I recently tested two bags from Travelon, a Chicago-based company that makes travel accessories. I tested the RFID-blocking boarding bag and the anti-theft classic backpack. Hands down, the boarding bag is the best camera bag I've ever used and the backpack is great for a carry-on or to hold my necessary items for an afternoon working at a local coffee shop. I did receive both of these bags at no cost from Travelon so I could review them, but the review is completely independent and I received no other compensation. Hands down, these are two amazing bags and I'll explain why I love them so much.
RFID-blocking Boarding Bag
The Travelon boarding bag (item #42728) is a perfect size for me. I always carry my SLR camera, an extra lens and accessories (SD cards, charger, extra batteries). That can get heavy and I haven't even added personal items, such as passport, credit cards, ID, money, lipstick, mints, phone, wet wipes, business cards, etc. The Travelon boarding bag carries all of that comfortably and compactly. Here's a photo of everything I wanted to take with me that I needed to fit in the bag (the only thing missing is my iPhone, which I used to take the photo):
The bag has three compartments: a zippered main compartment with a mesh pocket, a section with RFID blocking card slots and passport pocket and a front zippered pocket with a spot for a cell phone. There is also a zippered mesh expansion pocket on the side designed to hold a water bottle or umbrella. Here's the bag after I packed it:
I was able to fit my large camera, extra lens and the yellow mesh bag that holds my accessories into the center compartment. I tucked my notebook into the inside pocket, but an iPad mini or ebook reader would fit nicely there. I was able to put my passport and credit cards in one pocket, making them easy to access for going through security or when I need to make a purchase, but they are protected from RFID scans. Instead of putting a water bottle in the side pocket, I used it for my glass case. Everything fit! Not only does it hold everything, I can easily get to every item without digging through a big purse or large camera bag. My camera is easily accessible. The straps are adjustable from 13-28″, so I can put it over one shoulder or lengthen it and carry it cross-body style.
If I'm going to be out all day taking photos, I can eliminate some of the extra items to make it even lighter weight and easier to access my camera.
The boarding bag measures 7″ x 9.5″ x 3.5″, is available in black, sand or steel blue. It sells for $55 and is available from Travelon by clicking here.
When I received the Travelon Anti-Theft backpack (#42310), I wasn't sure it was going to be big enough for the things I needed, including my iPad and my MacBook Air, but I discovered that, as with the boarding bag, the backpack holds much more than I at first imagined. For me, it's a smart design that provides a stylish, compact backpack that still holds all the necessities.
The main compartment easily holds my iPad in the inside pocket and I can slip my 13″ MacBook Air down in the main part of the backpack. I can also add a change of clothes, a couple of notebooks, a magazine and the folder that I usually carry when I travel with all my trip information. The top flap of the main compartment has a zippered pocket that's perfect for my iPhone, plus it has a slot for my earphones so I can listen to music as I walk.
The front zippered compartment has RFID-blocking slots for my passport and credit cards, a pocket for phone or sunglasses and even a pen slot. I love the two side compartments. One is open, but deep so a bottle of water fits nicely without risk of falling out. The other pocket is zippered and I use it for my glasses or anything else I need to access quickly.
The best part about this backpack, though, are the security features. This is designed as an anti-theft bag and I feel much safer because of the great features. The straps are comfortably padded and fully adjustable, but they also have steel cables running down the seam, making them cut-proof. The main body has steel mesh sewn into the main body panels and have RFID-blocking pockets inside. I love the locking zippers on both the main compartment and the front flap. It's an ingenious way to make the backpack resistant to pick-pockets.
The Anti-Theft Classic Backpack (#42310) also comes in black, midnight and stone, is 12″ x 16″ x 6″ and retails for $80. The straps are fully adjustable and it's as easy for me to carry it on my 5'2″ frame as it is for my husband, who is 6'2″. We both found the bag comfortable and easy to use. Here's a look at the video from Travelon that shows why this such a great backpack.
These two bags have changed the way I travel. I can take my computer, iPad, cables, toiletries and even a change of clothes in this compact backpack and use the boarding bag for my camera, credit cards and passport. Both bags slip right under the seat in front of me so I don't even need to worry about overhead bin space. Both bags still look new after about four months of heavy use. I was in a downpour with the boarding bag and I worried that my camera would get wet, but it stayed nice and dry inside the bag. I highly recommend these two bags, both for their security features as well as their overall style, adaptability and reliability. I will definitely be checking out more products from Travelon after using these two.