When it comes to buying travel gear in New Zealand then Kathmandu is a shop that’s up there on most people’s list of places to start. I got my backpack from here a few years back and it’s lasted me well. I have the version 1 but the current model of the one I have is the Hybrid Trolley v2.
A friend and I went shopping during the Kathmandu Boxing Day sales as she was looking to downsize her backpack and become a more streamlined packer. Along the way I somehow got swept along with the grand plan and ended up buying a bag as well. I have a 65 litre model – the current model is either 50 or 70 litres. I have to say it may be a little smaller than I perhaps should have looked at – I’m not the best of packers in the world after all – although I am trying. The thing I love about it though is that it is a hybrid pack. It has great little wheels so I can trundle along merrily with my suitcase looking all sophisticated traveller girl, but it has back straps if I really need them to lug it around. These are easily zipped away in the back pocket when not in use and also good to stop anything getting stuck in conveyor belts at the airport.
On the odd time that I have had to carry the bag – during the mad dash down 6 flights of stairs during the Christchurch earthquake for example. It was a comfortable bag to carry and I had no problems at all, despite the fact that I have a seriously dodgy back after a snowboarding accident so can’t really carry heavy things anymore. The straps were wide and comfortable and easy to adjust. I have to admit I haven’t carried it when full to overflowing so this may prove problematic for me but so far so good.
Inside the bag is lined and has straps that keep everything together well. There is an inside pocket as well as a smaller outer one too which I find useful for keeping things like scarves in so they are easy to get to if I need them. I have the grey and red version pictured to the right but the new V2 comes in black, dark red and an awesome bright blue which I am totally lusting after now.
I have stuffed this bag to within an inch of it’s life at times and not only does it take a lot more stuff than I thought it would, but takes a lot of weight too with no problems. I have overfilled it at times and although the zips looked a little alarmed and having to hold together so much stuff they have – up till this point – not given out on me. It does have 4 extra straps – 2 on each side – to hold everything together as well just in case so it really is a sturdy little suitcase.
The only real negative is the price. RRP on the Hybrid Trolley V2 are $549.99 for the 50 litre and $599.98 for the 70 litre – no matter how good a bag is, I would find it hard handing over that sort of cash for a bag. Kathmandu can be pricey. An excellent way is to hold for their sales which they have several times a year (they are having one right now in fact) and I would also recommend joining their membership scheme called Summit Club – it’s only $10 to join but you get savings off everything in store and also get some fantastic member only offers and access to pre-sales too. Currently the Hybrid Trolley V2 is selling for $247.49 for the 50 litre and $269.99 for the 70 litre. (All prices in New Zealand Dollars) so it’s well worth waiting for the sales. The great thing with Kathmandu is if you have an issues with products, they are fantastic about replacing or fixing things for you, and most of the time you don’t even need your receipt if you are a Summit Club member as they can look back through your transactions.