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REI Vagabond Travel Pack

September 8, 2009

I love bags.

I especially love to buy bags when I go on a trip.

I go on a fair amount of trips, therefore I own a fair amount of bags.

One of my FAVORITE bags is the REI vagabond. I bought this bag before I went on a trip to Africa. A friend warned meREI Vagabond front against “traditional” luggage (my standby is my four year old Tumi T-Tech, which they don’t sell anymore) as there would be no place to roll it due to dirt streets. I went to my local REI and browsed the traditional hiking packs and happened upon this Vagabond.

I fell in love. Found out is was on sale if you ordered on-line, went home, ordered it, had it shipped to the store for free, and then waited patiently for the delivery confirmation.

The bag is so close to perfect it isn’t even funny.

It is the right size for carry on on most major airlines (domestic flights in Russia on Aeroflot will not accept this bag as a carry on). It is technically 1″ longer than Delta’s specifications, it is squishable, and therefore, it can be squished to meet most regulations.

It unzips like a traditional piece of luggage so that you don’t have to stuff everything in the top like you would with a traditional hiking pack. You can lay it on the ground unzip the whole thing, find what you need without removing everything from the REI Vagabond backbag, zip it back up and be on your way.

It has all the supports that a traditional hiking backpack has, shoulder straps, hip straps, chest straps, those pulls that are by your shoulders, the whole shebang.

It has extra pockets here and there for your little stuff.

It was originally priced at only $99, but I got mine for $60, and then it went down to $30-something.


…well, almost.

Two little tiny teeny tiny small complaints.

1. The hip straps don’t adjust down small enough to be of any real benefit to someone my size (unless I stuff things between my hips and the hip support straps, which I have done),

2. They don’t make this bag anymore.


They have come out with something called (appropriately) the Vagabond 2.0. This is their newer version of the old Vagabond. Here is what I know so far:

It looks smaller, which I don’t know whether that is a good thing or not, I guess it depends on how much stuff you need to bring. But, it also expands. It goes from a 9″ depth to a 13″ depth (insert the “that’s what she said” joke here) which is great if you don’t pack as tidy on the way back home (or have bought a bunch of stuff that must return with you).

I thought I read somewhere that it has a built in rain cover, but I couldn’t find that in the specs on

It looks more like a traditional book bag than a hiking pack.

Something that I don’t think I like is that it has smaller pockets on the front of the bag for, what the website describes as, small items like iPods and keys. I find this to be a problem due to pick pocketing. On the old Vagabond, the smaller pocket is at the top of the bag, with the zipper facing the wearers head/neck. It would be a little more difficult for a pick pocket to get to your valuables when they have to maneuver around your neck. Not impossible, but more difficult compared to just unzipping a pocket that is out in the middle of creation for everyone to have access. Just a thought.

Also, not currently listed on the website is the price point. Earlier when I was researching the bag, I thought I saw that it was about $150 (or more), which I thought was a little high, but I can’t be sure because they don’t have the price currently listed on the website. I’ll update when more information becomes available.

Just a quick note on REI’s shipping policy. I was a little irritated (just a little) that I had to order this bag online and wait for it to be shipped to the store just to get the discounted price. The problem I had is that the bag was already in the store. The exact same bag I wanted was in the store, begging to be bought, but I had to wait for it to be shipped to the store. I was confused. I was sad. I wanted instant gratification. I also didn’t understand this process at all, but I have been learning to accept bizarre bureaucratic practices, such as this one.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Leah permalink
    November 15, 2010 8:52 PM

    They do make the Vagabond again. I’m not sure if it’s much different to the original Vagabond, but it’s certainly more like it than the Vagabond 2.0. I’m trying to figure out if I want it too!

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