Hitting the Mother Lode
Budget Travel content distribution manager Amanda McCadams has only been using this bag for a short time, but between its clever design details and roomy capacity, it’s already become her go-to weekender. Part of the eBags house line, the TLS Mother Lode Weekend Convertible Junior has a plethora of pockets, from a fold-out water-bottle pouch to a zippered top pocket that accommodates a Ziploc full of liquids to an organizer in the front compartment with a key leash and slots for pens, phone, and more. It also offers an array of options for customization, like an adjustable laptop sleeve, a fold-down shelf that divides the main packing section into compartments, backpack straps that tuck in for stowing or for use as a duffel, and removable sternum, waist, and shoulder straps. “The hide-away backpack straps are quick and easy to get out, and they’re actually comfortable, not thin little things that dig into your shoulders,” Amanda says. “When I'm not using it as a backpack, I appreciate the side and top handles—they make putting it in the overhead bin much easier.” Primarily, though, she’s impressed with the organizational details. “I like the many, many compartments around the outside of the bag,” she says. “There's a pocket that's easy to access that can hold my travel documents, and another one that’s great at catching all of my digital devices. Plus, when I’m on crowded public transportation, I always worry that a sneaky thief could unzip the outside pockets and reach a hand in to steal what's on top, and this pack has flat, zippered pockets inside of larger zippered pockets that add another layer of protection against being totally robbed.” One word of caution: The main compartment is large enough for a weekend trip in spring, summer, and fall, but bulky cold-weather clothes might be a tight fit, so you might consider wearing your layers if you’re packing this bag for a midwinter getaway.
TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior, $120; ebags.com.