I travel a lot – I used to tour full time, which meant traveling 11 months out of the year, and though the pandemic has slowed travel down, it's starting to pick back up again. So that leads me to find a new "all-purpose travel bag". I've been through quite a few backpacks and "every day carry" bags (all of which were better traveled than most humans, owing to several domestic and international tours and assignments), so I'd say I know a thing or two about travel bags and what works.
I was sent a HEX convertible backpack to test out, and I am duly impressed by this bag. It's just one bag in a long line of quality backpacks, laptop bags, phone cases, and so many more collections.
One of my "travel essentials", especially currently with quarantines required by many destinations, are my electronic devices – specifically gaming consoles. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Eden! Why don't you just bring along one of the many portable systems designed for this exact thing, like the Nintendo Switch?" and that's a valid question. However, I can't catch up on all the games I need to finish with just my switch, nor is it as easy to play certain co-op games on small controllers – and for that, I want my PlayStation with me. I once toured with a friend who always brought his Xbox with him, and several touring artists have even had specialized road cases built to bring their whole gaming set-ups (complete with flat-screen TV) with them on the road, so it's not a completely insane notion.
Now, if you aren't at a place where you can travel a whole entertainment center with you, might I recommend a good backpack? True, most backpacks don't fit the squared-off shape of consoles by inherent design – but that's where the HEX backpack comes into play. Its squared-off shape fits a console in it nicely – and it still functions as a proper backpack. Console backpacks do exist, but those are pretty single-purpose, meaning they only have a "lay flat zip" option, not a top zip (which the HEX bag has), and can't really function as a regular backpack outside of gaming travel.
Not only does the HEX bag fit my PS4 and all accessories in it, but there's still room left over for my laptop, plane snacks, and a book, even with the console in a protective sleeve in the main compartment. Adding to the fact that it's a backpack and not a duffle bag that's a pain to lug around, the HEX convertible backpack is like the gamer version of Mary Poppins' magical "fit everything" carpet bag.
This may be a niche need for me, but the straps tuck away to leave just the handle, which is an absolute game-changer. Why? When I travel via plane, I generally carry on two things: my backpack, and my violin. My violin case also has backpack straps, which makes being able to switch between carrying my instrument on my back (where it's safer) and my backpack on my back (where it feels less heavy) an absolute must, especially when moving through giant airports and walking between venues and destinations.
The only downside is that the convertible straps don't have a lever or way to easily open them – I have to manually push in the clip and un-do the hook, which is a little fidgety, especially when getting everything configured to exit the plane. But overall, that's my only real complaint with the bag after putting it through the paces on a travel assignment for a month and a half. It would have been nice to have one of the side pockets be mesh for a water bottle, but there are other styles that have that, and given everything else this bag can do and fit, it's not a big deal. All in all, the HEX convertible backpack is absolutely top of my list for travel bags and heavy-duty backpacks. You can find all their lines on their website here.