Evoc is known for making many kinds of bag – ones to carry your bike in, ones to carry while you’re riding your bike, and, like this ‘Evoc World Traveller’ maybe, ones to carry when you’re off somewhere fun to ride your bike. Or, just going to visit your Granny.
The Evoc World Traveller is a fairly lightweight 125 litre (dimensions 85x40x32cm) suitcase with pull out handle for towing it along on a pair of replaceable rubbery roller-blade like wheels. They’re uni-directional wheels on the side of the bag that you tilt onto when using the tow handle – so you’re not going to be playing airport suitcase bowling with this (not that you should be doing that anyway…ahem).
Inside, the bag is a single space divided by a number of removable foam panels, however, the bag is effectively divided 80/20 into a smaller upper chamber and larger lower one by the outer lid, which contains a fixed area about two thirds of the way up the bag, under the upper strap. So, while the inside can be turned into one big space, there’s no means of freely accessing all of that space at once due to this fixed cross piece. This does limit the size of objects you can get in there.
The main zipped flap has a large slim outer pocket on it, while the smaller top flap has a small zipped pocket with inner mesh pocket area, while the flap to the upper section reveals a mesh zipped pouch inside the very top of the bag. The back or bottom of the Evoc World Traveller has cross fitting elastic straps for holding down neatly pressed shirts or even suit jackets (if you own such things).
There are two large straps that wrap around the case. Both wrap round the case and join with substantial clip buckles. There’s a substantial padded fabric handle on both the top and side of the case to help with things like lifting it into luggage racks or vehicles.
I had the ‘Olive’ bag, and it comes in three other colours, which can all be matched to other luggage items (and even things like wash bags) in the Evoc range.
While the light weight of the Evoc World Traveller and quality appearance had me excited at the prospect of using it, the reality was a little perplexing and suggested a new approach to packing. The illustrations on the website show it being used like a portable wardrobe, with clothes carefully folded as you might/would on your shelves at home, and shoes and wash bag up in the top section. Which is all very well and admirable, but I can’t remember ever having managed to pack lightly enough that that kind of neat folding would really work. But, if you’ve been looking for a portable wardrobe, this is the bag for you. Please could you come round to my house and pack for all my future trips?
I did go to the bother of packing in this fashion for a trip, and discovered that – certainly on a plane journey, where your back gets chucked around – this didn’t quite work out. Items slipped round the back of the ‘shelves’, with my shampoo migrating from one of the small sections at the top, right down into my clothes at the bottom. I’m glad the lid was closed.
If you’re just looking to use this like a normal suitcase, you’ll encounter a limitation in the form of the fixed outer crosspiece. This reduces the practical capacity of the case, since anything the size of the main inner has to be slotted in and under that crosspiece – which makes packing rather more Tetris like. While I can see the idea behind the ‘wardrobe’ set up, I’d have liked to see an extra zip enabling the whole front section to be opened up completely.
The foam inner dividers are easy enough to move around, and may come in handy with those wanting to separate different areas of their case. They’re meant to add a shelf to your ‘wardrobe’, however I found they got rather sinky in the middle, so it wasn’t quite the neatly laid out series of flatly folded items I was aiming for – I had to stuff the lower section with a few towels and bulky items to hold the ‘shelf’ in the main section up. Instead, I found myself removing the one in the main section to give more room for bigger items in a traditional packing fashion, and then used the smaller upper sections in the top area for underwear, shampoos (with lids carefully on), and suchlike.
I’ve found that it’s not a very stuffable suitcase – which makes sense if you want to be able to get things in and out of your wardrobe. As a traditional stuff-it-full suitcase, the fixed cross piece provides an inflexible area that means it’s like stuffing things into two separate smaller cases, rather than one huge one. The compression band seemed to help a little on the lower section, but positioned as it is across the fixed section, the upper band didn’t really seem to have a purpose beyond carrying a skateboard (which the straps are designed to allow you to do).
Thing is, I’m just not cut out for this wardrobe on the go thing. For one thing, I don’t care if my clothes are crushed, since I never iron anything anyway. I rarely, if ever, have need to look smart, and I’m quite happy to live out of a suitcase and root through it for a clean creased T-shirt. Having enough clean things for multiple days of riding, or options for different weather conditions, means that capacity is more important to me than accessibility. And if I’m going on a plane, I don’t need a handy little top area to access incidental items – I just want as much volume as possible to get stuff in. If you’re like me, then you can probably find cheaper ‘stuff and go’ suitcase options on the market that are just as good quality.
Where I think this bag’s design comes in more realistically useful to mortals and normal-packers is on a train – or maybe even a road trip. Here the smaller upper pocket does come in handy for keeping things accessible between destinations. You can put your book, your keys, your phone charger, a jacket…whatever, all that stuff you might need along the way (maybe even your day’s ride kit and change of clothes) away from all your other gear. It’ll certainly spare you from having to empty your undergarments all over the train while you hunt for your family rail card.
Towing the Evoc World Traveller along is a breeze, and the handles are in all the right places for hefting it into luggage racks. It’s showing no sign of any damage, and all the signs are that the construction is of excellent quality.
If you’re a stuff-everything-in-the-bag and dash for a flight kind of packer, you’ll not get the most out of the Evoc World Traveller. But if you’ve been searching (probably quite systematically, if you’re this fastidious) for a mini wardrobe to take on your train travels, this might be the bag for you.
|Tested:||by Hannah for 4 months|
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