The Search for the Perfect Travel Backpack: The Carry-On
Scream, shout, kick me out of the bona fide travelers club, but it’s true: I’ve technically never “backpacked” before. Yes, for as much as I’ve embodied the backpacker lifestyle by living out of cheap hostels and making a diet out of Nutella on stale baguettes, I have always dragged along a rolling suitcase instead of a traditional travel backpack. Please forgive me.
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Rolling suitcases do have their advantages: they save your back, they make it easier to pass discount airlines’ carry-on restrictions, and you can fish through your belongings without having to reach into a deep abyss to find what you need. However, I think the time has come. I’ve had enough violent massages as I yank a suitcase over cobblestones, and I need to declare a moratorium on running over innocent bystanders’ feet in crowds. I’m on the hunt for the perfect travel backpack.
I kicked off the search by reviewing some of the best travel backpacks for women and then checking out Incase’s EO Travel Backpack, a great candidate for weekend trips. The dimensions (18.5″ x 12.8″x 6.3″ or 47cm x 32.5 cm x 16cm) fit easily within even the strictest of carry-on limitations, plus the backpack can be expanded quite a bit for when you have a few extra souvenirs to squeeze in on the way home.
There are plenty of compartments to fit everything you could possibly need, including the world’s softest space for a tablet or laptop. No, seriously, you need to feel this fuzzy pouch. I want my entire wardrobe to feel like this always. I’m mad jealous of my laptop. The material feels sturdy, and padded shoulder straps and a chest strap make heavier weights easy to carry.
Curious about just how much the backpack could actually expand, I gave it a test run. What looks like your small to average sized backpack (see the non-expanded size above, in the left photo my backpack modeling debut) turned out to fit just about as much as I brought with me on a five-week trip through Eastern Europe. 8 shirts, 2 dresses, 1 pair of jeans, 4 pairs of shorts, 18 pairs of underwear, 5 pairs of socks, 1 pair of shoes, a tripod, a makeup bag, a brush, 2 books, and a 17″ laptop…and I could have fit more! Color me impressed.
My favorite aspect of the backpack, though is that it unzips fully to make packing all the easier. There are few things more annoying than having to dig through everything you’ve packed to reach an item at the bottom, and this is the first backpack I’ve found that folds completely open for easier access.
All in all, the Incase EO Travel Backpack is a pretty darn sweet backpack for a weekend trip, or, as I discovered, even something much longer for light packers. As a bonus, I have a special promo code just for you guys that will give you 15% off! Just use AFF151 when you purchase from here. You may also find some other useful gadgets and gear in the Incase Travel Collections.
I’m curious: what’s your perfect backpack? Any tips from all you “true” backpackers to a lowly roller like me?