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Patagonia womens packs

Patagonia has recently launched a new series of daypacks to include more recycled materials, fit and comfort improvements, three of which have been designed for women’s bodies: Refugio, Chacabuco and Paxat.

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

We were sent the Refugio to test-drive as summer travel season means loading up our bags and getting out to explore!

Patagonia Refugio backpack

All three packs are created in two sizes: a men’s 28L and women’s 26L. The shorter torso length, narrower straps and soft-touch fabric of the 26L version are specifically designed for women. This is a vast improvement as packs often sit pretty square and hefty on my 5’4” frame.

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

I immediately notice the bag’s curvy padded straps as I try it on for size and fit. The Craft Pink colour scheme combines dark and light berry shades with light berry zippers and dark berry zipper pulls. It’s just the right size for a day out on the town, out in the wilderness or as an airline carry-on item.

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

The second feature to catch my eye are two water bottle/umbrella holders on each side, containing a stretch elastic on top with fine mesh material in case the pockets get wet. Here in Vancouver, that’s almost an essential feature!

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

Right down the front center of the pack is a full-length zipper that when unzipped reveals a panel for stowing travel documents, notebooks or local maps. Sturdy looping on either side of that space is handy for a small tripod or attaching lightweight items to via a carabiner.

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

The first of two sections includes a zipped pocket for a smart phone and net pocket (including a key fob) for passport, small notepad or earbuds. The only thing missing here to make this space complete is a pen holder.

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

Opening the main compartment reveals a roomy space for camera gear, wallet, phone and tech chargers, books and anything else you can pack in. On the rear panel’s a laptop sleeve to accommodate a 15” laptop plus a smaller lined pocket for an iPad (our iPad Mini 4 fits perfectly here).

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

Standard tablets fit too but the top half remains exposed — we have a cover on our iPad Air 2 for complete protection. Alternatively, the laptop compartment can accommodate a hydration reservoir. Near the top of the bag is a protected slot that you can weave the reservoir’s hose through.

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

A nice safety feature of the bag is adjustable side clips right where the zippers end. Inside the main compartment, a similar clip prevents the laptop from falling out should the bag land upside down while in transit.

Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack

There’s more than adequate padding on the back for comfort. If you don’t like the sternum strap, simply remove the two clips along the back panel webbing. Patagonia has really thought this detail through: there’s a series of webbing down those two straps to move the clips to suit your body type.

Patagonia Refugio backpack
[L to R: Navy Blue, Craft Pink, Elwha Blue]

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Material: 7.4-oz. 630-denier 100% nylon (50% recycled/50% high-tenacity) plain weave
Lining: 3.3-oz. 200-denier, 100% recycled polyester
Finish: DWR (durable water repellent) finish
Weight: 601 g (1 lb. 5.2 oz)

Patagonia Refugio backpack
[L to R: Buffalo Green, Birch White, Black]

The Refugio comes in several bright colours plus Birch White and Black and retails for $99 CDN/$89 USD. They’re available online as well as at Patagonia stores in North America. Non-watermarked images courtesy of Patagonia.

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