Luggage Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Luggage

How Backpack Liters Are Calculated

Backpacks comes in all shapes and sizes measured by length, width, and height. Seems simple enough. To get volume, just multiply those three sides up, right? Well, it turns out a very common backpack measurement, liters, is one that varies based on who’s calculating. You might see two backpacks that are listed as 34 liters but when you get those bags in hand, they might not have the same carrying capacity. There are a few reasons for this, related to more common units of measurement.

You can learn more about how backpack liters are calculated in the video above or read on.

Basic Volume

We know that length multiplied by width and height equals volume. But that’s volume of a cube and most backpacks aren’t completely square. They’ve got rounded corners, so height might be to the top of the bag without accounting for space lost to curved edges. (Length width and height measurements are made by the way when the bag is completely full, potentially stuffed, to give the best numbers.)

osprey daylite day pack

Some backpack manufacturers might try to get away with this to boost their capacity numbers but another, more hands on approach is often used.

Fill The Bag With Balls

To determine the capacity of a backpack small pellets are used to fill every last nook and cranny to determine volume. Fill up the bag, then measure how many liters of pellets you can fit. Always keep that in mind when reviewing backpack specs. The entire usable space isn’t likely to be used unless you’re traveling with a backpack full of sand. Otherwise the carrying capacity is an upper limit, not an average, and it’s measured under ideal conditions.

Exactly how this is done isn’t standardized – although a lot of people use the word standard when talking about backpack liters – there’s no governing body or backpack liters organization issuing a set of specific guidelines that everyone follows. Backpack companies use all sorts of methods to measure their bags.

Literal Variation

A lot of companies only measure pockets and compartments that can be closed with a zipper while others include side compartments, water bottle holders, and other open pockets in their liter measurements. This is a pretty grey area because it is technically storage space and companies are trying to get a capacity measurement as high as they reasonably can.

backpack review foxnomad

The reason it’s a grey area isn’t because this is a shady practice, it’s because not every company is measuring things the same way, which can make things confusing for you, the consumer. Some companies have even gone away from using liter measurements for this very reason.

Understanding Liters

The best way to think about backpack liters is in generalities. They’re ball park figures, basically to give you an idea of what a backpack can carry which of course depends on the configuration of the backpack and what you’ll be packing – clothes are easier to stuff in a bag than camera gear – so my advice to you is to think of backpack liters ranges like this:

These though are just general guidelines. You know now that liters can vary – a 25 liter backpack by one brand doesn’t’ necessarily have the same capacity as a 25 liter bag from another brand. Fortunately though most companies give you enough of a return window where you can try out a bag, pack it up, and do your own, customized capacity test. A fitting process you should go through so you can pick the right backpack for you.

Osprey Daylite Daypack Review: Updated For The Better

Let’s keep this simple. The last Osprey Daylite was a good daypack for hiking or just touristing your way around a city. Big enough for a day’s worth of clothes, light electronic gear, or some combo of the two it didn’t have many noticeable downsides. Now, Osprey have taken that bag and made it better in all the ways that matter with an updated Daylite.

Even Stronger

The Daylite’s materials have been enhanced through cross-stitching and certified recycled recycled polyester. This is a tough bag, even though it’s unassuming at 43 x 26 x 20 centimeters and weighs only 493 grams. You can collapse the Daylite nearly entirely flat or pack it up with 13 liters of stuff.

The shoulder straps have been improved as well. They’re now lighter but with more support – somehow Osprey knew you’d have a tendency to over-pack and compensates for that extra weight. Additionally Osprey removed the lining (coming apart in my older Daylite) for a more durable design.

Easy Choice

Overall, if you’re coming from a previous version of the Daylite but are happy with what you have, this isn’t a must-have upgrade. But if you are thinking your current Daylite (or other daypack) is getting a bit rough around the edges, this is an updated you won’t be disappointed by.

You can watch my full review of the Osprey Daylite in the video above.

Swissdigital Made A Backpack With 4 Massage Motors And It’s Ridiculous

Well, this isn’t a turn in backpack technology any of us were expecting but Swissdigital have debuted a backpack. With massage motors. To massage you while you’re wearing it. Of course it sounds ridiculous and of course it is, but with a few modifications, the Swissdigital Cosmo 3.0 might not be as crazy as you think.

You can watch my full video review here or read on.

Starting With A Backpack

First though, it’s worth considering the Cosmo 3.0 as a backpack. Massaging motors aside, it’s a medium sized bag (28 x 13 x 41 centimeters) weighing 1.37 kilograms. Swissdigital don’t provide any specs in liters but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s around 26 liters. Split into two compartments, the Cosmo 3.0 has a large turtle shell with a smaller pocket for more vertical gear like a laptop.

The turtle shell opens up flat 180 degrees, great for organization and easy access while packing. Overall the Cosmo 3.0 is a respectable backpack designed better for weekend trips rather than as a daily carry due to its bulk.

Let’s Talk Motors

But the most interesting feature of the Cosmo are the 4 massage motors. Two are built into the shoulder straps while on the lower back two other motors add to the mobile massage. You power those massage motors with a portable charge bank (not included) activating 4 massage modes with a little button on the right hip belt.

swissdigital cosmo 3.0

There’s the shoulder massage, the lower back massage, the combo, and a high intensity mode where all the motors are on at full blast. And it’s a pretty relaxing massage until you notice the noise.

Integration Situation

Loudly humming backpacks don’t make for discrete airport lounging. Having motors in the shoulder straps mean they can’t bend too well so when the massage isn’t running, they’re not the most comfortable. Plus you have to bring your own power and possible explanation to airport security who might be wondering why your backpack is motorized.

In all, the Cosmo 3.0 feels like a prototype. A concept you didn’t know you wanted and once they iron our the design a bit, could be one you look for in your next bag. For now though, unless you really want a massaging backpack, it’s better to wait to see what the next version brings.

Airtags vs. Tile: What’s The Better Bluetooth Tracker?

Tracking your lost luggage for finding house keys you’ve misplaced is made a lot easier with Bluetooth trackers. These small, electronic homing beacons let you locate items in your home or far-flung locations through their smartphone apps. Until recently, Tile was the biggest Bluetooth tracking network. Now that Apple has joined the market with Airtags, which one is better and for who?

Comparing Trackers

At their core, both Tile and Airtags work to accomplish the same goal: help you find lost things. They also work in similar ways, via Bluetooth and by leveraging their user networks. Right now, in both regards Apple has an advantage.

Let’s look at the two problems trackers attempt to solve. The first is finding things that go missing locally, like around your house. These aren’t so much lost items but more misplaced ones. Chances are they’re going to be in one of a few usual places or at least within the walls of your home. Both Tile and Airtags have chimes you initiate through their respective apps and using those beeping tones, lead you to the tracker.

apple airtags

Airtags though use ultra-wideband (UWB) technology which is more precise in close range. Tile is rumored to be working on a UWB version of its trackers this year but for now, you’ll have to rely on the chimes. In other words, Tile can tell you lost keys are in your house but not show you where exactly.

Stitched Through Networks

Now when things gets really lost, like blocks or across a city (or further) the Bluetooth signal on your phone (about 10 meters of range) isn’t going to do you much good. In these cases, what Tile and Apple do is leverage everyone else’s Bluetooth connection to geo-locate a tracker marked as missing.

With Tile, you have to be using their app. With Apple, if you’ve got an iPhone, you’re already part of their network. In both cases as you walk by (within Bluetooth range) a tracker marked as missing, your phone sends back an anonymous, encrypted location of that tracker back to Tile or Apple. The person walking by has no idea this happened but you will get to see a location of the missing tracker on a map.

What Recovery Is Like

Once you’ve got a location you can retrieve the tracker (and lost items it’s hopefully still connected to). Getting that location in the first place though as you may have guessed, comes down to the size of the network. Tile says they’ve got 26 million users (potential people running their app who might happen to walk near a lost tracker).

Worldwide however, there are a billion iPhone users, according to Apple. A network of users 42 times the size of Tile is a major advantage, as is the use of UWB. Tile for their part does make trackers in different shapes (some flatter, better for wallets) but otherwise lose out to Apple’s massive user-base advantage for most people.

Two Great Portable Tripods For Travel Under $100

A good tripod for travel needs to be light but strong while at the same time being collapsible into a small size. Full-size tripods come in all shapes, sizes, and vary widely by price but two tripods under $100 offer a lot for travelers. The Manfrotto Advanced Compact Aluminum and Neewer Carbon Fiber 66-inch have their strengths for both video and photographers hitting the road.

Photography Choice: Manfrotto

The Manfrotto has a light aluminum body with arms divided into 3 sections that are secured with a latch system. The head is a pan and tilt, good especially at set angles, but not as versatile for primarily video shooters. The Advanced Compact Aluminum is a straightforward tripod that weighs 1.42 kilograms (3.13 pounds) and has a maximum height of 165 centimeters (5.4 feet).

The drawback to the use of aluminum legs is that they can’t support a lot of weight when compared to other materials like carbon fiber. A carrying capacity of 3kg (6.6 lbs) might not be a problem depending on your particular gear and if you’re photo first, the Manfrotto Advanced Compact Aluminum is a good choice to consider.

Video Choice: Neewer Carbon Fiber 66-Inch

Although it’s closer to the $100 price mark than the Manfrotto, the Neewer is a lot less expensive than most carbon fiber tripods on the market. The Neewer is light, weighing 1.54kg (3.4 lbs) but can carry an impressive 12kg (26.5 lbs). A ball head gives more flexibility with shooting angles which are easier to work when filming video, plus the Neewer can be setup completely horizontal. A further tribute to its flexible design is the monopod built into one of the legs.

The Neewer might have a few extra bells and whistles but if you’re looking for something simpler, more photography oriented, and at a slightly lower cost the Manfrotto might be better suited to your needs. Of course if you want to go ultra portable the Joby Gorillapod is a much more compact alternative.

The North Face Recon Holds Up After 3 Years Of Wear Without Tear

It’s been 3 years since I originally reviewed the unassuming The North Face Recon backpack. Those of you who follow my Road Tested! series know though the review doesn’t stop once the camera turns off and the article is posted. The North Face Recon is no different and having used this backpack for the past 36 months, it’s impressed me with its physical durability. The design though, still isn’t for everyone.

You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Hold Up Better Than Well

Typically on a backpack the parts that wear most the those that have contact with the wearer. Especially the straps around the shoulders and the lower part of the backpack since both tend to move most when you’re walking. Against all of that friction the Recon’s spongy mesh holds its bounce and hardly shows its age.

Threading remains threaded without any stray fibers dangling around like a dog’s tongue our a car window. Even the nylon exterior is only as dirty as you are lazy to simply wipe it off with your hand. Given that this backpack costs less than $100, from a durability perspective, you certainly get your money’s worth.

No Changes In Design

Physical durability is one aspect of a products longevity but so is the original design when compared to the newer additions to the backpack market. The North Face Recon still holds its own because it has such a study and straightforward design. On the bigger side of 22 liters, the big front bucket pocket is flexible. You can pack in clothes, books, or electronics or any combination of that or whatever else that fits.

the north face recon backpack review

A large casual open pocket on the front is good for an extra sweater to stuff in but the laptop compartment does eat from some of the usable space inside. The somewhat even design shows what that the Recon is a small backpack made for short day trips but is big enough for minimalist travelers too.

Getting The Best From The Recon

The North Face’s has made a tough turtle shell of a backpack that’s great for school, office, or hiking trips. You can see the Recon was an inadvertent part of the first wave of one bag travel backpacks but that category has passed it by now. Still, if you’re looking for a solid backpack that’s big enough for a weekend trip and solid enough to last years, The North Face Recon is great choice to consider.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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