As my girlfriend walks in on me packing for our upcoming trip to Norway, she says six words that I never dreamed anyone would say in my general direction: “You look like a Navy SEAL.” I’m confused. Is she referring to my freshly trimmed crew cut, bulging biceps, or my steely-glinted 1000-yard stare? I want to assume that it’s all three, but as I toss my hair out of my eyes and catch sight of my thin arms and perplexed face in the mirror, I can only guess that she’s referring to my new luggage, the black Eastpak Tranverz CNNCT L. Oh well, I’ll take compliments where I can get them. Now stand up straight and salute my new favourite piece of kit…
Ever since I was in boot camp, sorry, high school, I’ve loved the Eastpak brand. My brother’s hand-me-down Eastpak backpack has made good on its “guaranteed for life” tagline by lasting nearly 20 years on my shoulders. It shows no real signs of wear and tear, where as some of its peer brands would have fallen apart at the seams, especially the way that I used to throw it around the assault course (common room).
So when it was time for a new suitcase, I didn’t want one that would need replacing after one too many Ryanair flights – I travel every month for work and have witnessed the level of care that baggage handlers put into placing bags in the aircraft (read: less than zero). Our Norway trip is a working holiday, so I also need a place for all of my tech; when I heard that Eastpak were releasing an update to their Tranverz CNNCT L that had an additional front compartment for laptops, iPads, chargers, etc. my mind was made up.
The bag itself is as sleekly designed as its predecessor, all sheer sides and simple, compact compartments; there’s no frou frou here and it’s clearly geared towards the no-fuss traveller who wants to pack and unpack with minimal hassle.
It unzips into two halves, with one side sporting elastic garment straps to keep your clothes snug and your uniform military crisp; there’s a cute ‘inner stash pocket’ where you can keep important documents that you don’t want to be accessible from outside of the bag. Once you’ve unpacked, the bag folds down to just a few inches depth so you can store it under most beds or on the side of a small wardrobe.
What’s unique about the Tranverz CNNCT is the front pocket that unzips to reveal an organiser for documents, pens, small gadgets as well as a key holder that you can attach any set of keys too in order to avoid the inevitable fumbling through your clothes at your front door when you return home.
But what we’re really interested in is where we can store our laptop and iPad for easy access, so the interminable waiting at the airport terminal can flow by quickly with a dose of Netflix. The ‘gadget pocket’ is big enough to fit a decent-sized laptop in and then an iPad in the front (to be honest, you could probably get a couple of each in at a push) and it has hooped zips that you can secure with a padlock to deter any pickpockets. This is a real boon for anyone who wants/needs their tech accessible on-the-go as you can get to it in a matter of seconds yet have it stored away for easy travel in the same amount of time.
The material is 100% vegan polyester and feels particularly durable, even for an Eastpak bag; it’s water resistant and the TSA lock means that airport security can open your bag to check it without having to create any damage. Hypalon corners offer an added element of protection for when you’re wheeling it over unsteady surface and its adorned with several carry handles that make lifting it into a taxi, Jeep or fighter jet a breeze. Trolley wheels and a retractable handle mean that you can whizz through the airport at a decent clip. The compression straps are particularly useful, whether you’re parachuting into a conflict zone or want to make sure your bag fits into your hotel transfer bus.
With free delivery and a 30-year guarantee, there really is no better choice for a tech-heavy frequent traveller…especially one that wants to look like A FRICKIN’ NAVY SEAL!!!*
* Crew cut, big biceps and battle-worn stare are not included.
For more information, check out Eastpak.
Large – £180
Medium – £160
Small – £140
HEIGHT: 79 cm
WIDTH: 40 cm
DEPTH: 35 cm
VOLUME: 121 Litre
WEIGHT: 4120 g
WARRANTY: 30 years