REI Ruckpack 40 Review | One Bag Travel Backpack (Men’s & Women’s Version)

If you’re looking for a highly functional travel pack that carries well and looks great, you can’t go wrong with the REI Ruckpack 40. We particularly like all the hidden features, but wish the laptop compartment had a bit more structure. View Details & Buy:

View Our Full Review:

In this review, we’re going to be checking out the Ruckpack 40 from REI—a one bag travel pack that offers a minimalistic form with some big functionality. And unlike most of the packs we test, we’re actually going to be discussing two versions of this one—because it comes in a men’s and women’s version.

If you’ve never heard of REI—maybe you’ve been living under a rock or deep in the jungle for the past couple decades—you should know that they’re a pretty freakin’ cool company. They’re an outdoor co-op that sells just about everything you could ever need for outdoor activities plus a whole lot more, including urban travel gear. They also donate a boatload of money to conservation and work pretty hard to achieve ethical and environmental excellence in their business.

And while they sell gear from a variety of companies, they also make their own stuff. Their own gear is mainly known for being budget-friendly and functional—and no surprise, the Ruckpack 40 fits that description perfectly. It stays true to REI’s technical focus, but a lot of things have been optimized specifically for urban travel. (Which is right up our alley…)

The REI Ruckpack 40 offers a solid carry with some great organization. The aesthetic is minimal and there are a bunch of hidden features on the outside that tuck away when not in use, providing a great blend of form and function. And although we do have a few nitpicks—mainly, the laptop compartment and non-hideable hip belt—there aren’t many glaring cons with this bag. We also like that REI has gone ahead and made a men’s and women’s version of this pack—it really helps optimize the carrying experience for any body type.

0:40 – Material & Aesthetic
2:20 – External Components
8:24 – Inside the Pack
12:43 – Durability & Testing
13:19 – Pros & Cons
13:59 – The Verdict

Mission Workshop Radian Review:
Aer Travel Pack 2 Review:
Heimplanet Monolith Weekender Review:
Peak Design Travel Backpack Review:
Tortuga Setout 45L Review:
View more backpack reviews on our website:

In this video, Tom Wahlin of Pack Hacker reviews the men’s and women’s version of the REI Ruckpack 40, a great one bag travel backpack.

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ryan webb says:

Is this carry on size? Arc’teryx Brize 25/32 review please?

Igor Fleury says:

Will you ever review Tom BIhn?

AafkeArt says:

I like that they have a men’s and women’s version. I don’t like that they assume all women are short. Which probably means that for me the hip straps are way too high. I also noticed (really good!) that the chest strap is much lower! I cannot really use most chest straps because, boobs….

Paul Ho says:

I would follow on Instagram if they offered the men’s pack in seaweed.

Nicolás Serrano says:

you still recomend the peak desing travel over this one? i need one carry on bag to travel and i still confused

Kyle Nixon says:

Without thinking about the price difference, would you rather use the Osprey Farpoint 40 or the REI Ruckpack 40?

Quan Masiello says:

Can you compare this to REI Ruckpack 65? Thanks

Louis Lee says:

Damn I think I’m gonna get this one over the 65

jalabi99 says:

I’m glad I came across your channel for the first time today. Such a thorough review. Great work, have a like and a new subscriber!

Michael Almassey says:

About to take this pack to Europe for 2 weeks. So far, it works super well!

Also, in regards to the laptop pocket; there is actually padded foam at the bottom of it. That along with the back mesh on the exterior and clothes on the interior, I haven’t needed to worry about using a padded computer sleeve.
In the end though it all depends on your preference.

Andal Alvar says:

The side system looks great, but I don’t understand why it the zip faces outwards, that just makes it less secure if you want to put phone/keys/wallet. The zip should face the wearers back.

ada PixeI says:

How do you feel the “5 liters” difference between this and the AER travel 2 ? I torn between thoses 2 and the setout but I can’t tell if the higher capacity has a big impact on the overall experience. Maybe I’m better off going for the AER (my favorite) and an extra packable duffel bag for when I bring back gifts or go heavy like for a cold climate.

Thanks for the review anyway !

Pack Hacker says:

Would you use the internal sleeve compartment for a hydration bladder or a laptop?

consumativ says:

Hey, thanks for sharing this review. Awesome video production.

Could I get your advice on this? I’m contemplating a purchase between this pack, Farpoint 40 and REI trail 40. Main use case is to bring it on long term travel but it needs to work as a backpacking pack as well. While I’m not very particular about the urban look, I need the strap to be sturdy enough to support a hike of 4 days to 2 weeks in the Himalayas. I’m a lady so I appreciate the details about the thickness of strap but still can’t quite make out the quality from the video. Also I live outside of the US so can’t test them out myself. Which of the pack would you recommend?

Daniel Rocha says:

This is a dope alternative to the GR3 which I will now never be able to afford.

senyum0 says:

Ykk made almost all the zipper in the world..

Gris Gonzalez says:

Love this back pack but afraid that it won’t pass as a carryon because of the dimension. Has anyone taken this pack as a carry on ?

edwxrds says:

finally a review! love this pack. picked it up at REI for under $100 during a sale. best value in this product category PERIOD!!! just as feature rich and almost as quality (not over the top) as anything $200+ on the market.


Hi could you do a review of REI Ruckpack 65????? #packhacker #REI

Mario Yañez-Tadres says:

hello!!!!, can you make a rviwe of the Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW??? its a 36 L. Thanks

jneb748 says:

Thanks for the review. I would have appreciate a lot more coverage and discussion on the main compartment. You guys spent nearly 10 minutes covering “external” areas and barely mentioned anything about the main compartment. Based on the screen at 11:54, it looks like it doesn’t even open entirely. Could you provide some comment on the main compartment please?

John C says:

I used the similar REI Trail 40 for the El Camino de Santiago in Oct. 2017. It was perfect for that application, very comfortable and survived the trip with minimal wear. It worked carry-on even though it was slightly over the TSA limit of 9x14x22. Hiking poles are not carry-on compatible so I checked them in a cardboard tube which was a major pain in the butt in Barcelona when they put them on a special carousel that was hard to find.

I tried out the Ruckpack 40 at my local REI loaded with 20 lbs of sandbags which was slightly more than my El Camino load. The Ruckpack 40 was not quite as comfortable as the Trail 40, but it was close.The waist and shoulder belts were both hide-able under a zippered flap on the Ruckpack 40 I tested so I was surprised when you said the waist belt wasn’t hide-able, although granted the waist belt is hard to get under the flap.

Dufffaaa93 says:

It’s too big for European airlines. I just checked and its too tall for carry on.

No carry on, no buy 🙁

Tay chia chang says:

i’m a 5’5 guy, would getting the female version pack be a better option?

808JOKER says:

Can you do review at KAKA travel outdoor backpack 2070 yh2 ( 50L)

Ruckus Rippers says:

I’m curious what you guys think of the Waymark Gear Thru 40 packs? Lighter weight and a bit simpler, but too simple??! idk

scootermcgoot says:

When I looked at this bag in person, I thought it was quite strange that the main compartment completely opens up and stuff can fall out of the top side. Seems like a dumb choice in my mind and i would guess I would lose stuff that comes falling out of the top side of the pack. especially when its really full

TheToeKnee216 says:

Another great review, Tom! I like that you guys have been adding bloopers to the end of each review, nobody is perfect and that adds a little something funny to each review.

I like most of the features of this bag. The pockets, all of the little hook places on the outside, rain cover, and compression straps. However, the hip belt is a deal breaker for me personally. I believe that should be a hide-able/removable feature.

Ben Dover says:

Mission Workshop Radian is $585!!! So about 5 of these REI bag. No. Bad comparison.

Joe V808 says:

I’ve traveled over 250,000 miles this year alone with this pack as my one-bag travel companion. One of the best luggage investments I’ve ever made, and the quality is still holding up after 10 months of continuous travel. I’ve checked it in, it’s been tossed around, the straps are fraying, but I love this pack. I’ve even used it for a 4 night backpacking trip! Not optimal, but it worked out great and was comfortable while trekking through New Zealand! The hidden daisy chains are my favorite feature

shugoreirocks says:

Great detailed review as always, and awesome, no frills shots of the actual bag. The overall shape and opening reminds me a lot of the Arcteryx Khard / Vanquest IBEX, and the side pockets of the Camelbak Trizip (this is a good thing IMO). Also, thank you for including the women’s version, and women reviewers across all your reviews! From a short girl with excessive bag/gear acquisition syndrom, it is much appreciated!

Matt Cobra says:

Hip Belt Hack – when all the straps are stowed away, you have to fold the hip belt down & buckle the flaps together to lay it down. when the shoulder straps back come out, you can leave the hip belt folded like this. It becomes out of the way & adds more cushion to lower back.

You’re right about the load lifters too. I thought they’d ruin my shoulder straps they’re designed so bad.

You all are so detailed. Love your reviews!

Holly Park says:

the side pull tabs for the zipper are looped. its like pacsafe and some other bags, when not in use, just slide the zipper through it so its harder for pick pockets to open up your pocket.

Eastern WA Nature says:

Black is a stupid color for outdoors. Not only is it hotter in the direct sun (not good for electronics or camera gear), but you also are seen by motorists less easily- especially in low light conditions. A lot of functionality and practicality is lost in looking so cool, isn’t it? Kinda like wearing some 3″ heels with mascara and tight pants…

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