I love traveling. I enjoy throwing on some comfy clothes and shoes and going on adventures, exploring new cultures and places, discovering new activities, and meeting new people. But I also love gadgets and I research every accessory that I buy for days before committing to the purchase. So when it comes to what I take with me on any trip, I'm very selective with what makes the cut, regardless if it's a weekend getaway or a 10-day work + leisure vacation. Over the past four years, one item has been a mainstay of all my urban and wild adventures, and that's the Bobby backpack by XD Design. It's so good that my husband and I now own two of these, and we don't plan on replacing them with anything else.
Left: Mallorca (2017). Middle: Hallstatt (2018). Right: Barcelona (2019).
I first saw the original Bobby on Kickstarter in 2016 and immediately put down a pledge for a black one. This was one of the most professionally-handled projects on the platform; I got my backpack on time and it was fantastic. I didn't have any trips planned right away, so it wasn't until my honeymoon in June of 2017 that my husband and I put it to the test. We loved the idea of a backpack with no outward-facing access or zippers, but still with plenty of reachable pockets for a wallet and other essential items. For city dwelling and transit, the level of security you feel with this backpack is unparalleled. And when we'd get to our destination, we could always open it up properly and take out our laptop, tablet, Kindle, camera, and any other items we put inside it.
All the zippers are accessible from the back, which protects your items.
Over the years, the original Bobby proved to be more than just a good city travel backpack. Beach-side vacation in Mallorca? No worries about sand or splashes of water. Wildlife adventure in Nepal? Just dust it off when you're done and it's good as new. MWC event coverage and meetings? I put in my camera, charger, Pixelbook, headphones, and I'm good to go. In fact, we loved the Bobby so much that it was silly to have just one. So when the company made the Bobby Pro, we backed that as well, this time in blue. On our roadtrip in Mainland Greece in 2019, having both saved us from carrying around unnecessary extra luggage — just a Bobby and a relatively small checked-in luggage.
Left to right: Vienna (2018), Pokhara (2018), Abu Dhabi (2018), Missolonghi (2019), Athens (2019).
Sidenote: Google Photos is really awesome. I just searched for "backpack" and found all these pics in one fell swoop.
Over these four years, I've come to appreciate this backpack more and more. Either model slides right under the seat of airplanes so I don't have to worry about the overstuffed luggage compartment. It holds more than I think it could and is extremely comfortable to carry around — even with my terrible back and shoulder pain, I could run around MWC all day with my laptop and camera inside it and not feel like I was carrying the whole world. It can handle being slightly mistreated and comes out without a scuff. It has a nice pass-through cable for charging my phone when I'm on the go, a waterproof cover for those rainy days, an accessible card slot for transit or credit cards, and lots of nice small touches everywhere you look. And best of all, my important items (wallet, keys, passport) are next to my body, away from any wandering hands.
One AirBnb, a phone, an Insta360 cam, two Bobbys.
Now that we've moved to France, my husband has adopted the original Bobby as his daily work backpack, and the Pro remains our trusty work/leisure sidekick. We just used it a few days ago while gallivanting around Paris, and stuffed our two big hoodies inside (on top of everything else) because the weather was incredibly sunny. With people cautiously resuming travel after more than a year of confinement, we might soon look into shorter weekend vacations around France, and when the time comes, I'm certain the Bobbys will go with us.