True story. 5 weeks ago I realized I needed a new backpack for work. I wanted something stylish with a laptop compartment. It didn’t need to be big, just look good and be able to carry my laptop.
The problem with the pack I was using is I also use it with for outings with my kids which means constantly removing my work stuff and loading it with kid stuff – diapers, snacks, water bottle, etc. Moreover, it’s not a very attractive pack.
The easy solution was to get a new, stylish pack for work.
I spent an hour or two surfing online looking for a good option. I found a few, but didn’t pull the trigger and buy one.
Then lo and behold, a business colleague sent me the Cotopaxi Nazca backpack as a Christmas gift.
I had never heard of the brand. I immediately loved the pack. It is perfect for my working needs. My colleague is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is the state Cotopaxi is based. They wanted to get me something useful as well as sourced locally. Itâ€™s the perfect give; very thoughtful.
It’s been 2 weeks since I got it so now is the time to publish my Cotopaxi Nazca backpack review.
What I like about this pack
My older pack bulges out and looks bad. When it’s not full, it droops. When I run it swings back and forth on my back.
The Cotopaxi fits nice and snug to my back, doesn’t bulge or droop and doesn’t swing to and fro when I run.
It doesn’t look like one of those sport backpacks that are all too common. Instead, it’s plain in design and looks great with dress clothes or business casual. While I use it for going to and from work, it’s also a great carry-on bag when traveling.
Functions like a backpack and travel suitcase
I love how you this versatile pack operates as both backpack and travel suitcase. By travel suitcase, I mean that you can unzip it so that the bag fully opens up. Check it out:
Each side has a protective mesh covering for the storage area. Check out the storage areas on each side.
Or, you can simply access the compartments from the top.
Dedicated zippered laptop sleeve
There’s a dedicated laptop sleeve with the zipper at the top. It accommodates my 15in Macbook Pro perfectly.
The zippers are very high quality and open and close very easily without ever sticking or getting jammed. Each zipper has a leather tassel attached that looks good and offers additional gripping length for zipping the compartments.
Convenient easy-access storage pocket
Despite no ugly pockets and zippers on the exposed rear, there is a convenient small pocket for storing small items such as wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses, etc. This is accessible from the top. Check it out:
I love how this pack doesn’t have 1,001 zippered compartments on it which I don’t think looks very good. Instead, the exposed back is totally free of any zipper visual. All compartments are accessible from the top instead of the rear.
That said, inside the main compartment are a variety of different sections – mesh and non-mesh areas so that you can separate your items. The main compartment, while not huge, is big enough to fit a change or two of clothing.
It’s a shoulder bag too
If you don’t want to carry it as a backpack, you can carry it as a shoulder bag. In fact, it functions more like a travel bag than a backpack because you can unzip so that it opens up entirely for easier access and packing.
Sturdy, comfortable shoulder straps
The shoulder straps are stiff, yet padded so that they secure the pack very nicely to my back. When I tighten the shoulder straps, it feels good and fits snug instead of constricting my upper arms like other packs.
Since I prefer using it as a backpack, I removed the shoulder strap and put it inside. I’m a backpack guy so my hands are free instead of slinging bags over my shoulder.
Top and side handles
I love how there’s a convenient top handle so that I can easily grab it and go from the top. There’s also a small handle on each side so it can be carried like a briefcase. Sometimes, you just need to quickly move it and don’t want to take the time to put it on your back.
What I don’t like
Too many straps
This first photo shows the waist belt strap.
The photo below shows how you can tuck the waist belt strap away so that it’s not in the way.
My main complaint with this pack is it also includes waist strap and upper chest cross strap. For a pack this size (i.e. fairly compact), these additional straps are unnecessary 99.9% of the time. I can’t foresee putting so much stuff in this bag that I’ll need the additional support by securing the waist strap.
The reason this is a problem is it has extra straps flapping around which can get in the way and make it look a bit messier than it could.
Fortunately, there’s a nifty space to tuck in the waist band strap so that it’s out of the way.
I’m on the fence about the mesh compartments at this point. I like that it permits breathing inside for clothes, but I’m not sure how durable it will be. I envision it tearing, but it’s way too premature to come to that conclusion.
I love this pack and am very happy I have it. It was a gift; a perfect gift at that. I was looking for a new stylish backpack and this one fits the bill perfectly.