Last week, Salt Lake City-based Cotopaxi introduced its latest product – a travel backpack called the Allpa – by launching an Indiegogo campaign designed to help get the new bag into production. That campaign has already been a smashing success, raking in more than $240,000 and ensuring fans that the pack will arrive on schedule in July. But how does the Allpa stack up? We got our hands on an early review model, and found it to be an excellent option for experienced travelers who like to travel light.
When designing the Allpa, the team at Cotopaxi knew that they had to deliver a backpack that was small enough to be carried on a flight, but still large enough to hold everything we need when we hit the road. To that end, the pack features a 35 liter capacity, which may not seem like a lot, but when paired with a number of organizational options, it actually turns out to be a surprising amount of of space.
Made from an incredibly durable TPU-coated polyester material, the Allpa has a unique design that does away with all external pockets and exposed buckles. This helps to prevent the bag from getting snagged on anything while racing through a busy airport and has the added benefit of giving it a very clean look. Straps are kept to a minimum with just a pair of tuck-away shoulder straps and a sternum strap used to hold the bag in place while we’re on the go. A ventilated back panel, a padded hip belt, and grab handles on all four sides round out the rather-spartan, yet useful, exterior features.
A heavy-duty zipper runs down the center of the Allpa, allowing users to completely open it up and granting access to the well thought-out interior. Along the right side of the pack you’ll find a single, large mesh compartment designed to carry clothes and other soft items. On the left side are two smaller mesh pockets along the top that prove very useful for further organizing smaller travel gear. Below them is yet another large compartment, which can be zippered open to gain access to a cavernous storage area within.
Behind the Allpa’s back panel, Cotopaxi has cleverly created a hidden storage space designed to securely carry both a laptop and a tablet. The sleeve can be easily accessed when passing through security, making it a breeze to take out your electronics while at the airport. Another zippered pocket – perfect for carrying a smartphone or passport – can be found along the top of the Allpa as well, adding yet another fast-access storage option.
As a frequent traveler, I’ve had the chance to put the Allpa through its paces on a few recent short trips, and have come away quite impressed. On excursions lasting up to 7 days, the pack can carry everything I need with ease, allowing me to take just one bag when I hit the road. And since Cotopaxi’s latest offering is meant to be carried on a flight, I can easily keep everything organized and avoid annoying baggage fees at the same time.
Personally, I really like the sleek, no-nonsense look that the Allpa brings to the table. It is as if there is no wasted space or unnecessary frills, and yet you still find plenty of options for keeping all of your items well organized and close at hand. All of the fabrics, zippers, straps, and buckles used in its construction are top-notch as well, ensuring that the bag can survive everything from over-zealous luggage handlers (if by chance you’re forced to check it) to the normal wear and tear that comes with frequent travel.
When the Allpa begins shipping in July, it will be priced at $169.95, which is a real bargain for a travel pack that is this good. But, early-bird adopters can pre-order one now for as little as $130 by supporting the Indiegogo campaign. At that price, it is an absolute steal, and a no-brainer, for anyone in the market for a new travel pack. If that happens to be you, there is a good chance that Cotopaxi has just built your new favorite piece of luggage.
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