What We Like
Protected battery/cord compartment
Three ways to carry
Padded back for comfort
Adjustable sternum strap for support
What We Don't Like
Laptop sleeve isn’t enforced
Too big for everyday use
Backpack straps are uncomfortable
Do you make frequent weekend trips out of town for business or to visit loved ones? If so, the eBags Professional Weekender carry-on backpack could be the bag for you. A regular backpack isn’t large enough to hold your stuff, but taking a suitcase? Total overkill. That’s where duffel bags and carry-on backpacks come in. They offer plenty of room for three days’ worth of clothes and toiletries while saving you the trouble of checking a bag. Read on to see how the eBags Professional Weekender holds up to the competition.
Design: Some great perks
If you’re heading out for a short business trip, the eBags Professional Weekender is an airport-friendly option that can hold enough clothes for a few days, as well as a laptop up to 18 inches. While it comes with lots of compartments so you can keep track of your stuff, it’s still small enough to fit into an overhead bin.
There are a few features that we love. For easy transportation, the eBags carry-on has a sleeve on the back so you can slip it over your luggage handle as you roll through the airport. If you don’t have any rolling luggage, the mesh pads will offer some comfort as you carry it on your back. Don’t want to carry it like a backpack? You can store the straps out of the way and carry it like a briefcase, or attach the shoulder strap and use it as a crossbody bag.
While we walked around with this bag, we found that it was decently comfortable. We like it best as a backpack, although if you stuff it full and carry it around all day, expect some sore shoulders. The mesh pads and sternum strap are nice touches, but the weight distribution could be improved by adding an extra strap around the stomach/hip area. Most of the weight settles on your upper back, with little to nothing hitting your lower back. This also means the straps will rub on your arms, which can cause irritation.
You can store the straps out of the way and carry it like a briefcase, or attach the shoulder strap and use it as a crossbody bag.
If you’re packing smaller electronics, the Professional Weekender offers a battery compartment at the bottom of the bag that’s protected by a hard shell. This is the perfect place to keep charging cords, earbuds, and a point-and-shoot camera safe. There’s also a front organizational pocket for pens, notebooks, your passport, and a snack or two, and a side pocket for a water bottle.
One design flaw we noticed is that the deep pocket on the bottom front, which expands inward, is rendered useless if the main compartment is full of clothes.
Laptop Sleeve: Much to be desired
If you’re going to be traveling with a laptop or tablet, this bag comes with two sleeves, one in the front and one in the back. A nice perk is that you can keep your laptop in the back one while going through airport security as long as you open up the bag and lay it down flat.
There’s not adequate padding or supportive walls to keep your electronics protected.
The unfortunate thing is that the sleeves are just that—sleeves. There’s not adequate padding or supportive walls to keep your electronics protected. And the laptop sleeve in the back is open at the bottom, meaning your laptop rests on a “shelf” created by the shell of the battery compartment. If you want extra protection for your laptop, there are other options out there that will give you better support (see more in the competition section)—or you could get yourself a hard laptop sleeve.
Capacity: Great for a weekend—but that’s it
This bag performs its purpose well, but if you want any extras, it’ll disappoint. Though it looks like it could hold more clothes, its TSA-friendly design makes it hard to fit more than a few outfits. So if you’re traveling for any time longer than a weekend, the eBags Professional Weekender isn’t going to work well for you.
Portability: Too big for everyday use
While the eBags Professional Weekender backpack is small enough to be used as a personal item or carry-on bag, it’s too clunky for everyday use. Plus, if you’re lugging a laptop to work all day, you definitely want something that will protect it better than a simple sleeve.
While it’s small enough to be used as a personal item or carry-on bag, it’s too clunky for everyday use.
The bag itself isn’t that heavy—about 3.5 pounds—so carrying it is a fairly pleasant experience. When it’s full, however, it really weighs down on your shoulders. If you’re looking for a backpack that has a great suspension system, this isn’t it. And considering the backpack straps rub against the skin on your arms, it can get uncomfortable fast.
Price: Not worth it
With a list price of about $170, we weren’t impressed with the eBags Professional Weekender’s value. Sure, it has some great features, but it also has its drawbacks. And considering that carrying it can lead to irritated skin pretty quickly, we think that’s too much to ask.
Competition: More comfortable and roomier options
Tortuga Setout Backpack: We also tested this bag from Tortuga, which is about the same size as the eBags Professional Weekender, but it holds so much more. To sweeten the deal, the Tortuga bag actually has a padded laptop sleeve so you don’t have to worry about your computer getting damaged. Coming with just as many extra compartments (yet, somehow, more room), the Tortuga Setout also has a better suspension system and more padding on its straps than the eBags option.
With this backpack, you’ll be more comfortable, can pack for around two weeks (or take something like a towel or an extra pair of shoes), and your laptop will be safe and secure. It comes in a women’s fit and a men’s fit, and in two sizes. It has an MSRP of $179 (for the smaller size). Spending just a bit extra on a better backpack seems like a no-brainer to us.
Osprey Porter 30 Travel Backpack: If you want a heavy-duty backpack that won’t blow your budget, the Osprey Porter 30 Travel Backpack is a great option. In our testing, we found it as spacious as the Tortuga Setout, with plenty of pockets to keep you organized. While its laptop sleeve could be more protected, we love how the suspension system keeps things comfortable while hiking along a trail in the woods. Price-wise, the Osprey Porter goes for $120 MSRP. Considering its durable fabric, this backpack will probably pay for itself over and over again.
Want to take a look at some more options? Check out our roundup of the best carry-on backpacks.
- Product Name Professional Weekender
- Product Brand eBags
- SKU EB2146-20.5
- Price $169.99
- Weight 3.4 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 21 x 14 x 8 in.
- Color Black, brushed indigo, heathered graphite
- Materials 840D and 900D Twisted Poly
- Warranty Lifetime