Patagonia Lightweight Travel Courier 15L

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Strong, ultralight messenger bag stows into its own pocket.

The Patagonia Lightweight Travel Courier 15L bag is one of the most unexpectedly great bags I’ve ever owned (and I own a closet full of bags). Purchased back in 2015 as a “field bag” — something to use out in the fields of Asia while doing research — it’s become my go-to daypack for all manner of travel.

The bag has a few thing going for it:

1) Its biggest superpower is that it folds into itself, tucking into an internal pocket, turning from a ample-sized bag into a palm-sized nugget that can be brought along with you on any trip. It’s always there, tucked away inside your larger bag, to be pulled out and expanded at just the moment needed.

2) It’s discreet. I recommend the all black one. I love that it doesn’t *look* like it can hold a laptop but it does — quite comfortably. It fits 13” MacBook Pros (old and new) with sleeves without a problem. It also has enough space for a mirrorless camera (I throw in my Leica Q), notebook, pens, gloves, etc.

(I took it one step further and, using a razor blade, unstitched the “Patagonia” tag on the front for full stealth.)

3) The pockets are perfect. The two front zip pockets are just big enough to each hold a glasses case or Bose QC20 headphones and gum. The side mesh pockets (nearly invisible when empty), easily stretch to both hold liter-sized water bottles.

The build quality is excellent. I’ve treated mine recklessly (overstuffed, thrown into the backs of trucks) and it’s fine. The only point of worry is the plastic adjuster on the shoulder strap, but I’ve been abusing mine for one and half years and it still hasn’t budged.

In summary: A discreet, computer- and camera-ready, take-with-you-anywhere bag that has superb pocket ergonomics and is eminently water bottle friendly. All for $60. I think it’s a steal.

-- Craig Mod 02/28/17