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After living in New York City for seven years, I have become a huge backpacker. With how much walking (and running to the subway as it’s about to close) I do, I just can’t be bothered with shoulder bags anymore. Backpacks are better for my back, hold so much more stuff and act as my personal item on every flight I take. I have a few backpacks in rotation right now, but my all-time favorite is ROAM’s The Continental. I’ve cycled through at least seven backpacks since becoming a city dweller, and this one is still at the top of my list. In fact, it’s about to go on a two-week trip to Europe with me.
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I was offered to test this backpack just before I went on two week-long trips last year. I had the colors of each panel customized and had the option to personalize the backpack as well. I chose a glass venetian green for the front panel and had the rest of the design outfitted in Kyoto Black. Cornwall Slate (blue) and Rio Fire (red) are additional shades for the shopper to choose from.
When I first got my hands on The Continental, I was surprised at how slim and light it was (it weighs just 2.4 pounds, according to the website). Although it looks a little bulky in the pictures online, the bag is no more than 3 to 4 inches thick when empty, which means it doesn’t take up much space when stored in my closet either.
I was also impressed with how well made the backpack felt. Handcrafted from recycled materials, the exterior of the backpack is water resistant and has since held its own through several downpours I’ve taken it out in. Meanwhile, the interior of the backpack feels silky smooth and luxurious.
One of my biggest issues when it comes to backpacks usually centers around the straps that either cut into my shoulders, slip off with every step, or break completely. I’m happy to report, not a problem here. The straps on ROAM’s backpack have the perfect amount of padding and have never dug into my shoulders, despite the hours I’ve spent using it at the airport and commuting to my office. I’ve never noticed any discomfort with this backpack (unless I’ve filled it to the brim with books).
Another perk? You can tell that this backpack was designed by people who travel often. There are just so many pockets – and they’re all in the right places. The six exterior zippered pockets are easy to open without snagging and boast a dedicated laptop zone, two roomy side pockets that easily fit my smaller umbrellas and water bottles, and a deep front pocket that’s big enough to fit for at least two books. Inside, there are two open pockets on the back of the backpack and two mesh, zippered pockets that I usually keep valuables or important documents in.
I never thought I’d be this excited about a backpack, but I always feel incredibly organized and put together when I walk through the airport wearing The Continental. I’ve only ever managed to pack a weekend’s worth of clothes and toiletries to take on a getaway to upstate New York. It’s my go-to for absolutely everything. I would even take this on a short hike because I’ve never noticed any sweat smell after walking around with it for hours at a time.
I know this backpack is a big plus, but I’ve had it for a year already and there’s no sign of wear and tear – it looks like I just got it yesterday. This bag also comes with a lifetime warranty and a 100-day free trial, so you can feel confident about your purchase. I foresee myself having this bag for at least five years, if not longer, so the price per wear and tear turns out to be about $70 a year. A worthy dividend in my book!