Sherpani Sojourn Tote
Reading travel bag reviews is a total slog. You need specific features, but often only get vague descriptions. So when I finally found the bag I’d been searching for, I had to let the world know. This bag isn’t perfect, but hot damn if it isn’t close for most uses. If you’re an ultralight backpacking traveler, this bag isn’t for you. But it does have a little something for everyone else. I spent months reading read tons of reviews before taking a chance on this one. My local REI had it in stock, which meant I could take the bag on a date and return it if it didn’t work out.
When I travel, I do every thing I can to take only one large backpack. This is my one tried and true never going back travel hack. I usually use public transportation or walk, so I like all my stuff on my back and my hands free. When I get to my destination, I like to stash my large backpack and switch to a purse or daypack. Here’s why I like the Sherpani Sojourn Tote:
- Convertible backpack: 3 options for straps: backpack straps, removable crossbody strap, and hand straps. The backpack option was the #1 feature I was looking for.
- Mid-sized and lightweight. Weighs one pound! It’s small enough for a daypack, but large enough to carry everything you need for 24 hours (e.g., a change of lightweight clothes, a few mini toiletries, small laptop or tablet, snacks, bottle of water).
- Looks like a standard bag. It’s a “nice lady” bag, available in a few muted colors. It’s not an obvious tourist pack as backpack purses are within global fashion norms. It does not look or feel cheap, but it also doesn’t look like a luxury brand. It’s nondescript. This is marketed to women, but IMO it’s got a unisex style, design, and usable colors.
- Two water bottle pockets. One on each side and low profile. They stretch to hold your bottle rather than sticking out.
- Top zipper, so none of your crap falls out when you lay it down. There’s a magnetic closure on the outside pocket to help with this.
- Large inside pocket for cushioning up to a 13” laptop. My 13″ laptop fits with a little room to spare.
- Variety of pockets. The pockets are intuitive. I never appreciated this until I had to retire a bag that I coudn’t mesh with after I took it on a trip to Hawaii. I couldn’t find anything in that bag the entire trip so much so that it became a joke! But this has never been an issue with the Sherpani Sojourn, from day one. I can find my favorite pen, tissues, travel mouse, lip balm, etc. in a second. The pockets are appropriately sized and located, and nothing gets lost. Mary Poppins magic bag.
- Anti theft features: These are usually fluff, but it does have one theft deterrent feature I like and use frequently: a “locking” zipper for the main compartment. It’s not an actual lock, but there’s a little hook that you clip to your zipper after you zip it closed. A pickpocket would have to jostle you more than normal to get this one open, so likely they’ll just pick another target. It also has RFID blocking tech (likely not useful), anti slash bottom, and comes with a bike lock-style cable tie for locking your bag to…something?…if you have to step away.
- Slips over the handle of your rolling carry-on. Just unzip the stealthy zipper at the bottom.
- Not collapsible or easily packable. If you empty it, you can roll it up and bind it into the size of a very fat umbrella, but it’s still going to take up space in your backpacking bag. It’s better carried as the personal item that gets stowed under your seat, while your backpack fits in the overhead bin. I think a truly “packable” daypack with all the features this one has is a Unicorn; I haven’t found one yet, but I’m still looking…I’ll let you know.
- It’s not cheap. It’ll set you back approx. $100.
- Not all of the hardware is metal.
- The backpack straps have a lot of extra strap fabric; the excess drags on the ground if you use it as a handbag. You have to tie them up or think of another solution.
- Hand wash and air dry only.
At the end of the day, what makes this bag a success is that I haven’t yet resold or donated it. I’ve had it for a couple years and a couple international trips, and I still recommend it.
UPDATE! You can still find the Sherpani Sojourn bag scattered on the internet, but Sherpani has now swapped the Sojourn for the new model, the Sherpani Soleil AT. (Amazon Affiliate link)