MEI Flying Scotsman II
Three years ago I went to France for a year on an exchange program. I knew I'd want to travel a lot while there, on day, weekend, and week-long trips, primarily by train. I did some in-depth research on convertible travel packs and tried many out. Luckily I lived near one of the very few locations that sell this pack in store, so I was able to try it on.
The manager told me that they are all assembled by hand in a shop in Fresno, and they don't have the production capacity to sell at more locations. I bought either the Trekker or the Flying Scotsman (I honestly don't remember which, it doesn't say on the pack. Mine is the one with the narrower depth).
The MEI seemed the toughest of all of them, and had the most adjustable strap system. I've horsed this thing down every dark alley in Europe, dragged it through train stations and airports, converted it from duffel to backpack hundreds of times, and it has never had a single frayed seem or stuck zipper.
- It's huge. It easily holds as much as a traditional suitcase.
- In its converted duffel form it still looks business-presentable (if I scrub off the mud).
- Every single strap on the backpack assembly can be adjusted for fit.
- The side pockets can be tucked inside and zipped shut even if they're full of stuff. You don't have to empty them to convert to duffel.
- It's huge. Its potential capacity is far greater than my actual carrying ability. This is not a problem as long as I have the discipline to half-pack it. There is a big size gap between the tiny Voyager and the next size up though. Outdoor Legacy might do well to add another pair of packs to fill this gap.
- It is larger than most airlines' carry-on size. That being said, I have managed to shove it into overhead compartments, but other passengers weren't happy about it.
- I've never found a use for the daypack. It's in a box somewhere; I haven't even seen it in a year. I prefer a canvas satchel for day trips, which draws less attention in Europe anyway.
Design: Internal frame convertible travel pack with zip-off daypack.
Size: 3400 ci without daypack (I think)
Number of Pockets: 2 when converted to backpack
Max. Load Carried: 45 pounds, could hold more but I can't
Height of Owner: 5'9"
Price Paid: $250
Clamshell opening and really tough. Survived 28 countries over 5 years backpacking.
- Clamshell design opening
- Side pockets optional
- Can tuck straps for checking bag as duffle
- Side handle
- Short on back for small people
- You can get into pack from side pockets
- Bag is too wide to walk down corridors of trains and buses, unless you go sideways like a crab
- Waterproof lining peeled off after 15 countries, maybe because of me washing it in hot water after a really gross transport experience
I loved it. It was my companion for some very exciting and terrifying experiences. The fact you could get into it when locked bothered me a lot. Oh and I ended up setting an 8kg limit on my carry weight as I'm small and want to enjoy travel and not feel like a pack horse.
So you need discipline with this bag! But it's FABULOUS to have the hybrid capabilities of duffle, clamshell opening etc. I would like to find a slightly smaller, say 40L version. The day pack was ALWAYS on my front...like a turtle.
It was robust. Never any zip issues. No tears, even chucked on logging trucks in British Columbia and utes in the Sinai.
Great bag. I'm looking for a waterproof, 40L clamshell with side compression capabilities and extension, compression options... maybe Tropicfeel Shell. Undecided but my next decade of adventure is imminent so I will certainly work a bag to the max in all scenarios and welcome suggestions. I don't tend to hike but rather sightsee...long distance.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $380AUD
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Reviewers Paid: $250.00