Gadling Gear Review: Cannondale Quick Backpack

Finding the perfect carry-on bag can be a never-ending quest for some travelers. It has to be capable of carrying all of your gear, while still keeping its contents safe from harm. It should also be comfortable enough to lug around all day, but also durable enough to survive the rigors of the road. It also doesn’t hurt if it happens to be attractive and affordable.

That description fits the new Quick Backpack from Cannondale to a tee. Yep, you read that right. The company that is best known for making some of the best bikes in the world also happens to make a pretty great backpack for travel. Originally designed for commuter cyclists looking to haul their gear around, the Quick Backpack is so well designed and versatile that it can be used for far more than just pedaling around town.

The Quick’s main compartment is massive and seems to swallow up all the gear you can throw at it. I tossed in my digital SLR camera, along with a few lenses, and they barely took up any room at all. When I added an extra jacket, a couple of books and a spare pair of shoes, I started to wonder if the bag was actually bottomless. A separate laptop sleeve kept my computer nicely protected while an additional interior organizational pocket was great for small items like pens, USB drives or a pair of earbuds. A large exterior zippered-pocket makes for a fantastic storage space for travel documents or other items you want to keep close at hand, such as a cellphone, iPod or passport.Harkening back to its cycling roots, the pack also features two large pockets on either side that are designed to accommodate water bottles. They of course come in handy for holding your favorite beverage while on the go, but they’re also deep enough to be used for other things as well. For example, I found that they made excellent pockets for holding an umbrella, which is one of those items that can’t be easily accessible enough when you really need it.

Made from high-quality 600D nylon fabrics, the Quick Backpack is designed to take abuse on daily cycling commutes. That means it is more than up to the task for most travel needs as well. I was very impressed with how well built this pack is and after several weeks of testing, there is nary a scuff, scratch or rip to be found. Better yet, those same fabrics also happen to be quite water resistant, helping to keep all of the precious cargo inside safely dry. The designers of this pack took that protection one step further, however, by lining the bottom of the pack with a rubberized fabric. This prevents the bag from soaking up liquids, and potentially damaging its cargo, when inadvertently set on a wet surface.

Perhaps the biggest surprise that this pack has in store for us is just how comfortable it is to wear. Its shoulder straps are easy to adjust and are nicely padded, while its back panel allows for plenty of ventilation and incorporates some of the best cushioning I’ve ever seen on a pack of this kind. All of that padding allows the Quick Backpack to carry a heavy load with ease, ensuring you won’t strain a back muscle while hurrying to catch your next flight.

If you’re already a cyclist then adding the Cannondale Quick Backpack to your gear closet seems like a no-brainer. But this is the kind of pack that many travelers might dismiss outright because it was primarily designed for riding. That would be a mistake, however, as this is quite simply a great pack that is both highly functional and versatile, whether you ever get on a bike or not. Its ability to comfortably carry large loads and its high level of durability makes it an excellent choice for active travelers looking for something a little different in their carry-on bag. With a price tag of $120, it also happens to be a real bargain too. I know I’ve certainly paid more than that for a bag that wasn’t nearly as good as this one.

Top five uses for Ziploc® bags when traveling

Over the years, I’ve become a bit of a bag lady. I’m always finding new and surprising uses for Ziploc® bags or their generic counterparts when I travel. I’m also a rabid recycler, so I like getting extra mileage out of my airport security “liquids and gels” see-through baggie.

But that’s not the only reason I love these little guys. They’re tough, they’re resealable, and they’re economical, because they usually survive multiple trips. Below, my favorite uses for this home kitchen staple:®

1. Holding a wet swimsuit.
When you’re on a day or side trip, or don’t have time to dry it before catching your flight.

2. Collect seashells.
Make sure it’s legal, first.

3. Safeguard against spilled liquids.
I also place bags on top of shaving cream canisters (secure with a rubber band). Because it only takes one exploded can in your backpack to learn your lesson.

4. Seal off your shoes (or socks) for packing.
Hiking. hot weather. ‘Nuff said.

5. Keep your passport/money/other paper valuables (including tissues/t.p.) dry.
If you’re an adventure traveler, you may find yourself in situations where your daypack (or whatever you use to carry these items) gets soaked. I’ve had to hang my passport out to dry after a.) having to hitchhike in a major storm; b.) having to swim across a deeper-than-expected creek; c.) falling into the water while climbing out of a dinghy in rough surf.

*Bonus: “Have food poisoning/need to vomit while stuck in Marrakech rush hour traffic” emergency satchel.
Not that this happened to me.

Have your own travel uses for Ziploc® bags? Let us know!

Want to cut down on plastic altogether? ChicoBags come in their own little stuff sacks, and are the size of a deck of cards. I clip one inside of my day pack when I travel for groceries or other purchases.

[Photo credit: Flickr user hfabulous]



Toiletries Meet Pitotubes

Packing toiletries always becomes a major production. I have yet to master a way to shrink down the amount of shampoos, lotions, and travel-sized shaving cream I toss in my bags and then there’s the reoccurring nightmare of everything exploding while some 35,000 ft in the air. I’ve managed to soothe myself and my worries by wrapping the goods twice in recycled Target bags, but who am I kidding? If the lotion, baby oil or body wash is going to leak, it’s going to leak.

Leave it to the folks at CoolHunting to find some sort of travel gear/invention to help someone like myself out. They’ve discovered Pitotubes, the creation of a former flight attendant who too often heard the tale of ruined goods from explosive bathroom items. The tubes can are said to withstand the most brutal luggage handling and changing pressures. They are elegant, leak-free, refillable travel bottles made from high quality PETG recyclable plastic. A set of six bottles with labels costs about $50 and for that price I think I’m willing to chance my double-wrapping Target bag method a little longer, though my luck may be running out.

Pitotubes can be purchased at Flight 001.

OGIO Terminal Bag

Not long ago in the past I was one of the nastiest impulse buyers to walk the planet Earth. (Nasty as in overdoing it and buying way beyond my means. Not belching and burping while shopping.) I waited for nothing. Did research on nada product , but these days I’m a changed woman. In fact, I’m such the opposite that I sit too long trying to make a decision about something I know I’ll want. Take the OGIO Terminal bag for example. I’ve been eying this baby for a good long while. Since my last bag disappeared out of my life last year I’ve been silently weeping inside to hold, have and lug around another OGIO bag. Ah…

I placed my order last Sunday and now I’m hoping like all hell that the bag makes it here in time for my trip. I could have tossed out the extra dinero for some speedy shipping method, but I can wait. I’ve got my back-up bags ready in case this doesn’t show up in time. Upon arrival and after I’ve made good use of my new luggage I’ll report back with a review. However, it’s gotten some pretty good comments elsewhere and from my research you can get one of your own for $144.95 at Remember Delaware. They seem to have the best price and full selection.