Canadian manufacturer Standard Luggage Co. has designed a new carry-on back that has some interesting distinguishing features (not to mention an attractive price). I recently put it to the test on a trip to Spain and found it to be a fantastic backpack.

International travel once meant carrying big backpacks or suitcases packed with every possible item. But things are quite different nowadays. Travellers have definitely learned the art of packing light, aiming for increased mobility but no doubt also looking to save on airline fees associated with checked-in luggage.

The Standard Luggage Carry-On is one of those backpacks that, in a sense, pays back for itself — as you’ll be able to travel conveniently without paying extra for hold luggage.

As usual, I should say that I don’t feature any sponsored content on my site — and this review is no exception. However, Standard Luggage Co. was kind enough to send me a sample to review.

Pros

  • Blue and orange colors both included
  • Loads of pockets and spaces
  • Superb padded laptop compartment
  • Shoulder straps and raincover included

Cons

  • Raincover a bit difficult to put on

Great design and colour accents

The first thing that strikes me about the Standard Luggage Carry-On Bag is its design. In particular, I love the subtle things they’ve done with the colours.

Most premium backpacks these days are either black or grey. This makes sense, as it attracts less unwanted attention and such darker colours don’t fade so easily with time when exposed to sunlight. If you’re going to invest in a good backpack, going for black or dark shades is a great idea.

But I don’t deny that a little splash of colour can be nice!

The solution that Standard Luggage came up with is to add some coloured zippers and handles that wrap around the 1680D high tenacity ballistic nylon that’s underneath. These accents give the bag a bit of extra personality, but without going too crazy with the design. I like the understated but different look.

Surprisingly, you actually get TWO colours! That’s because all the coloured elements are detachable, so you can switch them for the other color if you’d like. (Both colors are included.)

Comfortable to wear

The suspension system is deliberately kept a little basic in order to make it fully stowable, though it does include an adjustable sternum strap, two padded straps, and a nicely padded back. While it’s not quite as comfortable as backpacks with a non-stowable harness, it did sit very comfortably on my back.

I mostly carried this backpack at the airport and while in transit, though I also carried it for about an hour while walking to my Airbnb, without any shoulder strain or issues. That said, I probably wouldn’t use this bag for hiking or extended walks — it’s just not designed for this. But as a city travel bag, it’s as comfortable as you would expect.

Tons of storage spaces

The Standard Luggage Carry-On Bag has a lot of storage spaces on the back, front, and inside. This includes plenty of smaller zipped compartments for storing smaller items. Several pockets on the inside have a transparent mesh so you can easily see what’s inside.

The most notable pocket is the laptop compartment, which is better than I’ve seen in many other backpacks. You can put your precious laptop inside a protective sleeve, which in turn is held vertically by two straps, and this harness, in turn, sits inside the back compartment. Your electronics will be highly protected inside. The laptop compartment is also at the back, which is ideal for both load balancing and security.

Is it carry-on size?

The answer to this YES, it is fully carry-on size, just as the product name implies. The bag fits around 35L and its dimensions should be accepted as carry-on luggage on nearly all airlines. (The only airline I’ve ever had some issues with is the ultra-low budget carrier RyanAir in Europe, who use non-standard rules for carry-on.)

The main compartment also has an accordion-like element, letting you expand this bag to a 45L. This is fantastic if you end up buying a few too many souvenirs on your holiday or just need that extra space.

You may have to check in this bag at its full expanded 45L size, though I have been able to sneak in this backpack fully expanded as carry-on anyway. (I find that as long as a backpack doesn’t look too big, the staff usually won’t ask you to put it in the bag check basket.)

3-in-1 system

Another aspect worth mentioning here is that this bag can be used in basically three different modes. You can wear it as a backpack, carry it as a suitcase, or carry it like a shoulder bag (with a shoulder strap that is included).

I doubt many will carry it as a suitcase for any length of time, but the option to use it as duffel is definitely nice. And unlike some other bags with this feature, you don’t have to buy a separate shoulder strap.

Speaking of things already being included, this bag also comes with a raincover. The Standard Luggage Carry-On Bag seems very weather-resistant without it already, given that it has weather-sealed zippers and uses a very sturdy thick-threaded nylon. This makes it more weather-proof than several other bags in this price category that I’ve tested — and with the raincover, you can easily take this outdoors without having to worry.

My only nitpick about the raincover is that it’s difficult to see which side is up, so it can take a couple of attempts to fit it seamlessly around the bag.

Price

Given all of the features and the quality of materials used I would have expected this backpack to be much more expensive. Premium backpacks are regularly priced at around $300 these days, but the Standard Luggage Carry-On Bag currently sells for $179. That’s just a little more than what you’d pay for a budget backpack like the Farpoint from Osprey, except you’ll be getting a much more fully-featured backpack.

While packing cubes are sold separately (which is not unusual), other items like the shoulder straps, raincover, and the two colour options are included in the price. All in all, this is not only a very comfortable and versatile backpack, but a surprisingly good deal.

Where to buy: the backpack is available exclusively online through the Standard Luggage Co.’s website.