Space and Access
Most bags have rounded corners and overall designs that are simply not meant to carry rectangular objects (like a shoebox or a brand new console). This is not the case with the Inside Line Equipment Travel Pack. The combination of a 40L volume with a boxy shape allows the Travel Pack to offer an excellent storage capacity and perfectly fit those angular objects.
The access to the main compartment is essentially a clamshell-opening front panel that gives you unparalleled access to your belongings. At first glance, it seems that the bag can be a top-loader but the top lid does not open. The best you can do is push away the top lid to access the laptop sleeve. Quirky, but manageable in my experience.
The two zips on the sides allowing front opening can be unzipped individually, granting side access to the bag. The side compression straps secured with metal G-hooks do get in the way, so I left them undone most of the time. I would prefer them to be removed completely in future iterations of the bag. The compression straps would make sense if the bag was made from Cordura, but X-Pac is not folded easily so the compression is weird at best.
Pockets and Organizing
Deceivingly simple at first glance, the bag is packed with different pockets and surprised me with thoughtful organization.
On the outside there are:
- Top access pocket (with folded edge)
- Two zipper pockets (one on each side of the bag)
- Front flat pocket with a vertical zip
- And the beavertail that is split into two compartments, with the bigger compartment being expandable thanks to mesh and some elastic bends
On the inside:
- Cavernous main compartment
- Laptop sleeve covered by neoprene flap
- Two mesh pockets
- A cinched compartment against the back
- And two concealed compartments running on each side of the bag, one of which splits into two pockets. Basically if you want more organization, the bag gives you that option without forcing you.
All in all, there’s plenty of compartments and organization but the main compartment is inviting you to use packing cubes. Dumping things in as is, without packing cubes, would simply make a lot of space poorly utilized (the weight of the gear would push things down, leaving the top of the bag unused).
I have to say I was a bit sceptical when I saw how boxy the entire bag is. “Sure it has good capacity, but no way can it be comfortable”. I couldn’t be more wrong.
There are no load lifters on the Inside Line Equipment Travel Pack and this was my first concern when taking the bag out of the box.
To my surprise, the bag is very comfortable and I did not miss load lifters at all.
The sufficiently padded and contoured straps make the bag a joy to wear regardless of the weight.
The included waist belt helps with better weight distribution and comfort. But in my experience the bag was very comfortable without it so I removed it and did not miss it at all.
The sternum strap is quite standard and unremarkable; it gets the job done. I would prefer if it had an elastic part for enhanced comfort and unrestricted breathing.
As mentioned earlier, the location of the laptop compartment at the front of the bag is a bit unusual and does slightly shift the center of gravity. Noticeable at first, I quickly got used to it but do keep this in mind if your laptop is a behemoth or a gaming machine.
VX21 and YKK water-sealed zippers is a tried and true combo allowing the Inside Line Equipment Travel Pack to withstand the harshest weather conditions. Even the water bottle pockets on the sides of the bag seal with a YKK AquaGuard zipper.
The only part of the bag requiring you to be mindful when it comes to water, snow, or dirt getting in is the exposed front beaver pocket. A word of advice – keep your water-sensitive items inside the bag and use the beaver pocket for things that are not afraid of getting wet.