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Outbound Reviewed: Cotopaxi's Cusco 26L Is the Ultimate Everyday Adventure Pack

From the trail to the office or from the airport to the hostel, this bag delivers.

By: Liam McNally + Save to a List

Cotopaxi has only been around for less than five years, but in that time they've grown to be one of my favorite brands. They've baked social impact into their business model as a benefit corporation and have really fun and engaging branding, but most importantly, they just make quality products. Full disclosure, I worked for Cotopaxi for just under a year during the company's infancy, so I have a slight bias, but to balance things out I'll hold my ground and say the Thule Stir 18L is even better than Cotopaxi's Luzon. There, now you know I'm not giving Cotopaxi's Cusco any undo praise. 

Speaking of which, I love this bag. I've been wearing it almost daily for the last four years, along with about half of The Outbound team in San Francisco. While it may not be best suited for a long, strenuous hike, it is the perfect bag for your everyday adventures and traveling. Whether that's an urban hike after work, carrying your harness, shoes, and chalk to the climbing gym, or packing light for a weekend trip, the Cusco is the perfect choice. 

The Cusco's most valuable feature as an everyday work bag is a protective sleeve for your laptop and I definitely haven't seen another bag on the market with such a good looking laptop sleeve. The Cusco is full of features and convenient storage like this without being too busy or over-designed. There's a zippered pocket on top for keys, wallet, and other essentials, a mesh organizer in the outer compartment for pens and notebooks, and two water bottle pockets on either side. The water bottle pockets are probably the one feature I'd like to see reworked; using a flexible collar in the water bottle pockets would make it easier to store and access water bottles when the pack itself is super full.

In addition to its functionality, the Cusco is super stylish and made to last. I especially love the suede leather bottom panel and zipper pulls that compliment the canvas material of which the bulk of the bag is made. Bonus points for the heavy duty YKK zippers.

It fits right in at any business casual setting, but can take a beating that comes with after-work adventures and travel. I've taken mine on dozens of weekend trips, to and from the climbing gym and the office hundreds of times, and even up on some short multi-pitch climbs near Cotopaxi's office in Salt Lake City. After all that, it's still looking really sharp and shows virtually no signs of wear and tear. I've even thrown it in the washing machine a handful of time after particularly dirty trips, and it comes our looking like new.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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