When traveling, one of the most critical choices is what to bring. Although if I had it my way, I would bring everything but the kitchen sink, it’s not advisable when on a trip Europe. For an upcoming trip to London and Paris, I brought my Cotopaxi Allpa 42L. On this trip; I am staying in hostels and traveling to two different countries to get a taste of the backpacker experience. Here is my honest Cotopaxi backpack review after traveling with it for a week.
Organization of the Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is different than other packs because it operates as a suitcase. When you unzip the pack, it unfolds two compartments, each perfect for clothing and toiletries but not for stuffing tent poles. It’s great for city travel but not for outdoor backpacking.
It’s great for European travel
Many European streets, especially in Paris, are cobblestone. Bringing a roller suitcase through cobblestones is a hassle, so I wanted to ensure I could carry all my belongings. I took the train from London to Paris. It was easy having everything I needed on my back so I wouldn’t
The shell of the Cotopaxi backpack is 1000D TPU-coated polyester, which is weather-resistant. On top of that, the bag comes with a rain sleeve. You slide the rain sleeve over the pack to prevent it from getting wet. I was lucky on this trip; it didn’t rain once, but if you happened to be caught in bad weather, your clothes would stay dry. Although it’s great that the material is durable and sturdy, keep in mind when you are shoving that extra sweater inside your pack that the material isn’t going to stretch at all.
It’s not for those with back problems
Although my Cotopaxi backpack review has been glowing thus far, there is one part about the backpack that is only for some things, and that is it’s heavy. At some point in the trip, between the train stations in London and Paris, I became envious of those around me with wheels on their suitcases. The walk was a short twenty minutes between our hostel in London and the train station, but with a large backpack strapped to me, I could not wait to stop and put it down. My back was starting to ache from the heavy pack. Before walking, I had little time to secure the Cotopaxi backpack properly, creating an uncomfortable pain in my back.
A place to put your laptop but not a camera
Finding a place to store technology while backpacking is always challenging. After a week of backpacking, my one organized suitcase turned into a chaotic mess. I love that the Cotopaxi 42L backpack has a specific storage spot for your laptop or iPad. I brought my iPad and used it to write on my trip. While I needed a stop to put my iPad, I also needed a space for my professional camera. The Cotopaxi doesn’t have a spot for your camera. If you bring a professional camera, get another small backpack for your personal item.
Ideal for 1-2 weeks of travel
Cotopaxi is great because it gives the feel of a carry-on, but with that comes limitations. The Coxopaxi 42L backpack, while an adventure backpack, is not intended to be the pack you bring for a six-month backpacking trip. It’s ideal for shorter trips. On my week-long trip, I packed very lightly and still needed to do laundry in the middle of the week. You could use this backpack for longer trips, but it would mean doing more laundry and maybe going some days re-wearing dirty clothes, but hey, that’s travel.
Hard to fit into small places
The Cotopaxi 42L is a large backpack. Technically, it counts as a carry-on, but loading this backpack into the overhead compartment is difficult. On this trip, I had trouble getting the bag up and down on the overhead bin.
Overall, the Cotopaxi is ideal for my shorter trips, especially for my trips abroad. I hope this Cotopaxi backpack review helps you decide what backpack to bring with you on your trip.