The Unacceptable Luggage Situation

This is not me, obviously, but given the sweatshirt-and-no-pants vibe, it totally could be.

My luggage situation, I think we can all agree, is completely unacceptable. I’m not even talking about the “not arriving at the desired location, ever” part; at the moment I’m specifically referring to the physical luggage itself.

Which is terrible.

It would be terrible for a human who did not spend a significant amount of time traveling, but for one who lives out of a bag on a not-especially-infrequent basis, it is…



Here are the bags that I currently own, for your reference:

  • A red Samsonite that was really great and perfect when I first acquired it twelve years ago, wayyyyyyyy back in 2006, and which now has zippers that work a maximum of 8% of the time. Plus it’s ripped.
  • A grey no-name rolling bag that I bought at HomeGoods five years ago and that would be great, if only it weren’t so freakishly heavy all on its lonesome that the addition of three baby wipes and an US Weekly would result in it being declared “overweight.” (“That’ll be a thousand dollars, please.”)
  • A mint-striped roller tote that used to be adorable, and no longer is anything even close to that.
  • A 2-cubic-feet blue…thing…that can’t really be described as luggage, because it is so beaten down and distraught that it refuses to hold anything at all and most certainly does not roll on anything resembling wheels, but that I keep because I possess nothing else in the way of carry-on thingamajigs that aren’t purses.

I’ve threatened to give up on my baggage many – oh, so many – times over the past couple of years. I’ve thought about throwing it out when I arrive somewhere, promising myself I’ll buy something new wherever it is that I am. But then I don’t, because it’s easier not to. I’ve thought about throwing it out when I return home from somewhere, promising myself I’ll buy something new before I leave on the next trip. But then I forget.

A few months ago a friend of my dad’s, Malcom Fontier, emailed me, telling me he was in the funding stage for a new travel bag that would effectively replace the bulk of a person’s existing travel bags. The Pakt – as he called it – would be lightweight, and durable, and have all the convenience of a duffel bag (carry-on sized! soft! versatile!) while also having the organizational capabilities of a for-real suitcase. It would be designed for experienced travelers – perfect for those traveling for one week, one month, or one year – and would be created in partnership with manufacturers that promised safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions for their employees (!!!).

the pakt perfect travel bag for carry on

This is how the bag arrives: all awesome bag, minimal earth-clogging packaging.

The Pakt would also be made from animal-friendly materials, and reduce packaging down to the bare minimum (a cardboard box with no air pillows, plastic bags, bubble wrap, or styrofoam) so as to lessen the environmental impact. “The last thing we want to do,” Malcolm said, “Is add more unnecessary stuff to the world. We want people to consider every purchase [they] make – this one included.”

Oh, right: And it would look great.

I told him I liked the idea, but couldn’t write about it – much less recommend it – without having actually seen the bag.

Malcom Fontier creator of the perfect travel bag Pakt

Last week, Malcom (the leftward one of the three handsome gents pictured above) emailed me to let me know that production had begun, and that the bags would be available in just a couple of months. (He didn’t mention that they’d accrued well over $1.3 million in funding; I noted that point on my own.)

So I ordered a Pakt to be delivered to my parents’ place, hoping (with very little actual hope) that it would fit everything I’d packed into my massive rolling bag on the way here.


the pakt travel carry on bag

You guys. This adorable carry-on fit everything that I’d brought over in my massive, unacceptable bag. (I deposited a 6″x6″ package containing a gift for my parents at their place, sure…but then I replaced it with bribes to help my children forget that mommy abandoned them and mayyyybe forgot to FaceTime for two days because she passed out at 9PM on the daily.)

I didn’t understand exactly how this happened, the whole huge-amounts-of-stuff-fitting-in-a-seemingly-small-bag thing, but my dad and I did a little bag-examination, and here’s the deal. The Pakt bag is specifically designed to be tricky and manipulative and make you doubt it. But I’m going to tell you its secrets, so you can rest assured that it is, in fact, as glorious as it seems.

Here are some of the features:

  • Separate zippered front pockets for things you’ll need in the airport (like your passport, identification, and headphones).
  • Crazy-comfortable shoulder strap that magically transforms a heavy bag into a featherweight one.
  • Exterior accessory loops for things like water bottles and other travel items.
  • Quick-access magazine pocket with magnetic closure.
  • Included laundry/tote bag.
  • Special TSA pocket for all the crap you’ll have to pull out to be permitted on a plane.
  • Super-fancy construction that allegedly lasts forever and ever, even if you treat your luggage like I treat mine (which is badly).
  • No exterior logos (THANK YOU).

the pakt perfect travel bag for carry on

I did not expect to be obsessed with this bag. I am obsessed with this bag.

For those who travel frequently and think that packing is basically an Olympic sport (and for everyone else)? This is your bag.

With zero incentive on my part – no affiliate anythings here, just letting you know – you can get a way better price on the Pakt if you order it via IndieGogo in advance of production (a.k.a contribute to the campaign in return for incentives).

the pakt best ever travel carry on bagthe best ever travel carry on bag

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