Photo Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: retailer
i hate packing Before a big trip it is always What if I need these clogs? How about a raincoat? Should I really take two types of sunscreen? And no matter how many clever TikTok tricks I try or how many packaging cube I’m investing in, I’m still convinced I’m forgetting something crucial. Yes I knows You can buy socks in Oaxaca or toothpaste in St. Louis, but my packing anxiety means I always throw in a bunch of extra stuff at the last minute and get to my destination with one suitcase that threatens to overflow. That is, until I met mine Cotopaxi Allpa backpack.
I found out about the Cotopaxi in April from my best childhood friend, Katie, who is the best packer I know. Katie used to do canoe trips around Canada every summer in high school, so she’s a master at keeping her belongings to a bare minimum and to fit them into the smallest of spaces. When she last visited me in Brooklyn, she brought a single Backpack with a striking patchwork pattern. As she packed to go home, I watched her open the clamshell design and unfold it into a butterfly formation. Unlike most backpacks, which only zip at the top, she showed, this one opens completely, allowing you to make better use of all the space. Each side also had multiple zippered mesh compartments that served as built-in packing cubes.
I ordered online locally and opted for the 35 liter option, which Cotopaxi says is best for weekend getaways. (There’s also a 42-litre backpack for longer trips and a 28-litre Allpa for shorter trips.) Although the Allpa comes in a range of standardized colours, such as green, blue and raspberry pink, Katie’s distinctive patchwork number was part the Of the day Collection that uses leftovers to create unique multicolored bags. It helps keep stuff out of landfills and I love the mismatched look – I went for one with a mix of blue and green and a salmon pink section at the back.
For the first test run, I took it with me on a ten-day trip to Italy as a personal item on the plane and combined it with my confidant Travelpro roller board so I wouldn’t have to check in a bag. In it I easily fit a spare outfit, my Laptopsnacks & coneflowera jewelry box, my crochet project and my day bag – with plenty of space. (It slid easily under the seat in front of me.) I later found that the stowable straps were great for when I needed to stow the bag in an overhead compartment on a crowded train without worrying about a loose buckle snagging someone head hit. while the mesh pockets kept things relatively organized even as I ran away hotel to the hotel. The largest of these pockets is also accessed via a zip at the back, so you don’t have to turn the whole thing upside down to pull one out lip balm or charging cable. There is an included rain cover which I haven’t used (I’m not that athletic) but I imagine it would come in handy on one hike or camping Trip.
But most of all is this backpack spacious — on later trips to Thailand and the beach and countless weekends away, I was still amazed at how well this thing fitted.
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