The Ultimate Waymark THRU 40 Review: One of My Favorite Packs for Long Trails

The Waymark THRU 40 is the ultimate backpack for thru-hiking and long trails. Read this in-depth review on features, benefits, company background and real customer feedback.

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Josh Koop

I live with my wife and daughter in Katy, Texas and my local trail is the Lone Star Hiking Trail which is an amazing way to experience the Sam Houston National Park!

My Waymark THRU 40 on the backyard grass
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To explore hundreds of miles reliably, you need a backpack that can keep up with your travels and help you to achieve completion. There are a great many pack options available from a vast array of companies, but I wanted to review the Waymark THRU 40 pack today as it is amazingly comfortable with just the right amount of interior and exterior space.

I am going to explain in more detail below why the THRU by Waymark Gear is one of the best options for thru-hiking , not just from weight alone but overall ability to carry weight comfortably and to provide the space to bring what’s necessary to keep moving fast and efficiently on the trail.

I always want to cover the important details for any review that a hiker may view as important, both the good and the bad so we will cover the following in my Waymark THRU Review:

  • I’ll start with the features and benefits of the device (the stuff you’ll find useful)
  • Next, I’ll explore any drawbacks or issues you might need to know about
  • Then, I’ll dive into the Waymark Gear company as it is always good to understand the manufacturer’s goals
  • Last, I’ll help provide details and reviews from other additional actual customers along with independent reviews from others to help give you a better overview of the product

Let’s jump into the review and make sure it’s the perfect fit for you!

Features of the Waymark THRU 40

Adaptable System

The THRU and all Waymark Gear share a similar system allowing you to interchange many add-ons between their packs. This means adding more hip-belt pouches when necessary and adding things like shoulder water bottles to maximize potential.

Framed Inner Back Panel (Removable)

The Waymark THRU is a comfortable and supportive backpack that is perfect for hikes and other outdoor activities. The backpack features a framed inner back panel with a 1/8” foam core and two removable, pre-bent aluminum stays.

This provides all-day support and a comfortable carry up to 35 lbs with the frame, when frame stays are removed I suggest going no higher than about 20-25 lbs, and the lower the more comfortable.

Over-the-top “Y” Compression

The solid y-strap is ideal for holding a bear canister or other large objects on the top of your pack. I know plenty of people who will use it for a 1/8th inch Thinlight pad, chips, or another bulky object that will use up too much value when carried internally.

Hip Belt System

The Waymark THRU Hip Belt System is a unique all-in-one adjustable strap that tightens the top and bottom of the hip belt to conform better to your hip and allows you to adjust your fit with one webbing pull on each side.

The Waymark THRU Hip Belt System is a great way to get a custom fit on your hip belt and keep your essentials close at hand.

Choice of HD Mesh or 4-Way Stretch Lycra Front Pocket

The Waymark THRU offers a choice of HD Mesh or 4-Way Stretch Lycra Front Pocket for storing easy access items or as needed to dry out wet gear. This helps you to manage those gear that become wet or that you may need quick access to while on the trail without opening up your backpack and digging into the interior.

The Lycra and mesh both provide great management for wet items like rain gear as it allows air to circulate and dry things out quickly, while the 4-way stretch Lycra holds things like snacks, lip balm, and sunglasses snugly so they don’t fall out.

Benefits of the Waymark THRU 40

Making a full-featured backpack in a super small package required working hard to maximize the shape and size of every design issue and less on filling it with bells and whistles.

Color Selection

I love being able to change color out to make the gear, not one big color blob. Waymark controls this through a few specific regions of the pack, but they offer many colors that will fit more people’s needs to express themselves.

Multiple Torso Sizes

There is torso sizing allowing it to be a perfect fit for a wider range of people. This pack offers a Small/Medium, Medium/Large, and Large/Extra Large to make sure there is the right size for everyone!

Pack Weight

The pack weighs in under two pounds with a full pack in M/L sizing with a padded hip-belt coming in at ONLY 25.8 oz. on the UL and with frame comes in at around 36 oz., which is exceptional for its benefits; if smaller, it only gets lighter from there!

Frame and Frameless Option

The biggest benefit of this pack is that it has the option for you to purchase a framed version or what they term the UL, or ultralight, that comes without a frame.

As I’ve discussed above, the frame is a personal thing, with many deciding that they prefer it if they run heavier loads to help push some of the weight off the shoulders to their hips; this will be highly personal.

Drawbacks of the Waymark THRU 40

Issues with a pack like this will frequently come down to someone wanting the bells and whistles of more fancy packs or weight and storage space itself.

Limited External Storage

Like many other lightweight rolltop backpacks, the outside pockets are kept to a minimum, with only the two water bottle pockets and the main Lycra pocket on the front.

If you like to have lots of little pockets and organization, this may not be the best pick for you as it pushes you to use your pack more like one big compartment.

Nickel and Dime Accessories

Both a drawback and a benefit you aren’t paying for extras you will not need on a pack unless you decide you will need them. This can help you cut the costs down upfront, but if you find you like multiple pockets, chest water bottles, or similar you can find the price going up fast!

Video Review: Waymark THRU

The Waymark Gear Company Philosophy

Waymark Gear Company is an online outdoor gear company that sells hand-crafted heavy-duty lightweight backpacks and accessories tailored to long-distance, section, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts looking to drop pounds in their overall base weight.

They aim to give customers lighter pack options than those in traditional large retail stores. They may not make the lightest packs in the cottage brand industry, but they refuse to compromise your comfort or safety to shave a few ounces.

Instead, they aim to have the best weight-to-durability ratio with a pack that will last you for years of rugged use.

Real Customer Reviews of the Waymark THRU 40

Everyone loves to look at specs, features, and benefits, but you can learn much more from other reviews and customer feedback as they offer more real-life details than the others may lack.

To help provide more views, I have attempted to curate reviews that reflect on the Waymark THRU 40 Liter pack from independent reviewers, thru-hikers, and customers to give the most detailed information possible.

Independent Reviews and Recommendations

While features and benefits, and drawbacks are incredibly valuable sometimes, it makes much more sense to look at customers and independent reviewers to see how they enjoy or hate a product!

The growth Waymark Gear Co. has seen over the last year in terms of products makes this brand a solid choice for your next pack. There are many options, and with the laundry list of customizations, it’s hard to walk away feeling buyer’s remorse. Price point compared to weight, these packs just can’t be beat.

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The pack itself is very comfortable if your weight is low enough and you pack it correctly. Overall tho this pack is great, fairly waterproof and I found it to be comfortable even when it was under loaded or overloaded.

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Customer Reviews and Recommendations

Within the thru-hiking community, Waymark Gear has become well known and grown in popularity every year; they produce amazing gear that garners high praise and reviews from customers no matter when they have purchased them:

This pack has everything that I look for in an ultralight backpack. Not only is it extremely lightweight but it is also durable and you can tell there was a lot of care in creating the product. I’ve had many great packs in my day and this one stacks up with the best of the best.

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This was my first experience with a pack like this. I’ve been skeptical of the frameless/minimalist packs but after some prodding from a friend I decided it was time to give it a try. I was blown away at how comfortable this pack was from minute 1!

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So far I am very impressed with the quality of the materials and craftsmanship. I packed out at 24 lbs total including food, 1 liter of water, and fuel.

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Grab One Today You Won’t Be Let Down

I love my THRU backpack as it is incredibly comfortable and holds my gear and weight with no issues throughout my shoulders even without a hip belt, I do use the web belt though to ensure no bounce against my back.

While the THRU does weigh in at about two pounds it is not noticed on my back when worn over multiple days and this is why it will be one of my standard backpacks for other thru-hikes I have upcoming it’s definitely a winner.

If you have an even more dialed-in pack, you can check out my post on the Waymark EVLV vs the THRU, and maybe you could even look to downsize even more!

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