If you’re anything like me, a good backpack is a travel essential. When I can, I try to pack in a backpack only. But even when I have to bring more, I almost always bring a backpack too.
That said, I’ve traveled enough to know what I need in a backpack. There are three main things I look for in a good travel backpack: durability, organization and comfort. Sometimes it can cost a pretty penny to check all three of these off the list, but for only $46, I had to give the viral Amazon backpack from Coowoz a try.
This backpack has made its way to an Amazon bestseller largely thanks to TikTok users who have dubbed this as “the best backpack.”
I recently put the backpack to the test, and here’s a full look at what I liked, what I didn’t and how it compares to other bags on the market.
This is a viral backpack that stood up to expectations in our testing. It's got a seemingly infinite number of pockets and storage compartments, sufficient padding and comfort and comes at a price point less than $50. This is a backpack that's suitable for travel or everyday use.
What we liked about it
It’s a great size for many uses
Overall, the Coowoz is a great backpack, especially considering the price. Whether you’re flying a low-cost carrier or you simply need a new personal item, this bag is the perfect under-the-seat bag. It measures 12.6 inches by 16.53 inches by 7.87 inches, and most carriers require personal items to be under 14 inches by 18 inches by 8 inches.
Even when packed, I found the backpack to be a great size for carrying around on a full day of traversing airport terminals or exploring a new city.
When it’s empty, the backpack weighs in at 2.2 pounds, and when I fully packed it with clothes and other essentials on a recent trip, it reached 19 pounds. What’s remarkable is how much the small bag was able to accommodate: four days’ worth of clothes, toiletries, a book, two laptops and a water bottle, among other, smaller items.
If you’re going on a quick weekend getaway, this backpack can take the role of a weekender bag, thanks to how much you can fit. Even if you’re using it in conjunction with a larger bag — whether it’s a weekender, carry-on bag or checked bag — it can fit enough to make sure all of your favorite travel gear is close by during your travels.
There are plenty of organizational compartments
Size aside, this backpack also comes with a ton of handy organizational compartments and features. Truly, there are so many it can be difficult to keep track of them all.
Here’s what you can expect:
- 1 large compartment that features a zippable tablet pocket, a mesh pocket and 2 additional storage sleeves
- 1 USB charging port
- 1 padded laptop sleeve
- 1 waterproof compartment
- 1 shoe compartment
- 1 theft-proof zipper compartment
- 2 smaller front pockets
- 1 expandable water bottle sleeve
In short, there are a lot of pockets, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies for storing smaller items, which feature zipper enclosures to ensure your belongings stay secure. Among the most useful is the anti-theft zipper pouch that’s located on the back of the backpack, making it impossible for thieves to access while you’re wearing the pack — perfect for storing items like your passport and wallet. You’ll want to dedicate some time when this bag first arrives to become familiar with all of its zippers, pockets and organizational features.
I found the amount of space to be particularly impressive. For the laptop sleeve, Coowoz says you can easily fit a 15-inch laptop. In our testing, I was able to fit both a 15-inch and a 13-inch laptop — and still had room for more. Plus, I felt there was sufficient padding in the laptop sleeve for my device. I also didn’t have the issue of my laptop clunking to the ground like I did with the Béis backpack, thanks to sufficient padding.
The separation and organization the backpack offered is what helps to set it apart. Previous backpacks I’ve had feature the laptop sleeve inside the large compartment, which I personally find annoying — especially when your bag is packed to the brim and you still need to pull your laptop in and out. On this backpack, your gear has its own space. And speaking of tech gear, there’s a built-in USB charging port on the side of the bag so you can keep your devices charged up even while you’re on the go — though you’ll need your own portable charger.
It’s got a game-changing packing style
My favorite feature of the backpack is its clamshell-style packing system. In other words, the large main compartment unzips like a suitcase for easier packing and more organized travel days — no more digging around trying to find things at the bottom of your bag. This has become a must-have feature for me, and trust me, it’s a game changer.
Depending on what kind of packer you are, you can easily fit a long weekend’s worth of spring or summer clothes — I was able to fit enough for a four-day trip. Better yet, with this clamshell-style packing system, you’re able to utilize packing cubes, allowing you to keep your clothes more organized.
Additionally, the exterior compression straps allow you to pack down your backpack so it’ll fit under most airplane seats. Once you’re done packing, pull the clips tight to compress the main compartment down.
As for durability, the Amazon backpack held up pretty well in our testing. Coowoz says the backpack is made of a waterproof and durable polyester material, and when I poured some water on the backpack, I found that the material was completely water-resistant and my belongings stayed dry inside. It’s a great option if you’re touring around a new city and a rain shower makes an appearance.
It’s also worth calling out that there’s a dedicated waterproof sleeve in the backpack, which is a great spot for storing wet bathing suits, toiletries or even snacks you don’t want potentially getting on your other things.
To see how the external material held up, I scraped some scissors across it and there were some faint marks left. However, I also traveled with the backpack, and it didn’t show any visible wear and tear, so its durability was able to largely hold up in our testing.
It’s extremely comfortable
When it comes to comfort, I found the Amazon backpack to be very ergonomic. Both the back and straps are sufficiently padded, and you can easily adjust the strap length to your preference. Even when fully packed, I found that this backpack sat nicely and the weight was evenly distributed and didn’t hurt my shoulders or back.
While there is no waist belt to distribute the backpack’s weight, there is a chest belt that helps to make carrying heavier loads easier on your frame.
We loved that not only was the backpack built with a traveler’s many storage needs in mind, but the company didn’t sacrifice on comfort to get there either. Ultimately, it’s this combination that makes the Coowoz largely a winner.
What we didn’t like about it
The water bottle sleeves could be bigger
For only $46, there’s not much to dislike about the Coowoz Large Travel Backpack. If I had to be really picky, I wish the water bottle sleeve expanded a bit more.
While Coowoz says it’s an expandable water sleeve, I found that the side pocket didn’t offer enough expansion. I was able to easily slide in my 18-ounce Yeti Rambler; however, my 32-ounce Wide-Mouth Hydro Flask didn’t quite make the cut.
Some small design flaws
I found the compression straps and buckles to be a bit annoying for everyday use; however, I can see how they’d come in handy when using the bag to travel. Additionally, the built-in trolley sleeve was super tight when the backpack was packed, making it hard to slide on top of my suitcase. That said, it was still able to function perfectly fine.
Lastly, I found the built-in shoe compartment to take up more of the main compartment space than I’d like. While it’s great to have, if you fill the compartment with bulkier shoes like sneakers or boots, it’ll take up a decent amount of space in the bag that you then can’t use for clothes. However, if you’re just throwing in some flip-flops, it’s not too bad.
How it compares
2, plus option to customize
12.6 inches x 16.53 inches x 7.87 inches
13 inches x 19 inches x 5.5 inches
19 inches x 12 inches x 9 inches
4 main compartments: 1 large compartment, 1 laptop sleeve, 1 waterproof sleeve, 1 anti-theft hidden pocket, 1 shoe compartment, 1 expandable water bottle sleeve
3 main compartments: 1 large compartment, 1 laptop sleeve, 1 front pocket, 2 water bottle sleeves
5 main compartments: 1 large compartment, 1 laptop sleeve, 1 medium compartment, 1 mesh storage sleeve, 1 large front pocket
If you’re looking for a new carry-on-size backpack, the viral Amazon backpack from Coowoz definitely lives up to the hype. This backpack is great for those who like to keep things organized and separated while also still having easy access to anything and everything you may need while traveling.
For only $46, it’s hard to pass up this backpack. Not only can it be used for travel — from the airport to exploring a new destination — but it can also be used as an everyday backpack for commuting to the office or around town. While there are some small flaws, it’s the versatility and functionality that make this bag such a winner, especially at a price point that won’t break the bank.
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