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Backpack Temptation

Those stinkers at Eagle Creek sent me an email touting a new backpack designed for women. It's called Global Companion 40L W. It measures 21.5 x 13.75 x 8 and weighs 3 lbs, 8 oz. It has lots of features that might make it more balanced and comfortable.

Has anyone tried this pack yet?

Posted by
16883 posts

The nerve of them! It looks nice and my other Eagle Creek bags have lasted forever.

Posted by
5149 posts

Lo, it is a beauty, but wouldn't you be tempted to put too much weight in it?

I'm not trying to start the backpack wars again, heaven forfend, but a 40 liter bag could sure get heavy.

Posted by
3789 posts

Hah, I saw it today on their website and had to check it out. I like the clamshell opening, and the straps for weight balance - but! No pack away straps and only one zip set can be locked. Have you looked at the computer sleeve zipper? It unzips right into the main pack compartment and is not lockable - Duuuh.

Posted by
31516 posts

I really like Eagle Creek Backpacks, and that looks like a nice unit. They have a "men's" version too, and a larger 65L size. My venerable Continental Journey is still working well, but after looking at these models it's sure tempting!

Posted by
1952 posts

How does this new Eagle Creek item match up against the eBags MotherLode Weekender Convertible (Jr.) that Frank has been evangelizing for?

Posted by
154 posts

Mmmmm..nice bag. And I just bought a new High Sierra Pro convertible backpack. For about 1/3 the price of an Eagle Creek, so I don’t feel too badly.

I’m a guy, so checked out the men’s version. Very nice, but I prefer an optional shoulder strap on these travel packs. I ain’t young anymore, and can’t carry a heavy backpack for long distances, so like the cross body option at times. But this pack is really nice!

I am a woman under 5'5". I don't think I can handle the 21.5" length on my back. I try to stick to under 20." Consider your body size when purchasing a backpack.

Posted by
11435 posts

Eagle Creek made a video demonstrating this bag

Eagle Creek Global Companion 40L

I like the fact it has a padded hip belt but I wish it had stowaway backpack straps.

Eagle Creek makes excellent products. I've owned all types and have never had a problem. And everything comes with a lifetime warranty.

I still prefer the design of the Motherlode Weekender but I wish it had a better waist belt.

Posted by
154 posts

I’ll watch any video with Jessica from Eagle Creek in it. 😉😉

Posted by
11435 posts

I’ll watch any video with Jessica from Eagle Creek in it. 😉😉

Hands off, she's mine!!!--well, she would be if I were a hundred years younger.

Posted by
31516 posts

I had a look at the video and even at 40L, that pack looks a bit large for carry-on size. There's no way that will fit under the seat in most aircraft, and it's going to take up a fair amount of room in an overhead bin. Travellers using carry-on only would have to get all their "flight comfort items" out of the pack before sitting down, as someone in a window seat wouldn't be able to get up frequently to retrieve items from the pack.

They've eliminated the detachable daypack on this model, which reduces its functionality to some extent (IMO). On second look I don't think this product would work for me.

Posted by
3713 posts

It's about the same size as the RS Convertible Carry-on (21x14x9) I already have. It looks like it would be more comfortable to wear, partly due to the padding on the hip strap and partly due to the suspension system.

Both of them have multiple zipper pockets, many of which do not have double zippers, so are not easily secured. The Eagle Creek one should fit as easily on its side in an overhead bin as the RS one and my roller bags do.

The price would have to go down substantially for me to try this bag. It would be my major bag and I'd have a cross-body tote as well. Fortunately I have lots of family to pass my mistakes on to.

Last year I got the Afar backpack (20x12.5x8.5), but I couldn't get the total weight down below 15 pounds and I couldn't manage to make it comfortable on a domestic trip test. The main issues were the thin and too small sternum strap and the thin and unpadded hip strap, unlike the newer version linked.

I keep yearning for something as comfortable as the very simple ski touring pack I bought in Amsterdam and used for 4 months back in 1977. Of course, I only packed about half what I take these days, even though it was a fall and winter trip. I also had a cross-body bag.

With a back and knees that are now 40 years older, it may not be the packs that are the problem! I should give up and stick with my roller bags, but I'm always intrigued by something new.

Posted by
18374 posts

I would suggest the Osprey Porter 30 as an alternative. It holds slightly less, but at only 20" high it might better fit a small female, plus at 2# 7oz, it's over a pound lighter than the Eagle Creek bag. It's also ¾ the price. One of the most important thing to me is hideaway backpack straps and waist belt (which the EC bag doesn't have) so the straps won't snag, like in the overhead bin. Cinch and sternum straps are more important to me than a waist belt, although a waist belt might be of benefit for the person who can't limit their packing weight.

Another alternative is the TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior. It has a similar price and hideaway backpack straps and waist belt, but is almost as heavy as the EC bag.

Lee,
Those are very good suggestions. I checked out the osprey Porter. Glad to see osprey has improved the colors. Ebags no longer makes my favorite etech 2.0 junior bag. The Porter will be a good alternative. Thanks.

Posted by
9906 posts

"* It unzips right into the main pack compartment and is not lockable*"

Actually on the video Frank linked she does say the laptop and electronic pockets are lockable.

I love that it has a whistle in the sternum strap!

Posted by
18374 posts

I still prefer the design of the Motherlode Weekender but I wish it had a better waist belt.

My eTech Weekender Convertible Jr. has a similar waist belt, and I found it's function to be a bonus. I got the pack for it's cinch straps and sternum strap, not for the waist belt (I think I pack light enough not to need a waist belt. I left the waist belt at home my last trip), but when I tried the waist belt I found it transferred the weight of the pack effectively to my hips. I was even able to loosen the shoulder straps to where they were not bearing any weight at all.

The waist belt on the Eagle Creek pack definitely looks more comfortable, but there are no provisions on the pack for it being tucked in (and it's too bulky to be even if there were provisions), so it hangs out where it could easily snag on things.

Posted by
154 posts

I owned the Etech Weekender Convertible Junior for a while, but ended up giving it away. While I love eBags’ stuff, I’ve found that this item, like a lot of their other bags, is a lot heavier than comparable items from other manufacturers. And with that particular bag, it’s so heavily padded that not only does the weight suffer, so does usable space. The flip side is that (again, like all the eBags items I’ve owned), it’s quite durable and has a lot of cool features.

As a disclaimer, I’m not as young as I used to be and find heavy backpacks uncomfortable over long hauls. So these days I’m scrutinizing empty weight where I didn’t previously. And paying more attention to the “packing light” mantra drilled into our heads here.

Amazon has several medium to large backpacks made of polyester that resemble Army surplus packs, but also come in solid colors. They call them by various names such as “bug out bags” and look to be geared toward the outdoor and survivalist crowd, but they’re great backpacks. Expandable and hold a ton of stuff while still making it as a carryon. I can’t paste the link with this browser for some reason, but search Amazon under “military backpacks” and you’ll find them. I paid $30 for mine, and it’s a great bag, if you don’t mind looking like you just returned from deployment. I can easily get a week’s worth of clothing and other gear in it with room to spare. And using packing cubes, which is now de rigeuer for me, makes organization simple.

Posted by
786 posts

I think it looks great but something to consider: My main travel suitcase opens that same way where it splits in half. It is great for organization BUT about once in every 5 trips, there is an item that is a bit thicker than either half of the suitcase which requires more creative maneuvering than I prefer.

Posted by
1952 posts

All these comments seem to me to still add up to a combination of the RS convertible carryon and the discipline not to fill it up too much. It weighs less, is less prone to snagging, etc. I agree that it doesn't look as cool as these newer choices, but if I don't put a high priority on fashion in my sartorial decisions, then why would I do so in my choice in bag?

Posted by
18374 posts

I owned the Etech Weekender Convertible Junior for a while, but ended up giving it away.
While I love eBags’ stuff, I’ve found that this item, like a lot of their other bags, is a lot heavier
than comparable items from other manufacturers.

This makes me wonder if you are talking about the same eTech Weekender Convertible Junior bag that I have. It's listed at 2# 12 0z (I believe it). That's heavier than my 1# 13oz OPEC, but the OPEC bag is about the lightest nearly-full-sized convertible with the features I want (book opening, hideaway straps) that I've seen. I went to the heavier eTech bag to get cinch straps and a sternum strap, and a slightly smaller size because I wasn't packing my OPEC bag full, and, without cinch straps, that made it kind of floppy.

I used my eTech bag for 3 weeks in Germany last October and loved it. It's currently unavailable anywhere I can find online.

Posted by
154 posts

Lee: You’re right, and I stand corrected. Mine was the TLS Mother Lode Weekender Junior, which weighs in at 3 1/2 pounds. Ironically, I did own the eTech bag a while back (which I assume has been discontinued) and it was much lighter. I should have held on to that one.

Posted by
3713 posts

This travel backpack discussion has been very educational. Usually similar discussions concentrate on backpacks vs. roller bags. Limiting to backpacks only has helped me understand the pros and cons among them in more depth.

Posted by
5149 posts

Lo, you're right. It's nice not to feel either defensive, condescending, or insecurely inadequate when reading the posts. But I'm still loving my Appenzell!

Posted by
2927 posts

Jane, Your periodic comments about your Appenzell pack stay with me. I recently took a flight, which will become a twice yearly RT, in which my stubbornness had me packing everything in a small backpack that could fit under my seat. I needed slightly more room. I have repeatedly toyed with this RS bag because of your comments anyway. Although, my day bag often is a small backpack right now, so I need to rethink that bag if I really got into this RS bag. So thank you, from a wheelie person with a sometimes open mind, I just wanted you to know there's a wheelie person listening to you and might actually try it! Wray

Posted by
154 posts

I’m a recent purchaser of the Appenzell pack, and was pleasantly surprised at the capacity. I posted an inquiry about it on another thread and decided to give it a try after some good recommendations. It’s flexible enough to accommodate “stuffing” but also fits under an airline seat if you don’t overpack. (Why RS calls it a “daypack” is a mystery to me, as it’s really a medium sized backpack, but whatever.).

I used the pack on a three day air trip, and had plenty of room for clothes, electronics and toiletries, being careful to follow the Master’s “light packing”mantra. The bag itself is pretty lightweight, so my 60 yearold back and shoulders were fine after some fairly long walks.

You can find a lot of similar backpacks cheaper than the Appenzell, but as I’ve always liked RS bags’ durability, it’s probably worth the extra outlay. I own a lot of luggage, but see this pack as my go-to for weekend trips.

WildCat,
I have an Appenzell from 6 years ago. I wore it all over Scotland. My middle-school daughter uses it as luggage for shorter trips. The price is fair, and even better on sale. The shoulder and back padding is comfortable. It does well in a rainy climate. It's good quality. You can buy cheaper packs - but the quality will not be as good unless you get lucky with a sale. This pack is fine as a daypack for a family or a 2-3 day travel pack for an individual.

Posted by
5149 posts

Oh, dear. Wray, I hope I have not become obnoxious about my beloved Appenzell. I was teasing Lo a bit there; we were on the Village Italy tour this past year, and quickly became friends.

I do find my pack big enough for a trip of any size, but then I don't carry electronics, or makeup, or prescription medications (yet - knock on wood.) And I don't mind doing sink laundry and wearing the same three or four outfits for an extended time.

My local friend (Kim from Broken Arrow on the Forum) asked me to demonstrate how I packed at one of our Tulsa Area Travel Group meetings; she bought an Appenzell the next time she had a $100 trip voucher. But she hasn't traveled with it yet.

So, sorry if I've overdone it. I am glad to see other folks (WildCat and Sun-Baked) who also like the bag. I needn't feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness. :-)

Posted by
3713 posts

I'm seriously considering the Appenzell myself, especially since I'm having a hard time figuring out how to spend my $100 RS tour money.

The Appenzell is about 1400 cubic inches or about 23 liters. The measurements are 18" x 13" x 6.5".

On the Village Italy tour Jane somehow managed to pack as many clothing items in her Appenzell as I did in my 2500 cubic inch, 41 liter Eagle Creek Load Warrior, even a second pair of shoes.

I obviously still have a lot to learn about packing light if I'm going to go that small.

Edited to ask Jane: Did you record that demo?

Posted by
9906 posts

"Edited to ask Jane: Did you record that demo?"

Hahaha...so funny! Maybe she has a Youtube channel?

I made an impulse purchase on Monday when I dropped in to the AAA store which is next to the bird food store! I have been sort of looking for a slightly bigger replacement for my Veloce bag but one that also folds down a bit better if it needs to be packed. It is just slightly too small for a bus bag on tour or as a birding bag with binocs, etc. The bag I got is a Lite Gear Mobile Pro 17x10x9 and is expandable. It looks like the pockets are well-thought out and there are a couple of cute accessories with it.

https://litegearbags.com/product/mobile-pro/

I have not given it a trial run yet - heading out next week with it as my under the seat bag on Delta for a birding trip so I will have an actual valid opinion after that! I was not crazy about the purple color but today I realized it actually matches my Eagle Creek packing cubes, lol!!

Posted by
503 posts

This Eagle Creek bag looks likes something I would like. I like the layout and all the compartments. I only wish it gave the option of using it with wheels as well as a backpack. I could only use it as a back pack for a bit and then would need to convert to pulling it for awhile to give the back a break.

Lo,
You are on the right track thinking about size. 23 liters may be a bit snug for you as your main luggage. I know you can go smaller than 41 liters. How about the "sweet middle spot?" Above, the 30 liter osprey Porter was suggested. Ebags.com has them. I would seriously look at this bag if I needed to replace mine. (My favorite was discontinued, so I hope it lasts a long time.)

I prefer a bag that is either wheeled or a backpack. I am not a fan of hybrid bags that try to be both.

About that $100 voucher...
If not spending it on a bag, I would recommend 1-2 hideaway totes for dirty laundry; a European socket adapter; travel aid kit; toiletry kit; small go go gadget pouch; maps or travel book. These are all useful items. I have some RS packing cubes and don't use them. They are too boxy for me. I prefer the Ebags or eagle creek ones that are flatter.

Posted by
5149 posts

I laughed at the idea of recording my packing demonstration. I thought I was entertaining enough there in Panera bread, unpacking the loaded backpack I had walked in with, and showing our small group (much to the amusement of the other tables) what was in my bag. ("And here's my underwear...")

Although Kim did suggest I might want to do it again for some of our newer members... Naaah, I don't think so. :-o

Posted by
9906 posts

You know Jane, I was first convinced to try light packing by going to a demo such as yours! It was put on by Monte who comes to the forum sometimes, and he did it in the library in his small town! And yes, I'm pretty sure he showed his unders too, lol!!

Posted by
7 posts

I just got my Eagle Creek Global Companion (women's version) delivered today. It is great bag with great organization and features. I love the padded waist strap and the shoulder straps are comfortable and these all DO stow away, unlike a comment above. It will pack enough clothes and shoes if you don't have hardly anything (four or five underwear, a bra, one lightweight dress, slip, nylon nightie, one pair of tights, 6 pair of airline knee highs, two small profile shoes, two shirts, a pair of nylon pants, two sweaters and maybe a thin laptop) but not much else. The problem is that when the clothing puffs out the bag it is too fat for Easyjet, which is why I purchased this bag. It is the wrong shape for this airline as it measures 11 x 22 x 13 inches when full. Thus, it will not fit in the test bin at the gate that bags have to be able to go in to (9 x 14 x 21 inches.) It, sadly, is not the optimum shape. I wish they would have been honest about this, since now I have to return a bag that I really like but is not fit for the purpose. Even at $111, it is not worth the risk. I am sad. If anyone can recommend a bag that really does fit the bill, please PM me. Is the Rick Steves convertible carry-on the one for me? I need comfortable suspension for a backpack to work.

Posted by
3713 posts

I was a little confused about the "when the clothing puffs out the bag" description in your response. I'm a strong advocate for compression cubes. My favorites are the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes. I have 2 sets, one in red and one in blue. All my clothes fit in them, and I typically take more than you listed.

However, after seeing Jane from Sapulpa's packing list, which is very similar to mine, and that she gets it all in a Rick Steves Appenzell pack, I'm going to get one of those and try to emulate her. It is 18x13x6.5 and about 1 pound 6 oz empty. The interior capacity is 1400 cubic inches and there are some exterior pockets that aren't counted in that. I also have a comfort concern due to the suspension issue.

I have no carry-on concerns next trip for my Delta flights, but I'll be doing some KLM ones in Europe. Their dimensional limits are about the same, but the combined weight of the carry-on and personal item is 26 pounds. I figure the smaller bag will make a huge contribution to limiting the weight.

If it doesn't work out, I still have 2 roller bags as backup, but I'd have to be even more controlled in my packing to meet the KLM limits.

Posted by
5149 posts

Lo and Leslie, I use 2 gallon freezer zip bags. I put say, 2 pairs of pants in one, 4 tops in another, and sit on them to squoosh the air out. It works! My DH picked up some purpose-made compression bags recently, but half of them are too big to fit our backpacks.

I do have some packing cubes somewhere, that I got as a premium for joining something or other, but last summer I couldn't find them.

Now, my DH doesn't use bags, or cubes. He rolls his things and manages to pack them very neatly and economically. His backpack is smaller than mine, but I think last time I ended up carrying all the toiletries, supplements, and maybe a couple of his things.

Posted by
3713 posts

It does look good and the specs verify its suitability for carry-on. I was surprised at how light it is, but I'm not sure the internal metal frame would be very comfortable. I'd want to test it with weight and get fitted for it at REI. This is a link to their article on sizing.

My other concern is that with 40L of capacity, I'd be inclined to overfill it, making it heavier than I really want to carry.

Posted by
9906 posts

Since this thread popped back to the top...I did take the LiteGear bag I mentioned above to FL. It easily fit under the seat on all my flights including the Regional Jet out of my local airport. I'll also say it worked fine as a pillow when I had to spend the night on the floor of the Atlanta airport after weather cancellations.

What didn't work was that the straps seemed a little wide set for my old-lady shoulders. One would be fine, the other rubbing in my armpit.

I love the color, the pockets and that it is narrower than Rick's Veloce bag but a smidgy taller. I seemed to be able to pack it better but also had my main bag checked.

Posted by
6 posts

I used the men's version of the Global Companion 40L on a recent 2 week overseas trip. It's extremely comfortable to carry, even stuffed to the brim. No problem getting it on as carry-on luggage for AA or ANZ. It's very versatile in what it holds especially if you use packing cubes for the two main interior pockets. I liked it far more than the TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible I've used for a couple of years after finally giving away the older model Rick Steves Back Door Bag I had used for several years because I wanted a more modern, compartmentalized design pack. The Eagle Creek backpack seems to be much better made than the TLS bag and has far better back panel padding, shoulder straps, hip belt and sternum strap. The latter came off so many times on the Mother Lode I had to use safety pins to clip them on, and its hip belt is of little use. The Mother Lode does seem to hold more stuff and has a much better compartment to stash papers, books and small items, but the plastic clips connecting the shoulder straps are flimsy and broke in the middle of the trip and it hurt my shoulders to carry the bag when it got heavy. Once I added padding to the Mother Lode's hip belt (using generic shoulder strap pads) and replaced the aforementioned plastic clips with cheap metal carabiners, it held together much better and was more comfortable to carry,. However, at least for me, I thought the Eagle Creek backpack was overall a definite upgrade over the Mother Lode.

Posted by
3789 posts

Thanks for the report back, Les....particularly when compared to a recommended bag.
My thought was that the laptop area failed the safety test with no way to lock that zipper, and that you could enter the main compartment from it. Any thoughts on that?

Posted by
3713 posts

Maria, you may have missed this comment up thread.

"It unzips right into the main pack compartment and is not lockable.
Actually on the video Frank linked she does say the laptop and electronic pockets are lockable."

That same video is on the EC link I posted in the original post. The mentioning of the lockable ring feature is toward the end of the video. Although not specifically shown, it is probably like the D-ring one on the front pocket that is highlighted both in the video and in a picture on the EC listing.

EC should point that out better due to the understandable concern about it.

Since I'm the OP, I must confess that I ended up with the Appenzell. Major decision factors for me were its lighter weight of only about 1 pound, 5 oz. And its smaller size of about 18"x13"x6.5". And its smaller capacity of about 1400 cubic inches or 23 liters, not counting pockets.

I'll be testing it on a domestic trip very soon. How my back, shoulders and knees handle the extra weight of about 13 pounds remains to be seen, or should I say, felt.

Posted by
3789 posts

Lo, thanks for the recap and reminder. I will confess, I often watch the video without volume, so unless they point it out, I will have missed the comment.
Looking at the EC website again, I now note them stating that the laptop zip is lockable.

Like you, I do think the weight is a bit much, but maybe that can be attributed to the good padding and solid hip belt.
Good luck with the Appenzal.

Posted by
6 posts

The laptop zipper is in fact lockable to a separate grommet off to the side.

I don't use this backpack as my only bag--I check a bag with all of my clothes (I'm not petite) and have always used backpacks to carry on all of my other stuff (laptop, SLR, guidebooks, Bose headphones, breakable souvenirs, other electronics, the wonderful Rick Steves hideaway poncho and hide-a-way tote bag (the latter is great for picnics, grocery and other shopping while on vacation) that have each served me well for many years, miscellaneous papers and receipts, a travel umbrella, and my laundry items. I always use a maximum carry-on size backpack to for allow some wiggle room if needed. It's cheating for "traveling light", but it works for me.

I have the Appenzell. I used as a family size daypack for 3 of us. That means, I lugged it all over Scotland for 2-weeks - not just for transit to hotel. It is very comfortable. I am just under 5'5" and on the stout side (due to an appreciation for fine brew). The bag has good organization with the pockets. If you are using this to haul clothing and such from hotel-to- hotel, I highly recommend a couple of packing cubes. They will make loading from the top easier. For size - look up Ebags brand cubes. Stay with the medium, small, and slimline ones. (You can use another brand. I referred you to ebags only for cube dimensions and I personally like and use their classic cubes.)
I just tried a cube in my Appenzell. The mediums fit for certain. You may be able to get a large one to fit because there was space around the medium cube. You can also use a medium EC packing folder.