efore purchasing the Arc'teryx Covert Case C/O I was used to do weekend trips with my Arc'teryx Khard 30. While it's a great backpack its not especially great for regular urban travel. For example it's unique internal form makes it a bit frustrating to pack (laptop is hard to fit inwith other stuff) and with the internal aluminium stays and frame its a bit more heavy duty than required for ordinary travel.
So I started to look for alternatives and remembered my friends had been very happy with their Covert Cases. Last December I saw it on sale for -50% at a local online hiking store and ordered it straight away.
The Covert Case C/O is a 40 litre carry-on which is fully padded, made of durable 500D ATY nylon with a streamlined design to prevent snagging and to make the pack easy to fit in over-head compartments. It's been designed with airline and security restrictions in mind so traveling with it would be as easy as possible.
You can carry it as a shoulder bag or backpack, whichever you prefer. Personally I prefer backpack carry as I've got pretty narrow shoulders. The case carries very comfortably even when packed full and I really like the thin packable shoulder straps that come with it. There's no sternum strap but as you're not likely carrying this for long periods it's not necessary either. If you want to carry it in your hand you can stow the straps away in their own pocket at the other end of the case and use one of the carry handles at top, bottom or side.
Inside it you've got a high-visibility lining with a cool Arc'teryx logo stitched on the bottom. Everything you put inside it will also be protected with padding on all sides. There's also a zippered internal security pocket for precious items that can be easily reached once the cover is opened and a huge document pocket. The document pocket will even fit a 13" MacBook Pro, although I prefer to pack my laptop in the main compartment to have a bit more protection for it. In the main compartment you can also fit larger than 13" laptops.
Another feature inside the case that I really appreciate are the internal compressions straps that will keep contents in their place, especially good when you've got a laptop or other larger items inside.
Externally you've got the pocket where the shoulder straps are stored and an external zippered document pocket. You can fit an iPad inside this one. Also it will be handy for not so important travel documents. The case is also quite low-profile in its design and colour scheme so it'll not attract unwanted attention while traveling either.
The materials of the case are all silicone treated so it will repel dirt, snow and water. However it's not waterproof so if you're getting drenched have a cover handy.
It's a small disappointment that Arc'teryx has discontinued the larger models of the Covert Case, as I probably would've wanted to get the larger one too for longer trips based on my experience with this 40L version.
Regardless, the Covert Case is quickly becoming my new favourite travel bag. It's very nice to carry, packs easily and everything is fast to access due to the great functional design that we are used to with Arc'teryx items.
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