This Airporter backpack from Guerrilla Packs carries a wide variety of belongings for a very reasonable price.It integrates a laptop sleeve and gadget pouches in a versatile piece of luggage.
I'm a big fan of bags that adhere to the TSA carry-on sizes but are lightweight and multi-functional. I love a wheelie bag as much as the next guy when my trip is only about airports, hotels, and taxis. But when that's not the case, having something without wheels makes me a lot more mobile and shaves off several inches and pounds. (Think of it as a diet luggage.) With European budget airlines, African bush airlines, and Nature Air of Costa Rica charging you a hefty premium for anything over 20-30 pounds, weight is money.
So this backpack is quite useful in those cases and I've seen people on multi-month trips through the tropics carrying nothing but a bag this size: it holds 50 liters in the main compartment and another 10 in the small daypack. That's just the start of it though. Guerrilla Packs bills their bags as the first ones designed for the modern tech-laden flashpacker and by that measure this is a terrific piece of luggage. It's got a built-in detachable laptop sleeve, which is really cool. It's large enough for a 13-inch laptop and it's inside the main bag (hard for anyone else to get to). Also inside the main bag are two compartment bags: one sized for a smart phone, one for a point-and-shoot camera It's got two zippered compartments on the outside, loops for hooking things on, sleeping bag or pad straps at the bottom, and two water bottle pockets on the side.
You can carry it like a suitcase with it all zipped up, with padded handles on both the top and side. That always makes me happy. Or you can unzip and tuck the back flap and carry it like a regular backpack, with a padded waist strap and sternum strap.
It comes with a detachable daypack too, which is pretty standard, but this one is small enough that you won't feel like a dwarf jumped on your shoulder and is pulling you backwards if you actually use it. (The design lets you clip it onto the front of your body though if so.) It's a good size for a day of sightseeing, with room for all the essentials, a key clip, a zippered mesh pocket, and internal flaps. There's one large flap with a Velcro tab that's ideal size for a tablet.
All the pack's zippers have pull tabs on them but have big enough loops to accommodate regular locks or cable locks.
So is this the most rugged, heavy-duty backpack I've ever tried? No, but for a $129 list price, nobody should expect it to be. It's a great pack for that price, loaded with useful features, and the ripstop nylon should hold up well through a few years of heavy travel. All Guerrilla packs come with a six-month warranty.They also sell a few larger packs for carrying more of your stuff. (You can win one this month if you're following Perceptive Travel on Facebook.)
These are just getting out to physical retailers now, but you can buy the Airporter from Amazon.
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