I spoke a little about it earlier but I’ve been spending the last few months with a couple of brand new Arc’teryx travel bags. I was given the opportunity to test them out and I’m thankful for that as I’m a big fan of demoing and testing anything, but especially suitcases, tennis racquets and ice cream! Actually I’m kind of lactose intolerant so let’s sub out video games for ice cream, my apologies Ben and Jerry… sorry, back to talking suitcases and Arc’teryx bags!
Ok so the first trip was a 5 week tour with my band Rococode. Now since I don’t like bringing too much on tour I opted for the smaller ‘carry-on’ sized bag, the Arc’teryx Covert CO. The following trip, a vacation family to Hawaii, I thought I’d pull out the big guns and use the larger sized, Arc’teryx Covert CI. Two different excursions, two different needs.
On a side note, after spending the past few years only touring with a carry-on sized bag for whatever length of trip, I’m still trying to figure out how I filled the larger one up on only a two week vacation?! For the sake of my reputation, let’s just call it thorough testing…
Let’s get straight into it and talk about their features…
Aside from the size and color, the features and designs to these bags are the same, both feature very sturdy zippers, super high strength fabric, plenty of gripping handles, and then straps for converting into a backpack. They don’t have wheels, but they also don’t have an inner spine so in return it keeps the weight to the bare minimum. After filling up the larger bag with all my entire closet, I’ll admit, it was a little heavy for those straps, especially if you were hoping to walk comfortably across an airport such as Heathrow or O’Hare, but then I’m talking about the Covert CI, and the CI stands for ‘Check In’ for a reason! The plus to having a spineless bag that converts into a backpack is that heavy or not, it feels comfortable against your back. It’s build-in inner compression straps keep everything inside tight and together, helping it conform to your back. It made me feel ‘one with my bag’. You do start to feel the weight on your shoulders over a longer haul due to the thinner shoulder straps. But it seems as though nothing was done without a reason, and the reason behind the thin shoulder straps is because they can be removed and slid away into a sly pocket near the top handle. I like this feature and it makes the bags look so slick. Clean lines. I’d take a slimmer shoulder strap that tucks away from a larger clunky strap any day. Maybe it’s just my love for suitcases but the word sexy comes to mind when I think about this feature.
A slight personal beef with these bags are that when the shoulder straps are out and being used there is almost 2 feet of extra strapping just dangling around on each strap and they don’t really stay in the pocket that is meant for the full strap when in hiding. BUT once again, there is a reason for this too! If you only pull out one strap, zip the other one away, then you can use the extra strapping and convert it into a shoulder strap like a satchel or in my case a large murse, or ‘man purse’ . I like the idea, great versatility… but the straps still annoy me when I use it as a backpack. Nothing a simple elastic can’t solve though, ha.
One of the other features that I noticed right away was the tiny little zipper pulls. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about them at first. They felt sturdy and of good quality but I wondered if people with larger ‘mitt’ hands might find them too small? By the end of the trip I knew I liked them, the look, design and feel of them won me over.
“The logo side goes against my back?” I pondered to myself upon first putting to my back.
“Aren’t I supposed to be a walking billboard and display the bag logo to the people behind me?”
Nope. Not on these bags. The logos are small and subtle, a classy move in my opinion, and on the front of the straps, not the back. My theory is this: When you remove it as a backpack, it falls off your back and onto it’s back, straps (and logo) facing up towards the sky… so logo remains upright and more importantly I feel, cleaner as it’s furthest from the ground. Maybe I think too much about this things, but with a company like Arc’teryx, I’m willing to bet they have more reasons that that for it.
These bags are ideal for anyone wanting a little more get up and go options while still maintaining the true shape of a suitcase. Ideal for anyone hoping to trade a little suitcase weight in for a few more clothes. Ideal for anyone who wants a sleek looking bag and cares about its longevity. All in all, there’s an exceptional level of craftsmanship that has gone into these bags and if you don’t mind loosing the wheels to your carry-on or check-in then I know these will be right up your ally. I’m sold.
Thank you Arc’teryx for this opportunity.
The Covert CI in the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii
my first pack in the Covert CO
and don’t forget that the best book ever, award winning even, also fits quite well in these bags. To get your own personalized copy, go here!