Cotopaxi® Nepal 65L Backpack Review
Call it Karma, but I was in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming reviewing lots of outdoor gear, but notably the Cotopaxi Nepal 65L backpack. We stopped beside a stream to pump water and take a rest when along comes a llama train, carrying in a bunch of gear for a group out of Idaho. It was the perfect photo op! There really wasn’t enough time to get to know the llamas.
Just the Facts:
Here is a quick list of form and features for the Cotopaxi Nepal 65L backpack review:
• Contoured, padded back panel with adjustable torso length
• Adjustable, padded mesh waist belt with zippered pockets
• Padded mesh shoulder straps with hydration clip and zippered phone pocket
• Removable top lid with internal organizer pockets
• Butterfly opening on main compartment for easy access
• Removable internal hydration sleeve doubles as an ultralight summit pack
• Two large front pockets, side water bottle pocket
• Top compression rope strap and configurable side compression straps
• Weight: 2220 g (4.89 lbs)
• Weight stripped, sans top pocket, rain cover, summit pack, and waist belts: 1540 g (3.39 lbs)
• Dimensions: 85x29x20 cm (33.45×11.4×7.87 in)
• S/M pack for torsos smaller than 45cm (17.7 in)
• M/L pack for torsos greater than 45cm (17.7in)
I have hiked hundreds of miles carrying backpacks of all sizes, shapes, and qualities. The range of experience backpacking under so many diverse loads and circumstances make me especially qualified to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to backpacks.
The Cotopaxi Nepal 65L backpack belongs in the elite class of backpacks. It is a serious resource for serious-minded outdoorsmen who need to carry in a lot of gear and who want that experience to be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. I say “as possible,” because every time I am fully loaded and climbing up switchbacks I think “really, I’m doing this again?!!”
This pack was extremely comfortable. I cannot stress how well it kept the load next to my body and the weight on my hips. Sometimes you get the impression that the shoulder straps are cutting an arc into your core, but not so with these shoulder straps. They are comfortable and well designed. I was able to adjust the bearing points easily during the 15-mile trek in, either asking more of the shoulder straps or backing off them a bit.
The Cotopaxi Nepal backpack is made with top-grade materials. It has so many truly great design features that to list them risks missing a few. I’m still going to try.
• The removable hydration sleeve is genius. It has straps and is designed as a UL daypack. I filled it with food and a raincoat for our shorter day hikes.
• The rain cover has its own compartment at the bottom of the pack and it pulls out and protects the pack in a slick 5 seconds. It could not be simpler to use.
• The pack in contoured to fit your body like a glove. And it does. I have never carried this much weight any more comfortably. I packed in right at 55 pounds and I went 15 miles with about 6600 ft of total elevation gain. I know, for a fact, that I could not have completed that first day’s hike with some of the lesser backpacks I have used.
• I loved the contoured zip on the main compartment. I could reach anything in my pack in a matter of seconds.
• Daisy chains on either side of the pack to accommodate as much external gear as you want to strap on!
• The adjustable side compression straps are a beautiful thing. I’ve included a photo to illustrate how you can move these straps up or down the daisy chains on either side to accommodate whatever you are carrying. What a brilliant idea.
In summary, I give the Cotopaxi Nepal 65L backpack the following marks (of a possible 5):
Durability – 5
Comfort – 5
What They Could Do Better:
I’d like to have a camera pocket on one of the shoulder straps. I kept my camera in one of the pockets on the belt. These pockets were pretty small and I didn’t have a lot of use for them. I think Cotopaxi could provide a couple of slightly larger pockets, one for my camera with easy access, and at least one more where I could easily get to my food without breaking stride. I’d like to be able to get to my trail food without having to stop—and have those pockets large enough so I could fit several things in there to choose from.
Overall, just stellar, Cotopaxi! This is a great company who gives back a portion of all proceeds. They donate to real causes, making a difference in this world. I think this company has a future because they do things right. Get a Cotopaxi Nepal!