What we like:
- Very comfortable and breathable.
- Made from durable materials.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty.
What we don’t:
- Too heavy for long-distance hiking.
- The back padding squeaks when the back gets sweaty.
- A few loose threads here and there.
4.2 lbs / 1.8 kg
28 x 16 x 12 in / 70 x 40 x 30 cm
55 l / 3400 cubic inches
600D Oxford Polyester, Aluminum
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Water-resistant fabric, built-in waterproof rain cover
Detailed In-Depth Review
In this review, we check out the Teton Sports Scout 3400 internal frame backpack. For the purposes of reviewing this pack, we’ve hiked over 100 kilometers with it or four full days of hiking through the local forests.
In another article, we reviewed the Teton Sports Explorer 4000 internal frame backpack. In a few words, the Scout 3400 is a slightly smaller version of the Explorer 4000, with a few differences here and there. It stores 10 liters less, it’s 300 grams lighter, it’s slightly more comfortable, and it doesn’t come with a few straps and features that are on the Explorer 4000. But when you look at the big picture, it’s the same pack, just smaller.
In terms of popularity, it’s the most popular backpack that Teton Sports offers. In fact, it’s probably the most popular internal frame backpack out there. It’s also gotten incredibly positive reviews from other people, which is why we wanted to check it out for ourselves.
Weight, Dimensions, and Capacity
Nobody likes to carry extra weight while hiking, me included. Unfortunately, one of the largest issues for the Teton Sports Scout 3400 is it’s weight, standing at 4.2 lbs / 1.8 kg. A nice improvement from the Teton Sports Explorer 4000, which weighs 0.66 lbs / 300 grams more, but that’s still pretty heavy.
Even in the affordable range, you can find packs that are sized similarly but weigh less. So if you’re an ultralight hiker, unfortunately, the Scout 3400 isn’t for you.
Now in terms of size, the Scout 3400 is 28 x 16 x 12 inches or 70 x 40 x 30 centimeters, a few centimeters smaller than the Expedition 4000.
The capacity is fairly large, standing at 55 liters or 3400 cubic inches. Personally, I think that the Expedition 4000, sized at 65 liters is a slight overkill, even for multi-day hikes. If you’re cautious about what you’re bringing, and you’re bringing hiking gear, not camping gear (camping gear is usually larger and heavier,) then the Scout 3400 will be large enough for just about anything.
You can easily fit a two-person tent, a cold-weather pad and a sleeping bag, cooking gear, spare clothing, food for multiple days, and lots of other things in this pack, as long as you aren’t packing too much stuff that you don’t need. I went out with the Teton Scout 3400 on two separate two-day overnight hikes, and both times I still had plenty of room left in the pack.
Fabric, Seams, and Water-Resistance
The good thing about the Scout 3400 (and the Explorer 4000) is that they’re made from very rugged and durable fabrics. They’ve used 600D diamond-patterned polyester and 600D oxford polyester. When comparing the Scout 3400 and the Explorer 4000, it looks like the fabrics are identical. This fabric feels very thick and strong, and my guess is that it’ll last years.
One issue that I had with the Explorer 4000, was that there was one seam coming loose on the front part of the pack. On the Scout 3400, it looks like all the seams are properly stitched together and nothing seems to come apart. However, there are a few loose threads all over the pack. It looks like they just haven’t trimmed off the ends properly. For a pack that’s this affordable, I’d expect nothing less, as it’s still made in China, and they can’t afford the quality control that you’d see on more expensive packs.
I was surprised to see how water-resistant the 600D polyester fabric on the Scout really is. Teton doesn’t mention water-resistance as a feature, but from my own tests, the fabric holds up water pretty well.
For this test, I poured some water directly on the fabric and left it there for about five minutes. After that, I wiped the moisture off and checked what’s going on inside. And I was surprised to see that nothing’s wet. It looks like the fabric is coated with a Polyurethane coating from the inside, which is very good at repelling water. That said, the seams aren’t sealed, so they’ll still let some water through.
But if it starts raining cats and dogs, you can always pull out the built-in, waterproof rain cover. You can access it at the bottom of the pack, inside a velcro pocket tagged as “rainfly.” (pretty straightforward, huh?)
I tested it and indeed it is waterproof, and it covers the whole pack, even if it’s packed straight to the brim. However, if you’ve added a sleeping pad horizontally, or added other large items on the exterior, the rainfly might not cover the whole pack.
Straps, Buckles, and Zippers
All around, the Scout 3400 comes with nice and beefy hardware. All the straps and buckles seem really thick and durable. I’m sure they’ll last a long time, even in harsh conditions. Although all of the buckles are made from plastics, they seem to be really thick, which is nice.
One thing that I should mention about the straps, is that some people reported that the load lifters and other elements might come loose after they get worn-down. So far I haven’t noticed any issues with the tightening straps. For me, nothing comes loose, even when the bag is packed pretty heavily. But that could happen in the future, so keep that in mind.
Teton Sports used really thick and massive zippers on this pack. It looks like they’re unbranded. Of course, it’d be nice if they’d used branded SBS or YKK zippers, which are known to be really durable, but that’s not such a big issue given how affordable this backpack is.
All of the zippers open and close very smoothly, except for the one at the bottom of the pack, the one for the sleeping bag compartment. I noticed this exact same issue for the Teton Explorer 4000. Supposedly, it was even worse in the previous models, and they fixed it in the newest ones. Still, if the bag is packed full, the zipper is hard to open because of the protective fabric cover that sits on top of the zipper.
Comfort, Padding, and Shoulder Straps
One of the most important things for a backpack, in my opinion, is that it should be comfortable to wear, even when it’s packed heavy. I’ve tested the Scout 3400 with 25-40 lbs / 11-18 kg loads, and so far, it seems really comfortable.
As far as I can tell the shoulder straps and the hip belt are identical to the Expedition 4000. They’re very well-padded and structurally rigid. Especially the hip belt, which is really good for balancing most of the weight on your hips, instead of shoulders.
The hip belt is adjustable between 28-61 in / 72-155 cm in diameter (personal measurements) around the waist. The leftover straps on the hip belt can’t be secured nicely, so if you’re thinner around the waist, keep in mind that they’ll dangle around a bit.
The torso length (the distance between the shoulder straps and the hip belt) is also adjustable between 15-19.5 in / 38-50 cm in length. These are the official measurements, and I measured that they seem to be pretty accurate. It’s adjustable with a velcro clip that goes through several fabric loops. When I received the backpack, the shoulder straps were looped through four loops, but I noticed that you should loop them through five loops instead because originally the shoulder straps were moving around a lot.
One thing that I hate about the shoulder straps, is that when your back gets a bit sweaty, the adjustable velcro connection point starts to make a squeaky sound. You get used to it after a while, but at first, it’s a bit annoying. I’m usually trying to stay quiet while hiking, to see the forest wildlife, but this sound makes it difficult. The Teton Explorer 4000 has this exact same issue.
The shoulder straps are adjustable in three points – at the bottom, with load lifters on top, and with a chest strap in the middle. From my personal tests, the tightening points didn’t come loose when hiking. However, some people said that after a while they might start loosening by themselves with heavier loads, so keep that in mind.
And lastly, I have to mention the breathability of the back padding. On the Teton Explorer 4000, there’s more padding between the shoulder straps and the hip belt, with several airflow channels between them. On the Scout 3400, there’s no padding there. This makes the back much more breathable because there’s a tiny gap between your back and the backpack. You don’t really need the padding there, It just makes your back more sweaty. That’s why I prefer the padding system on the Scout 3400 over the Explorer 4000.
For backpacks over 40 liters, I always prefer a pack with an internal frame. Most are made with one anyways.
On the Scout 3400, the internal frame is made from two aluminum rails, which are attached at the back of the backpack. They’re attached to the exterior of the pack, as opposed to the Explorer 4000, where they’re accessible from the inside. You can remove both rails if you want to, so that it’s easier to wash the pack, or if the rails get bent and you need to straighten them.
Storage, Pockets, and Exterior Features
In terms of storage, I really like how everything is laid out on the Scout 3400.
Let’s begin with the inside of the pack. At the bottom of the inside compartment, there’s a separate compartment for your sleeping bag, which is accessible with a zipper at the bottom of the pack. My winter sleeping bag barely fits inside, so it’s a pretty tight fit. If you want to though, you can unzip the sleeping bag compartment divider, which turns the interior compartment into one large, 55-liter compartment.
Inside, there’s also a dedicated pocket for a water bladder, that fits water bladders up to three-liters. Essentially, there’s just a large pocket for the water bladder near your back, and a hole at the top, through which you can slide through the water bladder tube.
The main compartment closes with two tie-down strings, and at the top, there’s an additional zippered pocket, which I think is best suited for storing smaller items that you don’t necessarily need to access and don’t want to lose, such as your wallet, keys, and electronics.
And now, let’s cover the exterior storage options. As you’d see on most backpacks, at the top, there’s a somewhat large pocket for all the smaller items. I’d say that it’s about 3-5 liters in size.
On both sides, the setup is identical. At the bottom of each side, there’s a zippered mesh pocket for your water bottles. The mesh pocket is too tight in my opinion. When you’ve packed a sleeping bag in the sleeping bag compartment, it’s very hard to squeeze a 750ml bottle inside the mesh pockets. Doable, but very hard.
In the middle of each side, there’s a pretty spacious pocket for several smaller items. And at the top and bottom, towards your back, there are two loops on each side for storing your trekking poles. In my opinion, they’re too tight and spaced too far apart. When folded, my Black Diamond trekking poles fit in barely, and I was afraid they’d fall out at some point. On the Explorer 4000, the system for storing your trekking poles is much better.
In the middle of the pack, there’s a zippered mesh pocket, which actually looks larger than it is. I like to keep my water filter and two empty pouches there, but it’s a very tight fit. In my opinion, this pocket could be made much larger.
Towards the bottom of the pack, you’ll find two tie-down straps for securing something at the bottom of your pack, such as your sleeping pad. In addition to that, there are also two loops at the bottom, to which you can attach a rope or something similar. And if you like using carabiners, there are a few additional loops all over the pack, specifically on the shoulder straps and on the middle part of the exterior.
Brand Reliability and Warranty
What really sets the Teton Sports Explorer Scout 3400 apart from other affordable packs, is that it’s made by a reliable brand and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. If you’re hearing about Teton Sports for the first time, essentially, they’re an American outdoor gear brand, that makes somewhat durable gear at really affordable prices.
Honestly, a lot of cheap gear comes with lifetime warranties. But usually, they’re there just as a selling point. Most of the time, these warranties don’t work in real life, because they either don’t cover any defects, or their support center in Shanghai isn’t reachable. With Teton Sports, the story is completely different. They’re located in the U.S., and overall people have had very positive experiences with Teton’s support & warranties.
Specifically, this lifetime warranty covers manufacturing defects and defects in materials. What this means in real life, is that they’d fix loose stitching, failing zippers or clips, and torn straps. Something that clearly is a defect in manufacturing or faulty hardware. What they won’t fix is normal wear (worn-down fabrics, faded colors, e.t.c.,) and defects from misuse and accidents.
In my opinion, the Teton Sports Scout 3400 is the perfect backpack for beginner hikers. It’s very affordable, it’s made from durable and thick materials, and it comes with a lifetime warranty from a reliable brand. It even has a built-in rain cover.
Of course, because it’s so affordable, it has some negatives as well. The most important one is the weight. 4.2 lbs / 1.8 kg is a lot for a 55-liter backpack, so if you’re into ultralight hiking, you should get something else. The other negative is that when your back gets a bit sweaty, this backpack starts to make an annoying squeaky sound. And lastly, there are a few minor issues, like a few loose threads all around the pack, a zipper for the sleeping bag compartment that’s hard to open, too tight water bottle pockets, and an improperly designed trekking pole storage system.
But in my opinion, aside from the heavy weight, all of the other issues are minor. Especially when you take into account how affordable and durable this backpack is. If you’re new to hiking, and you’re looking for a cheap and durable backpack, that is versatile enough to handle just about anything, the Teton Scout 3400 is a perfect choice.