When comparing The North Face Router Backpack vs REI Trail 40 Pack, the Slant community recommends REI Trail 40 Pack for most people. In the question“What are the best carry on backpacks for travel that hold at least 30L?” REI Trail 40 Pack is ranked 2nd while The North Face Router Backpack is ranked 8th. The most important reason people chose REI Trail 40 Pack is:
There is a [women-specific version](http://www.slant.co/topics/5119/viewpoints/7/~carry-on-travel-backpacks-for-women-that-hold-at-least-30l~rei-trail-40-pack-women-s) of the REI Trail 40 available, which has a slightly smaller torso fit range.
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Pro Nice looking pack
It's not always easy to find a travel backpack that also looks nice. The Router has a nice style and comes in 5 different colors.
Pro Fits larger laptops
The laptop compartment fits up to a 17" laptop.
Pro Women-specific version available
There is a women-specific version of the REI Trail 40 available, which has a slightly smaller torso fit range.
Pro Pockets on the hip belt for easy access
The hip belt has two zippered pockets which lets you store things for easy access (such as papers, money or snacks).
Pro Four zipper access to easily get to your belongings
The pack is front load with four zipper access, allowing you to unzip from either the top or bottom. This is great if you want to grab something from the bottom of your pack without opening it completely.
Pro Includes raincover
The pack comes with a rain cover that stows away in it's own zip pocket.
Con Laptop compartment isn't protective
The padding in the separate laptop compartment is fairly light, providing limited protection to your laptop.
Con Lack of support due to minimal hipbelt
The hip belt is just a nylon strap, it doesn't provide any padding.
Con Pocket for hydration reservoir is difficult to access
The pocket for the hydration reservoir is external, located right behind the back panel. There is very little room, making it hard to access and can only fit a small amount of water (around 1.5L).
Con Internal bungee compression system can get in the way
The internal compression straps are a bungee system, which does not unclip the way most do. When your pack is full, this can make it a very tight squeeze if you want to access something in the back.