Somewhere in the Republic of Moldova.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heys ePac17 Roller Backpack Review

We just spent four months traveling Europe using these relatively small backpacks as our only luggage, so this is as good a time as any to tell you what we think of them so far. First, we'll bring you back to June 7, 2012 when we received these laptop backpacks so that you can have a look at our first impressions.

Of course when you are a travel blogger, your number one piece of equipment is your laptop. I already had a 17" laptop and didn't want to buy a smaller one. So when we saw the Heys ePac17 Roller Laptop Backpack, and we saw that it the right size for carry on luggage we figured it would be great for our travels.

And overall, it was great!

For the times where the ground surface isn't suitable for pulling it behind you, the bag turns into a backpack!

That doesn't mean that it's not without it's drawbacks and restrictions, but we don't think there exists a "perfect" piece of luggage. At some point there's some give and take. While it would be nice to have a larger bag in order to bring more of your stuff with you, that would mean always having to check your luggage, and of course it would be bigger and heavier and bulkier. And smaller would be more convenient but then you really have to restrict how much you can bring. So there has to be a happy medium and we think the ePac17 fits the bill.

There are a lot of positives about this backpack, and they far outweigh the negatives. But there are some things we have to mention.

First, the size. The European discount airlines have strict size restrictions for carry on luggage, and many of them require you to pay extra if you have to check a bag that exceeds those restrictions. So when we saw the size listed as 20.5" x 13.5" x 10"on the Heys website , we thought that's great because it only just falls into the carry on category. However, when you click on the "Technical Specs" tab on the same page, it then says the size is 22" x 14" x 12". And it turns out that the larger size is really the more accurate one. No idea why there is a discrepancy on the website.

Also, because the bag is soft sided, it's easy to overfill the bag and have it exceed the 12" depth measurement and that's the one the airlines seem most concerned with. However, none of this matters if you plan on checking the bag when you're flying with it. Perhaps they should include a couple of straps that would enable you to squeeze the bag tighter. Just a thought.

Rolling the ePac17 through Reykjavik.

The second negative is also size related, but there's nothing to be done about this. We had originally planned on being able to use one of the backpacks as a day use pack when we're out, but they really are too big for that. So we ended up buying a cheap $10 day pack for when we were out exploring.

The third negative is pretty minor as well. The zipper of the secondary compartment is a little difficult to open and close. I think this is because they designed it with a flap over that zipper because it's the compartment where you might put things that you wouldn't want to get wet if it happened to rain really hard. So the flap kind of gets in the way of the zipper, but if that's what the flap was designed for then I think it probably does it's job really well. We were lucky that we never got caught in the rain so we didn't have to find out!

Oh, one other thing. The website says it comes with a 3 digit combination lock, but neither one of ours came with one. We ended up buying good quality luggage locks anyhow so it wasn't an issue. But I thought that was worth mentioning.

There are a lot of positives though. First of all, we found them to be really well made. We put these things through a lot of miles over the last four months. Way more than just someone who would use it to go from airport to hotel and back. We traipsed around cities and through fields and onto trains and buses. Rolled them on rough roads and sidewalks. Nothing broke on either one of them. No broken zippers or seams, and the rollerblade wheels still spin like new. The side sliding pocket that the laptop goes into is great because you don't have to disturb any of your other gear to have easy access to your computer. And it's heavily padded so there's little risk to the laptop itself if the baggage handlers happen to throw it around a little bit. Tons of little compartments and pockets to separate and organize your things.

Overall, we would travel with this bag again and have no problem recommending it to our readers!

Update October 12:
Hey's International have updated their website to repair the discrepancy about the sizing. And, these bags do in fact come with a combination lock. The locks don't come packaged with the bags when they are received from the manufacturer and we had asked for a rush order so they didn't have time to get packaged in our particular order. Anybody ordering now will receive the locks with their purchase.


  1. Glad to hear you had good experiences with the bag. I am thinking of something like that.

  2. Good review on the bag, looks like a great product.

  3. When you visited I looked at your bags and would have liked bags that weighed less when empty, had a full zip for easy access to the contents and trolley handles at the edge of the bag giving you extra space inside. I really love the sub zero g range and have yet to find a lighter trolley bag BUT as you say there are always compromises and these don't turn into backpacks.

    1. Thanks Glen, we knew there were a couple of things that you had mentioned that we also agreed with. One being the a zipper that went right to the bottom instead of part way down. That really would make better access to the bottom of the main compartment much easier. I think it would be harder to make this case lighter and still have it durable for lots of travel.


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