I’ve rewritten the opening words to this post a few times.  Finally, I’ve settled on an approach:  the non review.

The Highs: HP Photosmart printer easily handles key task

The Lows: Must drive to UPS Store; box heavy

The Verdict: You must go elsewhere for actual review

The bag?  The Eagle Creek Switchback Max 22.

Specifications

Capacity: 4515 cu in / 74 L (including daypack)
Modular: 1708 cu in / 26 L
Dimensions: 14 x 22 x 9 in / 36 x 56 x 23 cm (main bag)
Modular: 12 x 20 x 8 in / 30 x 51 x 20 cm (daypack)
Weight: 9 lbs 6 oz / 4.25 kg
Fabric: Helix™ Double Box, Helix™ Dual Ripstop, 1680D Ballistic, 210D Nylon Oxford

A few photos:

An overall shot with the trolley handle partly deployed.  Leaving the tags on makes certain things much easier.

It’s a backpack!  Shoulder straps and waist belt were well padded and looked as though they’d be comfortable; I tested the backpack straps for ~15 seconds and they felt fine.

Below, the main compartment. Eagle Creek claims the bag’s capacity is 4515 cu in, which frankly seems well outside the realm of possibility.  Unfortunately, we won’t have a chance to confirm or debunk this.

It’s a daypack!  The daypack deployed, below.  It includes a laptop compartment as well as a smaller compartment for papers, folders, or perhaps a few tee shirts.  I took some photos of those compartments, but couldn’t summon enough enthusiasm to actually insert them into this post.  As you’d expect, the daypack is on the smallish side.

The front foot, which doubles as a grab handle.  There are grab handles on all four sides, a nice touch.

A few detail shots; first, one of the wheels:

I really struggled with the zippers on this bag.  Part of the issue stemmed from the rain flaps which protect the main zippers – they were tight, and interfered with the zippers’ operation.  Second, the numerous compression straps and other widgets got in my way when I tried to use the zipper pulls.   Finally, the lining of the main compartment got snagged by that compartment’s zipper, and it was a complete PITA to get it unstuck.

It’s a wheelie!  The pull handle hides in this zippered compartment; the handle itself operated smoothly and had a lot of heft:

On the front of the daypack there’s a zippered compartment that’s perfect for boarding passes and similar items.  We won’t be using it anytime soon.

I know some of you feel this is a good bag.  I had an immediate and strongly negative reaction to all the straps, flaps, and zippers and took an instant dislike to it.  The more I fiddled with it – and fumbled with its zippers – the less enthusiastic I became.  Writing anything about it has been a struggle.

That said, it appeared to be well made.  It’s just not for me.  And frankly, I’m probably the wrong demo for this bag.   So…

a first: after spending a little time with the bag, I called the retailer for a UPS call tag. And sent it back shortly thereafter.

One huge positive:  I can report that Luggage Pros Customer Service is absolutely fantastic.  Their communication after I placed my order was superb, and when I called to return it, the call was pleasant and brief.  They emailed me a call tag which I printed and taped to the box.  No sweat.  I’d highly recommend them.

If you own this bag and would like to comment, please do so!  I own and like Eagle Creek’s products; this one, not so much.  YMMV.

The bag is typically sells for about $300.  It weighs 9 lbs., 6 oz.   See it here:  Eagle Creek Switchback Max 22

The Fine Print:  I have no connection with any of the companies mentioned in this post.

Similar Posts:

20 Comments on Non review: Eagle Creek Switchback Max 22

  1. Till says:

    I have never used or even seen the bag in person but purely from the specs and photos I think I don’t share your dislike. The bag is what we call in German “eierlegende Wollmilchsau”. That translates as a pork that gives milk, has wool and also puts out eggs – it does everything. Perhaps that was the overbearing point for you. If you look at the weight and price and also at the warranty, life-time unconditional everything is in line. There are roller bags of the same size that weigh the same, cost more and do less. For all the features it has it is even rather lightweight, I think. I even think it looks pretty good and that the extra backpack could be taken to a meeting as a briefcase in a pinch. The shoulder harness is among the best out there.

    If you look for a similar “universal genius” in cars you will be hard pressed to come up with as good a compromise. Say you want a car that is comfortable, fast, safe, good in any weather and road condition, spacious and practical. There are very few cars that fit all these criteria. A Subaru Outback Station Wagon with i2.5 Turbo engine is one of them. That one being kind of affordable and not super thirsty. Looks? Well, let’s not go there. The only other offering is the Porsche Cayenne. But price and fuel use are prohibitive.

    For bags there is nothing quite like it. Just like there is no real alternative to the Outback but somehow, as good as it is, the Outback is not a fascinating car.

    Till

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    I like the concept of the bag just fine… and that’s why I ordered it. The “user interface,” however, was less than wonderful, and that’s what turned me off.

    [Reply]

  2. miguelmarcos says:

    9 1/2 lbs? To travel ultralight you basically can only take your shirts and pants. Maybe not even the pants.

    [Reply]

  3. rob says:

    Snarky intro . . . I love it. You should be snarky a little more often. You manage to pull it off without too much offense, which is a difficult task. Well done.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Thanks, Rob. I was going to make the entire post snarky, but I like their stuff and didn’t want to go overboard. I know some love this bag; I just had a bad reaction to it and couldn’t imagine using it. Thx. again. kc

    [Reply]

  4. Till says:

    Miguel, with all the carry options this bag offers, i.e. good wheels AND good harness it is clearly intended not for ultralight travel but to be charged and loaded rather heavily so that the carry functions actually make sense.

    The basic premise of ultralight or even light travel is to have a packing list that allows this kind of travel. If for whatever reason you don’t have that packing list, e.g. your employer requires you to take a year worth of files on site, you have no choice but to look for luggage that makes it easier to haul around 20+ lbs. Anything above 9kg, I’d much rather roll or back carry than shoulder carry.

    I think the bag would be ideal for a RTW trip (one or two months) loaded to about 25lb.

    Till

    [Reply]

  5. Michael W. says:

    I understand that on an upcoming version Eagle Creek is going to include a folding luggage carrier in the main compartment as an additional mode of carry, and inside the detachable day pack they are going to include an ultralight travel tote, which can actually be used to carry clothing and other travel necessities which won’t fit in the 600 remaining cubic inches of storage space in the Eagle Creek.

    ;-)

    Setting aside my complaint that they have so many modes of carry that take up so much space and use such thick materials with so much padding that the actual usable space is rather minimal, I think they did a good job keeping the weight under control. The original Costco wheelie was heavier than that, and it didn’t have backpack carry mode.

    BTW your allergic reaction to all the panels and straps is exactly how I feel about eBags house products and why I gave away my eBags convertible backpack (“Weekender”) even though if you check off all the features, it is a top contender.

    In my mind a bag should be minimalist so it has maximum functionality – it should be lightweight, and it should have thin panels, mostly unpadded, so usable volume is not eaten away by the bag materials and features themselves.

    The Outdoor Products Essentials Carryon is an excellent implementation of this approach, as is the Rick Steves Classic Backdoor Pack – both bags are very light, with padding only on the back panel, so volume is reserved for the contents themselves. I think the Steves Classic is better laid out, but on the current international trip I miss the superb hard rubber carry handle on the OPEC – the Classic’s handle squishes down and cuts into my hand both with my 15 pound ticket counter weigh-in weight, and 20 pound post-ticket counter, moved my heavy personal bag stuff into it, weight.

    If only the OPEC had side compression straps!

    But for now, imho, it is one of the best bags out there (although the Red Oxx has a “cool” factor that still can’t be beat).

    [Reply]

  6. Anon Nym says:

    Kevin,

    I hope I am not too out of line, but it feels to me that recently, you’ve been making a major push with your blog, in some as yet undisclosed direction. It began with hints of future books and some sort of blog membership, evolved into the launch of forums, and most recently has begun to include “features” like guest reviews or reviews of bags you have professed not to favor (i.e. wheelies).

    I appreciate your efforts to take things to the next level but to me it seems a level down from when you were posting the occasional, thoughtful tip/review as opposed to what feels like trying to hit some post count/reader threshold.

    To me this review–from the snarky headers to the :15 appraisal of the suspension system (for what I assume was an empty bag)–seems emblematic. While I hope for a return to form, it may well be that this is the future. If so, good luck with it–it’s your blog, after all. In any case, it only takes one new reader to replace this one.

    Regards.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Anon,

    Thanks for the feedback, and sorry I’ve disappointed you. Couple of thoughts: the guest reviews have been here for a while, and are in my mind a way to accomplish two things: a) provide a way for regular readers and commenters to share with the readership in a new way, and b) continue to build a sense of community.

    As for the Forum, it too is aimed at providing another avenue for dialog and community; also, when I launched it, I mentioned my frustration with having to devote entire posts to things like a hot deal or an interesting article or post I’d discovered somewhere.

    As for the Switchback, I paid $200 for a travel bag and didn’t care for it when it arrived. My audience is involved with travel and travel gear. Is it inappropriate to mention the bag and my reaction?
    I took pains to not trash it, and pointed out what I thought were its good points – but I just flat out did not care for it, and used a bit of humor as a way of dealing with my disappointment.

    In any event, thanks for stopping by, and happy trails!

    [Reply]

    Anon Nym Reply:

    Kevin,

    I would like to apologize for the tone of my prior post, which did a disservice both to the effort that you clearly put into this blog and the enjoyment I have taken from it over the past year. It’s all too easy to forget that in comment trails as in email, nuance is impossible between strangers.

    I was not trying to ascribe any nefarious motives to what you’re trying to do. I simply feel that recent posts have lacked the focus and rigor of the ones that have drawn me repeatedly to this blog. In my view, trading quality for quantity was simply the likeliest reason.

    On the other hand, there are only so many glowing things one can say about the Air Boss or Absolute Strap.

    My opinion is likely in the minority and I doubt very much that you’ll miss me (as a statistic) if and when I’m gone.

    Good luck with what you’re doing and I’m sure I’ll check back, if perhaps without the same frequency as before.

    Regards.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Anon,

    No need whatsoever to apologize. You may enjoy tomorrow’s post, which returns to more familiar ground.

    Kevin

  7. Till says:

    I don’t think there is a quantity over quality concept at work now. The quality is still there and there is just more of it. I think having the forum is great for exactly the reasons Kevin gave. Guest reviews are good, too, for the reasons he said. Of course, I’m a bit biased as I will do one in the future and regularly contribute blog comments that can even get a little long for a simple blog comment.

    More readership also means more feedback and more learning for all of us. I do think that it is important to keep the level of readers and especially posters as high as it is now. That might be difficult as one opens up the forum. But if the writing and price of things reviewed are of a high level, mindless characters might not be too attracted. So far this place is one of the most sophisticated on in the travel blogosphere and I like that.

    Continue the good work!

    [Reply]

  8. Michael W. says:

    I think a private email to you would have been more appropriate if the individual really likes the blog but not a particular article. You handled the reply far better than I ever would have.

    I mean a blog is like sharing your kid’s report card at the office, only to have someone be critical in the guise of being helpful. It can be crushing. Well that’s why I don’t blog!

    Then again if I review a product on Amazon and only 78 out of 79 readers like the review, I’m crushed. I get crushed easily. LOL. I suspect Till and Berg would be more resilient!

    [Reply]

    Till Reply:

    C’mon. To have only 78 out of 79 dislike a review, that’s a fantastic result. That’s less than 2 in 100 people who didn’t like the review. I mean that’s outright amazing (not that you don’t deserve it, you do!).

    How can I access your Amazon reviews, by the way? Would be interesting to see what you say about things. MIght want to send me an email instead of posting here.

    [Reply]

  9. Jack Quinn says:

    I have an older Switchback that I purchased before Eagle Creek introduced its “no-matter-what” warranty. I didn’t use it much, because it is a bit heavy to use as a backpack. Then, one of the wheels failed (from the photos, I think the wheels on the newer versions are sturdier). The fabric on the detachable small backpack also wore through quickly at the bottom corners.

    I sent the item to Eagle Creek for repair. I would have paid for new wheels and reinforcement of the fabric, but instead of offering to repair the Switchback, someone who identified himself as the head of the warranty repair department telephoned me and told me the item would not be repaired but that he would sell me a new item at a discount to the retail price.

    I feel that the repair department operates at least partly as a bait-and-switch operation.

    Pros: The Switchback is versatile and has a reasonable storage capacity

    Cons: Mine did not hold up well, and the repair department tried to sell me a new item instead of repairing mine.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Jack,

    Thanks for your comment. Too bad they wouldn’t/couldn’t repair your Switchback!!

    [Reply]

    Raivyn Reply:

    Jack,

    I have had the exact opposite experience with Eagle Creek’s warranty/repair department. My switchback was damaged when it got run over by a bus at the airport. Was actually still serviceable, but the fabric had torn and the corners had a few cracks – to be honest it held up well considering what happened to it. I sent it to the warranty department, and they replaced it with a brand new one free of charge, and even shipped it to my home for free.

    Did the head of the warranty department tell you WHY they wouldn’t repair it? I don’t know the extent of the damage to your luggage or how long/expensive it would have taken to repair, so they might have made the decision that a new bag at a discount would have been more cost effective and reliable for you than a repaired one.

    Given my experience, I’ll only buy Eagle Creek luggage now. The no-matter-what warranty makes their products worth every penny.

    [Reply]

  10. Jack Quinn says:

    Raivyn,

    I purchased my Switchback before the warranty became unconditional when Eagle Creek still reserved the right to decide on its own whether or not the product defect was a manufacturing defect. The person I talked to was definitely in salesman mode and not interested in doing a repair, either at my expense of at Eagle Creek’s expense.

    I felt that the wheel had locked up and the fabric on the detachable day pack had started to wear through sooner than should have happened in a quality product. I had had the Switchback for years, but it had only had occasional use. However, the “warranty representative” (he seemed more like a sales person to me) I dealt with was fixated on selling me a new product and wouldn’t even discuss the idea that the Switchback should have held up better.

    Perhaps if I had had the luck to talk to a different person, there would have been a better outcome. I also have the impression that Eagle Creek now uses better-quality wheels (the wheels on my Switchback were definitely chintzy), and of course, the warranty on the newer (probably better-constructed) Switchbacks is unconditional.

    [Reply]

  11. Bruce Nelson says:

    I travel weekly for business and extensively with my family. I now have 4 of these bags and we love them. Great size and versatility. The straps and zippers are quite functional when you actually pack the bag, etc. Just wanted to put in a positive review for bags I have been using steadily for 7 years. Also, Eagle Creek support is great.

    [Reply]

  12. William H says:

    Ie had my switchback max 22” for 9 years now. This thing is durable! I’ve loved the bag since the moment I’purchazed it and did not run into the problems you described, sorry to hear about them.

    Here are a few reasons I love the bag. The large skate wheels are durable and don’t catch on much. The whatever forever warranty: eventually the telescoping handle broke and they replaced it for free, with a newer version. The construction is really smart, common wearpoints like the corners are reinforced with rubber. This is classically where I find friends bags wearing in holes and breaking, all I have are a few scuffs. I like that I can zip the daypack to the front, or slide it on the telescoping handle. I’ve abused this bag and the fact it’s held up is a miracle. The daypack is so useful I’ve used it as a work backpack when I’m not traveling for the past 8 years, so I get function out of this purchase most of the week. Organization is good enough. Being able to wear a roller bag and daypack as one backpack in a pinch (can be cumbersome when it’s packed heavy and full) is manageable and frees up arms/hands, the hip bend is great and it’s relatively comfortable. The ballistic nylon on the backpack has held up to multiple pen punctures.

    It’s like the one guy said about it being a Subaru, this bag has some amazing features and performs really well. Again, other friends of mine who travel and don’t know how to pick out a bag or luggage in a smart way have gone through about 1 suitcase every 1-2 years, I haven’t gone through any, and I’ve traveled the world with it.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply