Pick A Pack: The Cotopaxi Allpa - A Unique Adventure Travel Pack
Several month ago, Cotopaxi introduced a new product – an adventure travel backpack called the Allpa. The pack was launched on an Indiegogo campaign to get the bag into production and into the hands of the people who backed the campaign. We saw the product near the launch, since we receive marketing emails from Cotopaxi, and we were intrigued. A couple of days went by, and we found that we had both been looking at the bag somewhat frequently and thinking it might be a good buy. So we jumped in.
We got the "early bird" pricing on the Allpa system, which included an "accessory kit" and a small day pack. We waited patiently (kind of) from July to October, to finally have these packs in our hands. We had a trip planned on the weekend just after receiving them, so we packed, and repacked, and couldn't keep our hands off of the bags, until it was time to go!
The most exciting (stressful) part of waiting for our order was to finally see the packs in person. There were not many photos online and we were somewhat unsure of what to expect.
We loved these packs as soon as we opened the packages. The Allpa's are great bags. The size is more than sufficient for a multi-day trip. At 35 liters, it held more than enough for our four day trip. They've gone on this one trip with us so far, and will be joining us on many more. Packing is easy and organized, with divided sections and "clamshell" style opening.
The bag has a zipper that runs around all but one side, which allows it to open completely and lay flat. The right side is a large compartment, with compression straps. There is a small pocket inside. A mesh cover zips over the compartment to keep things in place. On the left side, there is a smaller zip compartment, which seems quite cavernous when you start packing. We tucked sweatshirts and all of our underclothes and PJ's, as well as Bedrock sandals, into this spot. Two small pockets are at the top, to tuck away smaller items that you may want to access in travel. These came in handy for iPhone cords and chargers and little things like that.
The accessory kit includes a mesh laundry bag, a nylon shoe bag, and a mesh water bottle holder that can be attached to the outside. The laundry and shoe bags came in perfectly handy to organize the pack. We used the mesh bag to pack our clothes - pants and tees. The nylon bag, which isn't see-through, was perfect for packing under garments, socks, and PJ's. This kept things organized and small, but also well packed for going through security, in case they made us go through extra screening or we needed to dig around in the pack without underwear falling out.
We use a small Timbuk2 Snoop insert for adding a camera compartment to our backpacks. The Snoop fit perfectly in the right side of the pack, and gave us a well protected place for our camera gear.
The large pocket on the front of the pack is a fantastic size. Large enough for an iPhone, wallet, keys, Kindle, book, and other little stuff. This allows for super easy access on the plane. You could easily stuff a jacket into this pocket, too. It has a small zip pocket inside, which helped me feel secure tucking my phone, wallet and keys in there, without risking them falling out when I pulled out my Kindle or something.
There is an easy access zipper on one side, which allows you to easily get into the big main compartments, without opening the bag entirely. This was a great way to pull out our camera packs for the airport screening, and easily tuck them right back inside.
There is also a back panel with a sleeve for a laptop or tablet. We didn't use this pocket on our trip, but when we travel with the iPad, it'll have a soft place to tuck in.
The pack has a waist belt, which has one small pocket on it. This pocket is very small, and really doesn't hold much. We tucked our license in it, to get through security quickly, but a wallet or iPhone wouldn't fit. Regardless, it's a nice spot to tuck something tiny for easy access. The hip belt tucks into the back panel it you don't want to use it.
The harness system on the pack is good at supporting a good amount of weight. I had my pack pretty full, and then stuffed it with some souvenirs for the trip home. It was pretty heavy, but never felt uncomfortable on my back or shoulders. The shoulder straps are hefty, without being massive, and are comfortable to wear. The breathable back of the pack is a nice addition when storming through the airport to get to a flight.
Overall, the function of this pack is almost perfect for travel. We had no complaints on the first adventure out with this pack, and I can see it joining us for everything from adventure travel, to work trips, to overnights out of town. We packed them pretty full for our four day trip, but when we put them on and looked at them, they had a lot of room we didn't fill.
We ordered both color options from the campaign - one in black, one in blue. The black has teal accents, and maintains a more subdued vibe. The blue one is a bit more attention-grabbing, with a bright blue outer and bright pink accents. I had hoped that the pink would be more orange, but it's definitely more pink. As much as I dislike pink, this pack actually pulls it off nicely. Much to my surprise (and Kim's too), I ended up liking the blue bag better and claimed it!
A few other small details worth noting. The Allpa has security in mind. There are loops that the zippers tuck under that essentially lock the zipper in place and prevent it from quickly being opened. There are also several lash loops on the bag for attaching things to it, or for attaching it to something! The back straps, including hip belt, can be tucked into the back of bag. This was great for going through security and converts the bag into more of a duffel style. There are grab handles on all four sides, so you can carry this pack pretty much any way you want to! It also came with a rain cover!
The small backpack that came along, the Batac 16, is a "Del Dia". This is a special thing that Cotopaxi does - they give the pack makers free reign to design these Del Dia packs however they like, from scrap material created from remainder fabric and hardware. Every single bag is unique, and they tend to be incredibly colorful. Our Batacs were not a disappointment - amazing color combos, contrasts, and as bright as can be.
This little pack is just perfect. It rolls up tiny to fit inside the Allpa, and provides a perfect day pack for when you want to leave the big bag at the hotel or campsite. The Batac is super lightweight, and has very comfortable straps. There are small pockets on both sides for small water bottles, etc. An internal sleeve would hold a small hydration pack, but we used it for stashing papers and flat things. There is a zip pocket inside for things like a wallet or phone. The front has a vertical zipper that allows for quickly stashing smaller items, and there is a mesh sleeve inside for tucking a small camera or phone into for quick access. We used this pack every day of our trip, to go out and explore and visit people, and it held everything perfectly and comfortably. And did we mention that each one is one of a kind? Very cool!
If you're looking for a cool looking, secure, comfortable backpack for traveling... we'd highly recommend that you take a look at this pack. Cotopaxi did a fantastic job with the design, the function, and the durability of this pack. Aside from the Allpa, Cotopaxi is just a really great company doing some really great things to help people in poor countries and refugees here in the US. Give them a browse and we bet you'll find something you like!
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