How many bags did you go through to get to your "perfect" one bag travel bag?

I’ve gone through an absurd amount of bags trying to find “the one.”

Since this is a Minaal forum I’ll assume everyone is pretty happy with their bag but how long did you have to search before finding it and what bags did you try along the way?

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I must have spent months of doing research, but the bag legend Chase Reeves of YouTube has helped me immensely along the way. The bag I used before this was a Columbia 34L that was built for hiking and carrying a laptop. I chose this one because it was the best all around minimalist bag setup and went with it. I must have watched every video Chase Reeves released and additionally every full bag review on Minaal before finally pulling the trigger before my trip to Cairo.

I used to have a Patagonia 18L sling until the Minaal one came out. The only bag I still have is an osprey 15L bikers bag that is super durable that I use for climbing and hiking.

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None of the bags so far that I’ve bought/used have been good for solo backpack travel, so safe to say I haven’t found “the one” yet. Buuuuut I have been keeping my eye on Minaal/keeping up with the bags for years and finally decided to pull the trigger!

With all the extra time at home, I’ve gone down many rabbit holes looking for new bag(s)! Probably still not done yet…

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Took me a looong time. Took a lot of trial and error. A lot of it was me ordering bags and returning them. This gave me a chance to put my things in it and walk around with the bags to see if I should keep it and if it would be a good fit for me. I was a kickstarter fan and researched bags through there and by google searches until I also found Chase Reeves and he has been great at reviewing bags. His website is matterful.co if you wanna check him out.

I’ve looked at Arcido, Tom Bihn, Minaal, Cotopaxi, Peak Design, Evergoods and Aer but Minaal seemed to be minimal with their free advertisements on the bag itself, was a great tech compartment, size of the bag, carry on specs and simple in use compared to the others I looked at.

My family call me a gadget lover, and this is so true but I can’t help it and I don’t keep what I won’t use or that isn’t high quality.

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I watched Reviews for months before pulling the trigger. I was planning a 3 month trip around Europe and initially I was going to do check in bag. The more I looked into it the more I realised I wont need most of the stuff I had thought I would need.

I really liked the look of the bag plus the size was perfect for Carry on. I ended up buying eagle creek packing cubes but they ended up making my bag super heavy because i was able to pack more into them. The cubes are great for organisation just try not to stuff them too much or you end up with something super heavy to lug around. It also helps you control the amount of souvenirs you buy, no space for that!!!

I also preferred a bag without too many bells and whistles. like do we really need that many strips and compartments a lot of hiking bags come with? I have become someone who doesn’t pack much in my bag when I travel or even day to day, through my experience with doing carry on for 3 months.

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Three.

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I tried so many bags- Gregory, Osprey, Peak Design, etc. Minaal has all the features I needed while still being sleek enough for work and school. Plus I love that it does not scream “tourist” when travelling. Years later, I can also say that it is the most durable bag I own.

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Super interesting to hear people’s respective journeys - @victoria interested in yours too!

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Actually although my Minaal lasted the longest before being replaced, it’s not my one bag anymore. I used the Daily for over a year for that but it was a hair too small. The larger Minaal is just ridiculously too large.

Moved to a Peak Designs but that didn’t last a month. Spent almost a year with a Bihn and it was pretty good. But have moved to a Nomatics for the past year. It’s the right size, shape and interior (mostly - the mesh panel separator is either in the way or useless).

Looking forward to my new Minaal - once I cut out the extra tech pockets (I carry only a 13" laptop, no need for the tablet pocket).

No bag can match everyone’s use case so I’m just looking to where I can get close enough that I can modify it the rest of the way.

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To be honest I’m still looking —and it’s a been a long journey.
Minaal 2.0 was one of my first great experiences, but as I started doing YT videos where I need filmmaking stuff, the backpack went short.
So I changed to PK Everyday, with a smaller Trvlmore Jetpack.
And then moved to PK Travel Backpack with AER Go Pack.
Now I feel the PK is too heavy, and I’m missing Minaal features, so I’m still debating if getting / trying the Minaal 3.0. My problem would be where to put my camera gear (which currently is in a Brevite Jumper).
I’m might go two-bags just for the sake of taking care of my gear. The journey still continues!

Took me years to find the “perfect” travel bag. But then there is actually no “perfect” bag. We can come close. But there will always be something we either don’t like about our travel bag, or something we would like to see changed or improved, or added.
That being said, what I feel is perfect for me, might not be perfect for you. People’s opinions and requirements vary. And lots of companies make great bags.
I used all kinds of large backpacks for camping/hiking trips in the U.S. and Canada when I was younger.
When I retired and started traveling the world a bit, I started with the venerable classic MEI Voyageur. A simple but great convertible bag they’ve been making since the 1970’s or ‘80’s. I didn’t care for its floppiness, but a lot of people have loved the MEI Voyageur and still do. Something to be said about a travel bag that is still being produced forty years or more later. Same bag today, with some simple improvements over the years. The Voyageur did me well for four months in northern Thailand in 2013. But the airlines made me check it every time.
Then I went with the Tortuga… a good bag, but same problem.
Following that, I bought the Minaal Carry On 2.0. Smaller, and never had to check it flying to Cambodia and Thailand for two months a couple years ago. Just carry it on. No waiting at carousels or worrying it might not show up at my destination. And no baggage fees.
In my late 60’s now, carrying less and becoming more minimalist, I’ve now ordered the Minaal Daily 3.0. As long as I have my strength, no wheelie luggage for me. At my age, the Minaal Daily 3.0 might be the last travel bag I buy. It’s all I’m taking on my next long term trip. Smaller, lighter, less “stuff”. I go for months at a time, and maybe this time I’ll go for years. Minimalist, one bag, carry on. It’s the way to go. Flying off again by Spring 2021… might not return to Canada this time.

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I still haven’t found my perfect bag. I have been using backpacks for years, one of my favorites for work was the Izod Voyager. I use the daily bag now for my adventures. It’s funny because when I was in Grad school, my classmates kept saying that I need to get a briefcase. I don’t think I can get used to a briefcase… I’m a backpack guy till the end hahaha…

I’m curious and have a question for today’s professionals. Does it matter if one uses a backpack or briefcase?

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Spent a few years (and a few grand) testing, trying, and cutting down how much I pack for each consecutive trip. My favorite so far was Patagonia MLC - I spent 5 months with it last fall/winter traveling in India, Vietnam and Thailand before returning to Europe and spending some time in Russia, Poland, and Spain. It’s virtually indestructible (although Indigo airline in India really tried hard to prove that it’s not) and has often doubled as a seat, a table top, or a back cushion in transit. However, it absolutely sucks as a backpack… So I’m looking forward to my first Minaals - and looks like DHL is bringing my 3.0 Bundle later today!!!

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