Meet Kathryn and Her Standard Luggage Carry-on Backpack Review

standard luggage carry-on backpack review 35-45L

The following Standard Luggage carry-on backpack review was submitted by Kathryn. Check out more of the best backpacks for female travelers here.

I’m a globe-trotting romance writer with no fixed address. I’ve spent the past year mainly in Eastern Europe and Asia. Tokyo is like a second home. Since travel is a regular part of my life, I don’t dress or pack specifically for travel but make my luggage work for me and my personal style. I love vintage style dresses and cute shoes, and would never wear travel clothing! My bag is the Standard Luggage Carry-On Backpack which I’ve been using for nearly a year now.

What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?

Standard Luggage Carry-on Backpack. $179 USD.

Standard Luggage Carry-On Backpack
Kathryn wanted a bag that is less of a hiking backpack and chose the Standard Luggage Carry-On Backpack.

How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?

I got my backpack in September last year. I was mid-journey and my suitcase got a broken wheel so I requested this backpack as a birthday present and tossed the suitcase in the rubbish. At the time, I was in Japan for a longish stay (3 months). I subsequently went to Hong Kong, back to Japan then to Thailand, Cambodia and South Korea before returning home to Australia.

What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack?

I wanted a bag that looked a bit more sophisticated than a ‘gap year backpacker’ or hiking bag. I felt that all the straps and other bits you get with a lot of backpacks were unnecessary and didn’t look grungy. I mainly stay at Airbnbs but, if I’m treating myself to a nice hotel, I wanted a bag that would fit in.

I also wanted something that converted from a backpack to a shoulder bag. I travel mainly in cities so I’m constantly taking my backpack on and off, especially when using public transport and things like that. I have a real dislike of people who seem oblivious to having this massive bag on their back (especially when they swing around and thump me with it) so I didn’t want to be that person.

One of the other important factors was that the Standard back pack was significantly cheaper than its competitors.

The features as listed on the Standard Luggage Co site:

  • Clam-shell opening
  • Built-in compression straps
  • Concealable backpack straps
  • Expandable up to 10L (from 35L to 45L)
  • Separate laptop pocket
  • Padded top and side speed handles
  • Built-in safety whistle
  • Water resistant exterior fabrics
  • Universal sleeve integrates the bag with any rolling luggage handle
  • Rain cover
  • Shoulder strap for carrying as shoulder bag
  • Included: Lifetime warranty and Satisfaction Guarantee

>>Check out our guide to choosing a backpack.

Standard Luggage Carry-On Backpack review
Kathryn likes that this bag can easily convert from a backpack to a shoulder bag.

What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?

The thing that won me on the Standard Backpack was that it’s expandable from 35l to 45l. When I got the backpack, I’d planned travel to cold places (eg. Sapporo in Japan) then to hot climates. I could’ve wore my cold weather clothes on the plane to save space, but who wants to step off a plane in Phnom Phen wearing a thick winter coat!

There are some downsides to the bag though. For starters, it opens length-wise. It’s already a long bag (21.5 inches) so that means, when I’m packing it, I need a lot of space to have it opened out fully. If I’m in a tiny studio apartment or small hotel room, sometimes it’s a tight squeeze!

Also, the sides are really squishy so you really have to use packing cubes to stop all your stuff from spilling out. Because of the way the bag opens, I can’t see anyway to pack without them. It’s very difficult to maximise the space in the pack.

One of the features I thought would be great is that it has a separate, padded laptop section. But, because I mainly fly on budget airlines with weight rather than size restrictions on carry on bags, I always end up checking my backpack and the laptop section is kind of wasted (I do use it for shoes).

Standard Luggage Carry-On Backpack
The bag opening lengthwise isn’t Kathryn’s favorite feature, so she uses packing cubes to stay organized.

Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.

I thought the shoulder strap option on this bag would be great but, when I tried to carry it as a shoulder bag, the strap pressed down really uncomfortably on my collarbone. I have very narrow shoulders and wonder if maybe it’s been designed more for guys with much broader shoulders than me.

I’m 5’ 6”/167cm tall and have a long torso so the bag is fine for me but, the bag length could be an issue for shorter girls.

This backpack is very comfortable to carry when I pack up to 12kg but anything over that makes it difficult to manage.

If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?

Barring weight restrictions, it’s made as a carry on for any airline, even the stricter European ones (eg. EasyJet and Ryan Air).

Standard Luggage Carry-On Backpack
The Standard Luggage Carry-On Backpack front and back

Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?

Because the backpack is expandable, I’ve found it to be pretty much the perfect size. I can fit everything I need for long term travel into the bag without any issue.

Overall, would you recommend your backpack?

Because of the issues I’ve mentioned, I’m reluctant to give it two thumbs up. I think it’d be a fantastic option for someone who does shorter term business travel. You’d never feel unprofessional going straight from the airport to the office with this bag.

You can learn more about Standard’s Carry-on Backpack on the official website here.

About the author: Kathryn O’Halloran is an introverted, polka dot loving romance writer travelling the world. Seeking adventures – mostly quiet adventures that allow for nap time. Actually, mostly just seeking coffee. Find out more on her blog kathrynohalloran.com or follow her adventures on Instagram.

Standard's Carry-On Backpack review

Written by Ali

Ali Garland is a freelance writer, blogger, and travel addict who made it to all 7 continents before her 30th birthday. She enjoys travel planning, encouraging others to see the world, and packing carry-on only. She and her husband are expats living in Berlin. You can find Ali at Ali's Adventures and Travel Made Simple.

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