well for both short and long hikes. I even used it on the Camino de Santiago, a five-week walk through northern Spain, and was very happy with the performance.

The straps are easy to adjust to keep the weight on my hips, and the airflow through my back means I haven’t been sweating too much even in hot conditions. The soft pocket on the top is useful for carrying sunglasses or my phone, as long as you remember to take out other metal objects first.

My only criticism would be that it is difficult to remove and replace the water bottles while using the pack; usually you will have to stop if you want a drink.



The Traverse works well for carrying everything I need each day: usually a laptop, a book or an e-reader, a bottle of water, a jacket or warm clothes, and a few other things. While it is relatively large for a ’round city’ bag, it is still compact enough to be able to take crowded trains without disturbing other people.

The two side pockets are quite roomy, allowing me to keep smaller items separate from the main compartment rather than digging into the bottom of the bag when I need them.


To travel

I use the pack in two different ways while traveling. As I move from place to place, take my electronics and other valuables. Since I also wear a full-size backpack, I strap a Traverse over one shoulder and carry it that way.

It’s probably not the most ergonomic approach, but it works well enough even with the combined weight of a laptop, camera, Kindle, and more.

Where the Traverse really shines is on weekend trips. The 30-liter capacity feels huge compared to my previous package, with more than enough room for everything I need for a night or two.


other thoughts

From a security perspective, the Traverse gets a pass, but only on its own. The main compartment has two zippers that can be locked with a small padlock or combination lock, but the top, side and hip pockets are closed with a single zip and cannot be secured in any way. If you carry this bag in crowded spaces, first transfer anything valuable to the main part of the bag.

However, a nice added safety feature is the bright orange clip that doubles as a safety whistle.

The dimensions of the bag are well thought out – it’s small enough to carry in your airline carry-on, as long as it’s not completely full, and it easily fits under airplane and bus seats.

Any bag that is used every day should be durable. The base is made of a waterproof and abrasion resistant material, which came in handy recently after discovering that it had been sitting in a puddle of water for an hour. The metal zippers are great and reliable, and so far the package shows no real signs of wear.

Overall, if you’re looking for a robust, multipurpose day pack that won’t break the bank and is equally at home on the road and on a night flight, the REI Traverse 30 is worth considering.

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