Brands like Osprey have backpacking in their DNA and usually have superior suspension systems designed to allow the user to carry full loads easily and securely. Used it for several week long trips as well as a month long trip. The backpack worked great for me but my walking was under 2 miles at a time. You can really fill this baby up so I also don’t expand it when packing it from home. With all those handles, I also found it very easy to grab the bag from almost any direction. Bags can get pushed around or shift in the overhead bins.
Packed way too much for last years trip and only wore half of what she lugged around. If you are expecting to use your bag for more than a trip or two, I strongly urge you to invest in better gear. For instance, some of the Osprey bags do not have stow-away suspensions. On my recent Rick Steves Best of Scotland trip, I counted 10 RS bags and most of them had been used successfully and enthusiastically on two to six RS tours. FYI, the Osprey Fairview comes in two sizes, xs/s and med. choose based on your torso length. If you live near a smaller REI, you may want to call first to see what they have in the store.
It’s not canvas but polyester which is OK to take into the rain. The zippers are not weather sealed though so this is where some water could potentially look through during heavy rain. If it’s a concern, you could buy a separate rain cover.
The smaller stores don’t always have both sizes in stock. I’m a little concerned about no visible padding on the back of the mother lode. Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.
I’ve mentioned before that ounce for ounce, polyester fabric isn’t as strong as nylon. However when you’re talking about a high denier like on this bag, it doesn’t make much of a difference in strength, and actually helps reduce the price of the backpack. The best elements of the eBags Mother Lode are the many pockets, zippers, and detachable organizers. It’ll be hard to lose anything with so many different storage spaces. In the video below I show you the differences between this backpack and the Farpoint 40 which is designed more with adventure travel in mind. Ultra-budget airline RyanAir has more stringent size limits for instance, necessitating a check-in.
One look at those wheels, one spin across the pavement and you can tell these are some durable and well-built wheels. A necessity when trundling along city streets, cobbled lanes, and train stations. As the eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel rolls through the airport I would describe them as near whisper quiet. In our analysis of 90 expert reviews, the eBags Mother Load Wheeled Duffel Bag Carry-On Suitcase, 21-Inch placed 16th when we looked at the top 17 products in the category. Checkout Secure Your Luggage With The Best Suitcase for a detailed review of all the top suitcases.
Ironically, the Quickload held up under extreme abuse. It worked well while being dragged through the African bush. Conversely, the eBags blew out under normal domestic use. I would have saved more money by buying a slightly more expensive bag in the first place. I wore it for more than an hour sometimes including standing on subways and it remained comfortable and not hot even over just a T shirt. The way the outer compression works, all of the zippers are covered.
This main compartment is also expandable – something that can be both exciting and terrifying! I love the idea of being able to expand “just in case” it is needed. In a backpack, however, I don’t like the idea that my pack could become heavier as I travel.