Cotopaxi Allpa Review | 35L Carry On Travel Backpack | One Bag Llama Pack ?

Cotopaxi Allpa Review | 35L Carry On Travel Backpack | One Bag Llama Pack ?

– Hey it’s Tom from Pack Hacker. And in this video we’re
going to be taking a look at the Cotopaxi Allpa 35 liter travel bag. This has been highly
requested from a lot of people in the Pack Hacker
audience, maybe even you. So we’re excited to check it out. At Pack Hacker, we’re a
team of frequent travelers that test gear all the time. So if you’re new here,
consider subscribing. Let’s jump right into the
Cotopaxi Allpa review. [upbeat music playing] Cotopaxi is the name of an
active stratovolcano in Ecuador. It’s in the Andes Mountains
and in addition to that name, they’ve also got a bit of a mascot. It is a llama like you
can see here on the pack. They put it on a lot
of their packs as well. In addition to that,
Cotopaxi also does some good in the world donating 2%
of their sales to causes like the International Rescue
Committee, Educate Girls, and Proximity Designs which
aims to provide health education and livelihood in developing countries. They do great work, but does the quality of their product line up with that? Let’s jump in and find out. [upbeat music playing] Cotopaxi offers some funky
colors in a lot of their packs. The Allpa is available
in true blue and black. We’re not sure why it’s
not called true black, but it’s true blue and black. I’ve personally been testing
the blue version a couple times and then one of our contributors, Tynin, has been testing the black version on two international
trips to Jordan and Cuba. There’s really no question
that you’ve got a Cotopaxi pack on when you take a look
at a lot of their branding and the color choices that they use. You’ve got this blue color and this kind of orange reddish color
that creates a very big pop of contrast. Now normally, we’re reviewing
a lot of other packs that have been pretty subtle, like if you take a look at like
GORUCK, Aer, Minaal, right? You’ve got very slick, kind of considered minimalistic designs, and this has that from
like a feature perspective. However, these pops of color kind of liven and brighten it up a little bit. We think Cotopaxi has
done a great job at this without making something,
you know, like multicolored and too crazy; like it’s still got a lot of subtly going on to the look. The exterior has this TPU
coated polyester going on and that’s going to provide
like kind of a rubbery feel. It’s going to add a lot of
durability with that coating and provide like that slicker kind of more rubbery look on this pack. And on the sides we’ve
got 1680D nylon here. It’s a ballistic weave,
so a ballistic nylon, pretty durable stuff. There is duraflex plastic
buckles on this thing throughout, and then we’ve got nice YKK zippers. So all the materials they’ve used on this pack are of pretty high quality, but that does come at a weight expense. So we’re looking at three
pounds and seven ounces just for the Allpa itself when it’s empty. The pack comes in at 20
by 12 by 8 inches which is going to be compatible
with most airlines as far as carry-on specifications goes. And with that space the
Allpa offers 35 liters of space neatly organized inside which we’re going to get into coming up. Cotopaxi also offers a bundle that has a bunch of different stuff in it in addition to just the
Allpa, so we got our hands on all that. We’re not going to cover
everything in this video, but they’ve got like a
laundry kind of mesh pocket where you can put dirty clothes
that’s removable, a rainfly, and they’ve also got their
Batac packable day pack as well as a couple other packing cubes. The packable day pack is really crazy – it’s kind of like a rainbow going on. Again, just hit the thumbs
up in the first comment if you want to see us do a
review on that as well. [upbeat music playing] Alright so starting with
the backside of this pack, we have these four lash
straps kind of going around. Again Cotopaxi, with that brand name, they’ve kind of got this
nice neon color going on. We think that’s tasteful. It’s going to be up to you
whether you like it or not. In addition to the lash straps here, you’ve also got ’em kind
of at the top of the pack – sort of all over the sides of this pack. So that’s going to be good to
put the high visibility, bright yellow rain cover on to. They’re also good for, you know, hooking carabiner clips off of and just hanging out anything to dry, you know, on the back of your pack. Again this TPU coated material here does pretty well with moisture. So if you’ve got like a wet
board shorts or wet swim trunks kind of hanging off of here, it’s
not going to do too much harm and then soak into the pack either. Additionally Cotopaxi says
that you can lock this to fixed objects, so
maybe you want to lock it to a pole or something. Also these lash straps
are good for the mesh water bottle pocket
that Cotopaxi provides – it’s detachable. I like the
way that they’ve done this because not everybody
uses a water bottle pocket on their packs. So Cotopaxi
gives you that option versus forcing you to have it installed and always there. All four sides of this
pack offer a carry handle. And some may think that’s overkill, but we actually found
that to be really nice. So no matter which angle this
pack is at you can grab it. You know, whether it’s in the overhead bin on the airplane, whether
it’s in the back of a taxicab car or a car, whether it’s
just laying on the ground and you just want to grab it. Handles on all four sides
of this thing make it really accessible and easy to grab from whatever angle it is that you’re at. One other thing that
Cotopaxi has provided here is the ability to sort
of lock your zippers. And when you zip this all the way up you can actually weave the
zipper pull under this band that they have here and it acts as a bit of a security feature. And what this does is it prevents somebody from just coming up to you
quick, ripping that zipper open, and grabbing all of your stuff. So this little loop does a good job at kind of stopping that from happening. Moving onto the harness system, we have an air mesh back panel here with some very prominent
Cotopaxi branding going on. Moving on to the strap system, they are slightly curved here. They use a high density foam
that’s comfortable to carry for long periods of time.
Adjustable sternum strap here so you easily get whatever
fit it is that you need. And you can unbuckle the strap. It’s a duraflex buckle, high
quality plastic goin’ on and easily just stow that
away when not in use. If you’re getting on a plane,
hopping in the back of a car, whatever it is that you’re doing where you don’t want
all this excess straps kind of flapping around. So everything up until this
point has been pretty positive with the harness system.
So for me personally, I have a 19 1/4″ length torso and I’m 6′ 2″. And the
hip belt for me is more of a stomach belt so it doesn’t
really fit me that well. It doesn’t really do
what it’s supposed to do. But I would say if you have anything from an 18″ or a lower torso, it’s going to be useful for you. Another thing with the hip
belt that we’re not super into is the pocket on the side. So
there’s not really much room here meaning this isn’t a 3D pocket. It doesn’t necessarily stick out, so there’s not going to be
a lot of give in there. This is going to be okay for
things that are more flexible – maybe you can put a card
in here or a paper map – but if you want to put you’re phone in here it’s not really the best use case for it. Because if you’re actually
going to utilize this thing and wear it as a hip belt,
when you start to curve this around your body you definitely
want it to be able to curve – you don’t want like just
a phone sticking in there and kind of blocking that curve. So there’s definitely some
improvements to be made on this hip belt. So for me
personally when I’m using it, I’m kind of hit or miss on hip belts. It’s easy enough to kind of stow this away into this harness hiding system and then you can just kind of
forget about the hip belt. So Cotopaxi has done a great job at letting you be able to hide that. And me personally? I’m
hiding it all the time. If you have a smaller torso
you may find it useful even with that kind of
slightly odd hip belt pocket. [upbeat music playing] Moving on to the inside of the pack. Starting with the front pocket. If you just open that up and take a look, you can see there’s some nice organization going on inside of here. So
this area kind of outside of this mesh pocket is going to be good for a medium sized DAKA Pouch of a size. We found that to fit in really well here. And then there’s a nice
YKK zippered mesh pocket that you can open up, and we have this kind of bright yellow rip-stopping
nylon material. It’s nice when bag companies
use brighter colors on the inside of their
packs ’cause it’s easier to see your gear, whatever it
is that you’re kind of shoving inside of here. So big mesh pocket, we’ve
got a rip stop pocket here that’s going to be about the
width of your passport, and then another pocket here which is going to be good for sunglasses. This isn’t necessarily
a quick grab pocket; it’s behind two levels of zippers. But we do like the organization
that’s gone into it, and the thinking they’ve
done with this front area. And one more thing, they’ve got a plastic key
chain-like thing sitting here. Nothing too special, you
can clip your keys to it. We like when packs put
like metal rings here. We think that it’s a little
bit more high quality. Moving onto the laptop
compartment on the side – there’s a bright pink
zipper area so that you know that it’s a laptop. There’s another pocket on this side – it’s a quick access pocket
for the main clamshell which we’ll get into in a second. But that’s going to be blue in color so you can kind of tell the difference, create a mental model in your head for what these colors
mean to get to what gear. This is the laptop sleeve. It’s going to be pretty good. There’s some slight padding here. The frame sheet is like
a decent, decently flimsy but you’ve got a little
bit of structure there so easily slide your laptop in. Also a bit of a false bottom here so if you drop your bag it’s
not necessarily going to hit right on the edge of your laptop. There’s a little bit of space between the actual bottom of this and the laptop compartment. One thing that we did find
with the laptop compartment is that with an Incase on
the newest MacBook Pro (an Incase case), it’s a very snug fit. So they may have been better off making this a little bit larger. It’s going to fit the best with
no case on your laptop at all – but yeah, it’ll definitely
fit a 15 inch laptop. They’ve also got a separate
velcroed compartment here that’s going to be good for
tablets or smaller tech devices. The main clamshell of this
pack opens up like a suitcase. So if you’re familiar
with suitcase travel, it’s going to be very familiar. I like that they’ve integrated this kind of look and feel into a backpack. Super fat, beefy YKK zipper to hold it up so you know it’s going to be durable. Remember that main clamshell
of a backpack is usually the weakest point and the place that breaks for most travelers. So Cotopaxi has done a great job here at picking a very large YKK
zipper to keep everything nice, durable, and sealed up. So again we just fold that open here, and you’re going to be greeted
with kind of two panels. So on the inside we
have a large mesh pocket on the right hand side – we
just open that right up and you have basically a giant bucket. So here it’s going to be
good for packing cubes, larger items like shoes,
sweaters, you know, larger articles of clothing are
going to do well on this side. There are two compression straps as well. And we’re just going to unbuckle those. You can see here that we
also have the Batac Day Pack that can come with some of the bundles that they offer on their website. So this thing is super colorful! I feel like it looks like
I’m going to like a festival or a rave or something like that. Not sure how I feel about it personally, but your mileage may vary. So the right hand side – giant bucket, two compression straps that
you can kind of help keep your stuff a little bit more compact. We usually recommend packing cubes so you can just keep
those nice and secure. And then we have a bit
of a hidden pocket here. It’s about three credit cards
wide by one credit card deep, and there’s a lot of depth here. So you could probably keep
a lot of valuables in there or maybe a couple socks,
whatever it is that you end up wanting to organize in there. But it’s a secure pocket
because it’s on the inside of the pack. And remember
you’re going to have clothes and a lot of other stuff in here so it’s going to be somewhat hidden. Moving onto the left hand side,
AKA the front of the pack – we’re going to have a similar mesh pocket, but it’s about two thirds the opening of the large pocket on
the right-hand side. So it’s going to go underneath
these two other mesh pockets here. You do still have the same
amount of space pretty much, but again, that’s on the front of the pack so you’re going to want to
put lighter items in here if at all possible. So typically we recommend
putting the heavier stuff closer to your back. It keeps your center of
gravity a little bit more even and a little bit more like normal how your body is in the first place, and then lighter items in the
front hand side of the pack. So giant bucket here as well. Also two additional mesh
zippered pockets on the left hand of the inside of the pack. That’s going to be good for tech items. You’ve got the yellow again here which is going to help you identify things and it’s going to make, you know,
black or darker colored gear a little bit more visible within the pack. Also the rain fly within
here fits perfectly, that comes with the bag itself. Good place to store that if you do want to carry
that around with you. [upbeat music playing] One of our contributors,
Tynin, has been testing this on the road for about three
months in his everyday life and on trips. So he’s taken
it to Cuba as well as Jordan. So we definitely have had a lot
of experience with this pack. So far so good! A lot of the materials that
Cotopaxi uses are very durable and high quality, so we haven’t really run into any issues as of yet. So to wrap this thing up
with some pros and cons. The Cotopaxi Allpa has some ample space and smartly-placed pockets both on the interior and exterior of the pack. It’s solid. All the durable materials come together and make the Cotopaxi Allpa a solid pack. It has a sleek and refined aesthetic that’s both playful and
at the same time minimal, so we think that they pulled
these two elements together to make a really great-looking pack. Some of the cons, it’s quite
heavy for the size that it is. The hip belt isn’t super
functional for taller users and it’s not removable either;
at least it’s hideable. And the hip belt pockets
are a little bit too snug on the hip belt itself
rendering them not super usable for things like phones or stiffer objects, better for flexible items. [upbeat music playing] The Cotopaxi Allpa 35 liter travel pack is pleasantly hard to characterize. It can function as both a
hiking pack, a work bag, or a travel pack. After our tests we feel
like it fits the travel role pretty well. With it’s carry-on
compliance, refined design, and ample space the
Allpa is a great choice. While it may not be well
received by taller users, if you find the fit comfortable you definitely won’t be disappointed. And for under two hundred bucks it’s definitely a solid choice. Thanks for taking a look at our view on the Cotopaxi Allpa 35. I hope it was helpful to you. Be sure to head over to Sign up for that newsletter
and never miss an update. We’ll see you in the next video. Pocket we just open that … wrong pocket. Um? Um, um, um, um, um? Stradovalc, valcano? Valcano. (laughs) [upbeat music playing]


  1. Give this comment a thumbs up if you'd like a breakdown of the bundle items including the Batac Daypack!

  2. I took the plunge and bought this bag it’s awesome!! Only gripe is the hip strap (bulky) and I’m debating wether to chop it off!?? Tom what’s your feeling on needing the hip belt for a packed out bag keep it not??
    This bag is gonna be my befriend for a 18 month world trip a true and proper test for Travel Pack!

  3. Was that wooden board behind you showcasing all the backpacks a DIY job or were you able to buy it somehow? I want to have something similar and show off my collection 😀

  4. Have you carried the pack with the hip straps hidden away? How does it feel? Is it bulky or uncomfortable? Thx!

  5. Hipbelt isn't also ideal for petite and slim folks esp on the hip area especially if you're just wearing one layer. If fully packed and heavy the tendency is to pull up those backpack straps tight so it rides right/high and balanced on your back. The hipbelt behaves the same with shorter people like myself (5'2") wherein it rides up higher on the waist so now it's just loose lol! So yeah… practically useless to manage weight for a longer period if needed. The shoulder still bears the brunt of it all unfortunately.

    I also wished the laptop width was wider to accommodate a pelican laptop case so I can throw my pack around even more haha. But no – forget about it.

  6. great review. The security thing for the zippers is pretty cool. And I am not a great fan of the pink backpanel, but the blue is pretty refreshing in the sea of black bags. Awesome video like always!

  7. What is a alternative backpack for tall people? I have a 24” torso too and wanted to know a backpack that fits well for the me.

  8. Hi, could you advise what is the depth of the largest panel/compartment/? I am hoping to put my camera sleeve.

  9. I really love mine-wish I had chosen the True Blue, but am very happy with Black. I have used this as a personal item and love how easy it is to gather my IPad Pro with keyboard from laptop compartment and IPad Mini from tablet compartment when going through security. The different color zipper on that compartment is brilliant! The access to the inside from the top zipper is super practical for grabbing my headphone pouch and other things I need inflight. I’m 5’7” and this back fits perfectly on my frame and I like it better than a Mountain Hardware Pack I used to climb Mt. Whitney so I consider this an all-around travel pack.

  10. I have a laptop that's about 17in screen. Would this pack be a good match? Or do you have any other suggestions?

  11. How is the back support? Would it be ok for long walk and hikes? Is there a solid structure on the back as in hiking backpack?

  12. Looking to walk the Camino de Santiago and do the Primitivo Route. Would this be an ideal pack for that type of walk?

  13. The carry handles. They look like they would not be comfortable. They appear (from images) to be a single layer of webbing. Am I wrong? I hope so since I like to carry my bags by the side handle while navigating airplane aisles.

  14. Torn between this pack and the Minaal 2.0 carry on for a month long one-bag trip, both look to have a lot of pros and little cons. Do you know how they would compare in terms of how much they can store? Or of another bag recommendation to be indecisive about

  15. Awesome video. This seems the perfect choice for me. However, two more things I wish you could comment on… I have a torso length of exact 18 inch lol, do you think this would work for me? And I am slight concerned about the durability of this pack. I understand that the material used in this pack is of high quality as you mentioned in the video, but how does the mesh part of the clamshell feel to you? Does it feel like it might tear from the zippers? As I lost one luggage to that deficiency already I've been pretty skeptical about that design. Thank you very much!

  16. The black version of this bag looks really cool, but at 210 US$ it is a tad pricey if you ask me. Being the cheapskate I am.

  17. Great review. You got my thumbs up. Which packing cubes size did you use in this review? I want to buy some packing cubes and I see, from the experts 🙂 Thanks and keep up with the good work

  18. Great review! I've been looking at this bag. I wonder if you also going to review the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30?

  19. I have switched from the typical business traveler roller bag to a North Face Base Camp duffel for my travel. This new mode of carry has me looking into better organized travel backpack systems and this bag really has my eye. Interested in your long terms thoughts (still happy) and if you can point me to two to three more recommendations similar to this bag (design, features, price)? Thanks for such great reviews!

  20. Its a shame the waist belt isn't removable. I'm shorter so it'd work for me but the inability to remove them is an oversight in my eyes. Additionally, it would be nice if the backpack had the ability to maybe tuck away the internal zippers if you wanted to use this for EDC but i guess this is really just geared more towards traveling. I love the look of the pack and I may end up getting but really would like something that can pull double (triple?) duty. Office work, traveling and EDC all rolled up into one bag. Thanks for the thorough review, though. It'll help in the decision-making process.

  21. Thanks much. Very helpful. One minor nit…there is only one hip belt pocket though near the end you mentioned as one of the cons "the hip belts are not…"

  22. Ugh! I love everything about this pack and am so close to pulling the trigger… Using it to travel for 6 mo trip. BUT I'm 6'4"… And the hip belt is a major concern for me…. Any advice?

  23. I love the design of this backpack. Unfortunately, all carry on backpacks that have the laptop compartment at the back are at least 200€. I'd love to find a carry on backpack like this one which has the price of an Osprey Fairview/Farpoint (~85€). Any recommendations?

  24. Some of their daypacks and accessories can be kinda clowny because they use remnants from other companies that would otherwise shred them, but, I feel as though, for me, someone who likes to accessorize with colour often could wear them as quirky pieces with a fun story. Also, I do like that each one of their funkier products is one of kind and that an employee gets to design the colourway for.

  25. Thanks for all your great reviews! I scoured the web though for a comparison between the Cotopaxi 35 and the Pacsafe EXP 45. Haven’t found one probably because they are listed as different capacity. I ordered each and they are almost IDENTICAL in size. I would even go so far as saying the Allpa carries a bit more. One of them hasn’t measured correctly. I have packed and repacked both bags and I always come up with the same conclusion. So, just to pass other info on….the straps on the Allpa are a bit more adjustable to get them closer together for my frame. I am 5’4”. The Allpa is a tad shorter so it feels better walking when it’s full. I love the more versatile space. If you go with packing cubes in the Pacsafe, you are limited how those fit in. And a lot of the Pacsafes storage is in the outside full length pocket, but hard to get to, other than shoving a coat down there. Would have liked that space inside. Allpa could use some compression straps like the Pacsafe though for when it’s not completely full. I thought Allpa add on water bottle attachment would be useless, but if you attach it two ways to the outside straps, it does a great job. The Allpa pulls in like an hourglass in between interior mesh pockets. That makes zipping it up difficult just right there. Worried that is a stress point and the zipper will break eventually. I’m going to keep the Allpa, I feel like it’s a slightly better option. I’m a bit worried when completely stuffed the Allpa is too fat for overhead bins, but I won’t be able to test that out until later this summer. BTY, I got a Weeks worth of clothes in there, including a pair of shoes (which a lot of reviews don’t show). I plan on a sling style personal item carry on to hold my wallet, knitting, book, scarf. Cheers!

  26. Great review! I’m still searching for a travel pack,I’ll choose from this one,peak design traveline 45,tortuga outbreker 45 & wandrd hexad access duffel,any suggestion?

  27. Great review, just bought the 35 L travel pack the other day so I'm looking forward to travel around the world with this product.
    This beats suit cases everyday of the week

  28. Had this for about a year. If they could bump it up to 40l and get rid of the clasps on the main straps I'd love it. Don't thing pricing is too bad either consider you get another bag and basically travel cubes with it.

  29. Can you review the tentree mobius backpack?

  30. Hi,

    Could you provide a brief breakdown of the packing cubes used in this video? I’m looking at purchasing this pack for 6 months round SE Asia and want to maximise the space! I will be taking minimum tech so am really interested in the amount of clothes.

    I spotted one Eagle Creek Compression cube – was it size Large? So two in the “big bucket” side of the pack? And two mediums in the other? Thanks!

  31. How is the back support given it is just a plain mesh cushion. Does it take the load properly? How does it look as a daily carryon given its size.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *