Travel gear isn’t only good for travel. Sure, maybe some items like passport cases and TSA locks really are only good when you’re boarding a plane elsewhere. But many of the things we review at Practical Travel Gear have home uses, as well.

At home, I get tired of switching out my purse or day bag based on where I’m going, or the purpose for the gathering I’m attending. So, I usually just have a black leather tote that looks good all the time, no matter where I am. But once we started California’s shelter-in-place requirement, I’m really only running essential errands and getting outdoors for exercise. Otherwise, I’m just at home.

So, I took this opportunity to change out my day bag for something that still looks good, but is a little more utilitarian: the United By Blue 9L Sidekick Backpack.

The size of this day pack (10 inches wide by 13 inches high by 4 inches deep) is a little like Goldilocks: not too big, not too small, but just right. The 100-percent recycled polyester fabric has a water-repellent finish and vegetable-tanned leather details. The fabric comes from a durable, versatile yarn made from recycled plastic diverted from landfills, like plastic water bottles.

The bag is on the smaller side, but its multitude of pockets gives it the functionality of a larger bag. There’s a padded interior laptop sleeve, a water bottle sleeve, an exterior zipper pocket and open pocket, a zippered bellow pocket with media storage and pen slots, and the main compartment has a zippered closure and fold-over top that snaps into place.

Just as important as the recycled materials, these bags are responsibly made in a factory in Vietnam that holds the highest standards for facilities and personnel, with third-party certifications to back it up.

The 9L Sidekick comes in olive and black and lists for $68 on the United By Blue site.

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