At the time of this writing, I own nine backpacks. Seriously. In fact, it’s more if you count the pair of small, packable summit packs I bring when life offers the chance for a bit of mountaineering. Plethora of packs aside, if I’m not going for any sort of serious hike or climb, my go-to pack is, without fail, my Cotopaxi Allpa 28 Liter Travel Pack, the backpack literally tucked between my legs as I write these words right now from a flight to Utah.
What makes this pack so excellent? In a word, design. In more words intuitive, thoughtful, informed design. Let’s start with the outside. Like you’d expect with any decent technical backpack, the Allpa 28 L has padded, adjustable straps, a chest band, and a hip belt, all of which work in concert to distribute weight. Also as you’d expect with such gear, the backpack is water- and rip-resistant.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t look like a technical backpack. It’s stylish in an understated way, and doesn’t look out of place on the metro or on the mountain. When I’m headed into the city or traveling for work, this backpack becomes my briefcase and/or overnight bag in one. It has dual padded sleeves for a 15” laptop and a tablet, plus a small upper pocket with two compartments perfect for smaller objects like a phone, sunglasses, and snacks.
The main compartment is sub-divided into three smaller sections covered with zippered mesh panels. The primary compartment folds open 180 degrees to lie flat, giving you easy access to each sub-section, which are therefore not only easy to access, but they actually keep all of your stuff organized. The design relieves the all-too-common blackhole-like problem of a stuffed backpack, handy both when you need a fish out your liquids fast at the TSA line or you’d rather not be fishing around for that first aid kit after a fall during a hike.
I will use this pack heavily until at some distant point in the future it finally wears out, at which point… I’ll replace it.
Cotopaxi Allpa 28L Travel Pack
Comes in two colors
Scouted is internet shopping with a pulse. Follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations and exclusive content. Curious about a specific product? Let us know! Don’t forget to check out our coupon site to find great deals from your favorite brands. Please note that if you buy something featured in one of our posts, The Daily Beast may collect a share of sales.