Looking for a tough, affordable hiking pack? The Guerrilla Packs Samurai 50L might be right for you.
The Samurai 50L hiking and travel backpack is the right size for short-to-medium length trips. Perfect for day, weekend, or week long hikes. It’s compact size, even when stuffed, make it ideal for carry-on travel too, like when I fly home from Korea next summer.
Guerrilla Packs are unique in that they’ve been designed by a traveler to be tough enough for outdoor activities but versatile enough for travel.
It all started when the founder of Guerrilla Packs was living abroad and constantly traveling throughout all parts of Europe and Asia. The trips ranged widely in duration, activity, outdoors emphasis, and transportation methods. After several trips, a strong need for a versatile, quality, and affordable pack quickly developed. [More]
The photo below is the Samurai at the summit of Chilbosan, a small mountain near my apartment. It’s a great place for a day hike, from end-to-end the trail is 7km long. The main photo at the top of the review is from Bukhansan National Park in Seoul, South Korea.
The pack has three main sections – the top compartment, the main compartment, and the front pocket. There are also two mini pockets on the hip belt, one on each side, with one being an open mesh pocket and the other a zippered pocket.
The top compartment has two pockets. The main one is for storing gear like sunglasses, a map, or whatever you need easy access to. I store snacks and a headlamp here along with an English-language map of the Seoul subway system. The other pocket is primarily for the included rain cover. Having a rain cover designed specifically for the pack is great. I like that you can detach it and leave it at home if you want. But one minor problem is that storing it in it’s place takes space away from the main pocket. If you’re carrying the rain cover, you’ll lose about 15-20% of the top compartment’s space. If you’re like me and you don’t generally carry bottles, you could always stuff it into one of the two bottle pouches and cinch it shut.
Access to the main compartment is through a buckled roll-top opening. It’s quick and easy to access the bulk of your gear. Inside you’ll find the frame, the hydration pack sleeve, and the cavernous storage area.
The hydration pack sleeve is the width of the pack, so you could always stuff other things in here. It doesn’t have a loop to hang your pack from but this is only a problem if you’re using a CamelBak since they’re prone to barreling and slumping as they are drained (one of many reasons I recommend the Osprey Hydraulics). The only problem is the house outlet built into the pack is extremely small. There was no way my Osprey Hydraulics hose could fit through and even the smaller mouthpiece of my CamelBak was a real pain to squeeze through. The hole needs to be expanded by at least 1/2 inch to accommodate the mouthpiece.
The front pocket has dual-vertical zippers and a buckle flap. The outside of the front pocket has a daisy chain for you to strap stuff to. On the inside of the pocket is a long, narrow mesh zipper pocket and inside are three small pockets and two pen sleeves. This is the place to stash things like spare batteries, snacks, etc. It’s where I carry a spare battery for my Korean cell phone, my first aid kit, and my GoPro as you can see in the picture below.
The pen sleeves are a little small. I’m guessing they were designed for traditional Bic style pens. All my pens were too fat or odd shaped to fit.
You will also notice a U-shaped zipper area. This provides access to the main compartment which is a nice touch. You’ll be able to easily access items at the bottom of your pack without digging through everything from the top.
So far, the Samurai has proven to be very comfortable. The longest I’ve worn the pack is nearly 8 hours and I had no problems at all. The shoulder straps are comfortable and have a chest strap to keep them from digging into your shoulders. The hip belt is nicely padded and is designed to move with your body as you walk. The padding on the back is comprised of three main pieces which is nice because they allow for a lot of airflow in between them.
I’m 6’4″ (193 cm) and the pack fits great. It’s designed to fit 15.5″-21″ torsos. Not sure what your torso length is? REI has a great tutorial on how to measure it.
If you’re traveling a lot and want to avoid checked luggage fees, seriously consider the Samurai for a carry-on bag. When I traveled to Washington, DC in early 2013, the Samurai would have been awesome to have. I could have fit everything into one pack instead of carrying two bags.
- Comfortable – The pack has plenty of padding and adjusts to fit torso sizes 15.5″-21″.
- Tough – I’ve worn the Samurai on half a dozen hikes and it hardly looks worn. The stitching is strong and the material is 600D and 400D polyester. Built for loads up to 40 lbs.
- Storage – One huge main compartment, a smaller front pocket (with access to main), a top pocket, two side bottle pouches, and multiple places to attach gear.
- Hydration Hose Outlet – Probably a minor issue for many people but this stood out big time for me. The outlet hole for the hose, was way too small for my Osprey Hydraulics hydration pack. It was a very tough fit for my CamelBak hydration pack. It could use at least another 0.50″ of width. For comparison, the Samurai’s outlet hole is just a touch under 1″ wide. My REI Lookout 40 has an outlet width of 2″.
- Little Heavy – The pack weighs in around 4.15 lbs. Not awful but something to consider.
- Rain Cover – Having a rain cover is a great feature and it is removable from the pack. But if you carry it in it’s designated spot, it takes up a significant portion of the top pocket.
Materials: 600D Polyester + 400 D Polyester
Capacity: Up to x 40lbs
Volume: 3051 cubic inches / 50L (combined)
Weight: Approx. weight: 4.15 lbs
Dimensions: 37 x 22 x 60cm / 14.6” x 8.7” x 23.6”
Fit Range: Torso Size 15.5″ – 21″
Despite the hydration pack issue, I think the Samurai is a great pack. It’s ideal for anyone doing hiking/backpacking trips up to maybe 10-days or regular short-term trips (visiting friends/family, etc.).
I’ve been using the Samurai exclusively since I received it in mid-October and for only $79, it’s hard to beat for such a well-rounded pack.
If you have any questions about the pack, I’ll do my best to answer them. Either comment below or contact me.
Note: The Samurai 50L was provided by Guerrilla Packs at no cost but, as always, all opinions are my own.