Northern Wilds Magazine
Photo credit to Ben Byron

Cotopaxi Kilimanjaro 20L Backpack


Photo credit to Ben Byron
Photo credit to Ben Byron


Until recently it seemed backpack shopping presented two choices: function (techy-looking and pricey), or form (maybe cheaper and more subtle looking, but not so great for technical use). Well, the Cotopaxi Kilimanjaro 20L achieves both with aplomb. Its slim, compact design is both attractive and functional. On a recent day hike off the Gunflint Trail, the pack ably held many extra layers (necessary for my overprepared self in the near-zero temperature), snacks, and a water bottle with hot tea. There was still plenty of room to spare. The pack is deceptively cavernous with a large main compartment (including a lightly padded laptop sleeve), two outside front zipper pockets, and slide pockets on either side perfect for a water bottle. Most notable is the pack’s thoughtful design. The fit is impeccable, because it tapers slightly toward the bottom. This gives it a sleek look and, for me, it’s a very functional shape. Unlike most packs which dwarf me, the Kilimanjaro is low-profile and doesn’t stick out past my body, preventing it from getting caught on brush and branches. The pack is comfortable, too. It has padded fully adjustable shoulder straps, and lightweight chest and waist straps integrated seamlessly into the design. The look is a modern twist on slightly retro rucksack styling, and is made of durable water resistant nylon/cotton canvas with a tough leather base. The Kilimanjaro is offered in eight different colors at An added bonus: Cotopaxi is a benefit corporation, donating part of its profits to organizations working to alleviate poverty worldwide.—Kate Watson

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