The Standard Luggage Company’s Carry-On Backpack is a home-run. Retailing for $179 with free worldwide shipping, this backpack isn’t cheap but it does the job! To put the backpack through the ringer, I took it on a 10-day trip to Japan as my only bag. You heard that right – this carry-on backpack held a full suit, shoes and all of my gear for a romp around Japan from a conference to hiking, from Hiroshima to Tokyo.
Billed as a 3-in-1 bag (suitcase, backpack and shoulder bag), this bag comes with all the accessories to customize. Ours arrived with two accent colors – orange and teal – for the handles and the zipper cords. I left the orange accents on the bag because the bag stood out and had I checked the bag, it would have been a cinch to find on a baggage belt. The obvious downside to having extra accessories is that the teal accent pieces are now sitting in one of our travel boxes in our garage where they could be lost forever!
When traveling with the kids this suitcase easily slips over the handle of a roll a-board so we can carry two suitcases with one hand!
The Standard Luggage Co. website gives a great deal of information about this backpack. It contains all the specs you’d ever want to know, like it’s capacity of 35 liters which expands (with a handy unzip feature) to 45 liters. On my four flights with this carry-on, I had no problems getting the bag into the overhead bins (A320, A321, B777, A350). No gate agent even gave me a second look as I was boarding. I had the bag un-expanded. There’s a pretty high likelihood that you’d be asked to check the bag on smaller aircraft (regional jets for sure) and budget airlines.
My only complaint about the bag is that it didn’t have wheels. And that’s not a fair complaint at all. It’s not a wheely-bag so it just doesn’t have wheels. You can carry it on your back, on your shoulder or in your hand but I’ve grown accustomed to having bags with wheels that I can tow through an airport or in a train station. That said, Standard’s Carry-On Backpack is so lightweight that you probably won’t care about the wheels. And hey, since it’s a backpack, you can carry the Standard and still have two free hands.
This was my bag of choice for my Japan trip because my itinerary included a variety of destinations and activity types. I needed a bag that wouldn’t slow me down, wouldn’t get in the way and could be with me at all times. This bag is easy to pack. The top opens completely, allowing you to load your belongings easily. Because it has multiple carrying options, I found it comfortable waiting in lines and loading it in and out of Shinkansen overhead storage. Lastly, it’s the perfect size to keep near you in a train station. It’s easy to move about. When I couldn’t find the storage lockers in the JR Kobe Shinkansen station, the Carry-On Backpack came on a mountainside hike with me. The only downside was that my belongings shifted quite a bit on the hike – but then again, this isn’t a hiking backpack.
The Carry-On Backpack is sleek. It looks cool in black with accent colors. The backpack straps conceal in the rear of the bag so I was never worried about snagging the straps on anything. It’s also important to note that the bag is padded throughout. That made me feel comfortable placing my electronics into the bag. When my water bottle leaked inside a zippered pocket, it was an easy wipe clean.
Standard Luggage Company sells a few other products too. I highly recommend their packing cubes. We’ve been using packing cubes for years. Packing cubes make an average packer feel like a complete pro because they help you organize sets of items. For example, we pack together a full outfit for each kid for each day on a trip ahead of time. This keeps us from having to look through our whole bag for each outfit component for each kid for each day. So while you’re over at the Standard Luggage Company’s website, be sure to take a look at both their Carry-On Backpack and their packing cubes.
From Delft to Japan and back with only one carry-on? I’ll take Standard’s Carry-On Backpack!