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From class to the trail.

Patagonia's Refugio Backpack transitions from campus to hiking trails with ease. Just take your laptop out of the pack's padded pocket to leave space for your hydration reservoir. You can also replace your school books with snacks and trekking poles, or you can take it all with you just in case you get inspiration to finally write that essay. Air Flow mesh makes the shoulder straps and back panel comfortably breathable and plush, and Patagonia built the rest of this backpack out of a highly durable polyester, and treated it with a water-resistant coating for protection.

  • Air Flow mesh shoulder straps and back panel
  • Recycled polyester with DWR coating
  • Padded laptop sleeve or hydration reservoir
  • Secondary compartment with organizers
  • Small pocket, side stretch pockets
  • Basic compression straps

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Here's what others have to say...


Good Quality Backpack

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times

This pack is really well built. I originally bought it for school but found it was just to small for everything I needed to carry. Four large college textbooks, laptop, 3 notebooks, etc etc. So I went and purchased a larger bag but kept this guy and use it for work or for short hikes to bring lunch with etc. I love the bag and it fits well and is comfortable to be wearing! I would recommend this bag.


Patagonia, we love you.

  • Gender:Male
  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

This was purchased to use primarily for school, my nephew heading into fifth grade and it was a hit! It'€™s the perfect size with plenty of space for books and a water bottle, but it doesn't overwhelm his small frame. He says it much more comfortable than his previous school backpacks (from Pottery Barn and Lands'€™ End). The separate compartments make it easy to organize everything and it seems very durable. After six weeks of hard use by an eleven-year-old, it still looks brand new.

His parents couldn't be more pleased with the design and durability. I have purchased the smaller Refugio for my own son who is in kindergarten and it's the perfect size for overnight trips, school and hikes. Thanks again Patagonia for being so reliable!

Patagonia, we love you.

I'm looking to get this as a gift for someone who rides a motorcycle and takes his computer in his backpack. Can this backpack stand to be on the road in rain and the laptop inside won't get wet?

Best Answer

Hey Amanda,

I would not recommend this pack if you are looking for something waterproof.

I have an email headed your way with some recommendations of other packs to look at.

Eric Watford

Expert Gearhead



The Patagonia Black Hole 32L pack would be a great choice for a waterproof pack with a laptop sleeve.


Not the largest but it's durable

  • Familiarity:I returned this product before using it

I ended up keeping a North Face pack instead and returned this one for a couple reasons. Everyone's opinion and needs are always different but I didn't find 28L to be large enough. TNF Recon bag I bought instead is 32L and it seems SO much larger. Though I really liked the Underwater Blue color, it just didn't have enough compartments and seems like it was just big enough for a short hike or small day pack for a city walk or something. I know Patagonia makes quality stuff but it also was lacking a good amount of padding compared to the other bags I was comparing.

Unanswered Question

How is this pack on hiking trips?


really nice backpack!

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times

The structure of the bag is great! It is super durable and has a lot of compartments to organize all of your things! The only two drawbacks are that the side pockets are very tight so it is hard to fit a water bottle in them easily... Also the straps are very rough so it kind of hurts if it is directly on your skin, however I would look over this aspect because the backpack is super functional! I love the little compartment at the top for my phone and charger and I can fit my rain jacket in the front along with my pencils/pens and calculator and computer charger for school. This backpack is super for school but since it has all the compartments for pens and computer and stuff I feel as though it might not be the best use of space for an intense hiker! But for day trip hikers it should be quite fine!

Would a 15 in mac fit in the laptop sleeve?

Hey Haley,

The main compartment has a padded, raised sleeve that closes with a buckle and holds most 15-in. laptops.


Great school to everything bag.

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

I have only had this bag for a year and it is a PHENOMENAL bag. I use it primarily as a school bag and it has been perfect. Keeps gear dry in all kinds of weather and the only time my gear was even slightly damp was during a severe storm/tornado conditions. It's super roomie and I can stuff my school things and extra clothes and I still have room for more. I love the daisy chains on it, I clip everything from a rain coat to my climbing gear to it. Over all a great bag and worth the investment.



...and here's how it looks when it's comfortably packed! Still has enough room for, say, an extra Nalgene or a harness, a few protein bars, and some small odds and ends.


Perfect for travel and the trail!

  • Gender:Female
  • Familiarity:I've used it several times

I'm about 5' 4.75", with somewhat broad shoulders and a long-ish torso. This backpack fits my back and my shoulders quite securely and comfortably, making it an excellent pack for traveling (perfect for carry-on!) and for wearing on a hike. ('In action' pics to come.)

SIZE & WEIGHT PROS: At about a pound and a half, this pack weighs just the right amount for a daily trip to school and a weekend at the crag and won't weigh you down. I routinely use it for couple days' worth of groceries, as well. If you're very picky about the weight of your backpack, there's also Patagonia's Ascensionist Daypack weighing in at 15 ounces.

SIZE & WEIGHT CONS: My boyfriend does not like the way this backpack fits, but he has the Fuego 32L model that seems a lot like the Chacabuco Backpack ( He has had his for over a year now and loves it; it fits his frame better, though it's heavier. He simply finds the Refugio 28L much too narrow for the top of his shoulders. He is about 6 feet tall and 160 lbs. with a fairly thin to normal frame and generally takes a size medium in 'stuff'. But as I've said, for me, this backpack is the perfect size.

PERFORMANCE PROS & CONS: Apart from a simple hanging thread stopping up the zipper a couple times, this backpack is nearly flawless when it comes to performance. The buckles, straps, and adjustors haven't given me any trouble at all. Though, I wish the water bottle holders were just a tad bigger for my Nalgene--it's sort of a struggle to fit it in the compartment since the tough, lower polyester panel doesn't stretch like the upper mesh panel does, but once it's in place it won't budge, which is especially nice while on a hike or riding your bike on a bumpy road. It would also be nice if the laptop compartment (combo hydration reservoir) opened up a little more. It has just the right amount of organization pockets, making it easy to organize your thangs n' such. Finally, the compressor straps on each side are perfectly placed lower on the body of the backpack; you don't have to unbuckle them just to get the side zippers all the way open.

NOTES ABOUT SIZE: Of course, if you're not too familiar with choosing backpacks, imagining how big or small 28L is--or 1709 cubic inches is, for that matter--does not come very intuitively. If you can, check a store nearby to see what it looks like and get a feel for the dimensions before purchasing online. I've posted a few detail pictures to show what kind of stuff fits in their comfortably.

BOTTOM LINE: I'm super happy with this backpack, but perhaps because it fits me just right. (Though, I of course love the design, performance, and color as well.) I can see why it might feel a bit narrow for people (especially men) with broader shoulders, though other (male) reviewers seem to swear by it!

Perfect for travel and the trail!

Very comfortable and great looking

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times

I've had this backpack for a little over a month and I've used it almost every single day. It's my go-to backpack for work where it always seems to be stuffed to the brim and I can hardly tell. Haven't had any issues with comfort thus far.

Typical Patagonia quality. Oh-and it looks great. I can always trust that my Patagonia stuff will be pleasing to the eye.

What are the dimensions of an X-Large?


Unbridled Quality

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

I have the previous version of this pack. I got it in 2011 and have used it everyday since. It's been my to-work laptop tote daily and has accompanied on countless weekend trips. From mountains to desert to narrow sandstone slot canyons that are incredible abrasive, this pack has held up beautifully .I will not hesitate to update to the new version one day down the road if my current one ever wears out, which as of now it's not even close to doing. Provides a nice shady respite for felines in the desert too.

Unbridled Quality

In her natural habitat!

Read more about Millie the climbing cat here: