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Leader of The Pack

News & reviews covering the world of backpacks, everyday carry, on–the–go tech, and travel written and curated by Keir Whitaker, a UK based carry–on obsessed frequent flyer.

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Riut Zipped Cable Bags

Last year I purchased these two cable bags from Riut and have been happily using them ever since.

Riut Zipped Pockets

Riut Zipped Pockets

I’ve tried quite a few tech accessory packs over the last few years and have found most of them to be particularly bulky when carried in a day pack. The benefits of straps, multiple pockets, cable pass throughs are, to me, outweighed by the space they take up.

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Tortuga Setout Packable Daypack

I’ve admired Tortuga for a long time. Last year I decided to buy their Setout Packable Daypack after my good friend Marc’s recommendation.

The Tortuga Setout Packable Daypack

The Tortuga Setout Packable Daypack

I’m a huge advocate of bag–in–bag travel and have many pack flat totes that I can throw in my carry–on at a moments notice but this was the first packable backpack in my collection. I’ve not been disappointed, especially as this retails for only $39 USD.

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The Arcido Akra & Vaga

Back in March 2018, the “Akra & Vaga Carry-on Luggage System” by Arcido was funded by 321 backers on Kickstarter to the tune of £49,252. I mentioned these two packs on my personal site at the time and had every intention of reviewing them here when LOTP launched but for some reason, they slipped through the editorial net — so let’s dig in.

These two packs tick almost all of my carry-on boxes, if only they were available in black. That said, that’s a personal preference and not one I can hold against this well made and feature-laden pair.

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Stojo a Go–Go

Look around my co-working space and you’ll notice that the reusable cup movement is strong. Popular among many, including myself is the Stojo collapsible cup.

The Stojo Collapsible Travel Cup

The Stojo Collapsible Travel Cup

Designed by coffee lovers, the Stojo is a convenient alternative to more rigid travel mugs and of course, better for the environment than disposable cups.

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The Sidekick Notebook

The Sidekick Notebook in Light Grey

The Sidekick Notebook in Light Grey

Every good backpack deserves a great notebook, right? The Sidekick is a 160 page lovingly crafted hardcover notebook purposefully designed to fit around your keyboard poised for to be on hand for your next big idea (or to-do!). You can grab your own for $24 USD + shipping.

The Freitag F733 Zippelin

An 85-litre inflatable travel bag made from used truck tarpaulins, bicycle inner tubes, and used car seat belts for £690.00 you say? Well, why not! This beautiful beast from the folks at Freitag certainly won’t fit in an overhead bin but I’ll make an exception just this once for this genius bag (although bag really doesn’t do it justice). Top marks for a great pun too!

If you haven’t already checked out the Freitag site you could do a lot worse than spend a few minutes with their City Guides.

The Wandrd Veer 18

Funded in one hour on Kickstarter this packable backpack by WANDRD comes with an inflatable back panel and an inflatable camera cube.

I’m really impressed by the number of features on the Veer including multiple ways to access the bag, expandable water bottle holder, organisation pockets, internal mesh organiser, theft deterrent buckle, key clip and plenty more.

At the time of writing, you can get yours for under $100 USD. Check out the WANDRD shop for more travel-related packs, pouches, and hats.

The Bagsmart Rücken Camera Backpack

If you are in the market for a sub $100 USD stylish camera backpack then the Rücken Camera Backpack by Bagsmart might just be for you.

Available in black and brown this pack is made from 210D water-repellent polyester and is designed for the camera lover who needs a carry to keep their kit safe in all weathers.

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2018 Review and Goals for 2019

Is it too late to wish you a Happy 2019? I hope not, so Happy New Year. It’s been way too quiet on the blog for the last few weeks but with good reason. At the end of last year, I decided to move on from my role at Shopify and have recently set up my own business.

Upcoming Bags for Review

Upcoming Bags for Review

With starting the new venture, the Christmas break and trying to ship my new work-related web site I’ve not had the time to get back to regular Leader of the Pack postings. Thankfully I’m close to getting most of the building blocks in place and will now be able to carve out more, much needed, time to write here.

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year when we look for inspiration for the ultimate thoughtful gift. Here are 20 carefully curated gift recommendations for that significant road warrior/traveller in your life.

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The WiWu Switch 4 in 1 Backpack

During one of my regular scans of Kickstarter for new backpack campaigns, I noticed the Switch by WiWu. It recently funded with 99 backers pledging $11,740 USD to help bring it to life. I’m a little surprised that this didn’t have more interest as this looks like a great value pack for well under $100.

If you like the look of the pack I’d recommend keeping an eye on the Kickstarter page for further details of how to purchase.

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The Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Peak Design may be familiar to many of you already. Perhaps you know them from Kickstarter where they have run many successful campaigns. In fact, they recently they completed their eighth which closed with almost 14,000 backers pledging over $5 million USD for their soon to be shipped Travel Line range.

I have my good friend and professional photographer Greg to thank for my own introduction. Some months ago he pitched up at a conference I was attending sporting the bag I am reviewing here.

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack Front and Back

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack Front and Back

Greg travels the world with his camera and couldn’t stop espousing the benefits of the Everyday Backpack. A few weeks later whilst in London, for work, Michael pitched up for breakfast carrying the same pack and waxed lyrical on his love for it too (you can read more from Michael below). There had to be something special about this bag!

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The Bellroy Campus Backpack

Bellroy products have featured a number of times on Leader of the Pack. I’ve been a long time admirer of their range and it’s been really interesting to chart their move from the items we put in bags to the bags themselves.

The Red Ochre version of the Bellroy Campus Backpack

The Red Ochre version of the Bellroy Campus Backpack

To date, Bellroy products have tended to be on the high end of the price spectrum so when I received an email touting their latest offerings as their “most affordable bags yet” I had to learn more.

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Aer Travel Wallet

I’m a big fan of having a wallet just for travel. I’ve been using the Bellroy Travel Wallet for a few years now and would highly recommend it. It’s not the cheapest but well worth the investment — mine looks as good as the day I bought it.

The Aer Travel Wallet

The Aer Travel Wallet

If you are looking for an equally useful, but more affordable, model then the new Aer Travel Wallet looks like a great shout. Featuring a dedicated passport pocket, four quick-access card holders, dividers for currency and boarding passes and an RFID-safe lining that provides enhanced security.

Currently available in black for a mere $55 USD from the Aer web site.

Hemiplanet Transit Line

Heimplanet is a really interesting company. Launched in 2011 their first product was am an inflatable tent. Since then they have gone on to produce a range of outdoor related items and an extensive luggage and accessory series.

The Heimplanet Transit Line Travel Pack

The Heimplanet Transit Line Travel Pack

Their Transit Line ticks all my boxes. It’s clean design, minimal branding, and grey colour make it look great and from first glance, this is up there as a contender for your hard earned dollars, or euros, with the likes of the Minaal, Peak Design, Nomatic, and Tortuga.

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A full list of articles is available in the archive. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed for updates.

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