REVIEW: Cotopaxi Allpa 42L Travel Pack
For frequent travelers, finding the right bag to take with you is essential. That bag needs to be large enough to carry everything you need for your trip, but not so big as to get heavy and bulky. It helps if it is smartly designed to help keep you organized, and it needs to be comfortable to carry for extended periods of time too. And as with any piece of travel gear, it has to be durable enough to survive the rigors of the road, without picking up any undue wear and tear.
All of that is an apt description of the Cotopaxi Allpa 42L Travel Pack, a bag that takes a minimalist approach to its design and yet somehow manages to deliver a lot of features and functionality. This nearly-bulletproof backpack is built for travel adventures and provided you already know how to travel light, will probably be the last bag you ever need to buy.
Design (5) ★★★★★
Compact and sleek, the Allpa travel pack is built to move through airports, urban settings, and other environments with equal finesse. The pack features a streamlined shape designed to easily slip in and out of overhead compartments, luggage racks, trunks, or anywhere else you need to store it. Comfortable shoulder straps make the bag easy to wear, but convenient grab handles and a shoulder sling allow it to be carried like a duffel when needed too. This is a level of versatility that any frequent traveler can appreciate.
Somehow, despite its minimalist looks, the Allpa still manages to be eye-catching. That’s due in part to Cotopaxi’s amazing use of colors—not to mention the company’s fun llama logo—but it also has a lot to do with how this bag was designed and constructed. It also stands out at the luggage carousel, making it easy to identify for those rare times that you might have to actually check it.
Size (5) ★★★★★
With 42-liters of onboard storage, the Allpa has plenty of room to take everything with you, and then some. The pack can carry a surprising amount of gear and when zippered up it still manages to remain compact and easy to carry. For those who are ultra-lightweight travelers, Cotopaxi offers a 35-liter version as well, but the 42L model seems like the sweet spot for most people. The bag provides plenty of room but doesn’t feel unwieldy when it’s packed tight or carrying less gear. It fits nicely into the “just-right” category.
Features (5) ★★★★★
The Allpa travel pack features a butterfly opening design that makes it easy to access the interior and get to everything you need. Mesh panels make it easy to identify where apparel, toiletries, or other gear is located at all times. And with multiple interior compartments, it is easy to keep clean clothes separate from dirty ones or even prevent wet apparel from soaking everything else.
The pack includes a dedicated laptop sleeve, a separate tablet sleeve, and a pocket for a smartphone. A top zippered pocket makes accessing important items—like a passport or a phone charger—a breeze, while carabiner lash points make it easy to attach additional gear as needed. The Allpa comes with four grab handles, a water bottle pocket, and a comfortable harness system that distributes weight evenly, improving overall comfort in the process.
With all of the features that this pack offers, it is easy to carry just one bag, even on extended international trips. Because the Allpa is so versatile and easy to access, it can pull double-duty as a carry-on and personal item, without compromising performance in any way.
Overall (5) ★★★★★
Everything about the Cotopaxi Allpa 42L travel pack screams high quality. The bag is made from incredibly durable—yet lightweight—materials and its YKK zippers are rugged and built to last. The thoughtfulness that went into this pack shows through, with little details like a shortcut zipper to the main compartment and an included rain cover helping to make the Allpa stand out from the competition.
If there is one knock on the bag it is probably its weight. Cotopaxi says that it tips the scales at 4 lbs., 3oz., although it doesn’t feel like it when you’re carrying it. Still, if you truly are a minimalist traveler who counts every ounce, there are ultralight backpacks available that will save you some weight. In doing so, you’re likely to sacrifice convenience, versatility, and possibly durability, which are things that we value as regular travelers.
Priced at $220, the Allpa 42L is no small investment. Then again, when you compare it to other high-quality luggage and travel bags on the market, it is competitively priced. Having traveled with this pack on a number of occasions, we can confidently say that it is worth every penny. It is so good, that it will be the only piece of luggage that you’ll want to travel with moving forward. And because it is so well built, it will be a constant companion on many adventures for years to come.
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