Patagonia Refugio Daypack 30L Review

Patagonia Refugio Daypack 30L Review
Patagonia Refugio Daypack 30L Review

I’d been searching for a new bag for a long time. It’s arguably my most important travel accessory—I use it daily on my commute to work, for weekends away in the camper, and when we head overseas.

My backpack is the one thing I carry almost all the time, so it needs to be the right companion for my needs.

As ever, I spent far too much time thinking about which bag should be my new commuting companion to make sure it was the right one.

After months of weighing the options (there are far too many), I finally chose the Patagonia Refugio Daypack 30L.

Patagonia Refugio Daypack 30L Review

The Patagonia Refugio Daypack comes in two sizes: 26L and 30L. Apart from the size, they also look slightly different. I opted for the larger of the two for the extra space and bungee cords, so this review is about the 30L.

Overall, The Patagonia Refugio is a great bag, and I recommend it if you’re in the market for a new commuter bag.

One thing that really interested me about Patagonia is its supposed sustainability. They have established themselves as a force for good by pledging 1% of sales to preserve and restore the natural environment, and they use almost 90% recycled materials across their range.

This isn’t all; they also avoid using forever chemicals, conduct repairs for free where they can, and are B Corp certified.

The Refugio 30L uses 100% recycled polyester and a PFC-free water-repellent finish.

Despite this, I’m still sceptical about any company’s environmental pledge.

However, the lengths Patagonia go to that other companies don’t might help sway your decision to buy their products. It was undoubtedly a factor for me, and I’ve done as much research as possible to confirm they go beyond most other companies.

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Pros & Cons


  • Good value for Patagonia
  • Spacious
  • Comfortable
  • It stands up on its own


  • Expensive for a backpack (despite being a cheaper option for Patagonia!)


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Comfort & Fit

The Patagonia Refugio Daypack 30L is comfortable; there’s no doubt about that. It sits higher on my back than I’m used to, which I’m thankful for because it gives my lower back some breathing space (you know, to help avoid a sweaty back!).

The shoulder straps can be tightened to pull the bag further up, and there’s also a chest strap (also known as a sternum strap).

The chest straps are small, don’t get in my way, and are occasionally helpful, mainly when there’s a bit of weight in the bag. The chest strap helps to distribute the weight better by pulling some of the weight forward from your shoulders.

Thankfully, the backpack does not have a waist belt.

I’ve never found them to be much use, and when they aren’t in use, they dangle or sit tucked away at my lower back.

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Compartments & Pouches

The Patagonia Refugio 30L has three pockets, two side pouches and an external bungee cord.

The main pockets consist of a small top pocket, a main compartment, and a thinner rear compartment for laptop and hydration hangar storage.

The small pocket lacks pouches inside, but the laptop storage makes up for it. The laptop pouch is removable, so don’t mistake it for a fixed one, which you get in most bags. The rear compartment gets a bit confusing—it’s a laptop pouch, desk caddy compartment, and hydration hangar.

Look at it this way—it’s a compartment in which you can put a hydration bag and feed the straps through a hole so you can drink from it. The same compartment can also take the removable laptop pouch, which doubles up as the desk caddy because it has loads of additional pouches for other stuff. Wow.

Thanks to all this storage, you can fit a lot in the bag! It’s generously sized and also has an external bungee cord. It seems as much a design element as anything else, but it occasionally comes in handy when strapping in a light jacket if you’ve run out of space inside or want quicker access to it.

I like the small top pocket for storing bits and pieces, like headphones and a camera cleaning cloth, but I wouldn’t mind a zipped pocket or two in there. Oddly, though, when there’s a lot of stuff in the top pocket, the bag becomes top-heavy and a bit bulgy. To help you visualise this, if you were to look at the bag from the side, it would look like a B. It’s not an issue; it’s just a bit weird and unbalanced visually.

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The zips demand comment because zips can be annoying when they stick. You know what I’m talking about. In the case of the Patagonia, they don’t stick or catch and run smoothly.

I love the side pouches on the Patagonia, too. They are mesh and offer a good amount of flex. So, even if you have stuff wedged in the bag, the side pouches will still stretch enough to fit a decent-sized bottle in, unlike previous bags I’ve had where it becomes difficult to fit bottles in the sides when the bag is full because the pouches are the same material as the bag and lack flexibility.

There are straps on either side of the bag, just about the pouches. I thought they were compression straps for pulling the sides in when the bag was empty. However, on a London bus heading to the top deck, my bottle fell out and bounced down the steps. Then, I realised the straps were to hold things in the pouches and not for compression! Oops.

That just about wraps up the review. If you’re after a new bag, the Patagonia Refugio 30L is a good option—spacious, comfortable, and about as environmentally friendly as you will get from a large company.

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