This is a super-comfortable, airy, flexible, easy-wearing pack for a fun adventurous day on the trails, and it’s available at a good price.
- Nimble and agile
- Gender-specific fit
- Hydration tube is extremely long and fiddly
- Not much storage space
Nathan Trail-Mix 7L: first impressions
For its relatively cheap price, the super-comfortable Nathan Trail-Mix 7L vest stands out as a real gem.
Our first thoughts were that, while space is limited when compared to some other hydration packs we tested (see: Best hydration packs), there is still sufficient storage for a day’s adventuring. You can easily pack in required gear such as a raincoat or windbreaker, snacks and other essentials.
We particularly liked the simple, convenient way that storage is arranged, with two deep, zippered pockets in the back plus three easy-to-access stretchy pockets up front for an easy-grab of your phone, gels or sunscreen. If you’re more of a stuffer than an organizer, then having fewer, bigger pockets works better than loads of little ones (see also: Best women’s hiking backpacks).
Hydration is well-served by a 2L bladder that sits in the back, and a drinking tube is secured up front with a sternum clip. There was some fussing with the tube to find best placement for it so the hose didn’t rub against a shoulder or arm, yet the nozzle didn’t flop down against the abdomen. An option would be to cut the tube once you know the best length, but I found that securing it underneath the sternum straps worked just fine. If you’re not a bladder fan, you can sink an 18 oz bottle (not included) into a pocket up front. All in all a good argument why you should buy a hydration pack.
• RRP: $100 (US) / £85 (UK)
• Weight (empty): 312g / 11oz
• Hydration capacity: 2L hydration bladder (included)
• Gear capacity: 7L
• Colors: Sangria / Magenta Purple / Sky Blue
On the trails
In short, the Nathan TrailMix 7L has proved itself to be A+ for a trail running day out. My minor complaint about the hydration tube still stands. That said, I've used soft bottles in the front pockets instead of a bladder and… problem solved (though the pack doesn't then carry enough water for a super-big day). I think I could sub in another bladder to carry more water, but this would, of course, compromise the space in back for jackets and so on.
The pack’s gender-specific design helps dial in fit, but that said, we also got a running buddy to test the male version, and found it could be quite easily adjusted to suit both genders. However, if you’re a woman who is either large-chested or more petite in stature, consider seeking out the woman’s version for a more nuanced fit.
Hikers and trail runners will appreciate the elastic holders for stowing poles. Well-suited to trail running, day hiking, scrambling.
A seasoned writer and editor in the endurance sport space, Casey has worked with top athletes and coaches on training books and memoirs. A regular contributor to Women's Running, she especially loves writing about running and hiking adventures, which have taken her on trails around the world – including to the Indian Himalaya, the DMZ in Korea and the Tibetan Plateau. She lives in Colorado, where she’s slowly chipping away at hiking all the state’s ‘14er’ mountains.
All the latest inspiration, tips and guides to help you plan your next Advnture!
Thank you for signing up to Advnture. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.