A few years back, I made a decision to quit my desk job and travel the world. My goal was to spend a few weeks in a different city every month for a year. I ended up living and working in 22 cities across 6 continents with just a backpack and one suitcase.
Moving around so often meant I needed an all-in-one solution for remote work and travel. I came across a Kickstarter campaign for an anti-theft backpack. Ding dong! the doorbell rang and I ripped that box open like it was Christmas morning.
I put my Lifepack through a lot. We’re talking airport madness, locked and unlocked to random things, through rain, snow, and intense humidity. From Vietnam to Portugal, Argentina to South Africa this is my honest review of how the original Lifepack held up -- the good, the bad, and the just plain weird.
3 Times My Lifepack Saved The Day
When I Worked Alone From a Cafe
If you’ve ever whipped out a laptop for a work sesh at a Parisian cafe, you know how unnecessarily complicated taking a whiz can be. Why? Because going to relieve yourself means you have to pack up your stuff, lug your bag to the restroom and hope no one takes your table.
Lifepack to the Rescue: The anti-theft lock* built right into the backpack was my bladder’s best friend. I just wrapped the extendable lock around a table leg and then to the pocket zippers to seal everything up. Voila, safety in seconds.
*Read the next section for my thoughts on the downfalls of this lock.
When I Was Trying to Keep My Cash on the DL
I went to a lot of different cities with various likelihoods of getting pick pocketed, or straight up mugged. From Buenos Aires to Marrakech, Medelliín to Cape Town, it was important to me that I could keep the backpack locked to protect my electronics, while being able to pay for things on the go.
Lifepack to the Rescue: Secret pockets. Nestled in the plush (and I mean plush) shoulder straps are card-sized pockets on each side. I could hide all sorts of goodies in there: cash, my credit card, ID, transit pass, earphones, tiny snacks, you name it.
When I Needed a Charge in the Desert
Before you assume I was trying to use my phone to check IG in the middle of the Sahara Desert, hear me out. My friends and I rented out a van to take us from Marrakech to the desert for an overnight adventure. The ride was seven hours and the van speaker ran out of juice. With no music and four hours left to go, people went nuts.
Lifepack to the Rescue: The Lifepack comes with a powerbank that also doubles as a speaker. But speakers only work when they’re charged and I had forgotten to charge it the night before. Thankfully, the Solarbank that comes with the backpack is solar-powered. I just popped that baby against the window to soak up the sunshine. The music came back on and the day was saved. Phew.
How The Features Held Up
The Lifepack has all the features. You can read about them here. And yes, all of them served a purpose during my travels.
Last summer, I was juggling bags and my Lifepack fell hard on the floor beside an active volcano in Bolivia. The built-in drop-proof laptop sleeve had me covered. Another time I had to sprint through the airport in Madrid to catch a flight. Those secret (and convenient) pockets made reaching for my passport feel like I was 007. Even today in Lisbon, I often wrap up a long day of work with a cold beer in the park, and I never have to worry about carrying a bottle opener. I could go on, but here are my thoughts on a just a few of these game-changers.
This is a huge reason why I love this backpack, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows from day one. The first edition of this backpack had a lock that eventually broke. Not ideal, but not the end of the world. All Lifepacks produced after the first generation feature a much stronger lock. I know because I’ve got the new Lifepack too. So, problem solved.
The waterproof bottom means I could set my Lifepack down anywhere without having to worry about my laptop getting wet. The material withstood a lot of severe weather situations during my travels and two years later, it still looks completely new. You can now also get a Shore-Tex Lifepack, which is made of upcycled ocean-bound plastics. Better for you and for the environment.
Powerbank + Bluetooth Speaker
Let me repeat. The Solarbank Boombox is a powerbank and a bluetooth speaker. It’s solar-powered, which is especially helpful when travelling. The Lifepack itself has a window you can pop the powerbank into so it can grab that sunlight while you’re walking around. A charged-up Solarbank will give your smartphone five full charges. The Solarbank Boombox (powerbank + speaker) is on the heavier side, but weighs less than if those were two separate items. If you don’t need a speaker, we can’t be friends, but I understand. You can get the lighter powerbank-only Solarbank with your Lifepack instead.
That’s It, Folks
My Lifepack has been good to me, and I couldn’t imagine travel and work without it. Two years and counting, I’ll be clutching onto my Lifepack for years and adventures to come.