I’m notorious for overpacking. Like a boy scout, I like to be prepared for every possible scenario…and some not-so-possible ones on top of that. I usually travel with quite a bit of camera gear, which makes packing light pretty tough. I use the ThinkTank Streetwalker V2 camera backpack for my camera gear, which is kind of big, but carries EVERYTHING. It also fits under plane seats and into overhead compartments.
For my regular luggage I usually use a small roller bag or I just give up on my dreams and check a big suitcase. It’s a total pain, but I’m a complete mess when it comes to packing. So now, instead of paying to check a bag or take more than I need, I have a simple travel goal: one bag for clothes, one bag for cameras, both able to be carry ons and carry-able.
A bit of research lead me to the Pakt One, designed in collaboration with Malcom Fontier and The Minimalists.
I want to make it clear that this isn’t a sponsored post in any way. I spent a long time searching for a solution to my travel issues, and I found what I think might possibly be the perfect bag– or at least the perfect bag for me.
At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but that’s its secret power. The website claims that the bag “combines the portability of a duffel with the packability and organization of a suitcase.” So we’ll see…
The Pakt One is an unassuming duffel that is super well built and insanely well thought out. It not only carries everything you need, it keeps things organized and efficient. There are top zippers for each of the two compartments, and a middle zipper opens the bag in two, where each compartment has a separate zippable enclosure. All the zippers are YKK, which are pretty much thought of as the best. They don’t jam, last forever, and just work.
The bag measures 20" long, 10”wide, and 11" high with an empty weight of 3.25 lbs and a 35L capacity. Basically, it’s big enough to carry 4 days to a week’s worth of clothing pretty easily. And if you’re only going away for a night or two, there’s more room than you’ll ever need. For me, this means it might even be possible to put clothing in one compartment, and a bit of camera gear in the other, meaning I’ll be able to travel with only…ONE BAG! What.
On top of that, I’ve started using packing cubes, which can really help to make everything more efficient. Even a large coat can be jammed– I mean, neatly placed inside a cube to take up less space.
Each section has mesh side pockets and a separate internal zipped compartment. The divider of one section is mesh, while the other is a padded sleeve to protect a laptop. This keeps things organized, while also putting your computer in the safest location in the bag. My 13” MacBook fits with plenty of room to spare, and the sleeve is supposed to accommodate some computers up to 15”.
On the exterior, there are two zipped compartments on one side– one blank, and one with mini organizers. On the other side there is a magnetically closed pocket and another small zipped compartment.
The outer material is durable, high quality, and easy to clean. Even with a corgi and golden retriever who shed their body weight in hair each day, it’s easy to just wipe the bag clean and move on.
The Pakt One even has a “TSA Pocket” to help with items during airport security checks, and it works pretty well at helping you stay organized. The video on their website shows a guy breezing through security with all of his stuff safely stowed in the TSA Pocket, but in reality, you still need to stop and put on your shoes/belt/dignity before heading off to your gate or overpriced airport lunch. But for someone as easily distracted as me, this is a nice feature to make sure I keep track of smaller items and important travel documents.
From big details like quality materials and plenty of space, to finer points like multiple accessory loops and an included laundry bag, it’s easy to see that the Pakt One was designed by people who actually use it.
I only have two really criticisms of the Pakt One, and they might not even be the most fair.
First, it’s a duffel bag. That’s not a problem, since I was specifically searching for a duffel bag, but once it’s fully loaded, it gets pretty heavy, and while the shoulder strap is strong, it’s not the most comfortable. I don’t know if this is a fair criticism since adding wheels would ruin the bag’s portability factor, but it’s worth noting. I’ve seen other people ask for a backpack option, but I’m not interested in that since I usually travel with a camera backpack already. And I might be cool, but I’m definitely not two backpacks cool.
My second critique has to do with the colors. The bag is currently available in three options: black, grey, and blue– each with a slightly different interior. These aren’t the most exciting color choices, but they’re nice and look very classy. I normally don’t go for a solid black bag, and I would love it if there were some kind of color accent, but event though the 3 options are priced the same, the black bag is the only one that’s weather sealed. It has slightly different materials and zippers, making it more able to stand up to rain and bad weather.
I will say, it rained really hard on all 4 days of the first trip I took with this bag, and the weather sealing worked great. So I’d definitely recommend the black version, even if it’s not the most fashion forward. It’s still got a great, classic style.
The Pakt One fits easily under plane seats (and I’m a cheap flyer, so I always fly “economy class” -which is just a nice way of saying Human Cargo- but I’m still able to use the Pakt One as a carry-on with no issues). It’s easy to throw in a car, manuever through a crowd, and store at home when you’re not using it.
It’s also worth mentioning that the bag is vegan and cruelty-free, and even ships in 100% recyclable packaging, with no foam or plastics.
At $325 the price seemed steep, but for a bag that can easily last the foreseeable future, it was worth it. Most importantly, the Pakt One has helped me to enjoy the process of traveling, rather than dreading the frustrations of packing, and that by itself is reason enough for me to make a video telling you about it.
The Pakt One:
Packing Cubes (affiliate link):
ThinkTank Camera Bag (affiliate link):