Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Pa'lante Packs - Joey Review

Article by Markus Zinkl

Pa'lante Packs - Joey ($259.95)


In the world of ultralight hiking and backpacking, experienced hiker and self-taught designer, Andrew Bentz, recognized a need for a truly exceptional ultralight pack. Raised in Los Angeles and inspired by his adventures in the Sierra Nevada mountains, he took matters into his own hands after not finding the perfect pack on the market. This review explores the result of their collaboration, a pack that blends high-end materials with minimalistic aesthetics, designed to truly stand out and perform on the trail. Welcome to the world of Pa'lante Packs.

Tech Specs

Weight: 13.4 oz / 380 g

Sample Weight: 13.5 oz / 383 g    


Main Body: 24L

Outside Pockets: 3L (estimated)

18 inches torso length (only one size available)


Main Pack: 200d ultraweave and 70d nylon ripstop

Front/Bottom/Side Pockets: uhmwpe grid mesh

Shoulder Straps: spacer mesh

Hardware: 15mm nylon webbing, 10mm nylon webbing, aluminum g-hook, 10mm side release buckles, ladder lock buckles, sternum clips, cord locks, shock cord

Ultra weave consists of a 60% uhmwpe/ 40% polyester woven face laminated (heated/glued) to a recycled polyester film. This material is inherently waterproof due to it being laminated to a film backing. The high percentage of uhmwpe on the outer face makes it highly abrasion resistant.

Uhmwpe grid mesh is similar to Challenge Sailcloth’ Ultra Stretch. It’s a 66% nylon/21% uhmwpe/ 13% spandex blend. Pa’lante developed this mesh with their fabric mill in Korea when other uhmwpe grid meshes were no longer being produced. This mesh is extremely durable and stretches a good amount.


The Joey features a running vest-style harness, which is a significant plus for comfort and stability during long hikes or trail runs. It provides a secure and snug fit.

There are two chest straps on this backpack, enhancing its stability even further. They help distribute the weight evenly across your chest and shoulders.

Each shoulder strap boasts two ultra-stretch mesh pockets. One of these pockets is larger and closes with a bungee cord, making it ideal for storing larger items such as water bottles. The smaller pocket has a fold-over seam and is great for small essentials like snacks or a compact camera.

An attachment loop on each shoulder strap adds versatility, allowing you to hang or attach additional gear as needed.

The drawstring closure with a g-hook fastening system, reminiscent of Black Diamond distance vests, is a practical and secure way to close the main compartment of the backpack.

On the sides, you'll find a bungee cord with a hook, which serves dual purposes: it allows for compression of the backpack's contents and provides a means to secure additional items such as trekking poles.

The Joey also features two ultra-stretch mesh side pockets, perfect for quick access to water bottles or items you want to keep handy. Additionally, there's a large front ultra-stretch mesh side pocket, adding to the convenience of storing larger items.

At the bottom of the rear of the backpack, there's an additional ultra-stretch mesh pocket, providing even more storage options for gear or essentials you want to keep separate from the main compartment.

Lastly, the Joey has four attachment loops on the front, making it easy to secure additional gear or accessories, such as a sleeping pad or a rain jacket.

Overall, the Pa'lante Packs - Joey impresses with its thoughtfully designed features, making it a versatile and functional choice for outdoor enthusiasts and ultralight backpackers. The combination of its vest-style harness, multiple pockets, and attachment points makes it a compelling option for those seeking a well-designed backpack for their adventures.

Sizing and Fit

The pack comes only in one size with an 18 inch torso length. With my 19’’ inch torso, I didn’t find this to be a problem. The smaller a backpack gets and especially with running vest style shoulder straps, the correct size get’s less important. Only if you use a backpack with a hip belt and frame, is it crucial to get the size right. So that you can transfer the load optimally onto your hips. Frameless packs, like the Joey, rely solely on the shoulder straps and geometry to transfer the load comfortably. In my testing I found the less deep a pack is, the better handles the load. This makes sense, because this keeps the load closer to your back and your body. The Joey is the perfect example of how to carry the load extremely close to your body. Even maxed out with 2-3 days worth of food, the fit was on point, with minimal bounce, even while running.


In the performance department, the Pa'lante Packs offer a mix of pros and cons that are worth considering.

Starting with the pros, the backpack stands out for its amazing build quality. Craftsmanship is top-notch, reflecting meticulous attention to detail. It embodies the essence of minimalism at its finest, making it a visually appealing choice for those who appreciate simplicity in design.

One of its standout advantages is its comfortable carry. The backpack's weight distribution keeps it close to your back, enhancing stability during your outdoor adventures. Surprisingly, it manages to be very durable for its weight, thanks to the use of ultra-stretch materials that can withstand the rigors of the trail.

The tapered cut of the pack is another pro. It plays a pivotal role in weight distribution, ensuring an even load and a snug fit close to the body. The G hook closure system is both fast and simple, adding to the overall user-friendly design.

In terms of capacity, it's big enough for 2-3 days of supplies until the next resupply point, offering ample space for your essentials. The bungee side compression system with hooks is highly effective for securing items like trekking poles, adding to the pack's versatility.

However, there are a few cons to consider. The shoulder strap pockets may not be large enough to accommodate certain items, such as a standard 500 ml flask, without noticeable bouncing during your trip. 

I personally do not prefer the drawstring closure. While it is easy and fast to access I rather prefer a roll top closure.

The stretchiness of the side pockets could be improved to facilitate easier access to items. While they tend to stretch over time, initially it might be somewhat restrictive. 

It's important to note that the backpack lacks water resistance, as it doesn't have taped seams and relies on the drawstring closure. However, this is just a minor point, I recommend putting the contents of your pack into waterproof sacks. I just use a packliner to stuff everything in, since almost no pack is really 100% watertight.

Others in my opinion minor points are lacking features like a dedicated ice ax or trekking pole attachment, and the absence of an emergency whistle. 

The upper chest strap is relatively short, which could impact comfort for certain individuals.

In summary though, the Pa'lante Packs excel in terms of build quality, comfort, and minimalist design. 


In conclusion, the Pa'lante Packs - Joey offers a compelling mix of minimalist design, exceptional build quality, and impressive durability. Its comfortable carry and tapered weight distribution make it a strong contender for outdoor enthusiasts seeking an ultralight pack that performs well on the trail. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind, including limitations in the size of the shoulder strap pockets. The drawstring closure works, but not my personal preference.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the Pa'lante Packs - Joey showcases a strong commitment to ultralight backpacking principles. It's a solid choice for those who prioritize minimalism and functionality in their outdoor gear. Ultimately, whether it's the right backpack for you depends on your specific preferences and needs on the trail.

4 Comparisons

Ultimate Direction - Fastpack 20 (RTR Review)

The Fastpack 20 and Joey are similar in their capacity. However they clearly focus on different aspects. Where the Fastpack 20 is really feature rich with all bells and whistles, it comes at a significant weight penalty. I found the Joey to carry much more comfortable as well. The Fastpack 20 led to some discomfort after 4+ hours due to the hard vertical rail chest strap adjustment. If you are fine with a minimalist design I would go with the Joey. For shorter trips with focus on durability , I would go with the Fastpack 20.

Gossamer Gear - Fast Kumo 36 (RTR Review)

The Kumo Fast 36 offers quite a bit more capacity than the Joey although it does not compromise on comfort. Both are not using my preferred roll top closure system. In terms of materials, I prefer the Joey’s ultraweave 200, which is lighter weight, is more durable and gives the pack a bit more structure than the Robic nylon of the Fast Kumo. The shoulder pocket options of the Fast Kumo are more versatile than the Joey’s. You can easily securely store your phone, two soft flasks and additional snacks in them. The more minimalist double pocket approach of the Joey, doesn’t offer that much storage. Overall, I would go with the more minimalist Joey, which carries a bit better for me. Once I need a bit more capacity for a stretch of 4-5 days, that is where the Fast Kumo comes in.

Dandee Packs - The Standard (RTR Review)

If you read my review of the Dandee Packs - The Standard, you already know that it’s my favorite pack to date. From a size and carrying perspective the Dandee’s pack is the perfect blend between the Kumo and Joey. It carries really close to the body like the Joey and offers the capacity of the Kumo. Add the minimalist design and rolltop closure and it is still my favorite pack to date.

Volpi Outdoor Gear - Fastpack 30 (RTR Review)

The Volpi uses a similar fabric for the main pack. However it carries not quite as comfortably as the Joey. That being said, the Fastpack 30 offers quite a bit more carrying capacity. The overall craftsmanship and material choice is also better. If you need a bit more capacity and look for a better value, I would go with the Volpi. Almost every time else, I would go with the Joey.

Outdoor Vitals - Skyline 30 (RTR Review)

The Skyline 30 is the overall more feature packed pack and this while still managing to be relatively light. Materials wise, I prefer the ultraweave fabric and bit higher quality hardware, used on the Joey. Also in terms of comfort, The Joey wins this one. It carries a lot closer to the body and offers more cushioned shoulder straps. So again for trips up to 3 days I would go with Joey, for more than that the Skyline takes the cake.

Available at Pa’lante Packs here: Joey 

Tester Profile

Markus Zinkl: I’m 33 years old and live in a small village in Bavaria, Germany. I started hiking and backpacking 5-6 years ago. Coming from trail running and with light and fast in mind, I started hiking and fast packing with ultralight gear . Over the years I tried and tested a lot of gear, always in search of weight savings. Although still trying to stay out of the ultralight rabbit hole. I spend most of my days off from work on the trail, with at least one 2-3 week thru-hike. Among the more well known trails I have hiked over the last few years are the GR221, WHR (Walker’s Haute Route), TMB (Tour du Mont Blanc), TC (Tour du Cervin-Matterhorn) and Via Alpina Switzerland. As you probably notice by now, I’m at home in the mountains. So if I’m not running or thru-hiking a longer trail, I’m probably somewhere in the Alps checking out some shorter trails.

The products that are the basis of this test were provided to us free of charge by Pa’lante Packs. The opinions presented are our own.

You can read the biographies of all the RTR testers here.

We welcome comments and questions in the comments section below.

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook: RoadTrailRun.com  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun



Markus said...


Joachim said...

Hello Markus

I'm coming from Nürnberg, but I will keep this in english here.
Which of the fastpacking backpacks would you buy for starting?
Max. one or two nights, mostly in spring/summer/autumn. Cost no issue.
Is there a clear recommendation? Which of these is the best sitting one on the back? I hate jumping backpacks/vests when running.



Markus said...

Hi, depends on your current gear setup. Do you know your current base weight? Focus more on running or fast packing?

Markus said...

Hi Joachim,

depends on your current gear setup a bit. Do you know your current baseweight? Do you focus more on running or fastpacking?


Markus said...

Hi Joachim,

depends on your current gear setup a bit. Do you know your current baseweight? Do you focus more on running or fastpacking?

Markus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joachim said...

Hello Markus

My Base Weight will be around 5kg without consumables and worn clothing.
With 2 Liters of water and food for two days it will be around 8kg total.
"Do you focus more on running or fastpacking?" What do you mean? I would expect, that I will do more Trailrunning than Fastpacking over the year. Maybe only 3-4 times fastpacking per year.
When will you release the test of the Nashville?


Markus said...

I would recommend the Palante Joey. The Nashville will take till spring or summer.