On a recent flight to the Dominican Republic, I experienced the thing I dislike most about flying: someone attempting to move my carryon in the overhead compartment without even the slightest effort to determine the owner of the bag, and if said owner minds it being shoved to the side so that passenger can fit his hardshell luggage that clearly should have been checked. So, I helped my fellow passenger reorganize a little, while saving my bag from being squished, and the day was saved.
But it was in that moment that I reflected on the one thing I wish I could change about my beloved Pakt One weekender—sometimes I wish it was a backpack, so I could tuck it under the seat in front of me and never have to worry about the race for limited overhead space. And, as if the gods of luggage heard my prayers, Pakt delivered this month with the Pakt Travel Backpack.
Is It a Dream Come True?
Short answer: pretty much.
Longer answer: like the travel coffee kit, this backpack once again displays Pakt’s creativity in developing otherwise simple concepts. I mean, it’s a backpack, right? How fancy does it need to be? Well, when the goal is to basically put a suitcase on your back, it will require a lot of planning and consideration. After all, not everyone packs the same—as my publisher would tell everyone with ears, I am a classic over-packer who used to check a suitcase for short trips—and so Pakt approached this project a little differently and asked travelers, including Matterful’s Chase Reeves, to help design the perfect travel backpack.
How Did Those Travelers Do?
This is a big backpack, so like Homer Simpson’s car (The Homer), it’s clear that a lot of thought went into this. In fact, this backpack is so big that I am not sure it will fit in some of the smaller under-seat spaces provided by the less generous airlines, but I have that problem with my other backpack, and I always make it work by simply sliding my feet under my backpack and using it as a foot warmer. But that’s another life hack for another day.
On the front of the bag are two zippered pouches that handle your basic supplies, like a phone, passport, wallet, pens, tablet, headphones, sunglasses, etc. Flip the bag over and there’s a smaller pouch on the bottom, beneath the luggage pass-through slot, which includes a mesh TSA bag for your watch, phone, keys, etc. And if you look a little closer at the top of the bag, there is also a hidden pocket behind the straps.
Inside, you’ll find the same mesh-screened compartment for clothing (or whatever) and a padded sleeve that will guard a laptop or larger tablets. Beneath that sleeve is another area for clothes (or whatever), and another large zippered pouch that is also large enough for a laptop, but might serve better for folded, important clothes, and this area of the bag also offers a TSA-friendly zipper at the top.
What’s My Favorite Part?
I have a few, actually. First and foremost, I love how there are two small interior mesh pockets that are the perfect size for portable battery chargers. I also love the large water bottle holder, and all of the clasps and snaps that keep this backpack as secure as any bag can be.
But what I love the most, and what tells me this really was a collective effort, is the hip strap, which at first glance merely provides extra security, as if this backpack will go straight from a JetBlue flight to Mt. Kilimanjaro. But slide your fingers into the panel, undo two Velcro patches, and the hip strap slides out and becomes a sling and/or fanny pack, which is especially great if you imagine being in a situation where you’ll need to spontaneously zipline to safety. I’m not saying that’s the intended use, but I just watched Tango and Cash, so that’s fresh in my brain.
Available in black or green, the Pakt Travel Backpack is currently taking pledges on Indiegogo.