Combine the YETI Crossroads backpack, carry-on, and checkable luggage, and you have a burly travel set that will likely last as long as you do.
Travel is back, and with it comes the opportunity to refresh the way we travel. Personally, I haven’t always been the most organized traveler. My modus operandi for much of my life was to throw it all in a bag, get in my vehicle, and always remember something that I forgot when I was just far away enough not to be able to remedy it. (Socks, anyone?)
I’ve tried packing cubes, and I found myself loving them the first day, before they totally fall apart for the rest of the trip. Plus, with my packing cubes being the same color, I’d have to open each bag to figure out what the heck was in there.
Enter the YETI Crossroads luggage set.
In short: The combination of the YETI Crossroads backpack, carry-on, and large checkable luggage creates a rugged system of both organization and transport that can aid even the most unorganized of travelers. The burly design helps everything arrive safely at its next destination. Plus, if you’re a hunter and angler like me, the M30 Soft Cooler is a great option for traveling with frozen meat of any kind.
Review of the YETI Crossroads Luggage Collection
A cooler company is making luggage? Yeah. It is. By now, YETI’s crossover into a brand-centered lifestyle is pretty dang clear. And these folks know how to do it right.
The luggage isn’t necessarily new, but with updates to its Crossroads backpack and a matching collection of luggage constantly rotating limited-edition colors, here’s the full review of the system as it works on the road.
YETI Crossroads Luggage + Soft Cooler Travel Solution
For clarity, I actually tried four pieces of YETI’s luggage and cooler solutions for traveling.
- YETI Crossroads 27L Backpack, $230 (Carry-on approved, also comes in a smaller 22L and larger 35L option)
- YETI Crossroads 22″ Luggage, $350 (Carry-on approved)
- YETI Crossroads 29″ Luggage, $450 (Check only)
- YETI M30 Soft Cooler, $350 (Carry-on approved)
Aside from the cooler, the luggage collection is standardized in its materials across the board. Each is made from what YETI calls an “expedition-ready nylon” — 700-denier water- and abrasion-resistant TuffSkin Nylon.
The backpack series features a PU-coated Ground Control base, and the luggage offerings both have polycarbonate-molded bases and backs with burly wheels that feel nearly off-road capable.
The wheels are also serviceable and replaceable, setting the mind at ease should wear-and-tear become a rolling issue. The extendable handles offer no flimsy feel, and they prove easy to work with while running through airports.
A personal favorite of mine in the UX design is that there are handles wherever you could possibly want them on both the backpack and luggage options. Carry the backpack as a briefcase or over your shoulders. Lift the luggage any way you please. Wherever you reach, a handle likely awaits.
This also offers peace of mind that luggage handlers are likely to be able to grip and handle bags more effectively for loading and unloading, while the seriously overprotective construction keeps your belongings safe inside.
YETI Crossroads Offers Organization to the Maximum
Now to my favorite part of this system — its over-the-top attention to organization. The system is rife with pockets in a way that is borderline overkill. But, let’s be honest — that’s YETI’s wheelhouse.
In hand, right now, I count at least 10 pockets on the YETI Crossroads 27L backpack. A padded laptop and tablet section is separate from the rest of the bag, while two water bottle pockets are offered inside the main compartment.
That same main compartment offers a mesh internal bag, a smaller zip suitable for pencils, and one lower zip for cords or whatever else needs containment. Two external zips (one top, one front) offer access at all times.
But to me, the pinnacle of the pack is its travel-ready pass-through pocket that allows it to sit easily on the luggage handle.
The YETI Crossroads 22-inch luggage offers a similar take on organizational options. External pockets allow easy access to thinner or smaller options. And zipped inner compartments offer separation for larger items while mesh pockets offer up space for smaller items like socks or underwear.
The 29-inch luggage is similar to the setup of the 22-inch carry-on, except that it boasts three large compartments. Smaller pockets abound as well, and there’s easy separation for items like shoes or boots. And although 29 inches might not sound that tall offhand, this is a big checkable bag, it’s the biggest roller bag I’ve ever owned.
Using the YETI Crossroads Luggage on the Go
I’ve been using the YETI luggage system in one way or another for over 6 months now. In that time, I’ve flown, driven, taken long-term trips, and even loaned the luggage to friends in need of a more robust option for international travel.
To be frank, it’s the best I’ve used thus far.
It’s difficult to get disorganized when organization is simply the way that each bag works. And because of this, I’ve forgotten less, been able to maintain the system while on the run, and easily find things that I’d have had to dig for prior.
On top of that, the use case scenario of travel doesn’t always require all three pieces. Because the backpack is also a stowable carry-on size, it works in tandem with the 22-inch suitcase to provide enough storage for more than just a few days of travel. Add on the checkable 29-inch bag and you can easily pack for weeks of travel if done smartly.
Often, when I’m traveling, I’m either hunting or horseback riding. So, I’m packing boots, thicker clothing, perhaps a helmet, or other unwieldy gear that I’ll need depending on the weather. It’s really no problem to get it all there.
The other bonus to this system is that it can easily work for a couple or a traveling family who would rather save on extra luggage by sharing a large case.
Room for Improvement
Although I do love this system, there’s a few things I’d change.
I absolutely love the burly wheels. But it would be preferable to have the four-wheel system seen on most modern luggage. A friend borrowed the large bag for an international trip. She loved it, but she had issues with the larger bag toppling due to the two-wheel system.
Additionally, it’s vital that you lube up the zippers on these bags with the provided gel. And you should do this prior to putting anything into the suitcase so it has some time to set in. They did take a few times to break in, and a few corners took some finagling.
We all want to hem and haw over prices. But quality luggage is generally expensive. It’s not absurd to pay $300-400 for durable, travel-ready luggage, and I can’t bitch too much about the pricing when looking at competitors. It’s just not that far off, though I do feel it’s out of range for people in need of a budget price point.
The final piece of note is that all the bells and whistles add up weight-wise. The 22-inch bag is 7.5 pounds and the 29-inch bag weighs 10 pounds. In my opinion, the extra heft is helpful. But it is of note when you’re packing to make sure you don’t end up paying those overweight fees.
When I think YETI, I think over-engineered, and that’s really what all of this is. It’s thought out to each detail, from the big zippers to the pocket systems to the serious fabrics and injection-molded parts. The YETI Luggage System truly does live up to the brand’s reputation.
But really, at the end of the day, what I want is for my gear to travel safely, easily, and in an organized fashion. The trend toward built-in organizing exceeded my expectations here, and I love it.
Plus, it looks pretty darn slick in person. Maybe more cooler companies should start making luggage, or maybe YETI just gets their brand-loyal consumer base. In either case, it’s a yes from me. And I plan on using this set until the cows come home.
Check 27L Price at AmazonCheck 22-Inch Price at AmazonCheck 29-Inch Price at AmazonCheck M30 Price at REICheck M30 Price at YETI