REVIEWED: Incase EO Travel Backpack

Perfect for a week away, this soft yet strong expandable bag looks like a backpack, but behaves like a suitcase

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Incase says that its EO Travel Backpack is good for two days’ travel. Try seven days. That’s exactly what TravGear did recently, and its combination of suitcase-style zip-open compartment for clothes, laptop sleeve and backpack straps had us laughing all the way past the crowded baggage hall.

Flying machine

The EO exists, of course, because the the U.S. is such a mess when it comes to flying. Delays, missed flights and lost baggage are what flying in the U.S. is all about, but there’s a simple answer to at least one of those problems; never, ever check-in a bag. Hard to do? Not with the EO it’s not.

Suitcase design

Rather uniquely, the EO looks like a backpack but behaves more like a suitcase. On the rear of the backpack straps and a soft compartment for a 17-inch laptop, while on the front is a regular section with pockets for phones, pens, etc. Nothing unusual there. However, between those sections is a zipped compartment around three sides that opens on one side of the bag, just like a suitcase.

Expands by a third

Perfect for storing clothes, and even a suit (that’s exactly what we did), there’s even a compression area inside to keep everything snug and compact. There are also four compression straps, two on each side of the bag, to squeeze out any more air. That proved really useful on our trip, where – like on most trips –  we returned with more than we took. There is also an expandable zip, which increases the capacity of the bag by a whopping third.

No mesh pockets

During our trip we only noticed one annoying problem; no mesh pockets on the sides for storing a bottle of water, or an umbrella. We needed quick access to both on the trip, and having to delve inside the bag was irritating.  The three-sided zip precludes there being two such pockets, but there’s definitely room for one.

Never check in a bag again

Perfectly sized for airlines (21.5″ x 15″ x 5″) so you never have to check a bag again, the EO really is one of the most well-designed bags we’ve yet used. If you’re the kind of person who likes to travel with a backpack on business, this one is hard to beat. By combining super-light, yet super strong and functional material, the EO stays on the right side of luxury while remaining super-functional. Kudos to the designers for that central compartment and the extensive compression straps and strong handles, which together lend this backpack a business-like seriousness for the modern flying experience.

Price as reviewed: US$179.95/UK£142.52

Buy the InCase EO Travel Backpack