Show Your Love for the Earth with United By Blue 9L Sidekick Backpack

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.

Posted in


Jill Robinson is a freelance writer who lives in a small California beach town near the big wave surf spot, Mavericks. She divides her time between writing about travel, running a kayak business and trying to wring awe-inspiring adventure out of every day. Her articles have been featured in the AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more. Catch up with her adventures on and IG/Twitter at dangerjr.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.