Note: Gobi Gear provided a sample at no charge in order to review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Mara here. I have a bag addiction! I have so many bags that they are hard to find places to keep them. This Gobi bag looks pretty awesome. It folds up into itself! HLAW’s Social Media Manager April reviewed the bag. Below are here thoughts.
Am I the only one who has struggled in finding a great fitting (and not super expensive!) daypack? You know, the kind that is fit for a woman, not oversized, and still has some of my favorite amenities – water bladder pouch, mesh side pockets, and a chest strap to name a few? My old REI women’s pack has been my trusty and reliable sidekick for about seven or eight years but was always just a tad too big for moderate day trips. So begins the search.
Gobi Gear is a rather new company but seem to offer some pretty cool products, designed to be more compact for ease of travel. I received my 30L Free Spirit pack (and sticker!) very quickly and was excited to get packin’. I was actually headed out for a birthday excursion that weekend, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try out my new pack. Key points of this pack include: internal dividers that you can use to organize gear or velcro back to have one giant section like other packs, water bladder pouch, and chest strap. And of course I can’t forget to mention, this thing packs up into itself like a little pouch and weighs nothing – great for travel and packing away when you’re not using it!
Everything for my weekend packed in nicely and made traveling a breeze. I will say that wearing the pack got a tad uncomfortable for me after the first day or so. I’m not sure if it’s lack of cushion on the straps and/or back, or just the overall feel of it. Again, remember that this thing packs back into itself when empty which is super awesome, yet wearing it I feel like I have less support than other packs. It’s a bit floppy so unless I have it packed full, it tends to weigh to one side and I found myself constantly adjusting it.
In the next half a dozen or so tries with the pack, I ended up just filling it with my lightweight and packable rain coat to help with the overall support. Even with my other ten essentials, I couldn’t quite fill the pack up (and it just felt lopsided), so I would just stuff some extra lightweight cushion in to help. Problem solved, more or less. One thing to also keep in mind – the pack I received was their prototype model, as they were working on their final, more sturdy and stronger pack (to be released soon!). The final packs will actually be manufactured from different materials than the proto models, and with that considered I strongly believe in Gobi Gear’s product line and mission in creating practical and super lightweight packs!
Overall, I would say that the idea and design behind the Free Spirit 30L pack is pretty dang cool. I feel like it would be way more suitable and efficient for traveling (especially internationally), which I unfortunately have not tested. So, if you have an upcoming road trip or travels abroad planned and need some organization, this pack may be near perfect. With a price tag of $49.99 it seems to be right on mark with some other lightweight packs of similar design and is not a huge investment for such practicality!