Jul 152011

Traveling as often as I do for either business or pleasure, I have made the subject of luggage something of a personal obsession, as readers of this blog will remember from my quest for the perfect camera bag. Unfortunately, a great camera bag alone will not suffice for the globetrotting shutterbug. You actually need to carry clothes and such in addition to your camera, lenses, laptop, and accessories.

Since I try to travel as light as possible under the circumstances, I was delighted when I first came across the eBags Weekender eTech Convertible, the perfect-sized bag for trips of two to five days. Although big enough to hold up to around 25 pounds (Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″, Interior Capacity: 3066 cu. in.), it can easily fit in the overhead bins on an airplane even when the bag is stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.

The eTech Convertible itself weighs only 3 pounds 10 ounces and provides two sizable front compartments: a large main compartment and a mesh compartment. One of the front compartments offers easy access for small essentials, a key ring, and a small zippered pocket. If you must carry a laptop, the larger front compartment will do, but it does not provide any padding. My 13″ Samsung 9 in its Higher Ground 13″ Flak Jacket case fits perfectly, and the Flak Jacket provides excellent protection with its corrugated plastic armor.

As the Convertible’s name implies, hideaway padded shoulder straps permit you to change the bag from a duffel to a backpack for hands-free carrying. Top and side handles add versatility to this Weekender’s portability. On those occasions when I have to tote the bag long distances, I wish the bag also included wheels, but comparable wheeled bags are almost double the weight and have less storage capacity.

The eTech Convertible comes with a lifetime warranty against defects in material or workmanship. I can personally vouch that my wife and I have used our bags for over five years and on more than 40 trips. Our Weekenders still look brand new, with no noticeable wear or tear, as you can see for yourself.

Given my satisfaction with the eTech Convertible, I am tempted to try out the Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible The same size and weight as the eTech Convertible, the Mother Lode incorporates a laptop compartment and additional organizational compartments that the eTech lacks. If it can maintain eBags’ usual quality while granting me a little extra storage space, I might consider upgrading. After all, a photographer on vacation can never have too much carrying capacity!

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