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I hate packing. It’s always before a big trip. What if I need those locks? What about raincoats? Do I really need to bring two types of sunscreen? And no matter how many clever TikTok tricks I try or how many packing cubes I invest in, I’m sure I’m still forgetting one crucial thing. yes me to know You can buy socks in St. Louis, Oaxaca, but my packing anxiety always means I end up throwing in a lot of extra stuff at the last minute and arriving at my destination with a suitcase. That is, until I met my Cotopaxi Allpa bag.
I learned about Cotopaxi in April from my childhood best friend Katie, the best packer I know. In high school, Katie went canoeing every summer in Canada, so she’s a master at keeping her belongings small and fitting into as little space as possible. The last time she came to visit me in Brooklyn, she brought a single bag with eye-catching embroidery. I watched as she packed to go home, unzipping the clamshell design and stretching it into a butterfly formation. Unlike most backpacks that only have a top zip, this one is fully open, allowing you to make the most of the space. Each side had multiple zippered mesh compartments that served as a built-in packing cube.
I ordered one online on the spot, opting for the 35-liter option, which Cotopaxi says is best for weekend trips. (It also has a 42-liter pack for longer trips and a 28-liter Alpa for shorter ones.) Although the Alpa came in standard colors like green, blue, and strawberry pink, it had the distinctive patchwork number Katie. It was part of Del Dia’s collection, which uses leftover fabrics to make one-of-a-kind multi-colored bags. It helps keep the material out of the bins, and I love the mismatched look – I chose one with a mix of blue and green and a salmon-pink on the back of the room.
For the first test, I took a ten-day trip to Italy with a Travelpro rollerboard that I trusted as a check-in bag as my personal carry-on on the plane. Inside, I easily fit a change of clothes, my laptop, snacks, a sun hat, a jewelry case, my project project and my day bag – which holds a lot of space. (It easily slides under the seat in front of me.) Later, when I wanted to put a bag in the overhead compartment on a crowded train, I found the Takeaway strap to be very handy. The mesh pockets kept things relatively organized when I was running from hotel to hotel. The largest of these pockets is also accessible via a rear zip, so you don’t have to lift everything up to pull out a lip balm or charging cable. There is an included rain cover that I didn’t use (I’m not that sporty) but I imagine it would come in handy on a hike or camping trip.
But above all, this is a bag wide – On subsequent trips to Thailand and the beach and countless weekend trips, I’m still amazed at how well this thing fits.
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