Cotopaxi is known for bold colors and even bolder philanthropic initiatives. Last year, the brand launched its first travel pack, the Allpa 35, on Indiegogo. It raised more than $1.3 million dollars and set the new standard for burly, do-everything travel bags. We crowned the Allpa one of our favorite bags of 2017, and it landed a spot in our holiday gift guide.
This week, Cotopaxi launched the Allpa 28 ($180), which has all the features we loved in the 35-liter option in a slightly slimmer package designed for smaller frames or shorter adventures.
Travel bags are often bulky and block-like, and the original Allpa was no different since it had to accommodate a suitcase-style opening and organized interior. The smaller Allpa doesn’t fall into this trap—its 28-liter size looks slim, more like a regular backpack, and the trim profile is more adept at squeezing into crowded subway cars or taxis.
For some, Cotopaxi’s wild color schemes can be too much. If you’re in that camp, you’ll appreciate the new colorways of the Allpa 28, which comes in a slightly more reserved light gray and dark blue. There are still pops of color like neon-green zipper pulls and a bright, mismatched interior, but it doesn’t scream “I’m going on an adventure” quite as much as some of Cotopaxi’s other products.
If you’re traveling mostly to urban locations, it makes sense to ditch your backpacking bag and invest in a travel-specific pack. Why? Because travel packs are full of features to help you move easily and stay organized. Think laptop sleeves, hidden money pockets, and more compartments to stash your things. The Allpa 28 has all those and more.
The pack is made from an extra-burly TPU-coated 1,000-denier polyester front material and 1,680-denier ballistic nylon paneling in the back, so while it doesn’t look super technical, it can handle some abuse.
Organization is really where this pack shines. The clamshell zipper lets it open wide and lay flat so you can see all the contents. The interior is divided by three mesh zipper compartments: a large one for clothing and other bulky items, and two smaller ones for shoes or accessories. An external laptop sleeve, large enough to fit a 15-inch laptop, can be accessed through a zipper on the right side of the bag. Inside the sleeve is even a smaller padded Velcro-closure tablet pocket.
The external zippers all have theft-proof webbing sewn across the openings to prevent someone from quickly unzipping your pack. This isn’t as safe as locking your bag, but it does add an extra layer of security. The back panel has a side zippered pocket that hides the included rain cover.
The back panel is made from slotted mesh for extra breathability, and the shoulder straps and hipbelt both tuck away if you need to check your bag and want to protect your straps from luggage conveyor belts.
Should You Buy It?
At $30 cheaper than the original 35-liter pack, the Allpa 28’s $180 price tag rivals that of its competitors, like the Osprey Porter and Fairview. It’s well built and thoughtfully designed, and if you plan on spending a week (or four) staying in hostels, jumping in and out of taxis, and going on the occasional day hike, the Allpa 28 might be the perfect travel bag for you. Those with narrower shoulders and smaller frames will especially appreciate its trimmed-down size that’s still feature rich. Plus, each bag comes with a free copy of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018.