TrailLite Designs Bandoleer Pack Update

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    Jamie Shortt
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Carolina

    I wanted to post an update to my original review of the TrailLite Designs Bandoleeer Pack. The original review/trip report can be found here.


    This second trip with the pack involved 40+ miles over 2 days through the Shining Rock Wilderness/Pisgah National Forest. The elevation went from 3400' (Big East Trail Head) to several 6000'+ foot peaks including Cold Mountain, Tennent Mountain, and Black Balsam.

    Here are a few pics showing the pack's pockets and one strap design.

    Bandoleer 1
    Bandoleer pack on top of Shining Rock

    Bandoleer 2
    Single shoulder strap on Shining Creek

    My base weight for this trip was 5.3 lbs with 2 days of food and 1 liter of water the pack's total weight was 9.9 lbs. On this trip like my previous trip I found the single strap design to be extremely comfortable. The Bandoleer pack can be worn with many configurations (see previous report for details). I would say 80% of my hiking this trip was done with a single shoulder. I really liked grabbing the pack, throwing it over my should and hitting the trail. Nothing complicated, just pure simplicity.

    Worn with shingle shoulder strap
    Worn with single shoulder strap

    Hiking with single shoulder strap
    Hiking with single shoulder strap

    I will note that the pack can swing forward easily when hiking with one strap. This makes getting to the outside pocket near the worn shoulder easy. Simple grab the pack, pull it forward to reach your water, take a drink, put bottle back in and swing pack. This allows for easy access without stopping. I could reach both pockets without swinging forward but this was difficult. I did trip once and the pack swung forward pulling me off balance. I found it best to add the additional straps (second cross strap and waist strap) when covering broken ground or carrying heavier load (3.5 lt water+food+gear).

    Packing the pack…I started with a 38" CCF pad that was coiled and dropped into the pack. Next I put my quilt and down jacket into the bottom. Then I put my tarp and bivy in. On top of that I had 2 stuff sacks. One with food and the other with camp items/clothing. In 2 side pockets I put 1 liter water bottle in one and GPS & Cell phone in the other. In the large back pocket went my trail snacks, rain jacket, and empty 2 liter water bottle. In the pocket on the strap I put my chlorine doixide tabs and swiss army knife (classic). I found the pocket setup to be ideal.

    Gear that went into Bandoleer Pack

    Shining Rock Gear List

    I rarely if ever had to go into the main pack. At water stops I quickly had my purification tabs, my lunch was easy to access, water bottle without a stop, and rain jacket if needed. I would consider adding 1/2" to 1" to the side pocket width. A 1 liter platy fit snuggly into the side. I like how the cords run through the large back pocket. This is a cool way to integrate the compression system with the pocket. I have not seen this elsewhere.

    The overall pack volume is trim. I'm guessing its maybe 1500 cu in in the main body. I find it perfect fit for 5-7 lbs base weight with a couple days of food. If going beyond that I would it would be difficult to manage with such a small pack. The pack has a rather short extension collar. I suspect this was intentional as it would place the load too far diagonally beyond the hikers shoulder. I found the I liked not having the extension collar to fool with and would now prefer a shorter collar in a traditional pack.

    The pack continues to hold up nicely. I think this is a comibination of nice design (Thom Darrah/TrailLite Designs), nice craftsmanship (Chris Zimmer) and materials (heavy cuben/XPac). I'd recommed those who travel light and fast to give this pack a try when it is available.


    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern Oregon

    Thanks for the update to your original review. PM Sent.

    TrailLite Design

    David Chenault
    BPL Member


    Locale: Queen City, MT

    Very timely Jamie. I'm looking forward to using mine more when my bigger trips can finally be done without skis or snowshoes.

    IMO the sizing is perfect, it forces you to be darn light and that makes the one strap super comfy. My initial tendency was to snug the straps pretty tight, but after the first few hikes I've found that having them quite loose and relaxed is best. The second bottom strap (on the same side as the shoulder strap) ends up being very loose and just doing a bit of stabilization.

    Brian Hall
    BPL Member


    Nice review Jamie! The Shining Rock area has some great views, my avatar pic is from Ivestor Gap just below Tennent mountain. Where is the creek in the pic labeled shining creek? Is it above Shining Rock?

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