In this gear review, we’ll be highlighting a piece of gear that is essential to our team’s lifestyle: the YETI Crossroads Backpack. In our line of work, we spend just as much time on planes, cars, and water vessels as we do in the office. During our travels where you never know just what to expect, the only constant is that the adventure is going to be memorable. It’s the YETI crossroads series that inspired our Flylords original series: A2B, and these backpacks and accompanying luggage are now a necessity for carrying all of our gear from where we are, to where we need to be. In this review, we’ll break down exactly why.
From meandering Belizian jungle streams to the plains of Argentina; Flylords has covered the globe in the pursuit of fly fishing and storytelling. For years, we’ve been trusting the safety of our gear to the integrity of YETI’s Panga Duffels and backpacks. However, once word came down the wire to reach our little Colorado office that YETI was going to be launching a travel-focused luggage line, we were immediately itching to get our hands on some for our next trip.
It was a few weeks before a flight to Sweden that the ever-welcomed, oh-so-familiar cardboard box labeled “YETI” hit our doorstep. Beneath a sea of packing peanuts were 3 22L bags; one in black, one in a light blue, and one in navy.
What we noticed off the bat was how sturdy these bags were. On the outside, a nylon, abrasion-resistant skin encompassed the entirety of the bag. At the base of the bag, a harder, reinforced bottom could be felt, which led up to some water-resistant coating that lined the zippers until you reached the brain which boasted an easily accessible, spacious pocket up top. Inside of the pack was filled with extra compartments including a side pocket that could be accessed from the outside, a laptop pocket, and the main compartment which featured two additional zipped pockets within. The back was lined with padded support, which was separated from the pack itself with a luggage sleeve.
The build of the backpack was enough to get us excited, something that can be hard to do when facing over 20 hours of international air travel. Over the course of our adventure, as well as a few more we’ve undergone since, we’ve noticed a lot about these packs, which we’ll go into now.
Unfortunately, our experiences with the Crossroads backpack don’t include heaving in the fish of a lifetime or a near-death experience with a hungry Alaskan Grizzley. No, the main highlights of our time spent with these bags revolves more around time spent listening to babies cry at 30,000 feet in the air, or sprinting through airports in an attempt to make a connecting flight. While these experiences certainly got our blood pumping, we figured the best way to exemplify the bag’s capabilities was by expanding on a couple of our favorite aforementioned features.
When it comes to storage capacity, this backpack allows you to utilize every inch of the inside of the pack. Because you can basically fold this pack inside out with its clamshell opening (available in all models), you can stuff as much as you need to, and then some, into the main pouch and still zip it closed with ease. The different pockets and compartments are positioned in a way where every inch of your load works in symbiosis and none of your gear is cramped or squished. Not to mention, because of the optimized compartments, reaching the contents of your bag is still a breeze.
Cross Luggage Compatibility:
One of the most discrete, yet helpful features of the bag is the luggage run-through. This allows you to ditch your backpack and run your luggage handle through the back. While it might not seem like much, this feature is a lifesaver when making long walks from airport parking to the terminal, and a great way to stack and add on more carry-on luggage.
First and foremost, when you’re traveling – especially long distances, comfort is a priority. One of our favorite features of this bag is how damn comfortable it is to wear. When we’re moving from the airport, to taxi, to the airport, to a shuttle down a long dirt road, the last thing you want is a backpack that’s going to dig into your shoulders or back? Luckily, something we noticed right away is that these bags are not only reinforced with padded back support but are actually built with a slight curvature that compliments your spine. Alongside this and their bulletproof nylon exterior, even the most stuffed bags (which ours usually are) aren’t biting into you, no matter how long you’re in transit for.
Speaking of the overall build itself, these things are just plain and simple: sturdy. First, The exterior of the bag is rugged and water-resistant and creates a shell over your goods. Next, the bottom of the bag is reinforced, protecting whatever you have in there, be it a drone or camera, from any less than graceful set-downs. Lastly, there’s an internal laptop case that is elevated just above the bottom of the ground to further cushion any further bumps along the ride. Need I say more?
In short, if you’re looking for a reliable travel bag – there aren’t really any bags that compete with the YETI Crossroads Backpack. For all that we need it for, and a little more, this backpack outperforms in all facets. Great for those who are moving around with expensive camera gear, laptops and journals, or just want a backpack they can depend on in transit. In final summation, it certainly measures up to the YETI standard we have grown to expect, and will absolutely be our go-to bag for all of our adventures for a long time to come.
Check out the YETI Crossroads Backpack HERE.