Most of the time, when we think of backpacking, we picture a sweaty character, carrying their life’s belongings in a whopping colourful container on their back. However, times have certainly changed. The priority now is packing light! Read our best backpacks article, where our readers shared their thoughts on this issue.
Since airlines standardised the size of carry-on luggage, there has been a growing market for bags tailored to those exact dimensions, all of which promise to provide you with maximised space-efficiency and comfort.
The incentive to travel with only one piece of carry-on luggage is huge. No more waiting for checked-in baggage on the conveyor belts that never start moving. Simply marching off the plane and out of the airport offers a sense of freedom that every traveller craves.
We were sent one of these purpose-built bags, made by the Standard Luggage Company, to test out and review. So without further ado, our thoughts…
Carry-On Backpack by Standard Luggage Co.
The first thing that hit me when we opened our package from the Standard Luggage Company was just how many features it’s possible to pile into a bag!
Take, for instance, the small marking on the side of the bag that says “cable”. After a bit of fiddling, I discovered that this marks a small tunnel through which you can pass your headphone cable, meaning that your device can remain safely locked away in your bag, while you listen to whatever it’s playing out in the real world.
There are compartments and pockets galore (12!), of differing sizes and degrees of padding. The laptop compartment comes complete with a soft pouch for storing the machine itself, equipped with its own extra pocket for a tablet. (Great for digital nomads!) The water bottle pocket on the side of the bag is adaptable, meaning that various sizes of bottle will be held snuggly in place.
The bag is technically a 3-in-1, flitting between status as a backpack, a suitcase and a shoulder bag.
I’ll be honest, I’d find it a bit bulky to act as a suitcase. Personally, I’ll be sticking to the backpack format, but perhaps that’s just my backpacker roots at play.
The straps are removable, or hide-away-able. It actually takes a little bit of working out to get the thing set up as a bag in the first place (there are no IKEA-style graphics describing how you should attach the waist strap). So, too, are the coloured leather tags that attach to the zips and handles.
These coloured leather tags come in two varieties, bright orange and turquoise. Honestly, neither colour appeals to my tastes (though my girlfriend loves the turquoise). When I’m out and about with the bag, I will no doubt choose to remove them completely, which is a handy third option.
- Capacity – 35 litres, expandable to 45 litres
- Dimensions (in cm) – 54.61 x 34.29 x 19.05 when zipped – 54.61 x 34.29 x 24.13 when expanded
- Weight – 1.68 kg
- Laptop Pocket – Carries most 15″ laptops (and anything smaller than that)
- Price – $179 USD with free shipping included
- Full-Perimeter Zip – Very practical. So you can open the bag fully like a suitcase.
- Compression Straps On The Inside – For holding things in place and squeezing them down to maximise space.
- Hideaway Backpack Straps – If you use the bag as a suitcase or shoulder bag, the backpack straps slide into the bag.
- Removable Hip Belt – If you don’t need it, take it off.
- Water Bottle Pocket – Because water is the source of life.
- Expandable – Make the bag grow by a magic extra 10 litres.
- Sliding Detachable Laptop Pouch – For ease of experience at airport security.
- Pockets of all sizes – Each designed with a plan. Ease of access, security etc.
- Padded handles – For comfort.
- Padded Back Ventilation – So you shouldn’t be uncomfortable or sweaty.
- Safety Whistle – Honestly? A bit of a gimmick. Ours barely makes a sound…
- Water Resistant – Nobody likes wet clothes.
- Rain Cover – Because sometimes water-resistant doesn’t cut it.
- Shoulder Strap – To convert it into a shoulder bag.
- Interchangeable Coloured Leather Tags – Also removable, if you aren’t impressed by either colour.
- Lifetime Warranty and Satisfaction Guarantee – This is always a great reassurance to potential buyers. Suggesting the company are perfectly sure of the value of their product!
My opinion on these features?
- The rain cover is fantastic. It fits into itself and has a clip that allows you to attach it to any part of the bag that you feel fit for easy access later.
- The range of pockets allows you to put everything in a logical place. Perfect for the organised traveller. Books can be easy to reach, valuables can be hidden away safely etc.
- I’m quite a fan of the headphone hole, though I admit it makes skipping tracks a bit of a hassle.
- The capacity to attach it to a wheely case is pretty nifty.
- It’s comfortable.
- It’s very lightweight for the size.
- The bag feels sturdy and the material is very durable. No doubt it would last a long time.
- The whistle is a bit of a waste of time. It barely makes a sound (unless it’s a dog whistle and we just weren’t clear on that fact).
- The name! No offence guys, but Standard Luggage Co. is not a very inspiring name.
Standard Luggage Co’s Carry-On Backpack is a sturdy, comfy bag that allows you to feel very organised and prepared when travelling light. Perhaps not ideal for several years of slugging it around Southeast Asia, but if you’re planning a city break, or just a couple of weeks away, this bag could well be perfect for you!