Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack Review

Standard Luggage Co. Carry-On Backpack Review: Versatile Function Meets Simple Style

Late this fall, after a long summer of road-tripping (read: ‘living out of various bags and containers in my car’), I was eager to regain my organization (and sanity) in a single bag. I wasn’t unhappy with my current carry-on bag, but it was lacking a bit in the style category, and I was open to trying something new. So, when offered the opportunity to review this 3-in-1 travel bag, I accepted. 

First impressions

It wasn’t just the ‘newness’ of the bag that intrigued me. When I looked it up online, I immediately admired two key things.

  • its simplicity in style
  • its versatility

The bag is also designed to fit perfectly within airlines’ carry-on size and dimension limits, so this was a HUGE plus for me as a carry-on only traveler. Its simple black design with splashes of color sure beat the neon piping on my current carry-on bag, and having 3 carrying options sounded pretty awesome, too.

When I received my Carry-on Backpack in the mail, I immediately changed my accent colors from orange to blue. (Black + orange = Halloween, right?) And then I spent the next two months traveling with it — in the car, on a plane, and yes, even on a train.

Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack Review

Here are my thoughts after 60 days of living out of the Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack:

Not all backpacks are created equal.

And the most notable difference in the Standard: organization is easier. Instead of the top-zipper access of a traditional backpack, Standard’s bag features a ‘clam-shell opening,’ allowing you to find the best fit for your contents with full access to the interior of your bag (no unpacking and repacking required).

Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack Review

Standard’s backpack works nicely with my favorite packing cube set.

A designated laptop pocket plus interior and exterior zippered compartments round out the organizational features of this bag.

Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack Review

The designated laptop pocket has plenty of room for my 13″ laptop and my padded case.

Versatile carry options

The Standard features three carrying options to suit your specific travel needs:

  • backpack
  • messenger bag
  • duffel bag

Concealable backpack straps and a detachable shoulder strap create the possibility of two very different carrying options.

For me (a frequent neck/shoulder pain sufferer) there are only two styles of travel bags I’ll carry: backpack or wheeled. Since the Standard has no rollers, I opt for the backpack carry option. Which brings me to my next point…

Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack Review

Surprisingly comfortable straps

I’m usually disappointed in the quality of tuck-away backpack straps, but in this case, I was pleasantly surprised. The Standard’s straps are nicely padded — comfortable even on my collarbone (which juts out more than average, directly rubbing against any strap I’ve got over my shoulder). With comfy straps like these, this bag is clearly meant to be carried as a backpack.

Size transitions easily from reasonable to overboard

Don’t get me wrong: sometimes you NEED overboard. This feature is great… for over-packers. (Which is fine because I’m pretty sure the average traveler fits into that category.) For me, the expanding front is a nice feature that I’ll rarely use (or at least I’d like to think so). Note that when the backpack’s in expansion mode, it’s no longer ‘carry-on friendly.’ (Plus, I’m 5’4, and this bag looks a tad ridiculous on me at its expanded size.)

But if you’re not traveling by plane or are checking your luggage, this extra space would be handy for souvenirs!

Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack Review

There’s ample room for what I need to fit into this bag, without expanding. I also prefer simplicity, so I’ve removed the leather zipper pulls entirely.

Downside: My only gripe about this bag is that it’s a tad floppy — making it somewhat difficult to pack. The sides don’t stay up when the top is open for packing. But, as long as you’re not over-stuffing, this is easily overcome by packing more structured items (like packing cubes) against the bag’s edges. Standard offers their own packing cubes made to fit perfectly in this bag (we haven’t tested those).

Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack Review

Where to buy

You can purchase the Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack on their official website at standardluggage.com. At $175, this bag sounds pricey, though is relatively low-priced in the startup travel gear category. Plus, it’s backed by Standard’s lifetime warranty and satisfaction guarantee.

Read more about the design and features of the Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack at standardluggage.com.

Note: A complimentary Carry-on Backpack was provided by Standard Luggage Co. for the purpose of completing this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Author Profile

Diana SouthernSTG Founder & Contributing Editor

Diana is an outspoken, DIY-ing, star-chasing, hockey-loving, dog-owning, veggie-eating professional wanderer. And that’s not the half of it. Not long ago she jumped ship from a comfy, predictable American life, sold all her stuff, and set out to explore the unknown. Now a full-time traveler, Diana believes that spontaneity, a smile, and an organized suitcase are the three key elements to a happy nomadic existence. Follow her personal travels on North To South.