Usually, when I go away for a weekend, I’ll throw a couple of jeans and shirts in a duffel. Or if it’s winter and I need more than one pair of boots and room for bulky sweaters, I’ll default to an Away carry-on. Lately, there’s a new bag in my life that’s caused my duffel to start collecting dust. The Briidg Supply Co. travel backpack began life on Kickstarter, quickly surmounting its $10,000 goal with a total of $34,253. When one of the co-founders reached out and sent me a sample, I thought it was a nice-looking backpack, but that I would have no reason to use it, and assumed that one of my colleagues would want to test it out as they seem to love backpacks. But I was wrong.

Labor Day Weekend came around, and I was going out to New Jersey for four days. I needed a bag to pack that could fit all the clothes I needed, plus my work gear. Typically, I’ll stuff a duffel and then still carry a canvas bag (or something similar) over my shoulder. I started playing around the Briidg bag and realized there was a separate back pocket for my laptop and plenty of zipper pockets for all my extras — keys, chapstick, phone chargers, sunglasses, etc. When laid flat on its back, the bag unzips from the middle, so you can open it up and look down into it, like a duffel. I was pleasantly surprised with how much it fit. When I stuff backpacks, they overpower me and look absurd on my back, but Briidg’s looked like one of my gym bags, just a little spiffier.

Photo: Chase Pellerin

Then I took the bag to Africa with me and realized its full potential. The sneaker pocket at the bottom of the bag handled my extra sweatshirt for the plane, while the interior held two changes of clothes, my toiletries, a couple of books, magazines and a journal — and the laptop sleeve held our itinerary (yes, it was printed out) along with a guidebook for the trip. The top pocket near the handle was just the right size for my keys, phone and passport, while the pocket on the outside of the bag worked for my Airpods, mini charging cord and battery pack. When I didn’t feel like wearing it on my back any longer (I stuffed it), the detachable shoulder straps presented the option of carrying the bag as a duffel. I also packed my Away suitcase for this trip, and the Briidg bag fits like a glove over my rollaboard via a slot that slides down over the handle. No back aches for me, thank you. It’s now made the journey with me to upstate New York as well, carrying three pairs of trail hikers and runners as well as library books, notebooks and my laptop. From Africa to Lake Placid, this backpack has changed my mind about travel backpacks.

Briidg Supply Co. provided this product for testing purposes.