I’m a roller bag guy, obviously, but there’s a time and place for a full-sized carry-on bag you can throw over your shoulder, and the Allpa 35L is the best I’ve lugged around.
The Allpa 35L weighs in around three and a half pounds and starts with a durable outer with handles on all four sides. Cotopaxi takes cues from its excellent backpacks (I’m a big fan of their Nepal 75L) in building a weight-distributing harness system with straps that completely tuck away when not in use, and airmesh so you won’t sit down on the plane covered in sweat.
I’ve tested enough luggage in the past two years to confidently say that cavernous main compartments are worthless; subdivision is the name of the game, and the Allpa clamshells open to reveal four separated storage areas. If that wasn’t enough (it’s not), one side of the Allpa offers shortcut access to the main compartment, while the other conceals a separate zone with padded laptop sleeve.
As we’ve noted before and will again shortly, the best thing a carry-on bag can do is replace your personal item with an easily accessible external compartment. Between the Allpa’s generous and subdivided top compartment, perfect for throwing your wallet and phone into as you go through the PreCheck line, and the aforementioned laptop area, Cotopaxi nailed that need.
The Allpa is available on its own, with accessories, or paired with Cotopaxi’s Batac 16L Backpack, and considering it’s only a $30 price jump and the backpack goes for $50 on its own, I recommend going all in. The accessories include a brilliant removable water bottle sleeve, a good laundry bag, and an OK shoe bag, and I would have loved to have seen my favorite dopp kit thrown in as well.
The Allpa is very much the maximalist version of Aer’s Travel Pack I checked out way back in 2016, and like the Aer, the Allpa is a bag you’ll keep finding new features and pockets on multiple days or even multiple trips later.