Posts Tagged Eagle Creek
I love packable travel backpacks. The new Eagle Creek 2-in-1 duffel may be the best I’ve seen to-date. It meets my non-negotiable criteria for an overnight carry-on: it’s lightweight, packable (stuffs into its own pocket), and offers many of the bells and whistles of a full-scale (non-stuffable) backpack.
I’m usually less of a fan of convertible bags. Maybe it’s just me, but on a given trip, I either need a duffle or a backpack, but rarely both. However, with the Eagle Creek 2-in-1, you don’t lose as much valuable space when switching between styles as you do with many convertibles, making this a non-issue for me.
The 2-in-1 is made of ripstop nylon and carry-on sized at 11 x 22.5 x 7.5. It has a 33 L capacity (28 as a backpack).
What I love about the 2-in-1: when used in backpack mode, the pack can be accessed by top-load panel or side panel zippers, and offers two roomy water bottle pockets, a deep top zippered pocket, and a deep interior zippered pocket. The zippers are lockable, and you also get side and bottom compression straps with external lash points for stowing more gear. The bag is reflective and very lightweight. Converting the pack to a duffel is pleasantly simple (see photos below) and when you do convert, the duffel version gives you 15% more space (though a little bit is lost to shoulder strap storage).
What I don’t love so much: I really wish the shoulder straps slightly more significant (I’m willing to add some weight for this feature) and more adjustable. They do adjust at a basic level, but I was unable to fit the straps to my nine-year-old. I know, the 2-in-1 has never been touted as a child’s pack, but because of the size and weight, it’s the ideal carry-on bag for a kid. We love using the top zippered pocket for my son’s iPod, ear buds, and Kindle (all the possessions he could possibly want on a trip) and the main compartment for the rest of his gear.
How it converts: Converting from a backpack to a duffel is easy, as illustrated below. Eagle Creek is nice enough to color-code the straps and clips for us (all are gray), making it even simpler. Step 1: unhook the shoulder straps from the bottom of the pack. Step 2: stuff them into the zippered back panel. Step 3: Unzip the bottom circular compartment. Step 4: Pull out the duffel straps. Step 5: Attach the duffel straps to the coordinating clips.
Pick up a 2-in-1 duffel from Eagle Creek for $80, or find it at Amazon, Sunny Sports, or Moosejaw for the same price. Colors include black, flame orange, or mantis green. While you’re shopping, take a look at additional Eagle Creek gear we’ve reviewed.
I spent three days in Salt Lake City on the floor of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market last week, to check out what’s on the way in travel and outdoor gear. While in past OR shows I’ve been accompanied by Tim Leffel or Amy Whitley, this time I hit it solo.
If there’s one thing harder than three days of sprinting through a packed convention center for back-to-back meetings, it’s doing all of it with a knee brace. But I powered through to get you a look into the outdoor gear future—Fall 2014, to be exact. Here are a few trends I noticed at the show:
Backcountry packs with ABS. If you’re not a skier, boarder, or otherwise snow freak, this won’t mean much to you. But for the rest, there are a bunch of packs being introduced that use avalanche airbag systems. Some bags come complete with ABS and others, like the new Osprey Kode, come as regular packs with an ability to zip off one portion of the pack, zip on the ABS base unit, and use it when you want. Most of these packs use cartridges or canisters of gas or air. Black Diamond’s new Jetforce Avalanche Airbag pack uses a battery-powered fan.
Transformer luggage. We’re previously discussed Eagle Creek’s Morphus bag—a suitcase that transforms into a rolling bag and backpack (or duffel). Enter the Load Hauler, by the same brand, which also turns into two bags and is far less expensive than the Morphus.
Easy-entry backpacks. I’ve already tried out Gregory’s Compass pack (review coming soon!), which allows you to zip it open on the edges, like a suitcase—rather than having a top-only entry like many packs. I also spied the Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70 pack, with a zippered front access compartment. Both are great options to digging through your pack, only to find the thing you want is all the way at the bottom.
Down, down, down. From sleeping bags to jackets to vests, it seemed like everyone had a down solution—either traditional or synthetic. That’s not new, and neither is the “lighter down” trend. But I saw plenty of brands with “performance enhanced down” solutions, whether there’s more down in the core and less in extremities, the jacket is a mixed version of down and stretch fabric where no warming is needed for adventurous folks, or, in Columbia’s case—using the company’s Omni-Heat technology for the lining.
Balancing the Skittle colors. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of colorful gear offerings out there. I was encouraged by a choice of bright color and more muted tones for women this time. I may beat my color-choice drum a bit loudly from time to time, but as a traveler, I always want an option between blending in and standing out.
Powering up. Tim mentioned in last year’s Winter OR post about the new options with solar-powered chargers, and those are still out there. But new charging solutions include the stove. With PowerPot, you can produce electricity to charge your phone or light while you cook. With BioLite’s Packable Generator that can be used with any stove, you can produce 10W of on-demand power. Time for some coffee?
There are plenty of packing cubes, pouches, and folders out there to get you organized in your packing, but these Specter Pack-it Compression Cubes from Eagle Creek take the concept a big step forward. Instead of just giving you something to stuff your clothes into, they actually help you carry more in the same space.
It’s not a radical concept: we’ve long had Space Bags and other compression systems (Eagle Creek makes their own version too) to reduce sweaters and bulky coats down. You know, those clear plastic things that are shot if they get a tiny hole in them. But those are better for a one-time move than regular use. These cubes, on the other hand, are easy to work with, super-lightweight, and not dependent on having an airtight seal.
Basically these are made like the regular Eagle Creek Specter super-light cubes, but with a key twist. You can use them normally, but then after you zip your things inside, you activate another zipper to compress the bag tighter. The fabric may be light but it’s super-strong, so the cube holds everything in well. Like a diet ad, the top photo is before it’s zipped up, the bottom photo is the after.
I was going to create a video to show this more clearly, but hey, Eagle Creek already did that:
These are stain and water-resistant, plus there’s a handle on top to pull them out and toss them in a hotel drawer. I’ve been taking one of these on trips for months now and while I often leave the other cubes behind, this one has become a regular on my list. I use mine a lot for dirty laundry because who wants that taking up a lot of room? You can cram a lot of socks, underwear, and t-shirts in here, then you zip it up and reduce the bulk in half.
These come in two sizes and are generally sold as a set for $38. You can get them in green, orange, or white with one of those as an accent. Get the zip-up Specter Compression Cubes direct from Eagle Creek or check online at Backcountry, Moosejaw, or Zappos.
See more of our Eagle Creek travel gear reviews.
We review a whole lot of travel gear on this blog every week, some of it good, some of it so great we can’t stop talking about it. Out of the 250+ travel and outdoor adventure items we used and abused this year, here’s what the four of us liked the best. And for those keeping score from what’s below, yes Eagle Creek and ExOfficio are always safe bets when you walk out the door to some place on the other side of the globe…
Jill Robinson’s Favorite Gear of the Year
This year had me all over the map, from adventures in Africa to diving in Fiji. Often, I only had a couple of days between trips to unpack and repack again, so my favorite travel gear items are ones that helped me most along the way. The one item that was nearly always in my bag (except for those hot, tropical locations) was the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket. It’s so compressible that I’ve crammed it into small pockets in my carry-on luggage on a handful of trips. Once unpacked, it keeps me warm in the coldest climates.
The bag I used most this year, aside from my tried-and-true Gregory Cache 22 (a favorite from 2012), was the Eagle Creek Gear Warrior. The duffel on wheels has handy grab loops, stashes tons of gear, and is far sturdier than any duffel I’ve tried to date.
The two brands I turned to again and again, were Icebreaker and ExOfficio. Icebreaker’s quality merino wool clothing, from skirts to neck gaiters, keeps me warm (or cool, as the case may be) and allows for numerous wear days before washing. If that’s not your dream as a traveler, you haven’t been traveling long enough. ExOfficio clothing kept bugs away from me and also allowed me to look like the most dressed-up person in the room while out on safari in Namibia.
My best bargain items are the GoTubb Containers, which snap open and shut with ease, but not by themselves, so you can rely on them staying shut when you travel. Plus, when it’s time to open them, you can even do so with one hand. Sometimes, those simple things are like magic when you’re traveling.
Ramsey Qubein’s Travel Gear Favorites
My travel schedule in 2013 was as hectic as ever, but I loved every minute of it. For me, comfort and flexibility are paramount, which is why my 20Jeans went with me on half my trips. They are comfortable, soft, and (since my pair is a khaki color) ideal for business casual meetings as well as travel days.
Rolling through the airport with my Briggs & Riley Torq Spinner was a cinch thanks to the four wheels (my new must-have for travel luggage). I loved the fact that the bag looks so different from other peoples’ carry-on meaning no one will mistakenly pick it up as their own.
But, what good is having an easy-to-roll bag if your feet hurt from walking so much? My favorite travel shoe of the year is my pair of Clark’s Clutch Engine shoes for their comfort and versatility. I could be on a weeklong trip, and only carry one pair of shoes.
For the rare day when I was at home, the DefenderPad laptop shield was a great way for me to catch up on work with my laptop while lounging on the sofa or in bed. It kept my legs from getting too warm and also doubles as a great tray for eating on the sofa!
Amy Whitley’s Family Travel Outdoor Gear Picks
For me, 2013 was the year of wilderness travel for me and my gang, and my top travel gear reflects this. It’s hard to pick just one favorite, but topping my list has to be my Osprey Verve 5 L, reviewed in this hydration pack round-up post. Not only did the Verve get me through ski season well hydrated, but it continued to work hard throughout summer mountain hikes and desert road trips. I even got gross chair lift oil on my Verve, and it came out good as new.
What else did I reach for again and again? My pair of Tilley Endurables Venture Trek Pants. I wore these pants almost continually during a five-day river rafting trip, and then brought them along to backpack in the Trinity Alps. What makes them great: they’re lightweight, stain-resistant, quick-drying, and convertible.
Lastly, I wouldn’t be where I am today (literally) without my Eagle Creek Flipswitch carry-on. The Flipswitch has logged almost as many air miles as I have (or rather, as my son has, because he’s successfully stolen it from me). It’s endured the inconvenience of TSA checks, the stress ofoverhead storage bin wars, and the abuse of a teen boy.
Tim Leffel’s Digital Nomad Gear Picks
This past year I traveled to Europe and up and down the Americas, moving my family to the highlands of central Mexico in the latter half.
There was a lot of hiking, biking, and sidewalk surfing in there, so as usual I was wearing a lot of different travel pants. At least two of these four have gone in my bag on every trip this year: Craghoppers Kiwi Stretch Pants, ExOfficio Kukura Trek’r stretchy pants, the lighter revamped nylon P^Cubed Adventure Pants, and the super light Mountain Khakis Equatorial Pants.
In a sea of similar luggage, the Eagle Creek Morphus bag pictured above stood out for its transformer properties. It’s a backpack, a carry-on, a rolling checked suitcase, or two separate bags. Very cool. Maybe not as cool, but just super-useful for traveling with a laptop and gadgets is this Deuter Giga Laptop backpack.
Light packers who avoid baggage fees often carry a secret: little packets and pouches that expand on the other end to be bags and daypacks. I’ve used the Sea to Summit waterproof one a lot and it holds an amazing amount of stuff.
A few years back my year-end picks included the original ExOfficio Storm Logic jacket that turned into a travel pillow. The new Storm Logic has added a slew of pockets for all the things a traveler is carrying and it’s even better. (The Deluvian Rain Jacket that Jill reviewed and I will later also has the pocket system.)
I hardly went or lived anywhere cloudy, so I tried out a lot of sunglasses this year. These Costa del Mar Tuna Alley ones I’m wearing above are the shades I keep reaching for without thinking. They’re pretty darn close to perfect.
My favorite inexpensive gadget item was the GSI Coffee Press mug. I’ve probably used this 50 times already.
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Ever need one suitcase when you start out but two when you come home? Or have limited space to store luggage where you live? This Eagle Creek Morphus Bag can be one suitcase, two suitcases, or a suitcase and a backpack. But it’s not that short and simple…
I mentioned this bag back in my January gear trends recap because it was like nothing else on the market. It’s got a hard shell back, a soft waterproof front, and two bags hiding in what looks like one. On top of that, it’s got wheels or you can put the whole thing on a backpack for a daunting flight of stairs—but the straps are on the front, so no wheels digging into your back.
Already pretty cool, but the real magic happens when you need two suitcases, as I did recently when I went on a trade show trip and had a bunch of things to bring back. I did a quick unzipping that turned this Morphus bag into two bags and checked one of them for the trip back.
“What’s the catch?” you’re probably wondering. Well apart from the price, which is nosing up against $400 for the carry-on, you do lose a little cargo space since there’s an extra layer of bag in there. I can’t pack quite as much in one of these as I can pack in some other Eagle Creek 22-inch bags I’ve tried. A 47-liter capacity is not always apples to apples.
The Morphus comes in at a rather average 7 pounds 14 ounces when you’re wheeling along with both of them together. Obviously that drops a lot if you’re just using one.
When it comes to features and versatility though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any carry-on bag anywhere that has such a long list. This thing has all kinds of handles, straps, and grabs to enable you to haul either section multiple ways, comfortably. It’s got lockable zippers, multiple pounches, a padded laptop section, a tablet sleeve, even an emergency whistle. Yes, a whistle!
If you can’t get your head around all this, there’s a good video demo on the Eagle Creek website.
I mentioned the hefty price earlier, but I do have to point out that besides this being for two bags, it comes with Eagle Creek’s “no matter what” warranty. If you buy this and like it, you’ll probably still be using it when you’re 15 years older. Get the Eagle Creek Morphus Bag in a 22-inch carry-on or 30-inch version to check direct from Eagle Creek, at REI, or Moosejaw.