Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack Review

The Cotopaxi Allpa is a travel pack designed to handle the demands of adventure while supporting ethical manufacturing practices.

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack is trendy carry-on travel backpack that claims to be “ready for any adventure—and look good while doing it.” Sounds good on paper, but does this pack have what it takes to stand up to real-world travel?

I was excited to get my hands on this backpack and run it through our tests. The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L doesn’t have much in the way of fancy features, but what it does have just works. It earned a score of 8.2 on our rating system, which puts it in the top 25% of travel packs we’ve tested.

This bag stood out for durability, ease of use, and bang-for-your-buck. If you want the fanciest high-tech backpack out there, try something like the Peak Design Travel Backpack. But for a stylish, rugged carry-on that has great features, doesn’t overcomplicate things, and hits a reasonable price point, I think the Cotopaxi Allpa hits a sweet spot.

In this review, I’ll dive into the details of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L, highlight the advantages and disadvantages, and help you decide whether it’s the right carry-on backpack for you.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Rating Overview

Comfort: 7.4 Durability: 9.3
Ease of Use: 8.9 Functionality: 7.8
Water Resistance: 6.3 Brand Impact: 5.4
Buying Experience: 8.6 Warranty: 7
Price-to-Performance: 9.6 Overall Score: 8.2

Learn more about how we test and rate backpacks

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

Type: Carry-On Backpack

Use: Travel

The Cotopaxi Allpa is a well-loved travel bag that comes in 35L and 42L versions. With an overall score of 8.6, it ranks in the top 25% of bags that we’ve ever tested.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L
9.1/10
Highly Recommended
Scoring Categories

9.0Build Quality

7.9Comfort

8.8Ease of Use

6.8Functionality

6.1Water Resistance

6.3Brand Impact

8.6Buying Experience

10.0Warranty

10.0Price-to-Performance

Pros
  • Weighing in just under 3.5 pounds (1560 grams), the Allpa 35L pack is portable and manageable.
  • The pack's carry-on size allows for easy airport travel.
  • Zipper compartments on the inside allow for easy organization.
  • Anti-theft webbing for zippers makes your bag more protected.
  • Compression straps and padded hip belt make for a comfortable carry.
  • The straps are part of a weight-distributing harness system aimed to spread the weight of your load evenly.
  • A portion of Cotopaxi's yearly revenue is donated to the Cotopaxi Foundation.
Cons
  • The Allpa 35L travel pack is neither waterproof nor weatherproof, requiring a cumbersome (but included) rain cover.
  • The flexible, lightweight, material and lack of rigid structure makes the bag flimsy and it does not hold its shape unless full.
  • Interior mesh compartments also do not hold their shape well and seem to rip or tear rather easily.
  • There are no small exterior pockets for easy storage of frequently used or needed items.
  • No water bottle holder means you are either carrying your drink or unzipping your pack every time you are thirsty (a snap-on bottle holder is available for purchase separately).
Product Specs
  • Capacity

    35 L

  • Weight

    3.5 lbs

  • Dimensions

    22.0" x 12.0" x 10.0"

  • Material

    TPU or PVC coated nylon or polyester

  • MSRP

    $200 (USD)

  • Expand to view all specs
  • Zippers

    YKK #10 coil zipper

  • Shoulder Strap Shape

    contoured S-shape

  • Frame

    foam only

  • Hip Belt

    removable with light padding

  • Sternum Strap

  • Load Lifters

  • Breathability

    plain spacer mesh

  • Main Opening Style

    clamshell

  • Number of Grab Handles

    4+

  • Luggage Handle Pass-Through

  • Water Bottle Pockets

    none

  • Front Pocket

  • Laptop Protection

    padded sleeve

  • Water-Resistant Fabric

    thinner internal PU coating

  • Water-Resitant Zippers

    uncoated zippers

  • Shipping

    free

  • Return Cost

    pay for shipping

  • Return Window

    60 days

  • Warranty

    lifetime warranty covering wear and tear

  • Collapse specs

Why Trust TravelFreak?

Every member of the TravelFreak team is an avid traveler and adventurer. We have a soft spot in our hearts for a great backpack. Most of us have lived out of a backpack at one time or another, whether doing one-bag travel around the globe or long-distance thru-hiking.

Needless to say, we’ve had our hands on a fair number of packs over the years. In the past two decades, we’ve tested well over 100 travel, hiking, and everyday packs.

We know how hard it is to find the perfect pack, and we want to make the process easier for you. Our team of travel experts, gear junkies and product engineers have developed the most comprehensive backpack test methodology we could envision.

We evaluated the Cotopaxi Allpa based on 39 metrics across nine different categories. Every pack we test gets the same treatment and is rated using the same standardized methodology. This makes it easy for us (and you) to compare the advantages and disadvantages of different products based on objective, data-backed insights.

To provide the most comprehensive review possible, we give you our personal, hands-on opinion coupled with an objective scoring system.

Cotopaxi Allpa Review: Quick Answers

  • The 35L travel pack is the smallest pack in the Allpa Line. It also comes in a new 42L version for longer trips.
  • The backpack is carry-on sized, making it perfect for airline travel.
  • Shoulder straps and padded hip belt tuck away for easy storage or transporting.
  • The Allpa pack has two transport configurations: shoulder straps like a backpack, or reinforced handles like a suitcase.
  • Cotopaxi is a company on a mission to make a positive global impact by alleviating poverty in certain parts of the world.

Who Is the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L For?

  • Light Packers or Weekend Travelers: This is a pack for the minimalist adventurers out there. While there is a decent amount of open space in the pack, your average traveler would be hard-pressed to fit more than a week’s worth of clothes and accessories in this travel backpack.
  • Digital Nomads: A padded laptop and tablet compartment make it easy for storing tech items safely and securely. A separate zipper makes this area accessible from the outside of the bag, a great feature when writing or researching on the go, and an interior sleeve protects your most precious electronics from being scratched.
  • Versatility Seekers: You can comfortably carry the Allpa like a suitcase through narrow airplane aisles, or wear it as a backpack while hiking. This pack is marketed as a backpack, but with its 3-sided zipper and stow-away straps, it’d be best described as a suitcase-hybrid.
  • Weight Watchers: When weight is important, this pack fits the bill. Whether it’s hiking or weekend trips, this pack won’t add much much mass to the load you have to haul.
  • Style-Minded Travelers: The clean lines and bold colors of this bag are just two reasons why it made my list of the best carry-on backpacks.

Who Isn’t the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L For?

  • Anyone Carrying Expensive Equipment: Made from TPU-coated polyester and nylon, this pack is basically glorified fabric with no firm structure or internal supports. Expensive or bulky equipment is likely to get banged up in no time. Let’s just say that this is one bag I do not want to pack my nice camera in.
  • Over-Packers: This back is 35L and that means only 35L. You can’t force a carry-on-sized bag to fit a checked-bag-sized haul. If you are a heavy packer or going on a longer trip, consider getting a larger travel pack. More than 2 pairs of shoes with your clothes? Choose a new bag! Other packs in the Cotopaxi Allpa line go up to 70L.
  • Tall People: I’m not very tall, myself, but other taller individuals have reported that the hip belt sits higher on the waist than your normal pack would, making it rather uncomfortable. If you are over 6’2, definitely heed this warning and go a different route.

Who Is Cotopaxi?

Entering the market in 2014, Cotopaxi is a fairly new brand, making everything from activewear and jackets to gear and accessories, providing a one-stop-shop for outdoor adventure needs.

Named after an active stratovolcano in Ecuador, Cotopaxi is a company focused on manufacturing a variety of outdoor products while they “Do Good.” Davis Smith, the company founder, states that his goal was to combine his desire to travel with his passion for aiding the world’s most impoverished areas.

The company aims for sustainable product designs and materials and operates ethical and fair-wage factories. The majority of Cotopaxi travel packs, like the Allpa backpack, are manufactured in a fair-wage facility in the Philippines.

The Del Dia line of bags are all designed and manufactured by workers in the Philippines using 100% left-over and reused fabrics and materials. Additional products, such as t-shirts, sweaters, and jackets are all created in factories found across multiple countries including India, Cambodia, Bolivia, and China.

The Cotopaxi design team hard at work!

Cotopaxi even donates 1% of its annual revenues to the Cotopaxi Foundation, which awards grant money to nonprofit organizations and is ultimately aimed at helping underprivileged communities around the world.

While the money does not go directly to a charity or a community, the website does state that the mission of the foundation is to aid the impoverished and ensure the company can continue its sustainability and local/world improvement initiatives.

All of this sounds great until you realize that the amount donated to these nonprofits and companies ends up being a mere $55,000 of their estimated $5.5 million yearly revenue. But at least it’s a start, which is more than most other companies can say.

First Impressions

Cotopaxi Allpa 35LAt first, I loved the bold colors and all the organization options made available by the interior mesh pockets. There are enough pockets to keep things organized without getting overwhelming.

I was very impressed by the sturdy-feeling materials of this bag. The exterior is 800D polyester with a really thick TPU coating that gives it a rubbery feel. The zippers are also big, chunky YKK zippers, which gave me a lot of confidence that nothing was going to break anytime soon.

My biggest complaint at first glance was the lack of structure. This bag just feels a bit floppy, and when I didn’t have it fully packed, it just wasn’t very comfortable. I’d much rather have some more padding, a plastic framesheet, and more structure all around.

But with all that said, they still made a pretty great entry-level backpack that’s suited to all kinds of different adventures. Whether you’re backpacking Europe or taking a weekend trip to the mountains, this bag will do the job.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Features

Carry-On Sized

Cotopaxi made sure the 35L travel pack was sized perfectly for carry-on travel, meaning you can skip airport lines and baggage carousels.

This backpack is an internationally approved carry-on size, meaning that you can take this pack with you straight on and off the plane, anywhere in the world. No early arrival or baggage claim required.

Mesh Compartments

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L travel pack's mesh interior

The interior of the Allpa 35L travel pack is all mesh, meaning you can easily see and find everything quickly. Five zippered mesh pockets give you places to organize and store all of your items, and the mesh is easier to wash and dry than alternative fabrics would be in case of internal spills or leaks.

However, these mesh sleeves don’t hold their shape very well which in turn allows your gear to shift or bounce around. Furthermore, the mesh is very prone to snagging or tearing. I’ll get into this more shortly.

Tuckable Straps

The slotted back panel on the Allpa 35L pack allows the shoulder and hip straps to be unclipped and completely tucked away beneath the panel, creating a sleek and smooth piece of luggage. This is ideal for dealing with bus and airplane overhead bins; you never have to worry about a strap snagging or catching on something!

Reinforced Handles

With four reinforced handles on the exterior of the pack, this bag is easy to carry even after stowing away the tuckable shoulder and hip straps. Carry it with two hands or like a one handled suitcase.

Laptop & Tablet Storage

One of the nicest features of the Allpa pack is the side-accessible laptop compartment. This fabric-split section can stow both a laptop and tablet, and it’s easy to access your electronics while passing through airport security or while on the go.

While no specific dimensions for the laptop and tablet section are reported, I can tell you a 15″ computer fits with room to spare—you could potentially even fit a 17″ laptop, but don’t quote me on that.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Full Review

Materials

While the exterior of the Cotopaxi backpack is made of TPU-coated polyester and ballistic nylon, there is no interior structural support (or back supports for heavy packs), essentially making this bag an unsupported clamshell.

The nylon is somewhat water-resistant but is definitely not waterproof. Fortunately, Cotopaxi provides a rain cover with all 35L Allpa bags.

Cotopaxi Allpa interior
The interior of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L has a LOT of mesh

The interior sections of the main compartment are all zippered mesh. This may be convenient for being able to see inside each compartment, but the zippers are close together and, if not handled with care, can catch on and tear the mesh easily.

The sturdiest part of the bag is the compression straps and hip belt. The shoulder straps are thick and fairly comfortable, while the waist belt is padded so it doesn’t dig into your hips.

The rear panel of the pack is made of air mesh to allow your back and shoulders to breath and more airflow to circulate. This ultimately increases comfort and reduces sweatiness—but it doesn’t get rid of it entirely.

Aesthetics

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L travel pack has a super sleek design. With no visible front zippers, this bag is quite attractive with clean exterior lines. Depending on the color, the material can appear shiny, making it look a little too cheap for my liking (and this is not a cheap bag), but certain colors hide this sheen fairly well.

The ability to hide the compression straps and carry the pack sideways as a suitcase is a nice touch that adds to the clean lines of the bag, and is also especially useful when squeezing through tight spaces like airplane aisles.

Overall, the Cotopaxi Allpa line definitely targets millennials with its clean lines and bold, simple colors.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L carried with one handle
The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L is versatile and stylish

Comfort

Wide compression straps, a padded hip belt, and a sternum strap combine to give the Allpa pack a secure and comfortable fit. The sternum strap leaves a lot to be desired, but from my experience, this is common with a large portion of travel bags.

This pack isn’t the greatest at handling heavy loads. If you’re trying to over-stuff your bag and take it on a long trip, I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be smiling for long.

I, personally, wouldn’t mind adding an extra pound or two if Cotopaxi decided to add an internal frame or something similar for more support. But for those focused on a lightweight bag and light packing, these straps are about as comfortable as it gets.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Tavel Pack
The padded hip belt and compression straps make this bag comfortable and great for city travel

The air mesh fabric on the back panel of the pack makes it somewhat breathable, and you’ll have less sweat to deal with than some other competitors on the market (but trust me, sweat still exists).

I did find some taller individuals who mentioned that the padded hip belt on the Allpa sits too high on their waist. While hard for me to weigh in on (sorry, I’m only 5’5″), this is probably something people above average height should take into consideration.

Organization

With only six total compartments, the Allpa 35L travel pack is not the ideal tool for prime organization. The pack is comprised of two sections: a smaller compartment on the back, padded for your laptop computer or tablet, and the main compartment on the front.

The main compartment is separated into four zippered mesh pockets: two small, one medium and one large. There is one additional mesh pocket accessible from the top of the bag.

While this and two smaller interior mesh pockets are great for organization and small item organization, those three pockets are all you have for non-bulky items. There is definitely not enough room to store your wallet, earbuds, and all the other items you want within easy reach.

The single large section that occupies roughly half of the bag’s volume makes it difficult to stay organized, and all of your stuff shifts around during travel.

There is one additional tiny pocket on the padded hip belt, but that is useless for anything other than chapstick or a (singular) key. There are no water bottle holders or organizational clips (unless you want to purchase those separately). No hidden pockets to hide passports, money, or other valuables.

Essentially half of the bag is a giant, open, zippered mesh clamshell compartment, which might be ideal for shoes or large equipment, but not at all useful for further organization or even finding your items easily.

Durability

I am a big fan of the burly TPU-coated materials of the Cotopaxi Allpa. They have proven highly resistant to wear, and I have no concerns about seams ripping through. This bag feels tough.

My only durability concern is the interior mesh pockets. I like the mesh for visibility, but I worry that it could wear out over time. I haven’t had any issues so far though, so fingers crossed.

I really appreciate that Cotopaxi went with the largest size (#10) YKK coil zipper for the main zip on this bag. If the main zipper fails, a bag becomes pretty much useless, and this huge zipper gives me a lot of confidence. I’ve seen off-brand or smaller zippers break easily, but this particular zipper has held up well in all of our testing.

girl lounging while wearing the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L
Truthfully? We can’t say how long this bag will last

Accessories

The Allpa 35L travel pack might be too simple for its own good.

The only accessory this pack comes with is a rain cover. No detachable pockets, day packs, loops, or holders. Nothing extra. No frills or thrills. Just the rain cover, which is neon yellow.

I guess the plus side here is that your bag will be easy to recognize in a crowd.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L bundle

Cotopaxi does offer a few additional extras on their website that are compatible with the Allpa 35L pack

  • Shoe Bag: This nylon shoe bag is an optional extra that allows you to keep your dirty shoes from touching the rest of your gear. However, this accessory seems a little strange for a smaller 35L bag, and I wonder if it’s at all necessary. If you’re packing this light, it’s unlikely you’re bringing extra shoes.
  • Mesh Laundry Bag: Again very self-explanatory, and again, seemingly unnecessary. I completely understand the allure of segregating your dirty laundry, but there are many more economic ways to do it.
  • Snap-On Mesh Water Bottle Sleeve: I don’t know what it is about mesh, but they seem to love it. To me, this is ripe for getting snagged or torn while traveling, especially since it’s on the exterior of the pack.

However, all of these items must be bought as a bundle. In other words, you can’t buy the shoe bag separately, but you can buy it with the laundry bag and the water bottle sleeve.

There are different bundles, though. And, to be fair, they don’t cost much extra.

Safety & Security

The safety and security of your belongings is important, especially when traveling through crowded areas, staying in hostels and other shared spaced, or even when exploring unfamiliar cities and countries in general.

To be honest, Cotopaxi’s attempt to add security features to this bag is weak.

In order to discourage theft, the backpack has “theft-proof webbing” for its outside zippers. I find these straps to just be annoying and, quite frankly, more of a hassle to deal with than they are worth.

But some credit should be given for possibly thwarting a quick pickpocket attempt.

While I am annoyed at the lack of outside pockets, I will admit that the Allpa’s zipper-free front panel also discourages theft. Also, the lack of outer pockets means you won’t forget to leave anything unzipped for wandering hands!

Cotopaxi’s outside zippers have theft-proof webbing

Price

While this bag is about average in price compared to other highly rated 35-40L carry-on travel backpacks, I am ranking the Allpa 35L travel backpack lower than average based on the pricing of other bags in the Allpa line and the quality of the bag itself.

I don’t think this bag is worth the price tag. On top of that, the 35L travel pack is currently the second-highest priced travel backpack that Cotopaxi offers, only being exceeded by the Allpa 42L pack.

Both the 50L and 70L bags, which are very similar in design to the 35L one, are less expensive than the 35L travel pack.

Is this a good example of price gouging on their most popular bag?

The real mind-boggling price difference is in comparison to the nearly identical 35L Del Dia travel pack which is $20 cheaper than the regular 35L pack! Sure, it’s not made of their ballistic nylon material, but when neither bag is waterproof, both look the same, and one is both environmentally friendly and cheaper, why not save the money (and the Earth)?

Warranty

While no warranty is explicitly stated for any product, you can find a “Good Guarantee” Section listed on their website. The “Guarantee” states that you can contact the company to help resolve any issues you have or replace products, but it doesn’t say if there is a fee or what costs might be associated with that solution.

Overall, it looks like the company might do something, but it isn’t clear or explicitly stated what that something is. I’m also assuming this promise applies to all their products, but again, that is not unequivocally listed.

That said, Cotopaxi is brand I know, love and trust, so I feel certain their customer service would fix any issues you might encounter.

Shipping

If you’re located in the United States, shipping is reasonably priced. In fact, if you aren’t in a rush and can wait two weeks, you are able to score free shipping.

In a pinch? There are four other shipping options between $10-$50 that can get your pack to you as soon as the next day!

International Buyers Beware! While shipping prices aren’t listed until you add the item to your cart, a few quick trial addresses show very high shipping fees for non-American customers.

Shipping to Canada was over $80 and most of Europe was higher than that. Australia was one of the cheaper countries but still around $30-50, which was equivalent to the more costly shipping options available in the United States.

Unless your heart is set on this bag, I’d suggest international customers save themselves some money and invest in a different outdoor brand that doesn’t charge you 50% of the backpack price in shipping.

How We Review Backpacks: Rating Methodology

On top of hands-on testing and extensive online research, every backpack we test gets scored on nine categories with 39 metrics. This forms the basis of our proprietary Backpack Testing Methodology. It’s a rigorous rating system to objectively test, evaluate, score, and compare backpacks.

Within each category is a series of specific metrics and conditions we use to evaluate each bag as objectively as possible.

Here is a brief explanation of each of the nine categories.

  1. Build Quality: A backpack is worthless if it falls apart after a few trips. We rate build quality by looking at six specific factors including the material, zippers, and stitch quality.
  2. Comfort: While comfort is somewhat subjective, over our years of testing and reviewing backpacks, we found several common design elements between the backpacks that were the most comfortable for all our gear testers. We look at 8 factors including shoulder strap padding and shape, frame design, and adjustability.
  3. Ease of Use: A good backpack should be simple, streamlined, and intuitive. We look for packs that offer easy access and packing and have smart features that eliminate annoyances.
  4. Functionality: Our functionality rating combines subjective reviewing of how well the pack does what it says it does with objective measures of carrying capacity and laptop protection (if applicable). Does the bag carry everything we need it to? Does it keep the contents safe and protected?
  5. Water Resistance: We’ve all been caught out in the rain on our travels, and having a water-resistant backpack gives us confidence that we won’t end up with a bag full of soaked clothes. We rate water-resistance based on materials, zippers, and seam treatments.
  6. Brand Impact: It is important to us to support and recommend brands that have a positive impact on the world. Our brand impact rating takes into account environmental impact, sustainable design, social impact, and factory working conditions. To avoid greenwashing, we look for rigorous and widely respected industry certifications.
  7. Buying Experience: Shopping for and buying a new backpack should be a rewarding and frustration-free experience. We value companies that implement specific policies to reduce the stress and risk of buying a product.
  8. Warranty: It says a lot about a product when the brand is willing to back it up with a solid warranty. We look for products with lifetime warranties and talk to people who have gone through the warranty process.
  9. Price-to-Performance Ratio: After we test and assign scores for the 8 categories above, we calculate a price-to-performance ratio by dividing the MSRP by the overall performance rating. This then affects the final rating. Lower price-to-performance ratios are better.

Metric Scores

Each category includes several specific metrics. For example, within the durability category, the individual metrics are zippers, materials, components, and reinforcements.

During our testing, we give every individual metric a score 0-10, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best.

Some metric scores (like stitch quality) are assigned subjectively based on our experience and observations of the product. Whenever possible, individual metric scores are objective, and we assign them using a standardized scale.

Category Scores

Once we test and assign a 0-10 score for every individual metric, we use weighted averages to calculate a score for each entire category. Each metric within the category has a different value and contributes a different amount to the total score for that category.

Overall Score

Once we have a 0-10 score for each of the rating categories, we use another weighted average to calculate a combined total score. Products with high overall scores don’t necessarily excel in any one category, but they perform well all around.

Cotopaxi Allpa FAQs

Can the Cotopaxi Allpa 35 be a carry-on?

Yes, the Cotopaxi Allpa 35 can be used as a carry-on for almost any flight in the world.

Are Cotopaxi backpacks good for hiking?

Cotopaxi makes decent hiking bags, but they are best for travel and everyday use.

Does the Cotopaxi backpack fit under airplane seat?

The Cotopaxi Allpa 28 is sized to fit under an airplane seat. Larger models will be too big.

Will a 35L backpack fit under an airplane seat?

A 35L backpack is too big to fit under most airplane seats.

Where is the Cotopaxi Allpa made?

The Cotopaxi Allpa is made in the Phillipines.

About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
4 comments
  1. You’re comparing backups that fill two different uses.

    I would absolutely never buy a Peak Design 45L backpack, because it’s twice the weight and I simply don’t need an extra 10L/30% more space! Unless you’re packing photography equipment, I really don’t see the need for that MONSTER!

    Yeah, it has a lot more compartments and space. But so does an SUV, and since I don’t have a family of 4, I don’t need an SUV.

    I’d say the majority of people don’t need anything that large which is why wirecutter picked the Allpa as their main choice. They listed the Peak, if you need to pack a FULL suitcase into your backpack, but I don’t want anything to do with that monster.

    35L is plenty of space for 5 days of travel, do laundry… Boom a 10 day trip and it’s actually lightweight.

    1. Yep, ultimately it comes down to what you want and need. I like the PD because it collapses down to 35L—the same size as the Allpa. And because it expands to 45L, if you do happen to need the extra space, you have it available. I’ve tested probably 100 bags now and wasn’t impressed with the Allpa, but plenty of other people love it. It’s a personal choice, in the end!

  2. Wanted to share given my shared opinion of Cotopaxi. Never owned anything from Cotpoaxi previously. Fell for the exterior design. As well as their environmental message. Purchased the Chasqui sling for travel, hiking, and urban use. Light carry,it definitely meets this criteria. The storage lacks sub compartments within its main openings. No exterior water bottle compartment is noticeable when your 32oz sits inside the outer storage slot. Top access only for this area can make it less accessible.

    First use, while traveling. My contents spilled out as I tried to reach for my water bottle in the largest, second slot. Why,this area fully unzips to the bottom of the sling. The zipper just opened the area from the weight.

    Daisy chain feature, couldn’t use for ANYTHING I needed, eg.walking stick handle wouldn’t fit through.

    For a 13L, the sling does not have a waist strap.

    Shoulder strap is thick,and comfortable. No integrated mobile pocket. Oddly,the excess adjustable strap doesn’t have any management to tuck the excess material away.

    Chasqui sling wasn’t durable. The exterior had signs of wear after less than 30 days of recreational use while traveling.

    International customers beware as the(warranty) details aren’t clearly defined* Not only is shipping pricey as noted in the Travel Peak Allpa 35L pack review. The stated warranty doesn’t apply as written since they don’t have the infrastructure to cover (all)international customers.

  3. It’s so funny how different people have totally different takes on things. I actually love the Allpa 35L for some of the very reasons listed as Cons in this review!

    For me, the organization in both the Allpa 35L and 42L is literally the best I’ve found, and I wish more luggage makers would adopt it. I prefer lightweight backpack travel for the convenience and freedom, and I also like to SEE what I’m looking for like you can in a standard suitcase. It bugs me to have to constantly excavate backpacks to get to the things at the bottom, and I really hate it when bag makers add tons of almost-flat exterior pockets you have to fish around in blindly and that either bulge out or steal space from the interior of the bag. I feel the same about fiddly interior pockets that take up space and weight instead of letting me use my existing systems.

    In this era of countless choices for organization cubes and pouches, so many travelers already have their preferred organization products and systems. I like that the Allpa let’s me get rid of stuff I don’t need anymore because of the inner mesh, but also provides see-through containment for the things I won’t do without: my perfect dopp kit, tech pouch, and must-have compression cube for undies, socks, and PJs. (Side note: I’m not a fan of the Peak Design 45 bag, but boy is their compression bag awesome despite the exorbitant cost! That thing is brilliant, and so much more elegant looking than the similarly high quality ones from Eagle Creek.)

    To be able to have the suitcase-style functionality and visibility of the Allpa with a totally sleek exterior that slides easily into the overhead or under a seat and yet still have that huge exterior pocket at the top that’s so easy to see into is ideal for me. For security checks and general travel, I want easy access to my water bottle, toiletries bag, passport, wallet, hat, phone, charger, pen, etc., all of which can easily fit in that deep pocket and stay organized with the small and flat things in the mesh pocket and the bigger bulkier items easy to find and grab. It’s excellent. And the way they’ve protected that space from being encroached on from the inside with their placement of the interior mesh is genius to me. That protected cavity not only keeps the exterior pocket from being rendered useless, it also provides a great spot for hiding small valuables so prying hands can’t easily get to them. That’s the kind of security I prefer in my luggage since dedicated thieves scoff at locks (“Look! Valuables here!”), yet are sometimes deterred when finding the valuables takes too much time.

    There seems to me to be a weird lack of DIY/can-do spirit when it comes to luggage, but I have no qualms about sewing a little O-ring into the top of that cavity to attach a small Tom Bihn pouch with my passport and a few valuables. I suppose people might be worried they’ll void a guarantee by customizing their own property (madness–it’s a travel bag, not a car!), but since Cotopaxi’s policy is to replace true manufacturing defects and otherwise help users REPAIR vs. throw away items damaged by normal wear and tear (part of their green ethos), I’m not worried about that. It’s my bag, why shouldn’t I customize it exactly how I want?

    I also love that the exterior side zipper into the larger side of the Allpa means I can quickly reach in and grab things like my jacket or travel umbrella (which protects me AND the bag’s water resistant fabric in case of heavy downpours with no need for the included rain cover, though I do think it’s nice they include it since other bag companies charge 30 or 40 dollars for similar gear).

    I prefer soft sided luggage with minimal structure and padding because it’s lighter and also more versatile for cramming into almost-full overhead bins and compressing down into carry on sizing boxes. I also don’t have a problem with smaller bags being too empty to look aesthetic. ; – ) Truly delicate items do require a little bit of forethought (and a padded case for things like cameras), but that’s true in any bag, and I’d rather carry only the padding I actually need than a lot of extra “just in case.”

    I’ve packed cameras, and even expensive antique china with no problem in a bag with even less external structure than the Allpa, so the fact that the Allpa’s cushioned back and one whole side of the clamshell provide protection for anything in the central part of the bag makes it seem very safe to me.

    As for size, why would I want a larger pack that’s just going to invite me to bring more than I need and is comfortable to carry? The Allpa 35L can already fit so much! (For example, the YouTube video of the scuba diver unpacking a week’s worth of clothes AND a full kit of scuba gear from her Allpa 35L, including heavy duty equipment and a wetsuit!)

    I’ve literally never heard of anyone having problems with the mesh in the Allpa, including frequent travelers who’ve used the bag for years (and presumably the scuba diver ; – ), so I’m guessing the repeated concerns about it expressed in this review were based more on worry than reality. I had the same reaction when I first looked at the bag, but was glad to find my concerns were unfounded because for me the Allpa 35L is almost bag perfection.

    No amount of packing cubes can replace the functionality of a suitcase-style backpack for me, especially with those see-through mesh compartments. And I would much prefer to pay a little extra for the materials and labor required to add such functional yet hard to sew material as mesh into a bag than spend that same money on yet more packing cubes I have to search through and unzip one by one to access my stuff.

    I do wish they’d get rid of the obnoxiously huge Cotopaxi logo on the back between the shoulder straps, and I’m not a fan of having Allpa 35L notated on the front of the bag (or the llama head, frankly). But at least in the black version these are less noticeable, and the bag overall is still so worth it. If I could find a backpack that looked as simple and business-friendly as the Peak Design bag this review seems so obsessed with yet had the exterior pocket and interior organization brilliance of the Allpa (plus its comfortable straps, or the ones by Tom Bihn), that would be my ideal. But in the meantime, I’ll continue enjoying the Allpa’s sleek yet adventurous looking aesthetic, and most of all, it’s incredible functionality.

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