This $66 Travel Backpack Saved My Back in the Airport (and I Didn't Look Like a Hitchhiker)

For starters, it only weighs two pounds

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Bagsmart carry-on backpack review: packed suitcase, open and closed
Dana Dickey
  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Quality: 18/20
  • Aesthetics: 19/20
  • Organization: 19/20

TOTAL: 94/100

Bagsmart is a brand that makes affordable yet cute travel items that PureWow editors collect and readers love (don’t sleep on the best-selling electronics organizer that’s one of our carry-on packing essentials). So when I saw the new Blast Quick Access Carry On Travel Backpack ($66), a hybrid suitcase/backpack design that includes a top-handle carry option, I had to try it. Could this be a travel backpack that a sophisticated adult could tote around an airport without looking like a student abroad on a gap year? Could a two-pound piece of nylon really hold up as well as a hard case on real travel, and hold enough for a trip? Here’s my review.

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The Stats

  • Exterior: 12.2" x 16.5" x 8.1"
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Capacity: 35 L
  • Laptop Sleeve: Fits 15.6-inch laptop
  • Water Bottle Pocket: Fits 40-ounce bottle

During a recent trip from Los Angeles to Charleston South Carolina, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to check a bag or not, up until the last moment I was in the car to the airport. You see, the Bagsmart Blast Quick Access Carry On Backpack gave me the option of boarding with both it and my wheeled carry-on, in which case I could slip the backpack over the handle of my wheeled case, thanks to the bag’s trolly. Alternatively—and here’s the real plus of using a travel backpack—I could check the wheeled case and then slip the backpack over my shoulders to enjoy a hand-free experience in mall shops before my flight. Bagsmart’s straps are slightly padded, enough to keep from digging into my shoulders but not so much that I look like I am about to hit the Pacific Crest Trail. In the end, I opted to keep both bags with me on board, but I appreciated that I could be so flexible with my plans, depending on if I saw that an overbooked flight and a low boarding group meant that I was in danger of getting my wheeled bag gate checked.

As for the bag itself, I not only found it pleasing to look at—I chose a bone-colored nylon that coordinates with any other luggage I’m using—but also, since it’s a backpack style, matches my usual neutral travel ‘fits. The laptop case has its own zipper, so makes quick work of getting my computer out in the security line, and there are mesh pockets for the charging power port in the same area, so I’m not unzipping every pocket to find a computer or phone charger for a quick charging top-off at the gate before boarding. I fit a pair of sneakers as well as a pair of heeled sandals in the separate shoe compartment on the way there, and on the way back, I rolled a few worn outfits in there, too.

How It Functions

Of the additional compartments, I was impressed by how just-roomy-enough they seemed. There’s a top-handle zip area that was just large enough to fit a small toiletry case; an elastic-top side pocket that fit a 40-ounce water bottle and an outer zipped area that somehow managed to carry a 2.5-inch thick hardcover book. I stuffed this baby up and was amazed by how protected all my items were. To wit: At one point, I accidentally forgot to close the laptop compartment all the way, so when I hurriedly wrenched it upward off the trolley handle on a 1 a.m. mad dash to the cab line, the case hinged open, spilling contents on the sidewalk. But still, my laptop was protected by its Velcro securing in its pouch. And my small possessions didn’t scater, since most everything was in an entirely separate compartments.


  • lightweight
  • separate shoes/dirty clothes compartment
  • machine-wahable


  • carry-on size
  • limited color selection

The Bagsmart proved ideal for a weekend trip but I could see myself traveling with just this backpack for a weeklong summer getaway, since the primary compartment is not only deep, but can be compressed once you’ve zipped it closed, thanks to two outside compression straps. That main compartment is plenty roomy, btw—with a 35 L capacity, it’s larger than my beloved Calpak mini-carryon. Additionally, the whole bag can be thrown in the washer, which I appreciate since the lightened nylon tends to scuff. All this functionality and performance for $66 makes me plan to gift this clever backpack to friends, both young (it’s great for college weekends away) and grown-up (I’m not alone in swapping out designer tote bags for next gen minimalist backpacks). Because being sandwiched in a full flight is enough discomfort for me.

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...