Yeti Crossroads 27L Travel Backpack Review

More pleasure than business, but one of the most comfortable bags for carrying.

Yeti Crossroads 27L Photos: Michael Frank and Mark Miller

The Yeti Crossroads 27L is one of 10 travel backpacks I evaluated for qualities including organization, comfort, and sturdiness as part of CR’s “Outside the Labs” review program.

Price: $229.99
Where to buy: Yeti.com
Dimensions: 19¾ × 12 × 9 inches
Weight: 3.59 pounds
Construction: Nylon
Claimed capacity: 27 liters
Tuckable pack sleeves: No
External bottle sleeve: No
Shoulder carry: No
Waist strap: No
Eyeglass sleeve: Yes
Extras: Compression straps to tighten volume

Here’s My Review
The Yeti is big but it lacks the typical organizing slots business travelers look for to stow pens, business, cards, etc. That said, the Crossroads 27L makes sense for adventure or leisure travel, in part because its water-resistant exterior and sealed zippers match the Patagonia Black Hole Mini MLC for precip-proofing, and a rigid back panel allows it to ride like a more “serious” hiker’s backpack. It managed my gear load breezily—and my back wasn’t as fatigued tromping around with it as it was with some other bags. The Yeti costs more than many similar bags, but double-reinforced (with bar-tacked stitching) grab handles and an extra protective layer at the base could make it last longer than some of the others. The rugged construction also shows on the scales, where, unladen, the Yeti was one of the heftier bags I tried.

See our review of the best travel backpacks for more information, including details on how we evaluated them.

Unfurl the big U-shaped zipper that closes the main cargo hold and you’ll find small cuffs at the base of both sides designed to hold one of Yeti’s many styles of water bottles. But these portholes are also handy for a lot of other things you’ll want to grab quickly. I stowed my (non-Yeti) water bottle on one side and my umbrella on the other. Also, though I wouldn’t necessarily risk a water bottle inside my pack—pressure changes with altitude can cause any water bottle to leak—stowing the bag with the water bottle in the cuff did make the bag fit more easily in the underseat space, because there’s no bulge on the outside of the pack. In practice, I’d yank the bottle and put it in the seatback slot so I could drink more readily and to avoid leaking. Super-stiff webbing handles on the top and side of this pack add to the utility of stuffing it and yanking it out of the underseat storage area. And although it protrudes plenty and would be overlapping your shoes, it did fit, in part because dual cinch straps wrap the entire shell and tourniquet the contents into a smaller package. Like several of the bags I looked at, the Yeti can slide over the telescoped handles of roll-aboard bags so you can carry them both at once, and it had the widest slot for doing so.

Bonus! A small slit from the laptop sleeve into the main cavity lets you reach through a “door” you’re already apt to have open to retrieve a book, snack, etc., without having to open the entire suitcase while seated.

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