Perfectly sized for travel, this duffel converts into a backpack and opens like a suitcase, but a few design flaws keep it from being a must-have for short trips

The InCase TRACTO Duffel appears to have it all.

It’s tough, it’s water-resistant, it’s made from hard-wearing ballistic nylon. It also fits within most airlines carry-on size restrictions. Measuring 20x13x9.5-inches and taking 31 liters, it’s a bag for taking enough gear for a four-night trip. Perhaps on business, because in its side is space for a 15-inch laptop. So why don’t we absolutely love the TRACTO?

Opens like a suitcase

The TRACTO has a trolley pass-through on the back. That’s awesome in airports if you are traveling with luggage you’re going to check-in, but the TRACTO is meant to replace all that. It opens like a suitcase. In its main compartment – which is expandable – there are two mesh pockets for washing kit and sundries, a slim zipped pocket in the wall for bits, and two compression straps keep clothes as flat as possible.

Loose fitting

That main zone is expandable using a zipper all the way around, and there are compression straps that keep the whole TRACTO tight. However, they don’t. Not really. As well as being an absolute pain to use (there’s nothing to tug on!), they just don’t fasten very tightly. Worse, the zippers that close that main compartment and within the zone of those compression straps, so it’s difficult to interact with your bag once it’s packed. It’s just not made for convenience.

Lacks pockets

We also had a few problems when traveling with the TRACTO (first to Uzbekistan for a week, then to Barcelona on a five-day business trip because it has very few other pockets. Aside from two small coin/keys/name tag pockets, there’s nowhere for storing a bottle of water, and the only other pocket – for documents – has a real narrow entry. However, easily the most annoying aspect of the TRACTO is that laptop pocket; it may be cosy, and even lined with a soft inner, but slipping a laptop in and out when the TRACTO is full is really tricky. A top-opener would be more practical.

A great concept, but the TRACTO is a little rough around the edges to be considered a go-to bag for overnight and short trips.

Price as reviewed: US$249.95

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