Published on June 6th, 2013 | by Greg
Hoist And Haul: The Eagle Creek Flip Switch Roller/Backpack
If you’re a regular traveler, you may think that you’ve seen it all. Bags with built-in chairs? Check. Luggage with internal chambers for removing the air and a laundry chute? Absolutely. We’ve seen heavy-duty bags for hiking and super-lightweight rollers made from advanced materials, and we’re going to post soon on a bag that heats up to kill bedbugs. But we’ve only seen a couple of options that combine backpacks with roller wheels.
That’s one of the nifty parts of the new Eagle Creek Flip Switch Wheeled Backpack 28. Also available in a smaller 22-inch size, the one we’ve been testing is large enough for some serious trips- we were able to fit about a week worth of clothing and essentials, along with an iPad and all of the necessary gadgets and chargers and toiletries. Technically, it can hold 5100 cubic inches or 83 L of your gear. And it only weighs about eight and a half pounds including the straps and such- they are removable if you want to reduce the load, but it’s actually pretty svelte for a large backpack, much less one with a solid handle and excellent wheels.
For us, a good part of our haul is around airports and terminals where wheeled bags come in handy. But there are many times when backpack straps are essential- when we find ourselves off-trail, or in a country where stairs are the default and escalators and elevators are hard to come by. Even in New York City, many of the older walk-ups are a complete hassle with wheeled bags, but are so much easier when you can just strap the bag to your back and carefully walk up the several flights to your apartment. As you might expect for a bag this size, there’s a built-in sternum strap for stability and balance, and a hip belt as well.
We wouldn’t use it primarily as a backpack- it’s a little heavy and a little bulky if that is your main use. As a roller bag, it’s also a bit of a compromise, but performs strongly against similar outdoors-style, rugged bags. The Flip Switch has some nice bumpers around the wheels, which are sizable and were durable in our tests. They’re less friendly than omni-directional spinners though, and the handle is a bit less ergonomic than some we’ve seen.
The colors and fabrics are sharp, and zippers well-made. If you don’t mind looking a little ungainly, and need a bag that can both roll and convert easily into a backpack, then the Eagle Creek Flip Switch is an excellent choice. No one will call it sexy, but it manages to make travel seem a bit more fun. There’s even an included whistle! The Eagle Creek Flip Switch 28 is available now, online and in stores, in three colors- yellow, black, or blue. We’ve seen it priced at around $230.