The Highs: Surprising capacity, light weight, dirt cheap

The Lows: Some materials are decidedly “basic;” feature creep is not an issue

The Verdict: At the price, a legitimate value; if it wears out, buy another!

The guy who coined the word “underwhelmed” might have had this bag in mind.  When it arrived,  I removed it from its packaging, looked it over for about a minute, and tossed it in the corner of my home office.

Sometimes first impressions are less than perfect, however.  After trial packing the Goodhope, playing around with it a bit, and taking a few photos, I have a new appreciation for the bag.  It’s still THE definition of  “no frills,” but this bag would be perfectly adequate for quick, one or two night trips as long as you’re not too hung up on brand or image.

The basics

The Goodhope is an 18″ convertible (suitcase / backpack) bag with one main compartment, a second compartment for odds and ends (pens, camera, iPod, papers, passport, etc.)  and a few extra pockets on its front. It weighs a mere two pounds.

Features:

  • Available in any color you like as long as you like black or dark green
  • Material:  nondescript synthetic-like substance (600D polyester)
  • Main compartment measures 17.5″ x 12″ x 5″ (actual measurement)
  • Front zip compartment has open pocket, mesh pocket, and pen holders
  • Converts to backpack via hideaway straps
  • Top grip handle will not win any design awards, but it works
  • Shoulder strap and backpack straps
  • Made in Malaysia

Dimensions:

  • Overall dimensions: 12 H x 18 W x 6.5 D

Additional photos

Here’s a shot of the secondary compartment.  Zippers are metal with metal pulls, and are protected by storm flaps.  This compartment can handle your phone, camera, and miscellaneous papers.  3″ looseleaf binders need not apply.

I packed 4 golf shirts, a pair of khakis, underwear, and a couple pair of heavy socks into the main compartment, and there was room left over.  Compression straps shown below are a 50¢ upgrade.  Just kidding.

The word that best describes the backpack straps (below) is “present.”   On a positive note, it’s not as though you’re going to be carrying 20 pounds of stuff in this bag.  I took the bag as packed above, added two fairly heavy hard cover books, and hoisted it onto my back.  I walked around the house for a few minutes, and am happy to report that nothing fell off.  The bag was OK, too.  Ha!  Back to the bag as backpack:  it was reasonably comfortable, and the shoulder straps didn’t slip around or otherwise feel flimsy.

The grab handle and the shoulder strap attachment points are solid, and in fact this top mounting area is reinforced with a couple of steel rods; it’s fairly hefty.  The grab handle is wrapped with genuine vinyl; again, it ain’t fancy, but it works.   Strap hardware is polymer, as is the norm in this class.  One thing that is a bit unusual is how close the two mounting points for the shoulder strap are to one another (see lead photo in this post).  This didn’t seem to have any noticeable impact on stability or usability in the limited testing I’ve done with the bag.

Meh:  below, the pad for the shoulder strap.  This is approximately 1/16″ thick, and I suppose it helps distribute the weight of the bag across a slightly wider area.  See earlier comment about how much weight you’ll likely carry in the Goodhope 18″ convertible.

Wrapping up

The 18″ Goodhope has as much chance of being inducted into The Travel Bag Hall of Fame as Mitch McConnell has of starring in the next James Bond film:  it will not happen.  The Goodhope is functional and surprisingly commodius, but design awards do not figure prominently in its future.

If that’s what you’re looking for — a small, fully featured convertible bag with  tons of style — check out the Tom Bihn Western Flyer.  Its dimensions are very nearly the same as the Goodhope.  You’ll pay for it, though – as I write this, the Western Flyer is $210.

The Goodhope 18″ Convertible, on the other hand,  is $25.99, plus I paid appx. $9 for shipping from Wayfair.  At that price, it’s a crazy stupid deal, as long as its nondescript looks and less-than-robust elements (handle, straps, shoulder “pad”) aren’t too big a turnoff for you.

Bottom line?  If you’re a road warrior who travels every week, fuhgeddaboudit.  If brand, style, and image are among your critical purchase considerations, no soup for you!  But if you’re looking for a small convertible bag for occasional quick trips, and aren’t hung up on owning a bag that looks like it belongs in the back seat of a Prius – or a Porsche – the Goodhope 18″ Convertible may very well be the bag for you.  And at ~$35 landed, if it eventually wears out or throws a rod, buy another!  You’ll still be way ahead of the game.

See it here:  Goodhope Convertible @ Wayfair

Note:  I have no connection to Goodhope or Wayfair

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5 Comments on Quick take: Goodhope 18″ convertible travel bag

  1. Gary Williams says:

    Successor to the OPEC?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    It would be, if it were maximum legal carry-on sized. This bag is considerably smaller than the OPEC.

    [Reply]

  2. Vic Thombs says:

    Kevin,

    I’ve had one since I read this review years ago, and have been very happy with the bag. The single main compartment packs well, and is the biggest difference, aside from the price, with the western flyer. Love it!!! Thanks for the review.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Thanks, Vic. Glad it worked out well for you!

    [Reply]

  3. Michael W. says:

    Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, airlines clearly defined carryon luggage and personal bags:

    1. Luggage was no more than a total of 45 linear inches (sum of length, width, height); and

    2. Personal items were no more than 37 linear inches total.

    The specs on this total 36.5 linear inches … coincidence? I think not (LOL).

    Unfortunately most airlines seem to have moved away from explicit specs for our “personal item” to uncomfortably vague. Whole threads have discussed what we can get away with for our personal item … errhh, what won’t get gate-checked or surcharged. The clearest new standard is “must fit under the seat in front.”

    My worst experience was facing a 7kg cabin luggage limit on an Asian flight. Staying within size isn’t a problem, but 7 kg is a tough standard to live by. I ended up with cabin luggage at 7 kg but my personal item (thanks to computer) was 5 kg and the counter agent blew a gasket and tried to surcharge me. Whew.

    [Reply]

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