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Nathan Trail-Mix 7L review: a super-comfortable women’s hydration backpack at a good price

Lightweight, flexible and comfortable, the Nathan Trail-Mix 7L is wonderfully wearable

Nathan Trail-Mix 7L
(Image: © Nathan)

Our Verdict

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.

For

  • Nimble and agile
  • Gender-specific fit

Against

  • 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.

Specifications

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.