United by Blue Base Backpack for your next adventure

The value of a quality, all-purpose travel-ready backpack cannot be underestimated. United by Blue’s 30L Base Backpack delivers, with just the right amount of bells and whistles without going overboard.  After all, there is such a thing as too complicated. At 30 liters, it’s just the right size to use as a day pack while traveling or as a trail pack for day hikes at home, at 13″ x 17″ x 7″, approximately. You get what you need: a water bottle sleeve, a padded laptop sleeve (accommodating up to a 15″ laptop), exterior zipper pouch pockets and open side pockets, and a felt-lined top pocket for those items you don’t want to be scratched.

The backpack is made with a durable water repellent finish; it shed moisture nicely during a misty trip through the Olympic Peninsula. It resists staining, which is nice for travel days on airplanes and in cars, and adjustable padded shoulder straps and a leather haul strap make it easy and comfortable to cart around. You get a drawstring closure with a top lid and cross-sternum strap, too.

And because I’m probably too superficial, I’ll add that this is a good-looking backpack. The design is just a bit different than most, with its double external pockets and leather accents. You get to choose between several colors and pattern options, including solid black, solid olive, navy with a mountain landscape, a rust and tan two-tone combo that reminds me happily of an orange creamsicle, and two topography patterns in navy and gray (which I think looks more like a creamy white). They’re all really gorgeous.

The design is sleek enough to feel urban (my college kid took mine immediately to use on campus) but functional enough and rugged-looking enough for a day in the outdoors. It did fine on day hikes in my area. I’ll be bringing mine on an extended trip in Central America, too (if I can snag it back from the kid).

Pick one up for $108, not a bad price at all for what you get. You can find them on the United by Blue site, but also on Amazon for a sizable price cut (though in fewer color options). If your travels demand something bigger, United by Blue makes a 45 liter pack too, which is just as durable and practical, though bulkier. This one may not fit under your seat on a plane, but it will still slip into an overhead compartment nicely.

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Amy Whitley is a freelance creative and travel writer and founding editor of the family travel website Pit Stops for Kids. An avid lover of the outdoors, Amy makes her home in Southern Oregon, where she, her husband, and three school-aged children spend much of their time backpacking, camping, skiing, and hiking. When not exploring her own backyard, Amy and her family hit the road for travel reviews of resorts, tour operations, and hotels across the country and abroad. Follow Amy Whitley on Twitter and Facebook.
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