Multi-Tasking “Go Gear”
When it comes to my personal style, I always favor comfort, utility, simplicity, neutrality, and the ability to multi-task. I don’t mean to say that I like to wear sweaters (jumpers) that can turn into pants (trousers) or anything, but if I can have clothing or accessories that will work for a casual weekend with friends as well as the work week, I’m all over it! Even better if I can find items that fit ALL FOUR aspects of my lifestyle: Work, parenting, daily outings and travel!
I know I’m not the only one that prefers the ease of multi-functional simplicity. Alton Brown, the creator and host of the Food Network show Good Eats, detests what he calls “unitaskers,” (click to hear an NPR interview on the topic) or single-use tools, in the kitchen. My personal distaste for “unitaskers,” however, extends to parenting, life and, of course, travel.
There are some great products out there that can make one’s travel life easier. When space is limited, however, there are a lot of things I can do without. If I’m going to spend money on travel items, I absolutely prefer them to be great pieces of “multi-tasking ‘go gear.’”
Stumbling Onto Something New
A few months ago, I was searching for the perfect bags for my “Momcation.” (More on this in a future post.) The following were my criteria for ultimate baggage perfection:
I knew it was wishful thinking that I might find anything that meets all of that criteria. Or, was it?
I scoured the internet. I read blog posts on the best bags, specifically luggage that doubled as backpacks. And, I filed through offerings on amazon.com, REI.com, and various brand-specific websites. Countless hours were spent carefully considering the look, the size, and the features of heaps of suitcases and totes.
In my search, I stumbled upon a brand that I had never seen or heard of before (perhaps because I’ve had my head buried in the sands of parenting). Sherpäni, a company based just up the road from me in Boulder, Colorado, provided me with the exact level of perfection I was looking for. (Seriously?! I feel a bit ridiculous. How could I have never heard of them?!)
The Oslo Adventure Pack
First to match my wish list and find its way into my heart was the Sherpani Oslo Adventure Pack (currently on sale at sherpani.com for $101.95, but also available on Amazon for around $140.00). What I love about it… Well, what don’t I love about this piece of luggage?!
This bag meets airline carry-on limits and is perfectly sized for a short getaway. The neutral, dark grey color and sleek design provide the clean, professional look I want, and the large computer pocket serves my professional needs. Inside, I can fit enough clothes for a full five-day trip (if I wash a couple of items by hand along the way), and there’s even a little room leftover for small souvenirs.
I love being able to carry this suitcase on my shoulder, by hand, crossbody, or on my back. If I wanted to check the Sherpäni Oslo with the airline instead of carting it through the airport, all I have to do is pull out the attached flap and zip away the straps.
Due to its unexpected, yet highly useful existence, my favorite feature by far is the rain cover. Most suitcases, and even many backpacks, don’t come with a rain cover. The fact that Sherpäni thought to include one here is great! It certainly comes in handy when I arrive in a city on a rainy day, and it also adds an extra layer of inconvenience for any would-be pickpockets.
The Sojourn Tote
The next bag to wow me and join my travel arsenal was the Sherpäni Sojourn Tote (available from REI for around $99.95). This bag absolutely ticks all of my boxes and more! It fits all of my travel needs, work needs, and parent needs. It’s 100% a fabulous piece of multi-tasking “go gear”.
Like the Sherpäni Oslo, this bag has multiple carry options. While wearing it crossbody style, I can easily access gear. If I’m traveling, I can reach my camera, passport, wallet, and water bottle quickly. If I’m in parenting mode, I can grab snacks, bottles, wipes or entertainment items as needed.
Often, though, having a bag hanging at or below your waist can get in the way. So, Sherpäni added nice, wide backpack straps that slide neatly away when not in use. This is how I generally keep and carry my Sojourn Tote because it provides me with the convenient, hands-free capabilities that are so key in my daily, parenting life.
The sturdy tote handles are useful, too. They allow me to toss the bag over my forearm for a quick carry from my car into work or hold onto it when I’m digging for my keys.
Like the Oslo, the Sherpäni Sojourn Tote is available in a dark gray color, so for me they make the perfect professional pair. The laptop sleeves can hold my 15” computer, and there’s ample room left over for chargers, a smartphone, a book, sunglasses, etc.
The only thing missing from this bag is a zippered pocket on the inside to secure valuables. While traveling, I reached in and pulled out my camera only to have my passport come with it. Thankfully, a passerby saw it and returned it to me.
There’s Less…and More
Sadly, as I review Sherpäni’s website today, I struggle to easily locate either the Oslo or the Sojourn. In fact, I had to do a specific search for the Oslo, and I can’t find the Sojourn at all.
The Oslo web page notes that Sherpäni only released this pack for the summer (Nooooooooo!). The video on the page features a woman hiking, but I find that this bag is better suited for short business trips or mini-breaks. This really just solidifies the Oslo Adventure Pack’s status as a fabulous piece of multi-tasking “go gear,” and I truly hope they decide to keep it around.
While the Sojourn Tote might be missing, Sherpani does offer other totes to fill the void. The Camden, for example, is the closest thing I can find to the Sojourn. While I love its listed features, it seems to have a more casual look than I prefer in a professional setting. (You can get the Camden on Amazon for about $89.96.)
I feel lucky to have found these bags, and this company, when I did. Outside of the Oslo Adventure Pack, the only kind of luggage that Sherpäni seems to offer is hardside. I’m not a huge fan of hardside suitcases (unless I’m heading to wine country and will bringing home souvenirs). Nevertheless, now that I know about the company, I’ll definitely keep checking the website for new and future offerings.
** This review is totally unsolicited, and I have received no compensation for my comments. I just genuinely love these bags.**