YETI, the prolific cooler company from Austin, Texas, has stepped up to bat in the luggage and backpack category and shown that its line of products can stand shoulder to shoulder with heavy hitters in the category such as Patagonia and Osprey. In February, YETI announced the launch of its “Crossroads” line of duffels and I just got my hands on the Yeti Crossroads 35 Liter Backpack to take for a spin, which is exactly what I did on a recent trip to Hawai’i.
There are some features on the backpack that make it uniquely suited for air travel. The bag completely unzips, turning into two connected halves, one with a self-contained cargo area for gear and two mesh pockets, the other with slots for a computer and other notebook-ish items. Side zippers allow easy access to the main compartment when you don’t want to fully open the clamshell. The bag is constructed from Tuffskin, an abrasion and water resistant nylon that can be easily cleaned of dirt or spills with dish soap and water. This backpack would make an incredible one-bagger (if I could ever fit all of the gear I insist on taking everywhere into a single bag) and even when fully loaded, feels comfortable and deceptively light.
My favorite use for the case is flying. I hate checking bags, but as stated above, love to bring a ton of gear wherever I go (it’s my job, ok?), so when I fly I need to push the carry-on requirements just about as far as they’ll go, and that includes stuffing as much gear as I can into my backpack. The Crossroads 35 Liter makes such antics a breeze, turning my backpack into a second carry-on. It’s bags like these that keep the writers of Ryanair and Spirit’s carry-on policies up at night.
-Turns your backpack into a piece of luggage.
-Tons of well-organized space.
-Hard exterior holds its shape even when not completely full.
-Three movable straps on the exterior add to carrying potential.
-Stiff zippers – great for keeping rain out but a little difficult to use (at least as fresh and new as they are now).
-Can feel more like luggage than a backpack; My recommendation: use some of that extra space you just scored to stuff a lightweight backpack for roaming your destination.
-If you’re looking for a more traditional backpack that can take to the skies and roam around town, the 27L Crossroads backpack is probably what you’re looking for, or the 22L Crossroads if you pack light.
The full YETI Crossroads line includes three different-sized backpacks (22, 27, and 35 Liters) as well as a line of duffels (40L and 60L), roller luggage, and packing cubes (great for organizing that cargo area).
Currently a YETI.com exclusive, buy the YETI Crossroads 35L here.