Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L Review

Planning for the Laugavegur, probably my biggest issue in terms of gear was choosing the right backpack. The backpack had to be able to carry everything I needed, but also meet the requirements of carry-on baggage. Ultimately it came down to a pair of backpacks and I couldn’t be happier with my choice of the Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack, a sample I received just before leaving.

Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L

Overall, this pack is easy to pack (it has a butterfly opening for easy accessibility). The straps aren’t overly adjustable and the hip belt is pretty minimal, but they worked great for me over 7 days of travel and hiking. The weatherproof materials and zippers protected my gear and also have the benefit of easy exterior cleaning.

Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L

The insides are basically a large open area with  an internal webbing panel for gear attachment. The inside of the front panel features internal mesh zippered pockets to stash smaller essentials, along with a key fob holder to keep the keys safely inside the pack.

Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L by Harpa

I didn’t use it on this trip, but there is an additional lockable padded 17″ laptop compartment, which also could work as a place to store a rain jacket or other items needing quick access. I loved the hidden side stash pocket, where I kept my passport, wallet, and needed papers safe and protected in a Ziploc bag (which I didn’t really need).

Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L

The front zip compartment is useful in a variety of ways. Off the trail I kept protein bars, my gloves, and my hat for easy access. On the trail, I used it to store my water bladder. A lack of a hydration compatibility is probably the only thing missing on this bag.

Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L

The fact that the backpack is built of waterproof materials, with self-healing zippers that also had covers meant I never had to use the backpack cover I brought along. Through high winds blowing sleet, rain, and serious drizzle over two days, my gear never even got damp. Very impressive.

Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L

I find the design of the pack very appealing and the performance far exceeded my expectations. As a carry-on, it can hold quite a bit of gear and still feel good carrying it long distances (our longest day was 7 hours on the trail). At 3 1/4 pounds, it’s not ultralight, but not heavy for its performance.

Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L

If you’re looking for a really well-made travel bag, consider the The Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L. Good looks and performance will handle anything you throw at it, even Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail.

*This product provided for editorial purposes – all opinions are my own.

Other new gear used on the Laugavegur: The North Face Mountain Sneakers, Big Agnes Farrington PrimaLoft Sleeping Bag Liner, Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles.


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