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Monday, May 15, 2017

Gear Closet: Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Backpack Review

Travelers looking for a compact, yet still full-featured, backpack to accompany them on their adventures need look no further than the Allpa from Cotopaxi. This fantastic bag is built to carry everything you need in a single carry-on option, while still providing plenty of convenience and comfort along the way as well. Best off all, it is priced right, and if you pre-order one now, you'll even save some cash.
The Allpa isn't scheduled for release until September, but Cotopaxi did launch recently launch an Indiegogo campaign to help get the bag into production. Those crowdfunding efforts have easily surpassed the modest $35,000 goal that the company had set for itself, and as I write this the funds raised are quickly approaching $400,000. That is a testament to not only how much Cotopaxi is respected in the outdoor community, but also how much people are looking forward to the new backpack, which brings some interesting design sensibilities to an adventure travel space.

I managed to get my hands on an early production model, and have been quite impressed with how well the Allpa performs. Made from TPU-coated polyester and ballistic nylon fabrics, it is extremely durable and built to handle plenty of abuse while on the road. Its exterior is made up of clean lines, and is free from edges, corners, belts, straps, and miscellaneous other items that can accidentally snag on things when rushing through a busy airport, jumping on and off buses, and scrambling through a crowded market. There are, however, grab handles on all four sides, as well as tuck-away shoulder straps and a hip belt.


A high-quality, durable main zipper runs down the center of the Allpa, bisecting it into two equal parts. Opening it up reveals an interior that boasts 35-liters of capacity and a high degree of organization too. On the right side is one large, zippered mesh compartment, while the left is segmented off into three smaller, yet still spacious, pockets. Each allows you to organize your gear in any way that you like, and grants fast access to the items you need at any time, without having to worry about sifting through all of your other clothing and equipment just to find the one thing you're looking for.

The pack also offers secure storage for a laptop and a tablet in a special hidden compartment located behind the backpanel. This is especially handy for someone like me, who takes his laptop everywhere but usually has to bring a separate carry-on bag just for those items. A third zipped storage pocket is found on the top of the backpack as well, and it is sized to accommodate a smartphone, passport, or other smaller items.

When designing the Allpa, Cotopaxi was careful to ensure that it meets the strict carry-on standards from all of the major airlines. That means it should easily go into the overhead compartment of just about any flight, allowing you to avoid having to check it. That not only saves you some cash, but it removes the possibility of your bag getting lost in transit too. And, it also means you won't have to wait at the luggage carousel for the airline to deliver your gear a half-hour after you plane has landed. As someone who happens to be a frequent flier, that all sounds good to me.

I've used the Allpa on several short trips recently, and have come away quite impressed. I'm already someone who likes to travel light, but with this bag I was also able to keep everything well organized too. Additionally, the pack is quite durable, as other than collecting a little dirt while on the road, the bag looks virtually brand new. That bodes well for taking it on future adventures too, as it looks like it is built to survive just about anything I throw at it. Only time will tell if that is true of course, but I'm feeling very confident that this is a bag that will still be going strong a decade from now too.

When the Allpa is released in September, it will retail for $169.95. At that price, I feel very confident in recommending it to travelers looking for a good pack to accompany them on their journeys. But, if you preorder one while the Indiegogo campaign is underway, you can get the backpack for as low as $130. At that price, this bag is a true steal, and while you'll have to wait a few months to get your hands on one, it will most definitely be worth the wait.

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2 comments:

bclikesyou said...

Hey Kraig-

Great write up!

I just backed this bag and am looking forward to getting it (hopefully) in September!

Got a few quick questions I was hoping you could touch on:

-I plan to use this as my everyday bag. Is it too big for that?
-How does it sit when not entirely full?

Thanks!

Kraig Becker said...

Hi! Glad you liked the review and hopefully you'll love the bag as much as I do.

Personally, for me, it's a bit big for any everyday carry bag where I don't need so much stuff with me. I wouldn't want to use it as a commuter, when I can get away with something smaller, but that's just my two cents.

As for how it rides when it isn't too full, for me its great. The pack secures nicely to the body no matter the size of the load, and personally, I like to not pack to much into my bag anyway. Cotopaxi did a great job in that area.

Thanks for reading!