Please sign in to post.
Posted by
6281 posts

Looks like the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L made the cut. Such a good bag!

Posted by
2267 posts

I’ve had my eye on that Peak Design bag for quite a while. My next trip is a 2 continent, 3 country, 5 city, 7 flight adventure—with formalwear. I just might spring for it…

These articles are fun to peruse. But, each traveler needs to find the right pack for one’s personal needs. I’m still waiting for either RIck Steve or RedOxx to make an underseat bag for budget planes. (I have other bags I can keep using.). Tom Bihn and Vera Bradley straight-out turned my ideas down. The RedOxx and Rick Steve people were much more polite.

Mardee - I haven’t forgotten (though I should) that Maria from Canada, you and I are supposed to create a quilted travel bag. (Joking here- that bag is doomed from the get-go.)

Posted by
7261 posts

I feel like I’m a walking advertisement for the Cotopaxi 35L, their top pick for most trips! It seriously makes me happy just seeing it! Cotopaxi markets it as “a versatile small pack for a week or a weekend.” It also works very well for a month-long trip! : )

Since I just packed mine, (that exciting stage!), and it’s ready to go, I will share how I like packing it.

When the clamshell is open, I like to pack my clothes on the right portion. Rectangular light toiletry bag at the bottom, pants in the center, shirts or dress on top - all with no packing cubes needed because the mesh will hold them in place. If I bring a pair of sandals, the shoe bag lays over the pants.

Left side is underwear in the old RS drawstring mesh bag (before packing cubes were in style), a gallon Ziploc bag with misc. such as small journal notebook, pens, flashlight, snack Ziploc of instant coffee sticks. A red mesh bag with chargers & adapters. My money belt (worn when I am off the plane), and a quart Ziploc of some Earth Breeze laundry sheets.

There’s two small mesh zippers spots at the top. I place a tiny bar of soap in one - helps keep the bag smelling fresh during the trip. The other has my OTC meds.

The outside top opening holds my 311 bag which I transfer to my toiletry kit later, my nightie - keeps all clean clothes inside the bag, an empty Eagle Creek shoe bag for dirty clothes - I wash at least every two days, typically every night when going solo. Any protein bars or nuts for the plane start in this location, too.

There’s a side outside zipper that accesses the padded section for my iPad, and I keep a mesh zippered envelope of any papers for the trip in it. If I want to keep any paper souvenirs, those go into it along the trip.

Currently it’s packed at 14.4 pounds for a 3-week trip, although I may remove an item before leaving. Edit: Just removed another 1.4 pounds, so I will be leaving with 13 pounds and a small Baggallini crossbody purse.

Posted by
8425 posts

I have one of them. I agree it's a good, quality backpack. I especially liked the way the zipper pulls are protected from snagging on things.

Jean,
The Cotopaxi 28 liter would fit my body size better. The bags look great and fair prices. Not sure I like the alpaca head logo in middle of bag. I realize logos are a nit-picky thing. But, my eyes go straight to it every time.

Posted by
73 posts

I like those review articles, too and was pleased that the two between which I was trying to decide were listed at #1 and #2. I was able to try on both the 35 L Cotapaxl and the 45L Peak Design at REI. My trusty Away bag felt heavy to hoist in the overhead bin on my winter trip, where only fitting in the sizer mattered, not weight.
Anyway, for a 3 week light hiking/city sightseeing trip in June I'm using trains and buses quite a bit and also like reading others' packing lists for inspiration!
I opted for the Peak Design bag, but ordered the 35L "expandable" instead, in midnight blue. I have a multi-colored Cotapaxl fanny pack and their packing cubes and really like both. But at almost age 70 and only 5'1" the Peak bag was a much less obstrusive vibe and I looked less like a colorful turtle!
Sizing is tricky- it does expand a little bit. I'm anxious to try it and thrilled that at under 2 lbs I am only at about 12.5 lbs after testing it with all my stuff💪🏻🤞🏻!

Posted by
1362 posts

For four years I used the Osprey Fairview 40L backpack in the now discontinued XS size - which meant that it is is really 38L. I loved everything about it except that it looked bulky on my 5'2" body and there was no way to stow the hip belt while using the backpack straps (you can stow both the hip belt and backpack straps together but not separately). After reading Mardee and Jean's reviews of the Cotopaxi Alpa 35L I haunted the REI used gear website until one popped up at a significant discount right before Thanksgiving. I swooped in and grabbed it. It was listed in excellent condition and indeed it was. In fact I don't think it had ever been used. I wanted and do love the bag's color, style and zippers. But alas I do not like to travel with it. It just doesn't work for the way I pack and unpack. As it turns out, I really like using packing cubes. It is just a personal preference. The good news is that I gave the bag (with full disclosure to its provenance) to a friend for her birthday. She's been the primary caregiver for my dog while my family deals with some health issues. She loves it and had been looking for a travel backpack. So win-win all around.

Posted by
7261 posts

Trotter, yes, everyone has their own preferences and how they like to pack, how much, etc. One word you used immediately made we realize you & I handle our stuff differently, so we would have different preferences. I don’t unpack. I just leave everything in the backpack except my toiletry kit, what I’m wearing or washing, and the red mesh bag that holds my chargers.

That was very kind to give your friend the backpack!

Sun-baked, the logo on my bag is about the least intrusive color combo. My bag is a Pacific blue with black side panels & the logo is a royal blue.

Posted by
406 posts

I’m surprised that the NYT article lists the weights for these packs as 4 lbs plus for some of them. Is that right?

Posted by
8130 posts

My wife is mobility challenged and she travels with a folding personal scooter which she rides through airports and to the door of the airplane. I have to handle the luggage for both of us.

I bought an Amazon Basics backpack that's the same size as a rolling carry on bag. It's basic but does the job well--especially for the cost. I towed the wife's rolling bag.

The next trip, I realized that I could easily tow two TravelPro ultra light 21" carry on's and that's what we're traveling with now. I just prefer the swivel wheel bags to having a backpack.

Posted by
1187 posts

The review for the Osprey Farpoint 40 (Fairview) is outdated. The Osprey was updated more than a year ago. The laptop slot now opens on the side and is located close to the back near the shoulder straps. They also replaced the mesh bottle holders.

If I were to buy a new bag, I would consider the Farpoint. Osprey products are very well designed. The hip belt, internal frame and shoulder straps work together well to distribute the weight onto the hips. I also like bags with external compression straps which allow me to cinch the bag down to size and also to strap things on the outside (e.g. wet clothes).

As it is, I am still using my SOC Bugout Bag which is still holding up strong after 8 years (USD$68). Contrary to the specs on the website, it only weighs 4.0 lb and the dimensions are 21" x 14" x 9". The bag depth is expandable if I decide to buy a lot of stuff and want to check it in.
https://sandpiperca.com/products/bugout-bag-black

Posted by
7261 posts

Funpig, one of our active forum contributors has the Osprey. Pam seems to like it a lot and has commented on the forum…if you’re able to search for those comments. The Search function isn’t very user-friendly!

Posted by
2527 posts

Compare and contrast the glowing recommendations of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L bag with the REI Big Haul Recycled Duffel, my go to international travel backkpack. The REI backpack is five liters larger, 21 ounces lighter...ditch the removable "duffel handles" and save more weight. Further, it is more affordable given the $200 price for the Cotopaxi versus $119 for the REI backpack, not considering the current sale price of $109 for the brightly colored Solar Red version. The REI backpack compresses very nicely and fits smaller overhead bins on regional jets. Rick's packing cubes are a simpatico combination. Bonus: no alpaca logo.

Posted by
6281 posts

Mardee - I haven’t forgotten (though I should) that Maria from Canada, you and I are supposed to create a quilted travel bag. (Joking here- that bag is doomed from the get-go.)

Ha ha, probably, although it's still a tempting idea! I did find a gorgeous quilted bag by Adrienne Vittadini the other day that I wouldn't mind cloning.

I’m surprised that the NYT article lists the weights for these packs as 4 lbs plus for some of them. Is that right?

Lyndash, the Cotopaxi Alpa 35L is only 3 lbs, 2 oz. Can't speak for the rest of the bags.

But alas I do not like to travel with it. It just doesn't work for the way I pack and unpack.

Trotter, I get that. I do love the Cotopaxi and love the way I can use it in place of packing cubes. The dealbreaker for me was having to carry it around at the airport and to and from train stations, and so on. So now I keep it to use on road trips in the US, which works great for me. My daughter recently borrowed it for a 2 week road trip for her and her family and loved it.

Posted by
1478 posts

@Jean, I am pretty sure that Pam has an Osprey wheeled bag, not a backpack.

My 2 boys and I will be traveling together in May. I love my Osprey Porter which is 46L. I don't pack it full, but I still like it better than the 40L bags because it has more structure to it. My last trip it weighed 16 pounds. I don't usually purchase many souvenir's to bring home, but it is also good to know that I have that extra space if needed.

Son #2 carries the Fairview. I purchased that for myself because I started packing less, but as mentioned above I like my older bag better. I just purchased Son #1 an Osprey Farpoint and I am looking forward to seeing what the differences are to the Fairview.

They are all in shades of green (mine is a neon shade), so we will look like a crew.

Posted by
7261 posts

@Vandrabrud, you’re right! Pam did mention it has wheels.

Posted by
55 posts

We just purchased two Deuter Aviant Pro 40 duffles for an upcoming trip on WestJet, which has smaller carryon requirements than US carriers. We haven't used them yet, but they seem really great from first testing -- sturdy, waterproof(!), relatively comfortable, etc. They do not have a sternum strap, which is a drawback, but checked the rest of our boxes. Specifically we did NOT want a bag with a laptop sleeve as we are not traveling with laptops much anymore.

CarrieLeonard,
I have seen those deuter bags. Perhaps, you can review them once you have traveled. Curious about strap comfort.