Patagonia Sloperunner Exploration Pack

Designed for Adventure Running

I can’t imagine limiting my running to, well, running. The more I do with trail running, the more ideas I have for projects. Running fitness opens up all kinds of opportunities, from combining running with climbing, travel, or simply exploring deeper and higher into the mountains. I hate to use the A-word, but here goes. Let’s call it like it is: “Adventure Running.”

For Adventure Running, I need a bigger pack that still lets me move in the mountains efficiently. The new Patagonia Sloperunner Exploration Pack’s 18 liters of volume is pushing the limits of “running pack,” but provides a solution to do so many of the things I dream up.

The Exploration keeps the weight high and tight

The Sloperunner Exploration 18 liter is for big and varied days where you might need to carry climbing gear, glacier travel kit (I’m in the Alps), extra clothing for changing weather, a multi-day hut to hut tour, or unsupported missions where loads of calories need to be carried. As a photographer/runner often carrying more weight, this is a dream pack that I can run and work from. 

Thanks to its unrivaled ability to control this weight, I discovered yet another advantage of the Sloperunner Exploration. For our Sierra trail running guidebook project, we’ve spent plenty of 12 hour days running and working in the high country. The Exploration has allowed me to carry a much larger burrito than I would have ever done with any other pack. And a tub of salsa. You may laugh and wonder why a mountain runner needs to take a large burrito into the mountains, but when you have a pack that easily handles said burrito and salsa, it’ll all make sense. Anyway, that burrito won’t be around for long.

Those without packs with burrito carrying functionality sat and watched in a state of despair

When you first put the Sloperunner Exploration on, you’ll quickly notice the pack rides high and snug on the back. Load stabilizing straps cinch the pack firmly to your back by sucking all the material tight, both securing the pack and creating its own waterproof shell.

The wide shoulder harness further stabilizes the pack,evenly distributing the load to your chest. That same harness is fitted with roomy, well thought out pockets to keep food, drink and whatever else needs to be easily accessed. 

Waterproof pack fabric insures dry cargo, super handy in the Alps’ wet summer of 2021

One of the interesting design decisions includes two additional soft flask sleeves on the upper-sides of the pack, making four total soft flask sleeves. (Or, two soft flask sleeves and two burrito holsters.) Why so many soft flask sleeves? They are much easier and faster to refill. With multiple bottles you can have a dedicated energy drink or two, plus fresh, plain water. And for carrying, the weight can be distributed to avoid it all sloshing in one spot. Alternatively, the pack can also hold a hydration bladder and hose system.

Experimenting with a hydration system (bladder & hose) and soft flask for energy drink. I prefer all soft flasks to avoid the sloshing heavy mass against my back.

Not everyone needs a pack like this, but for those that do it’ll be much appreciated and perhaps even inspire ideas for running adventures. Sometimes a well made piece of gear actually opens up opportunities. This would be one of those pieces.

Going deeper and higher into the mountains often requires more carrying capacity

The Patagonia Sloperunner 18 Liter Trail Running Pack


  • Waterproof material made from 210D 100% Recycled Nylon
  • Simple, single tube with two small, zippered interior pockets
  • Ice axe attachment system
  • Pole carrying system
  • Four soft flask sleeves
  • Abundant carrying capacity in the shoulder harness
  • Attachment points for adding your own lash on straps
  • Removable plastic back panel for either keeping it soft or providing more support and back protection

Features I’d like:

  • A lighter interior color. The all black interior makes it a black hole, I found myself emptying everything out when in search of something.
  • A compression pocket within reach on the side or back of the pack body from which a wind shell can be grabbed while on the fly. The soft flask sleeves on the top of the pack can also do this, but you’ll need to have some shoulder flexibility. 

The Sloperunner Exploration will be available in the spring of 2022.

By Dan Patitucci

Four stabilizing straps; two on top, two on the bottom – pull tight and the pack becomes a part of your body
Big shoulder strap pockets with plenty of room for food, headlamp, etc…
Ice axe attachment includes a sleeve for the pick and one handed retrieval
The two extra soft flask/burrito holsters are on each side and top of the pack


Comments 19

  1. This looks really promising and very versatile, thanks for the preview. I know you were both fans of the Black Diamond Distance 15 pack and this seems like a direct rival. How would you say the two compare? And any chance you can illustrate how the pole carrying system works? Thank you!

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      The Exploration and the Distance have similar applications. Both are great and I would not necessarily recommend one over the other it’s going to be personal preference and needs that will influence the decision. I would say the Distance is like a climbing pack you can run with, and the Exploration is a fast packing pack you can run with. The Distance is a super simple tube, the Exploration a bit more featured and heavy, but also gives you an extra 3 liters of volume.
      I can’t show how the pole carrying system works because my prototypes are without them. It’s going to be pretty similar to the HEK packs where they carry on the sides of the shoulder straps.
      Hope that helps!

  2. That’s great info, thanks so much. One final Q if I may…do you have any comment on the sizing and fit? Strongly considering this one now it’s on my radar. Love the scope for carrying 4 flasks (or burritos!), I think that’s really unique. Love the website, cheers.

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      Hi Joe, great to see the review was helpful. I’m not sure I can help with sizing because I’m not using production packs. I’m 5’8″ and the medium test pack has been perfect. But you should double check when they are available in case of changes.

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  3. Hey Dan! What is the mint trucker hat your wearing? Also any more precise dates for release time you can give us? Thanks

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      From what I know, the pack is in production right now and still set for an early spring release. The hat is from La Sportiva, and a good one. 😁

    1. Interesting to see this available in Europe. I was told by Patagonia US that this wouldn’t be in stock until May

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      2. It is not available to buy. I just found the link on Internet. On Patagonias site it is hidden.

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      The material is pretty bomber, and waterproof. It’s certainly not an ultralight pack but will be around for awhile. I have used my final production version a lot and it’s literally like new.

      1. Would you say there is a trend towards heavier and more durable gear?
        Light tends to break or wear out in lightning speed.
        For shoes I have seen a trend towards more heavier running shoes.

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          For Patagonia, I doubt they would make a product designed with a short lifespan. Their ethos is for something to last and not end up in a landfill in a year. Also, brands like Patagonia and BD are rooted in climbing where gear is built to be bomber and light. But ya, a bit heavier. As a climber and more of an all around mountain athlete, I appreciate that. We’ve had ultralight stuff given to us and it doesn’t last long.

  4. It is up for sale in US not yet in EU, I really hope it will come. And the weight is 390g without bottles.

      1. So the pack arrived at my door today! It’s interesting to see in person and compare to my BD Distance 8, which is the pack I just used for 25 hrs of exploring the eastern Sierras (Thanks for the recs, Dan!).

        I’m actually not sure which design I like better. The Patagonia pack has an interesting shape that arc and bends almost up onto the shoulders. It’s main compartment opening is also angled, which I’m not confident will provide a water proof closure. It sits higher on the back than the BD pack too. The Patagonia also has a removable back pad (63g). It’s bottles sit closer to your face, which I really appreciate. It sometimes feels like I’m going to strain my neck to crane over to get a drink in the BD pack. I think I prefer the internal zip and bladder sleeve on the BD pack. The internal zip on the Patagonia pack is actually in one of it’s side bottle compartments, which I found interesting.

        Overall, the packs actually share a lot of similar design elements and since the Patagonia pack came out after the BD, it feels like their design was inspired by the BD pack. I kinda want the main compartment of the BD pack paired with the straps of Patagonia pack.

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