Packing solutions for backpackers have come a long way over the last few years with a variety of products like packing cubes offering to make packing more easy and your backpack more organised, and the rolo travel bag is the latest in this trend.
This is a pretty good little travel bag that has so many different uses. Essentially it is a flat bag with a handful of zippered mesh pockets for clothes and a few basic toiletries that rolls up and keeps everything compressed and tidy.
What can you fit in it?
The Rolo isn’t designed to replace your main pack, or even daysac, as it really can’t hold any more than a couple of days worth of clothes and basics.
I managed to pack a pair of shorts, swimming trunks and a couple of T Shirts into the main compartments and some socks into the smaller compartments. It really wouldn’t hold much more than that. I am a double extra large though so those of a smaller build may be able to squeeze a few more items in.
This obviously isn’t much, but it is enough for a weekend break if you want to carry the Rolo in place of a pack, or can extend the space of a daysac for a short break.
How can you use it?
Obviously if you use this on its own for an overnight stay it is fine. There is enough room for a days worth of clothes or essentials, so an overnighter or a weekend at a push should be okay, providing you don’t want to pack half a dozen pairs of shoes and your dress clothes, just in case. You can attach the shoulder strap and it is lightweight, easy to carry and isn’t cumbersome at all.
Alternatively when rolled up the Rolo is roughly the same size as many bed rolls so you can tie it to the outside of your backpack just as you would any sleep mat or sleeping bag. This is great if you are on a short trip and want to travel light, but your small day pack just isn’t quite enough.
Be aware though if you do this then both sides of the roll are exposed, so whilst your kit is secure inside the zippered mesh pockets, they aren’t waterproof and it doesn’t come with its own waterproof cover. This is a major flaw in my opinion as if you want to carry it on its own and you get caught in the rain your things will get wet, so it may be a good idea to either invest in a small waterproof sack you can slip it inside, or use the waterproof cover of your day pack if it has one.
The Rolo bag does market itself as something that can be used as a bag on its own or carried on the back of a bike or the top of a pack. In this respect it is a bit of a failure, it doesn’t hold enough to warrant it being your sole piece of luggage, and the open ended design means that it is in no way element proof.
The best use for it in my opinion though is simply using it as an internal organiser for the inside of your main pack, kind of like a fancy packing cube, with the handy hook allowing you to hang it up in hostels or wherever you are staying. This is great for larger backpacks with a lot of internal space. Put your essentials and the few clothes you will be using frequently in it, then just take it out of your pack when you reach your room or dorm. No need to pack and unpack your bag, just lift the Rolo out, unroll it, then put it back in your pack when you are ready to leave!
Essentially, the Rolo doesn’t really work as a bag on its own. But it does have a variety of uses for any type of trip whether it is a short weekend away or an extended gap year, and is far more useful as a fancy packing cube.
This review was possible with a product supplied by Rolo. The views and opinions expressed are the authors own and are honest and factual without any bias. No incentives are ever accepted in return for positive coverage, and in the instances where assistance has been given by travel industry professionals and services, full editorial integrity is maintained and all reviews will remain honest and forthright.