In-Depth Travel Backpack Review: Cotopaxi Nazca 24L
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I first heard about Cotopaxi in 2016 and have been wistfully eyeing their products since. Cotopaxi goes beyond making great travel and adventure gear with their Gear for Good philosophy, which makes me happy to spend my money with them. In addition to funding sustainable poverty alleviation with a portion of their profits, Cotopaxi also ensures fairness, sustainability, and quality in every step of the manufacturing process.
When they came out with the Nazca 24L Travel Pack, I thought it looked like a perfect fit to replace my 10-year-old carry-on luggage (ahem, the one that’s covered in cat scratches, dog hair, and falls over when I stand it up on its wheel end). The Nazca 24L promptly went on my Christmas wish list (thanks, Mom!), and I’ve had 2 mini adventures in January to give it a test run.
Here’s a breakdown of the Nazca 24L features, what I packed, and a quick review. For reference in terms of clothing size and how the pack fits my body, I’m a 5’3″ female with a small frame.
ⓘ UPDATE 2023: The retail version of this pack is discontinued (a different variation is currently available here), but Cotopaxi has several sizes of their improved Allpa packs. Check out my review of the Allpa 35L here.
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Nazca 24L Travel Pack Features
Here’s a quick rundown of the Nazca 24L features:
- Water-resistant 630D nylon/cotton canvas shell (comes in black, beech canopy, or driftwood colors)
- Suitcase-style zippered opening with internal mesh storage compartments
- Separate zippered, padded laptop sleeve (fits 15in laptop) for easy access
- Tuck-away backpack straps and removable shoulder sling strap
- Zippered, fleece-lined front pocket for sunglasses and electronics
- Fits the carry-on restrictions for any airplane
- 19.5 x 10.5 x 5.5in (50 x 27 x 14cm)
- 24 L
- 2 lb. 9.5 oz.
Want a bigger, more rugged version? Check out the updated Allpa packs here!
Carry-On Only Packing List
For my first trip, I was traveling from Pennsylvania to Florida in the winter. Temperatures were cold at home (10 – 30 degrees F) and comfortably warm at my destination (65 – 80 degrees F). I traveled for 5 days and 4 nights to visit family, so I also took some camera gear.
What I wore on the plane: Jeans and a t-shirt, zip-up hoodie sweatshirt, fleece jacket, and sneakers.
What I carried in my purse: Wallet, 2 books, a journal, zipper bag with colored pencils (for my color-coded book highlighting–don’t judge), phone charger and headphones, sunglasses, small makeup bag, and a small toiletry bag.
What I packed in my camera bag: Canon 7D with 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens, Canon 430 EX III-RT flash, LP-E6 camera battery charger. My husband carried this as his carry-on “personal item” since I already had the Nazca 24L and my purse.
What I packed in the Nazca 24L Backpack:
- Small eBags packing cube: undergarments, socks, and bathing suit
- Slim eBags packing cube: 2 pairs of sandals (favorite Clarks flip-flops and a pair of dressy flat sandals)
- Bottoms: jean capris, khaki shorts, lightweight workout shorts, skirt
- Tops: 2 t-shirts, 5 tank tops (for layering), 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 lightweight 3/4 length sleeve sweater
- Pajamas: tank top and lightweight pants
- Laptop and cord–My laptop is 15″ and isn’t very thin, so it was snug but fit fine. I had to pack the cord in the front pocket, though, as I didn’t have any space inside the pack.
Here’s a video walk through of how I packed for a 5-day trip in the Cotopaxi Nazca 24L!
Packing for 4-5 days was a tight fit, but I wanted to be intentional about packing light on this trip. I really thought about each piece of clothing that I took, and I had just the right amount of clothes (just 2 things I didn’t wear). My second trip was to New York City in January for 3 days and 2 nights. While I had to pack bulkier clothes for winter weather, the fit was not as tight for that trip since I just needed a couple of changes of clothes.
What I Loved About the Nazca 24L
Overall, I love this carry-on travel pack and can’t wait to take it on more trips. The overall design–an organized suitcase that converts into a backpack–is what sold me in the first place, and it didn’t disappoint. Here’s what I loved:
- Solid, sturdy design–Of course, time will be the test in terms of quality, but the build and quality feel excellent. Plus, Cotopaxi guarantees their products for 61 years, and they offer a replacement, repair, or exchange if anything goes wrong with the product.
- Theft-prevention zippers–To be honest, I don’t know if that’s the official term for this zipper design, but that’s what I’m calling them. The laptop sleeve and main zipper have a loop that the zipper has to pass through, which helps prevent easy access. They aren’t that challenging to get open yourself (I went through airport security twice and had to remove my laptop), but they offer a bit of extra security.
- Padded laptop sleeve–The padding isn’t very thick, but it feels like enough.
- Comfortable size and fit–As I mentioned, I’m petite and have a thin frame. This backpack was perfectly comfortable for me, and the waist strap was very helpful since the pack was heavy with my laptop in it. It covers my back without feeling bulky. For reference, the mannequin in the video above looks like a male with a medium build.
- Cotopaxi’s “Gear for Good” philosophy–Can I just say again how much I love this?
- Organized zipper compartments inside–These make my type A heart swoon. This was the first time I had used any kind of luggage with compartments (as well as my first time using packing cubes), and it was amazing. I was able to access everything efficiently and stay organized throughout my trip.
What I Might Change About the Nazca 24L
There’s not much I would change, but here are a couple things to think about:
- The color that I ordered–I love the driftwood color, but it’s already attracting dog hair from my black lab. Oops. I wasn’t really thinking about the material when I picked the color since typical luggage is a canvas material that dog hair doesn’t stick to. Something to keep in mind if you have pets.
- I would love another size option or expandable zippers–This small size is great for short trips, but I would love to have this design in a larger (still carry-on) size. (UPDATE 08/22/18: Cotopaxi has new Allpa 28L packs with a very similar organized design but more rugged material. Check out my Allpa 35L review here.)
- Nazca 24L meets camera bag–My dream come true would be for Cotopaxi and Lowepro to team up and give me this plus camera storage. I was able to use the Nazca 24L and my purse on this trip since I wasn’t taking a lot of camera gear, and I had my husband to carry a small camera bag for me. But if I travel solo for a trip where I’ll be photographing heavily, I don’t think I’ll be able to use it since my camera bag is a large backpack (that I always, always, always carry on). It probably won’t happen, but a girl can dream. So Cotopaxi and Lowepro, if you’re listening…
Depending on weather, clothing size, and packing style, the Nazca 24L can be easily used for overnight or weekend trips, and up to 4 or 5 days if you’re a light packer in warm weather. Overall, I highly recommend the Nazca 24L Travel Pack for anyone looking for a compact travel backpack with an organized design that fits carry-on restrictions.
Del Día Dopp Kit // I just picked one of these up recently, and I love how nicely it keeps all my toiletries snugly organized. It fits perfectly in the front pocket of the Allpa 35L. They also have a newer, larger accessory bag with zippered compartments that looks really handy.
Wide Mouth Water Bottle // A reusable water bottle is SO handy for traveling and an easy way to cut down on plastic. While I don’t have a Cotopaxi one yet, I am in love with all the colors they have and plan to add one to my gear soon!
Batac 16L Backpack or another daypack // These are great to roll up and pack in your suitcase so you have a smaller pack for day trips or hikes on a weekend camping trip. I have both the Batac 16L and Luzon 18L, and personally find the size and design of the Batac 16L to be a great fit for my needs.
(Want something even smaller than a daypack? Grab one of their hip packs!)
What’s your favorite piece of travel gear or luggage? Is a suitcase-style backpack something you’d like to try? Let me know your questions & thoughts below!
This post isn’t sponsored in any way. I just dig what Cotopaxi is all about as well as their products, and I wanted to share this one with you. Technically, I did receive the product for free because it was a Christmas gift from my mom. 🙂 But it’s definitely a product I’d invest my own money in as well.