April 11, 2021

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Yeti’s new line of luggage is perfect for your next adventure

9 min read
(CNN) —  

Yeti is an outdoors brand known for its remarkable insulation technology that marks its sturdy bearproof coolers and water bottles. We’ve been fans of the brand since we named its Rambler water bottle as the runner-up best water bottle of 2021.

So when we found out Yeti released a line of brand-new bags, we couldn’t wait to check it out. We got our hands on the collection, which includes two duffels, two suitcases, three backpacks and packing cubes. We spent over a month with all the luggage to see which ones are worth your money, and after plenty of packing, weighing and carrying, it’s safe to say these durable bags are top-notch and ready for nearly any adventure.

What is Yeti’s Crossroads collection?

Yeti Crossroads Collection
Yeti Crossroads Collection

Yeti’s Crossroads collection (starting at $199.99; yeti.com) is built with durability and organization at the forefront of its design. All the bags are made from thick, strong materials and can really take a beating. This is largely thanks to the brand’s TuffSkin Nylon, which is featured on all the bags and is extremely abrasion- and water-resistant so it can handle any terrain.

We tested the bags by packing and unpacking them, carrying them around as we ran errands and up and down flights of stairs. We also dropped the suitcases down a flight of stairs and rubbed charcoal on the nylon to see how easy it was to clean. After all that, the bags still came out of our tests without a scratch. And while our tests weren’t as intense as the great outdoors can be, we came away with the impression that these bags can handle much more than your average piece of luggage.

While there are many differences between the various bags, there are a few features you’ll get no matter which one you choose. Extra pockets and zippers are at a premium, meaning you can get easy access to all your gear. Plus, each bag comes with modular compression straps that can go on the inside or outside of the bags. While there’s a lot to love about these bags, our biggest issue we found after testing is that since the nylon material is so thick, sometimes the zippers are a struggle to pull quickly. There were many instances where I had to tug as hard as I could to get the zipper to round a corner. They’ve gotten a tiny bit easier since we’ve started testing them, so they might just need a break-in period, but we still wouldn’t describe the zippers as smooth.

Overall, the bags are pricey, but they’re expertly designed with ease of use and durability in mind, making the investment worth it if you need a rough-and-tough bag. Plus, the entire collection comes with a three-year warranty, so returns are easy if it doesn’t live up to your expectations. Below, we’ll walk you through all the new bags and break down the differences between them so you can decide which one you want to bring along on your next adventure.

Yeti Crossroads backpacks

Yeti Crossroads 27-liter backpack
Yeti Crossroads 27-liter backpack

Probably the most approachable and useful items from Yeti’s new lineup are its Crossroads backpacks, which come in 22-, 27- and 35-liter sizes. The TuffSkin Nylon covers the exterior of all the backpacks, and they feature extra padding on the bottom and backside for support and durability. They also all come with modular compression straps that you can equip on the front of the bag or attach to the shoulder straps to use as a chest strap. The shoulder straps themselves are quite comfortable, and if your shoulders get tired, the backpacks have handles on three sides for easy carrying.

The 22-liter bag ($199.99; yeti.com) is the smallest of the collection and comes in three colors: navy, dark green and a pinkish purple. The design is simple and compact, good for running errands or for the everyday commute to work or school. The main compartment has a small opening at the top as well as a zipper on each side so you can quickly access anything, even if it’s deep in your bag. Plus, a small zippered pouch on the top lets you quickly stash small essentials like your keys or wallet. The interior has a padded laptop sleeve and a section that looks just perfect for a water bottle but overall doesn’t fit an enormous amount of things. For anyone who wants a bag that helps them travel fast and light around town, the 22-liter Crossroads Backpack is a surefire pick.

Yeti Crossroads 35-liter backpack
Yeti Crossroads 35-liter backpack

If you want a little more room to stash your stuff, go with our personal favorite from the entire Crossroads collection, the 27-liter backpack ($229.99; yeti.com). This bag has so many zippers, pockets and storage options it’s perfect for travel, everyday errands and hikes and would truly be the ultimate backpack for any college student. It’s got two large compartments, one with a padded laptop sleeve that can fit thin notebooks and the like, and a larger main compartment for books, water bottles, groceries or really whatever you want to throw in there. The main compartment also has two smaller pouches so you can keep things even more organized, and the zipper has two-way openings on both sides so you can open it from the top like a normal backpack or from either side from the bottom if you need quick access to something deep. Two exterior pockets on the top and front of the bag round out this wildly versatile and durable backpack that offers a stunning amount of storage capacity and organizational function.

While the 27-liter backpack was our all-around favorite, if you’re a frequent flyer looking for a new carry-on companion, the 35-liter bag ($249.99; yeti.com) is just the ticket. Its main compartment resembles a suitcase in that once you open it up, there’s another dividing layer that separates the pack into a smaller area for your computer and thin items, and a wide area that’s essentially a mini suitcase you can put on your back. Plus, the pack has side zippers so you can conveniently and quickly get to the deeper section without having to unzip your entire backpack. For the jet-setter who wants to replace their carry-on suitcase with a durable and efficient backpack, the 35-liter Crossroads bag is for you.

Yeti Crossroads luggage

Yeti Crossroads 29-inch luggage
Yeti Crossroads 29-inch luggage

If you’re eager to travel the world and need a sturdy bag, Yeti’s brand-new luggage will be a reliable companion at your side. While the bags aren’t completely waterproof (check out the brand’s Panga Duffels for bags you can completely submerge in water), the TuffSkin Nylon is a sturdy material perfect for a soft-shell suitcase. There are two options: one 22-inch bag for carry-on and a larger 29-inch bag that can easily be checked in. Plus, both sizes have modular compression straps that can be used on the inside or the outside, and carrying is made extremely easy, thanks to handles on every side of the bags. The luggage has a set of two wheels instead of four spinning ones, which makes maneuverability more difficult than some other carry-ons we’ve reviewed, but they don’t stick out as far as spinning wheels and are built with thick materials, so the design choice is likely because Yeti wants its wheels to be as durable as possible.

The 22-inch suitcase ($349.99; yeti.com) comes in green, navy and black and is a light, go-to carry-on with plenty of interior space great for any trip, whether it’s a quick visit to your family or a climbing trip in Patagonia. It has a wide main compartment that opens lengthwise and a divider with several pockets so you can keep all your gear and essentials separate and organized. Similar to the backpacks, it also features a zippered pocket on the top for quick access to highly used items, and it has a front pocket with organizational sleeves so you can easily stow your laptop, trip itinerary and any maps or magazines. We packed the bag full and rolled it around, carried it and even dropped it down a flight of stairs. It’s easy enough to wheel around, and the extra straps really do make a huge difference when you have to lug it up to your fourth-floor walk-up apartment. While it’s a little heavier than your standard clamshell carry-on at about 7.5 pounds and can’t fit quite as much, this bag can easily keep all your gear safe and organized.

Yeti Crossroads 22-inch luggage
Yeti Crossroads 22-inch luggage

Next up is the large 29-inch suitcase ($449.99; yeti.com), which comes in the same colors as its smaller counterpart and has a giant main compartment to fit everything you need for longer ventures. The bag opens up horizontally like your traditional hard-shell suitcase, and inside you’ll find tons of storage space with a 70/30 split separated by a divider to keep your things nice and organized. Like all the bags in the Crossroads collection, extra pockets are paramount, and on the 29-inch suitcase you’ll find a stash pocket on top as well as a huge front pocket with internal organization.

Our favorite part of this suitcase was its multitude of extra handles, and thanks to its tall and narrow design we found it much easier to haul up the stairs than our normal suitcase. This large bag is similar to its smaller sibling in that you’re giving up some maneuverability with its two wheels, and it weighs about the same as the hard-shell check-in we have at home but fits slightly less. In return, you get what’s most likely the most durable soft-shell suitcase on the market. So if stuffing your bag with so much stuff that it blows past the 50-pound weight limit at the airport isn’t your priority, and you need a bag that can take a beating for years to come, this suitcase is the one for you.

Yeti Crossroads duffels

Yeti Crossroads 40-liter duffel
Yeti Crossroads 40-liter duffel

Duffels are a great bag to have for road trips, weekend excursions and shorter-term travel. Yeti’s new Crossroads duffels come in two sizes so you can tackle any trip with a durable duffel by your side. Both sizes come in three colors — green, navy and black — and come with compression straps and adjustable divider panels. Plus, they’re built with foam walls, so they keep their shape and don’t sag even when packed imperfectly.

The two duffels are quite similar; the only real difference is the amount of things each can fit. The smaller 40-liter bag ($199.99; yeti.com) is great for a weekend getaway or camping trip, and the larger 60-liter bag ($249.99; yeti.com) has a capacity that’s in between the two suitcases, giving you enough room for probably five to seven days’ worth of gear.

By far our favorite feature of these duffels, though, is the divider panels on the inside. The duffels we’ve used in the past have had little to no organization, so these provide a simple way to keep your possessions separate. However, if you don’t want the dividers, you can fold them down and take advantage of all the wide-open space the bag provides. The duffels also have a mesh pocket on the inside and exterior pockets (one on the 40-liter, two on the 60-liter) that help keep all your things in place.

Yeti Crossroads 60-liter duffel
Yeti Crossroads 60-liter duffel

The duffels also come with tons of options for carrying, including handles so you can carry it at your side, an attachable shoulder strap and extra handles on all sides. The structured walls really help when packing, and it feels nice to carry it around, but since the shape is held in place, the bags tend to stick out to the side quite a bit if you’re carrying it on your shoulder.

Whether it’s a quick trip to the gym or a weeklong camping trip to a national park, Yeti’s Crossroads duffel bags are a fantastically tough and sturdy option to keep all your gear stashed.

The bottom line

Yeit’s new Crossroads collection has something for nearly any type of adventure. For the frequent flyer, opt for the 22-inch suitcase or 35-liter backpack. If you’re a weekend warrior, the 27-liter backpack and the 40-liter duffel are going to be your new go-tos. And for the all-out adventurer, the bigger 60-liter duffel and 29-inch suitcase can handle nearly any terrain you can.

If you’re searching for bags that are durable, organized and intuitive to use, look no further than the Yeti Crossroads collection.

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