All four finalists in this week’s Co-Op would do a fine job serving as your personal item while flying, but in the end, the GORUCK GR-1 (also our readers’ favorite backpack, in general) soared the highest.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, since this is also our readers’ favorite backpack overall. At $395, the GR1 a considerable investment, but it’s built in America from “Special Forces Grade Materials,” and includes a lifetime warranty.
Great design. Lifetime warranty. Customizable. Laptop and pouches allow for easy access. Not cheap but will last forever. - dan
The Everyday Backpack just lives up to its name. It has a huge variety of ways you can arrange its interior, its dividers are sturdy enough and padded enough to protect camera equipment (which means they’re sturdy and padded enough for anything), and there are a TON of expandability/organizational features. The side wings can be used to hold power banks and AC adapters, the hidden stash pockets can be used to hold your wallet/watch/jewelry/small items that you don’t want to have on your person in an already tight seat, etc., etc. There are even hidden straps that you can use to lash bulky items like coats and tripods to the outside of your backpack. And, of course, it has a luggage passthrough so that you can slide it on top of your rolling luggage.
It’s relatively expensive, but it’s worth the price, just like almost everything Peak Design makes. The one downside is that because it’s a flap-over bag, it’s not lockable. But that’s a very minor concern for a carry-on.
Totally agree with this assessment I have the 20L and definitely hesitated at the price at first but it has been with me now on all my trips including 3 to Europe and several around the country. I usually pair with a carry-on for shorter trips and with my normal suitcase where I am able to check bags. It holds all my basic gear for my camera, laptop (15") and other tech gadgets you want at hand on the plane etc. I usually also have room for an extra shirt and a light jacket as well if I expand the top fully. It also has external straps for extras that honestly I rarely use but they are there if you have extras. - s0kud0
I was surprised that no messenger bags made the list of finalists, because I love traveling with my Timbuk2 Command. It includes a TSA-friendly laptop slot, tons of pockets on the inside and outside, a luggage strap lets you store it on top of your rolling carry-on, and the largest size fits under the seat while having enough space for clothes for a weekend trip.
Our senior commerce editor Chelsea also has strong feelings about the Dagne Dover Landon Carryall:
I’ve already written extensively about my love for the Landon Carryall, but it’s worth repeating: This bag’s internal organization (it boasts a padded laptop sleeve, an air mesh pouch, a water bottle pocket, a stretch key leash, an exterior phone pocket, shoe duster and extra interior pocket) makes it ideal for travel. Plus, the neoprene material is lightweight and easy to clean. Oh, and it comes in a bunch of fun colors, because there’s nothing more boring than black suitcase.”