Fiona Outdoors logo My independent guide to the best of Scotland outdoors

Review: Montane women’s Trailblazer 18l running pack

Written by Fiona

August 22 2023

I have been testing the Montane women’s Trailblazer 18l running pack. It is close-fitting, lightweight and designed for fast-paced activities. There is a men’s version.

Features of Montane women’s Trailblazer 18l running pack:

  • Women’s fit: Customisable, body-hugging women’s COVALENT harness
  • Click & Go chest strap: Two off-centre chest harness straps
  • Multiple pole attachment points to customise pole carrying
  • Two harness pockets with zips
  • External storage: Front daisy chain with reflective detailing and clips for external storage
  • Large side pockets: Accessible, wrap-around wand pockets with zips
  • Hydration compatible: Fast access hydration bladder pocket
  • Internal Organisation: Pockets and sleeves to organise items
  • Made from: RAPTOR Cross Lite 70 Denier fabric, CONTACT Air Mesh Plus on harness, HALO lining.
  • One size
  • Weight: 440g
  • Colours: Red, blue, black
  • Price: £80
  • See: Montane Trailblazer 18l pack

Also read another review: Montane women’s Trailblazer 24l pack

On test: Montane women’s Trailblazer 18l running pack

I was looking for a medium size running and fast-hiking pack that is large enough for a full day of summer activity. The 18l is a great size for this and I can easily fit in lightweight waterproof jacket and over-trousers, insulated jacket, spare long-sleeve baselayer, hat and gloves, bivvy bag, map, compass, food and water. I used a hydration bladder with tube that fits neatly into a compartment at the rear of the pack.

Even when full the pack still feels comfortable on my back. The pack can be adjusted to fit at the side of waist (around the torso), at the front and on the shoulder straps. Because I am quite slim, there is an excess of strap that hangs down and I have had to tuck is away to stop if flapping annoyingly. (Note to self: I Tie up some excess strap with bands.)

You can move the two chest straps up and down the pack to gain a comfortable fit. This will be of most use if you are a woman with a larger chest. Once in place, the chest straps stay on the pack. (Previous issues with Montane packs have been that the chest straps fall off! See my Montane Gecko review.)

The chest straps are a little fiddly to do up each time you use them. I’d personally prefer a solid clip-in system, although Montane’s Click & Go set up is fine. It’s just a bit of an “exact” system and if you have poor near-sight it’s not always easy to align the clip to attach it. The small pulls that you use to undo the chest strap can get in the way when attaching, too.

When fully adjusted, the pack stays nicely in place higher up on the back whether I am walking or running. I have not suffered any rubs or irritations.

I’d love to see Montane adding the velcro adjustor strap to the pack at waist height rather than the basic clip strap.

The rear of the back is made of vented material but it does rest on the back so when it s hot or you are working hard, the pack does cause sweat. This is the same for most packs and I don’t find it to be too much of an issue.

The quality of construction is very good and I have found Montane packs to be durable.

There is a lot of storage space. The large main compartment is accessed from a long top zip. When fully opened the zip does “leak” kit so I tend to open it only half. It has a useful two-way zip, too.

The external pocket on the rear has a one-way vertical zip. There are some useful internal sleeves for arranging kit.

The other pockets, placed around the pack at waist height and on the front of the pack are excellent. There is a zipped pocket I can use for my large iPhone (this is an essential requirement in my opinion). The two side pockets are stretchy and have top zips. You can stash a lot of small items in these pockets for easy access.

This is not a pack especially suited to small soft flasks. I guess you could stow them in the front zipped pockets but it’s easier to carry water in a rear bladder.

There is further storage options if you want to use a daisy chain system. Personally, I’d rather see a stretchy mesh external stash pocket. If there is one area that Montane could improve and it’s adding a stretchy outer pocket because this would be useful for adding extra items to the pack.

There are different options for carrying poles. I like the poles attached to the rear of the pack, vertically, because it keeps them out of the way.

Conclusion: Overall, I really like the pack. It’s a great size, very comfortable to wear, stays neatly in place, has lots of storage and it’s a reasonable price.

More Like This


Review: Artilect W-Exposure Long Sleeve Top


Review: New INOV8 Roclite Mid GTX boot


Ewan Brown sets new Highland Cross record and Cat Graves retains female title


Book review: Running Challenges: 100 of the best runs across Great Britain


Essential tips for students who want to start running


The benefits of adding a gazebo kit to your outdoor living space