I traveled A LOT in 2014.
And these two bags have completely changed my travel experience. I used them extensively, both internationally and locally for when I’m in San Diego and Chicago. Both bags are on my list of 97 things, and I frequently (and enthusiastically) recommend them to anyone looking for a superior travel bag.
You’ll notice that both bags are also pretty darn expensive.
When I eliminated everything except 97 items from my life, I realized that (for the most part) I want to own fewer, but better quality things. I’m willing to spend money on something if it’s going to last me a long time. (This isn’t including watches and sunglasses, which I tend to break frequently and adopt the “break and replace” rule.)
And while I’m at a few more than 97 items at the moment, the philosophy remains the same–spending more money can be worth it if it’s going to last (longer than the sunglasses!).
So with that in mind, you see that while I don’t do many gear reviews, every now and then I have a few stellar products that are special and need to be shared.
The GR1 Bag From GORUCK – $285
The price tag on this puppy might make you shriek.
For one bag.
But before you let.
The GR1 is my “daypack” that I use primarily around town, and as my “work bag” when I’m traveling.
I’ve had this bag for two years now (got it back in 2012) and I’ve lugged it around the world and completely smashed it to pieces. While it has a mark or two here or there, there’s no “end in sight” for this handy bag.
I’ve run races with this, packed it with bricks, done pushups in a river, and completely covered it in sand.
And after five continents, I’m pretty sure it’s one of the most bomb-proof pieces of gear I own.
The design is simple–it’s a bulletproof (not really) backpack that opens flat, which makes packing SUPER simple, no matter if I’m going down the street to the cafe, or flying half way around the world to Africa. And it even has a laptop sleeve that fits up to a 17″ MacBook, that doubles as a space for a hydration bladder. Talk about full service!
And if that isn’t enough, it comes with a lifetime guarantee, just in case you think you’ll be able to get more than a few nicks or scuffs onto it.
However, the GORUCK CHALLENGE patch comes separately – you’ve gotta earn that one :).
Cora Rucksack (from Ignoble) – ~$165
The Cora was THE bag that got me interested in finding great travel gear. It was the first piece of gear I ever got, and still is the one that I use most. If you need or want less space, the Marion is a great alternative.
Here’s a shot of the Cora (left), GR1 (middle) and Marion (right).
I’ve gotten to know Dean and his brother who run Ignoble, and now have almost every piece of gear they’ve made.
But that doesn’t change my love for the Cora. The possibilities are endless with this bag. It’s sleek and minimalistic, with the ability to expand (or contract) enough to carry as much or as little gear as you need.
There’s a pull string at the top, which makes it super easy to section away any clothes you have. And the top cover can close flat over the top, or it can expand if you need extra room to stuff the bag full. When I’m going somewhere, I use this for all the clothes I take with me and it’s incredibly sufficient.
Really, the bag can carry so much stuff that I’ve even traveled with it as my ONLY piece of luggage/hand baggage. It worked pretty well, but since there’s no separate laptop slot, pulling your laptop out of it for the TSA check got pretty cumbersome pretty fast (thanks TSA!)
As much as I love my #impossible shirts – 3 days in the same one is a little much. Glad to finally get my Cora (my prodigal @ignoblebags rucksack) back with all my actual clothes in it. She thought she could stay on the train when I got off and just adventure around Switzerland herself. Not so fast! Now time to change. #alsoneedahaircutbad
It’s pretty easy to say that I’ll keep using these two bags for the foreseeable future.
They should keep my $5 aviators happy 🙂