In the latest evolution for the revolutionary cooler brand, YETI dips its rugged toes into travel.
If anything lives to take a beating, it’s luggage. Checked bags’ rough departures are matched only by their unceremonious arrivals. First, they’re hucked onto carts and chucked into cargo holds, only to tumble with a thud onto a dirty old conveyor belt.
And if duct tape earns its keep anywhere, it’s when travelers deploy it to add a few thousand miles to the life of a sad, beat-up old bag.
And that’s exactly where YETI saw an opening: to add some muscle to fight back against the abuse all luggage endures. Launching today, the Crossroads wheeled Luggage — in 22- and 29-inch sizes — sports burly straps on all sides, a hard polycarbonate back, and 700-denier water- and abrasion-resistant construction.
If that wasn’t enough, YETI seems to have taken a cue from other brands’ organizational focus and loaded the Crossroads Luggage with a variety of zippered pockets throughout — and it even includes its own line of packing cubes with each bag.
We received an advance sample of the big 29-inch checked bag for this first look review. We stuffed, zipped, unzipped, and re-zipped all the pockets, and even stuffed it with clothes, electronics, books, and more.
In short: YETI did what YETI does — built the heck out of something. With its durable (but washable) exterior, the Crossroads 29-inch Luggage should withstand years of abuse. The bag has pockets galore, which really adds utility (and sanity) to long-term packing.
But it borders on overkill and, in the melee of airport travel, you may find yourself scrambling to remember in which of its many pockets you stashed your headphones, book, or ticket. But overall, the Crossroad 29-inch Luggage is as tough as it is stylish. Just brace for the sticker shock.
Here’s what the Crossroads Luggage has (both sizes):
- Removable, serviceable wheels
- Top zippered stash pocket for quick-grab items like headphones, sunglasses, pocket knife, etc.
- Front vertical zippered pocket for magazines, books, non-bulky items
- 4 gear loops on front, more on sides and top
- Large clamshell opening
- 1 medium, 1 large zippered mesh pocket inside top lid
- 1 medium, 1 large zippered mesh pocket on main compartment divider
- Full-size (29″ long) main pocket
- 2-stage telescoping handle
- Included medium and small YETI packing cubes
- Dimensions: 29.5″ (H) x 16.25″ (W) x 11.5″ (D)
The exterior comprises mainly 700-denier nylon, which YETI says was inspired by motorcycle gear. Meanwhile, the entire back of the Crossroads Luggage is hard, structured polycarbonate.
The bag comes with four removable and adjustable buckle straps that you can reposition inside the main compartment, or on the outside (front) of the bag. A window pocket for your contact details, in case the bag is lost, sits on the side.
YETI also advertises the wheels as “fully serviceable.” These connect (and remove) from the bag with Allen screws on each wheel.
YETI Crossroads 29-Inch Luggage Review
First of all, we received the Crossroads Luggage a couple weeks ago and have not taken it on a flight — yet. But we can glean some first impressions from the build.
First, the body construction. I’m not a fan of hard-side luggage for checked bags, so I appreciate YETI’s choice of 700-denier nylon. Hard-side luggage prevents you from overstuffing your bag — which, if you’re paying for it, you should do. It can also crack and tends to be heavier.
While lower-denier nylon can tear easily and allow water through, this construction — with covered, water-resistant zippers — feels and behaves tough. We left it out in the snow and banged it around. Water didn’t penetrate, and we didn’t rip through the fabric.
In fairness, don’t expect this to survive a monsoon on the tarmac or a water landing. It’s not waterproof. And if there’s a failure point, it could be at the bottom corners on the front of the luggage. This is where the stitching comes together and where the luggage will likely receive repeated impacts from baggage handling.
More testing and abuse are necessary to evaluate fully. But the bag feels well-built, and I haven’t noticed any preliminary indications of poor construction.
This is where the YETI excels…and maybe goes a tad overboard. The Crossroads Luggage has pockets on pockets on pockets — literally. The outside vertical pocket sits on top of two interior mesh pockets, which (when closed) sits on top of two more mesh pockets.
And all those sit on top of the main compartment! Honestly, I feel like YETI is damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t. Some folks just want a big bucket to quickly pack, others appreciate options to organize and divide.
I fall much more in the latter category. I usually start packing days before my trip and try to make life as easy as possible for future me upon landing. All the pockets, along with two included packing cubes, go a long way in helping with that task. Frankly, YETI looks like it’s trying to do for checked bags what Cotopaxi did for carry-ons with its Allpa.
As for the bells and whistles, there aren’t many. I do love all the big, rugged handles along the outside. Two on each side, and one on top and bottom. It helps to maneuver this big checked bag, whether someone’s tossing it into the plane or you’re loading it into the back of your ride.
The wheels rolled like a dream — and splashed through slush and ambled over curbs with aplomb. Finally, the telescoping main handle worked fine and was a good length to keep the bag from bumping my heels when I towed it behind me.
Plus, the medium and small packing cubes add a nice touch. YETI also has a large packing cube for purchase separately.
YETI Crossover Luggage Impressions
Based solely on build and feature set — heck yes, YETI’s Crossroads Luggage looks and feels like a dynamite piece of travel gear. It’s burly, offers dynamic storage and carry options, and even comes with some added packing cubes. It’s great!
And then there’s the price. A quick glance on Google for 29-inch luggage reveals a market around $60 for the low end, up to $300-ish for name-brand options. And sometimes that includes more than one bag or four caster wheels.
The YETI Crossroads 29-inch Luggage costs $450. That puts it in the upper echelon of large travel bags. At that price, it’s out-muscling Victorinox and giving Samsonite a run for its money. Will folks shell that out like they did when YETI made a cooler more than twice as expensive as the competition?
Maybe — especially if the Crossroads outperforms like the YETI Tundra did. YETI Crossroads Luggage (22- and 29-inch) goes on sale today in black, navy blue, and aquifer green (pictured) at YETI.com.