There's a real freedom in traveling light, carrying everything you need in a carry-on bag so you can walk off the plane and be halfway to your hotel before everyone else's suitcases have hit the baggage carousel.
When out exploring or working from a cafe, though, often even that small piece of luggage is too big. Nobody wants to spend all day with a 40-liter bag on their back or find space for it every time they sit down somewhere, and a bag that size is really too bulky to take to a client meeting.
Minaal thinks it has the answer with the Daily, a downsized version of its excellent Carry-On 2.0 luggage. I put it the new bag through its paces for several weeks, and here's how it fared.
Features and Specifications
As the name suggests, the bag is intended for daily use. It's made from the same hard-wearing grey or black Cordura fabric as its big brother, and looks similar at first glance. It's noticeably smaller, though–at around 17” x 13” x 6”, you can carry it with one hand or slide it under even the narrowest of seats.
When empty, it's designed to fit inside the Minaal Carry-On 2.0, so you can take both bags on a trip without needing to check any luggage. Furthering the modular approach, the company offers a small range of optional accessories, including a shoulder strap, mobile toolcase for organizing cables and accessories, and a shirt protector for, well, doing exactly that.
The Daily converts between a backpack and briefcase, and if you buy the shoulder strap, a messenger bag as well.
The front of the bag has a single zip pocket for smaller items like phones and keys, and the back is padded foam, behind which sits a pair of straps. Pull them out and clip them to the bottom buckles for backpack mode, tuck them back in when you'd prefer a briefcase.
On the inside, the Daily is split into two compartments.
This was a smart move, as it gives more capacity than the exterior dimensions might suggest. Both sections fully open out, for ease of packing and unpacking.
The rear compartment is intended mainly for electronics, although you can store whatever you like in it. There's a neoprene section that can separately hold a 15” laptop and 11” tablet, with straps to keep them secure, and an organizer with several pockets for documents, passports, and business cards.
The main compartment is deeper, with a pair of zipped pockets at the back and a stretchy pouch on the side for water bottles or similar. The external fabric can handle a light shower, but for when the skies really open, there's an integrated rain cover in a pouch at the bottom.
I used the Daily for several weeks, both in normal life and while traveling out of town. It came along to the gym, when exploring the city and working in cafes, and on a weekend trip away with friends.
Minaal intends this to be a premium product, and it shows. It's stylish in an understated way, and the attention to detail is impressive. From little touches like lockable, quality zips and a clip to keep the chest strap from flapping around, to the slick electronics holder and organizer sections, plenty of thought has gone into the design of such a small bag.
My 13” laptop sat securely in its holder, even after the bag hit the floor one afternoon with a little more force than was perhaps intended. There was more than enough room in the main compartment for gym clothes and a water bottle, with enough space left over for a quick trip to the grocery store on the way back.
The rain cover got a workout during my testing, after I got caught in a downpour fifteen minutes from home. Ducking into a shop, I dropped my phone in the front pocket of the bag, and pulled the rain cover into place. By the time I got home my clothes were completely drenched, but everything inside the bag stayed dry.
Given its diminutive size, it performed better as a briefcase than the Carry-On 2.0 bag. Easy to lift and carry by the side handle, it remained well-balanced even when stuffed with gear.
It was a ten-minute walk from my accommodation to the cafe I often worked in, and carrying my "briefcase" there wasn't a problem.
Packing for a weekend out of town, there was enough space for two changes of clothes, toiletries, and electronics like a laptop, Kindle, and chargers. Even when full, the zips closed without force and the bag stayed comfortable on my back. Crammed into a taxi with several other people, I appreciated the Daily being small enough to slip onto the floor between my feet.
This is an impressive addition to the Minaal range. It's rare to find a bag equally useful around town and on a multi-day trip, but the Daily managed it.
Initially, I was concerned that the design was trying to be a bit too clever, with the multitude of pockets, clasps, attachment points, and pull-out bits and pieces seeming overkill on a day bag. The more I used it, though, the more I appreciated those little features. They didn't get in the way of using the Daily for everything from co-working to light hikes, but were there when needed.
It's not a cheap piece of luggage, so won't be for everyone. If you travel regularly or are otherwise happy to spend a little extra for a high-quality, versatile day bag equally useful at home and on the road, though, you'll be more than satisfied with the Minaal Daily.