An evolution in design and practicality, the Standard Luggage Company’s Carry On Backpack has been designed to be the last line in carry on luggage, and is a great companion for long weekends or those short haul trips.
One of the benefits of travelling the world for fifteen years is being able to see just how much the bags and luggage we use as travellers have evolved to fit our ever changing needs. Back when I started travelling the choices were very thin and the absolute majority of travellers had a traditional top loader backpack, I myself carried my trusty old bergen. But times have changed.
The backpack still reigns supreme for independent travellers and backpackers, and with a few tweaks over the years it is still unlikely to be toppled as the king of the hill, but travellers are no longer held back with a limited choice of just that. The quintessential top loading backpack that has been the uniform of backpackers has now largely been replaced by a plethora of designs that vary depending on need. The Carry On Backpack from the Standard Luggage Company is the latest in that evolution, and is versatile enough to meet most travellers needs whilst conforming to the strict carry on regulations imposed by airlines.
A suitcase, shoulder bag and backpack all rolled into one.
As a traveller there is always one thing you need, a good solid pack that is small and compact but gives you plenty of room.
This is exactly what you get with the Carry On Backpack. I’ve managed to fit my laptop, my camera and my electronic gear, plus enough clothes for a week and some other essentials in their, and had zero problems carrying it around or breezing through airport security with it.
The carry on backpack has an adjustable capacity of 35 – 45 litres, has a choice of concealable straps that can turn it from a backpack to a duffel bag or a messenger bag in mere seconds. The straps are interchangeable and can be either taken off or completely concealed inside clever hidden compartments depending on which you choose, and has a water resistant exterior fabric with a separate rain cover for extra protection. The pack has been specifically designed to conform to airline standards, and will fit inside any of those carry on luggage frames perfectly.
Given that this is a 45 litre carry on pack it is never going to replace the standard 65 litre backpack for a full on round the world gap year, and it doesn’t try to. This is a carry on pack plain and simple, but the space inside is all the more impressive because of that, and the clever design means that this pack will be more than enough for those weekend breaks or shorter trips where you want to keep luggage to a minimum and travel carry on only.
I have only used this as a long weekend bag so far, but found it more than enough for those needs (and I overpacked to test it). I could easily use this pack for a snap year without having to worry.
The main compartment has a clam shell opening, meaning you can open it up entirely like a traditional style suitcase, with extra internal pockets in the lid itself and even has compression straps to help keep your clothes in place. This is a design feature I have grown increasingly fond of over the years and has done away with all that fumbling around in top loader backpacks.
The secondary compartment is slightly smaller and has a specific padded sleeve for a laptop. This will fit most 15″ laptops easily, and the padding is adequate enough for protection (certainly as much as most commercially available laptop sleeves).
One of the things that I really like about this pack is the sheer number of pockets and extra compartments both internally and externally. This is one of the things many other bags do fall down on, but there is more than enough space and clever design built into this carry on bag not only to fit all your stuff, but organise it well too, and that is a big deal when you are travelling carry on only. The primary compartment has one large pocket that takes up the entire lid and two smaller pockets on top, the secondary laptop compartment has an extra sleeve for a secondary tablet or paperwork, as well as a variety of smaller mesh pockets and sleeves that are more than enough to organise all your chargers, earphones, leads and other electronics, as well as your passport and other important documents.
Fit and comfort.
The Carry On Bag is designed to be versatile enough to be used as a messenger bag with a shoulder strap, a suitcase or laptop bag with carry handles or a backpack, depending on which you prefer. For the former two the bag works extremely well, with the leather handle covers and the padded shoulder strap working very well. When you pull out the straps to turn it into a backpack however, it does suffer a little bit comfort wise because of the design. As is the norm with these hybrid bags, you just cannot get around the fact that you are essentially carrying a rectangular block suitcase on your back. There is no contoured padding for your hips or back, no air flow system or any other comfort feature you would find on a purpose made backpack. Saying that however it is not completely uncomfortable either, its design simply precludes having any of the extra comfort features other backpacks do.
The design itself is extremely stylish, and can very easily be used as a smart business bag just as easily as it can for a nomads backpack. The stylishness of the messenger bag or suitcase variant does impact very slightly on the look of the pack when it is used as a backpack, it is still very much a rectangular suitcase shape and because of this it essentially does look like a suitcase on your back, but this is purely a matter of personal taste, and personally I don’t mind that at all. This versatility – alongside the space and amounts of pockets and compartments, is in my opinion one of the bags biggest strengths.
Another neat feature of the bag is the interchangeable leather accessories for the handle straps, zippers, logo and luggage tag. You get both orange and teal colours included with the bag so you can change them (or leave them off) to suit your taste and make your otherwise plain black bag recognisable as your own. It’s not anything that affects the overall quality of the pack at all, I just think it’s a nice little touch.
I genuinely do love this little bag. For a carry on pack it punches well above its weight with the amount of features and space it has, and it met all my needs perfectly for a long weekend away. Given that I really put it through its paces and have very high standards when it comes to what pack I carry, that says a lot!
Whether you are going away for a long weekend, a short break, or even travelling as a digital nomad, this is an amazingly versatile pack that will easily meet your needs and then some. If you want to travel carry on only, or even if you need a carry on to supplement your main bag, then this pack is genuinely a great option and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Ready to buy? You can get your very own Carry On Backpack here.
This review was possible with a product supplied by the Standard Luggage Company. 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 or products has been given by travel industry professionals and services, full editorial integrity is maintained and all reviews will remain honest and forthright.