I like things that convert, change and become other things. Well, except for the Transformers movies and werewolves. Ick.
I also like Eagle Creek, and when they sent me info on a bunch of bags and packs that change form and function, I was hooked.
The 2 in 1 Backpack Duffel that I reviewed is made of lightweight nylon with a silicone coating (silnylon in their vernacular) which makes it tougher and more water-resistant.
The whole shebang folds up into a reversible pocket that becomes a storage pouch, so you can stuff it into the corner of your luggage to prepare for some over packing on the trip home.
The bag is light weight, at less than a pound, and in back pack configuration it has 28 liters of internal volume. Unfolding it from the storage pouch reveals a top loading, single section day pack. The top of the pack has a small, zippered pocket on the outside to store things you want to get to quickly.
The storage pouch folds down into the pack to give you one zippered pocket inside of the pack. There is also a zipper that opens to the inside when you are using the pack in duffel format. All of the main zippers have pulls to make them easier to use with clumsy fingers.
Both of the main entry zippers have security loops so you can use a luggage lock to keep them securely closed. Each side of the pack also has a mesh water bottle pocket and there are compression straps on the side and bottom of the pack, as well as multiple attachment loops.
Flipping the pack over reveals a quick grab handle and a zippered pocket in which the back pack straps stow away.
The mesh straps are adjustable and rotating clips attach to color matched nylon loops to secure the straps. There is easily two feet of adjustment range on these straps to suit a wide range of frame sizes, but you will have a lot of spare strap hanging if you keep them very short.
The straps are actually pretty comfortable, given their size and scale, but I wouldn’t want to carry bowling balls in it!
If you want to carry the 2-in-1 like a duffel bag instead, there are a few steps to go through. First, there is a zipper that goes all the way around the bag that when opened allows the bag to expand about 15% to a total capacity of 33 liters. Inside of this zippered area, the handles for the duffel are stowed. They come out and attach to nylon loops on the end of the compression straps via guardian clips. A velcro handle wrap then forms the two straps into a single handle.
The pack will hold quite a bit. The picture below shows a large Eagle Creek Specter Compression Cube inside of it to give you some idea of scale.
Trying to be two things at once means that the 2-in-1 has some compromises. In duffel mode, the zipper does not go the full length of the bag, so it is a bit awkward to get things in and out of this opening. Since the backpack opening is still available, this is seldom an issue. The flip side is that the duffel opening is also available when you are wearing the 2-in-1 as a backpack, which would be a bit tempting for a sneak thief. I highly recommend adding a luggage lock to this kit if you are going to use it on a trip where pick pockets gather.
So, would I want this as my only pack on trip? Well, no, but that is not the point. The flexible nature of this bag makes it perfect to stuff into my luggage on a trip to use if I want to take a day pack out and about, but have limited space. The added benefit of being able to expand it into a good-sized duffel means that it could easily be my “plus 1” piece on my way home ~ stuffed with all the souvenirs and gifts that I collected on the way.
On the whole, the 2-in-1 is flexible and well made. It is a clever solution for someone who might need just a hint more storage on their way back from the trip of a lifetime.