Eagle Creek DoubleBack Carry-On Travel Companion Review

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The Eagle Creek DoubleBack with both packs securely fastened.

First Take On The Eagle Creek DoubleBack Pack

Quite surprised and pleased surely sums it up as I was really expecting just a backpack. It quickly became obvious that the Eagle Creek DoubleBack was going to be the only piece of luggage I was bringing on my 3 week European Family vacation. The pack seemed quite versatile with plenty of storage options as well as numerous features and high quality finishes. The DoubleBack falls into Eagle Creek’s carry-on Category, and at 22 inches meets most airline requirements for overhead compartment storage.

I subscribe to and live the ‘one bag’ travel concept (www.onebag.com).  It’s a way of traveling that will en”lighten” your outlook with a simple, quick, and easy approach. The Eagle Creek DoubleBack aspires to that concept despite the fact that it actually has 2 pieces, but I was excited to bring my new pack along.

The large pack fully loaded waiting for the train to Berlin

Quality of The Eagle Creek DoubleBack

I tend to get impatient when repacking to run off to the next destination. Even though I have limited items, I usually overstuff my bag by improperly packing. This puts a lot of strain on the zippers while closing an bulging suitcase. To tell you the truth, I took no mercy and attacked this bag with extra gusto. Three weeks of that, and no visible signs of wear and tear. I won’t give up though, and plan on inflicting continued unnecessary strain on my Eagle Creek DoubleBack Carry-on. I’m only kidding (slightly) of course, but luggage goes through a serious barrage of abuse. You should feel confident that your precious stuff can make it from point A to B.

Solid wheel assembly that took a fair bit of abuse over the course of the 3 week European trip

  • Rolled it for about a mile from home to train station.
  • Threw it into the overhead compartment on a train.
  • Stuffed it into a small plane’s overhead compartment.
  • Crammed it into several trunks of cars.
  • Rolled it through ancient European city centers and their infamous cobbles.
  • Schlepped it up 5 flights of stairs on several occasions, because buildings from the 1800’s just weren’t equipped with elevators.
  • Forced the pack onto every mode of public transportation which was always extremely crowded with daily commuters.
  • Day pack survived 3 weeks of daily wear mostly by my wife.
  • Let’s just say, a big checkmark on all fronts!

Capacity

A pair of running shoes, 6 shirts, 6 undergarments, 3 pairs of shorts, pair of jeans, small toiletry bag, book, 6 pairs of socks, sweatshirt, rain jacket, and several bags of goodies from every country.

It’s a carry-on, and it’s definitely not the biggest I’ve owned. Depending on your style and purpose of your trip, a larger check-in bag may be needed. If you do intend to travel light or for shorter periods of time, this piece of luggage will work great for you. I did not want to bring a lot of stuff, and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do laundry a few times.

Interior shot with cinch straps shown and cover flap mesh pocket which I used for dirty laundry.

Camping and Hiking

We usually find a nice dispersed site to call home for a few days. I pack my 4×4 vehicle full of kids, a dog, camping gear, food, and  other necessities. My camp clothes, running, and hiking gear does need a place, so I decided to use the Eagle Creek DoubleBack. The wheels were an obvious overkill, but the soft siding and compact size made it perfect to cram in the rooftop box.

When hiking the daypack came in handy to carry our lunch, snacks, camera, and bottles of water. A 6 hour hike, required an all-out effort as we went up one of Colorado’s magnificent 14-ers. Quite the feat and energy burn, but our Eagle Creek DoubleBack provided enough storage to hydrate and fuel the high altitude thirst and hunger pains.

Look of The Eagle Creek DoubleBack

From a visual eye-candy standpoint, this is really nothing super fancy or “loud.” Something I classify as trying to stand out on the baggage claim carousel. Luggage, after all, is meant to be more functional than attract unwanted attention. We visit many tourist destinations with potential for being pick-pocketed or having our stuff stolen. Hence, muted or one toned colors and a simple design is perfect for me.

Rainy Amsterdam stroll with full pack and hands free to push 2 kids and a bag full of food. Take note, that the daypack is not attached in this shot.

Comfort and fit

Imagine taking your rolling carry-on, and placing it on your back. That’s kind of what’s happening here, but I have found this Eagle Creek DoubleBack to be quite comfortable. It hugs the back with padding, and sits slightly on my behind to provide a good fit.  Plus, I really never had any balancing issues.  That may have been because I always had other larger and heavy items to drag, carry, or push. Freeing up my hands was superb by having one collective piece of luggage.  The daypack is simple enough and fits with a wide range of strap adjustability.  My wife mostly carried the day pack, as I was usually pushing the kids.  The tightened straps provide a safe, secure, and comfortable pack to take on our many daily excursions.

Straps tucked away for roll-on mode.

Backpack straps out and secured with additional clips for added support and adjustability.

Features

This is where the rubber meets the road, or the Geo-Ripstop Fabric hits the luggage conveyor belt. Attaching the two packs is a simple procedure. A mere 30 seconds is all it takes to easily attach both packs. This left my hands free for other important things like taking photos or eating a greasy Curry Wurst. The hidden handle which extends to a variety of heights pops out with ease.

The pull handle tucked away and ready to completely enclose with the zipper pocket

The Eagle Creek DoubleBack fully extended in roll-on mode.

Something that really stood out for me was the multiple grab handles. We stowed our luggage in numerous unconventional places. At times we didn’t know what end was up, and grabbing the top or side handles was key in moving or removing the Eagle Creek DoubleBack pack. As advertised there are 10 total zippers. The one that saved my sanity time and time again was the top zip pocket. I would quickly stash my wallet, phone, keys, and change when going through security.

The top zipper pocket makes for quick and easy access to quickly dump valuables in especially in the TSA cue.

The DoubleBack provides a decent amount of space. There’s a total volume of 3510 cu in (2410 for the main bag, and 1100 for the backpack). Cinching everything down came in mighty handy with the two compression straps. This allowed me to add those last minute duty free items.

The back portion is padded and contains “Moisture wicking breathable air mesh.”  This sounds quite fancy and almost as if you’d have your own personal AC unit blowing cool air on your back. That’s not necessarily the case. It’s hard to prevent some perspiration and the inevitable sweaty back when running to make a connection or walking through a hot humid city center.  I’m sure Eagle Creek puts a lot of thought into the strength and air flow of the fabric, but I doubt there is really a foolproof solution. For me with exerted effort and travel stress, the perspiration comes with the territory, and I don’t really mind.

Separating the clean from the dirties is easy with the two standard internal pockets.

Day pack securely in place for hours of city and museum exploration

The Eagle Creek DoubleBack In Summary

The Eagle Creek DoubleBack carry-on is quite rugged for the average travel and vacation excursion. The materials seems to have been carefully selected and designed to provide strength and durability while focusing on the users’ comfort and need.

The key factor for the Eagle Creek DoubleBack is the fact that both the carry-on and daypack are on your back while you can go hand-free! It certainly made my life easier while keeping my little ones close, and carrying their stuff while pushing the stroller.

The DoubleBack has seen action in 5 countries, and we’re already planning for the next adventure to either Switzerland, Disney World, or New Zealand. My vote is for the land of Kiwi!

MSRP: $299

Available Colors: Black, Smoky Blue, Tan/Olive

For all the key features, product specifications, and purchase, please visit: www.amazon.com/eaglecreek.

Niels Oomkes: I am a multi-sport endurance athlete, and love to get out into the great outdoors to push the body to its limit. Most of my weekend expeditions, adventures, trips, or vacations are planned around running, biking, snowshoeing, camping, or anything else that will allow me to enjoy nature's exquisite beauty.
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