When I first got my hands on the Solo Weekender Backpack Duffel – I wasn’t quite sure what to make out of it. That initial confusion sums up the bag quite well. In certain cases, this is the best bag you’ll ever have with you. Other times, it’s a frustrating hybrid that I wish would pick a side. In truth, it wasn’t until I went on three separate two-day trips that I learned the value of the Solo Weekender. That’s where this review stems from – because without those experiences, I wouldn’t be able to share a valid opinion. So let’s take a deeper look at this interesting hybrid bag!
Solo Weekender Design
As you can tell by the name, the Solo Weekender Backpack Duffel is a hybrid between both a backpack and a duffel. From the duffel side of things, it features a center zippered opening and a large interior space. This space is enough for a change of clothes, toiletries and even a pair of shoes. It also features a separate area that fits up to a 15.6″ laptop, a tablet and other slim items. On either side, it features a zippered pocket that can hold a bottle of water in each. There are also two small zippered pockets near the main opening which are ideal for cash, IDs etc. Finally, the bottom features a wide opening with an insert designed to put your shoes in. This keeps them separate from your clothes.
While it may seem like there would be a lot of space, in truth – the total volume is a bit small. A pair of sneakers takes up 40-50% of the space, while a change of clothes consumes the remaining area. Add a laptop, charging cables, toiletries and the like – and you’ve got a stuffed bag.
I also want to point out that the bag itself looks amazing. Mainly blue and gray, with black accents and yellow detailing on the zipper clasps. That colour combination looks fantastic. Construction is also top notch. The zippers are high quality, and the construction materials are durable as well.
The Portability of the Solo Weekender
This is certainly where the Solo Weekender wins major points from me. You can wear it like a backpack. It’s comfortable, the straps are wide and adjustable, and the back is breathable. If you don’t want to carry it on your back, the Solo Weekender features duffel-like handles on the top, on both left and right sides, as well as on top. On a bus, it’s easier to hold with one hand, while walking around, it’s easy to throw on your back. Then if you need to pick it up/put it down at check-in at your hotel, that’s easy too. It’s well designed for travelers on the move.
Usage of the Solo Weekender
Here’s where I run into some troubles, but also successes. As a day bag walking around my own city or to my office, this bag is not ideal. Going to and from meetings, it felt a little clunky vs a messenger bag. But, when I needed to drop off some items it was much more useful. I think a bike courier could find immense value in it.
As for long travel, it is too small to carry more than one change of clothes (two, if you don’t need two pairs of shoes.) That said, if you’re only doing overnight trips – then it is ideal. The measurements on the bag come in at 20″ x 11″ x 8″ (51cm x 29cm x 20cm), which makes it within proper size for carry-on luggage on a flight. That’s actually where I found that this bag paid dividends on itself. Short travel jaunts is exactly what this bag succeeds in.
In fairness, that’s exactly what the Solo Weekender is for. It’s not a bag for the office or one to take on vacation. It’s a great alternative to travel instances where carry-on luggage is all you bring. As for any other purpose, it leaves something to be desired.
The Solo Weekender Backpack Duffel can be purchased online for $60 USD ($80 CDN).