POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 30, 2012
» What it is: A generously sized day pack that rolls up into about the size of a healthy croissant. Made of heavy-duty nylon, it won't tear easily. Fully deployed, it's 18 inches long, 14 inches wide and 8 inches deep.
» How it works: Its producer, Barefoot Enterprises, bills it as a highly utilitarian piece to take on your next trip. The company is right. It's a great hands-free way to walk around, say, Rome, with your packed lunch so you don't have to pay more than $20 for four Pepsis (yes, that actually happened). And when lunch is gone, fill it with all the cool stuff you buy. In fact, here's the real advantage: Many travelers don't have enough room in their luggage to pack all their vacation purchases. So they buy yet another cheap, flimsy bag just to get everything home. No more. This backpack will do the trick, serving as an ample carrier while on the trip and as backup luggage on the way home. It is collapsible, so you can jam it with clothes and check it, putting breakable items in a rigid case or carry-on.
» The good: It's amazingly strong. As a test it was stuffed with clothes, plus two 20-pound hand weights, to see whether the straps and plastic buckles would hold. They did. It was also used as a commuter pack for a week to see whether it developed any repetitive-use injuries. No problem. Another positive thing: It's American-made (Colorado).
» The bad: Without careful packing, you could end up with a wine bottle poking between your shoulder blades, but for the most part it's a very comfortable bag.
» Cost: $27.95, but it's worth it.
» Available from: www.packbarefoot.com