Tips & Techniques, Travel

The carry-on backpack you didn’t know you needed

And how to pack it.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Mar 4, 2022

Dreaming of your next travel destination but can’t swing the flight? The struggle is real, and everyone knows flights aren’t cheap. But what if we told you there’s a backpack that’s as spacious as a suitcase, that could save you money when it comes to luggage? AKA: No baggage fees, which cost anywhere from $30 to $60 per bag, depending on the airline.


Meet the TikTok-approved carry-on

TikTok has become obsessed with a special backpack called the Mother Lode Jr. Travel Backpack by eBags ($110). Based on its almost 5 million views, it’s safe to say people are interested.


Mother Lode Travel Backpack in the color Solid Black.

Photo via eBags


The compartment-heavy backpack counts as a personal item on most flights, and zips open like a suitcase, so it can fit multiple pants, shoes, toiletries, and more. Plus, TikTok offers a few tips—like wearing bulky items with you on the plane—that make packing a whole lot easier.


While traveling may be tight with this backpack alone, it’s worth the money and the ability to skip baggage claim. At the moment, the Mother Lode Jr. Travel Backpack is sold out on the eBags website, but don’t fret—eBags also has a larger version called the Mother Lode Travel Backpack ($120) that meets most airline carry-on requirements.


Packing Tips

Packing is pivotal. Forget an essential item, and you’re left disappointed and scrambling to find the nearest store in your destination. Pack too much, and you end up disorganized, burdened with heavy bags, and hemorrhaging money to pay for pricey airline baggage fees. So we thought it best to revisit the most basic—and most useful—packing rules. Here are 3 fundamental packing strategies that every traveler should learn.


1. Roll, don’t fold

Many travel experts—including backpackers, who must stuff months’ worth of clothing into a pack the size of a box of wine—agree that rolling is superior to folding. Tightly rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones. Plus, they’re less prone to getting deep wrinkles from fold creases.


2. Make a packing list

When it comes to packing, procrastinators fall short. Start your packing process days, or even weeks, ahead of your departure date. This gives you time to craft a complete list, as well as purchase any additional items you might need for your vacation. Creating a packing list is a fail-safe way to ensure that you never, ever forget to bring something important.


3. Know your airline’s baggage fee policy

Figuring out the airlines’ tricky and befuddling baggage fee policies is key to any budget-minded packing strategy. While most airlines permit travelers to check at least one bag on international flights, the majority of U.S. carriers charge big bucks for bags checked on domestic flights. Spirit Airlines—that notoriously customer-unfriendly discounter—even charges as much as $100 for carry-on bags.


If you’re an anxious flyer, we have some tips to combat that as well. And before you even book your next trip, get yourself one of these airline travel cards so you can travel on points like a boss.