The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Gonex 45L Packable Review

It's a great concept to have a larger packable day pack at your destination, but it lacks comfort.
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Price:  $21 List | $19.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Affordable, lightweight, packable
Cons:  Uncomfortable, no suspension, too big for purposes
Manufacturer:   Gonex
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 22, 2019
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 15
  • Comfort - 25% 4
  • Features - 25% 5
  • Packing & Accessibility - 20% 5
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Weight Per Volume - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The Gonex 45 liter packable travel backpack is an intriguing concept. It looks like a small, lightweight backpacking or mountaineering pack, but it has no real suspension—thus making it able to be packed into the lid of the pack and brought along in your luggage. It is best suited to short day hikes at your destination, where you only need to carry lunch, water, some extra warm layers, perhaps a picnic blanket, and you want the option of attaching trekking poles to the outside of the bag. When you load it down with more gear, it becomes uncomfortable on your shoulders and difficult to pack in a way that doesn't make something poke your back through the pack. If the limited use of this bag suits your needs, it is certainly an affordable option.


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Gonex 45L Packable
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Price $19.99 at Amazon$139.95 at Amazon
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Pros Affordable, lightweight, packableGood suspension, lightweight, affordable, gobbles gearVersatile, duffel-like ease of use, just the right balance of travel featuresVersatile, durable, comfortable, intuitiveLightweight, durable, affordable, highly versatile, can become a daily use duffel
Cons Uncomfortable, no suspension, too big for purposesSquare design protrudes from back, too big for some airlines checked baggageBackpack straps not comfortable for long distances, gear sags in soft structure when not fullSmall hip belt, not best for long distances with heavy loadsLess organization features, not set up for traveling with electronics
Bottom Line It's a great concept to have a larger packable day pack at your destination, but it lacks comfort.The Porter 46 is a durable, easy to pack travel backpack, but may be bulky for some airlines or uses.Another stellar product from Patagonia; thoughtfully designed, rugged, easy to use, and fortified by the Ironclad guarantee and cutting edge company ethics.The Overhaul is an excellent, versatile, and intuitive travel backpack with well balanced features.A great small duffel with shoulder straps for a variety of travel purposes.
Rating Categories Gonex 45L Packable Osprey Porter 46 Patagonia Black Hole MLC The North Face Overhaul 40 Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 45L
Comfort (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
Features (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
5
Packing & Accessibility (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Durability (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weight Per Volume (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
Rank (%)
10
0
10
10
0
1
10
0
2
10
0
3
10
0
4
Specs Gonex 45L Packable Osprey Porter 46 Patagonia Black... The North Face... Eagle Creek Cargo...
Volume of Main Pack 45 L 46 L 45 L 41 L 45 L
Measured Weight 1.33 lbs 3.23 lbs 3.35 lbs 3.78 lbs 1.61 lbs
Dimensions (Inches) 23.6 x 10.6 x 8.7 21 x 14 x 12 22.8 x 8.6 x 14.5 21 x 12 x 7 22.75 x 8.75 x 12.5
Carry-on Size? 22 x 14 x 9 in Yes, if squished Must be cinched down Yes, if squished Yes, if not stuffed Yes, if squished
Volume of Daypack N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
Measured when stuffed (inches) 23x11x10 22x14x12 22x14x10 21x13x10 22x13x9
Fabrics Nylon 420D Nylon Hex Diamond Ripstop, 420HD Nylon Packcloth Polyester ripstop with TPU laminate 420-denier ripstop nylon Bi-Tech Armor Lite
Frame Type None Stiff foam Foam backpanel Molded padding None
Access Type Top zipper Panel loading, zips all the way open Clamshell design Panel loading Top and panel loading
# of Pockets 3 zippered 5
Laptop sleeve No Yes Yes Yes No
Waist Belt Type Thin, not padded Padded None Unpadded strap N/a
Sternum Strap No Yes, whistle Yes Yes No
Different sizes? No No No No Yes
Volume Options 45L 30L, 46L, 65L N/a N/a 60L, 90L, 120L

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gonex 45L travel backpack is a lightweight trekking-style backpack most well suited to lightweight loads for short day hikes at your destination.

Performance Comparison


If kept lightweight  the Gonex was comfortable enough to carry around town for a day with a few light layers and water.
If kept lightweight, the Gonex was comfortable enough to carry around town for a day with a few light layers and water.

Comfort


The Gonex 45L looks like a fully equipped backpacking or even mountaineering backpack—but it definitely is not. While it has many of the features, like ice axe loops and, it lacks any suspension whatsoever. If you pack the bag very strategically and have a foam pad to slide into the back of the bag, then you might be able to make it more comfortable for longer treks, but the thin, unpadded hip belt will still limit comfort if you pack any heavy items.

The suspension on the Gonex is very minimal to ensure the pack is packable but this also ensures it is rarely comfortable.
The suspension on the Gonex is very minimal to ensure the pack is packable but this also ensures it is rarely comfortable.

This travel backpack is best thought of as a bag for extra layers, water, and lunch on an impromptu hike around your destination. If you ensure everything inside the backpack is soft and relatively lightweight, it is comfortable enough. Once you add anything heavy or oddly shaped, the bag quickly becomes uncomfortable as you can feel the texture of anything in the bag on your back. Additionally, the bag is most comfortable if the volume is filled out, so the bag has more structure to it—and at 45 liters, it's a relatively large back to consistently fill out.

Here  you can see how minimal the padding is in the shoulder straps  and how strapped the bag is  making it feel cumbersome and awkward in crowded areas and on planes and trains.
Here, you can see how minimal the padding is in the shoulder straps, and how strapped the bag is, making it feel cumbersome and awkward in crowded areas and on planes and trains.

Features


The Gonex backpack has tons of features. It looks like a backpacking or mountaineering bag, complete with ice axe loops, compression straps, a cylindrical shape with a lid, a bottom access zipper, two mesh water bottle pockets, and an internal hydration compatible sleeve. In this category, more is not necessarily better. These features were mismatched for the backpack's lack of suspension and carrying comfort.

The Gonex is a lot like a backpacking backpack. We loved the design of the lid (bottom left) which had an internal zipper for valuables.
The Gonex is a lot like a backpacking backpack. We loved the design of the lid (bottom left) which had an internal zipper for valuables.

We did like the zippered pockets on this bag, however. There is a front zippered pocket which provided easy access to documents and books during travel. Inside the lid of the pack, there is an extra secure, secret zippered compartment which we really liked for our wallet and passport.

Packing & Accessibility


There are a lot of pockets and packing options in the Gonex.
There are a lot of pockets and packing options in the Gonex.

As outdoor enthusiasts, we liked the packing style of the Gonex 45 liter pack. It's exactly like a simple backpacking pack. It has a tubular design with a bottom access zipper, a large lid with another internal zippered pocket for security, a front zippered sleeve, and two mesh side pockets. This was very satisfying to the outdoors person in all of us and meant that the pack worked well as a backpack for lightweight day hikes at our destination.

As a bag for traveling, however, the organization scheme added some logistics. Getting through airport security, for example, we had to unclip two buckles, loosen the collar of the main compartment, and then wrangle our laptop out of the hydration sleeve where we preferred to carry it (so it made a smooth surface against our backs and kept the heaviest item close to our center of gravity for the most comfort we could muster). This became tedious. We like travel backpacks to facilitate all of our travel logistics. While we love outdoor style backpacks, this one was a little too outdoorsy to be useful on all of our travel itineraries.

The upside of the Gonex is that it packs into its own lid for easy transport in other luggage.
The upside of the Gonex is that it packs into its own lid for easy transport in other luggage.

The Gonex bag introduces another concept to this category: it can be stuffed into its own zippered pocket in the lid of the pack. This makes the backpack easy to toss in your luggage and deploy it for a day hike at your destination. And it is so light and compact that it's easy to justify bringing it in your luggage, even if it is not a versatile item.

Durability


The Gonex is a highly durable backpack made of nylon ripstop fabric. It is very well made and holds up well to rough use on trails, for which it is intended. For a travel backpack, burly materials are not our only consideration. Since we will be walking through crowded places, tossing and cramming these bags in all sorts of strange compartments, we don't like lots of straps dangling around to get caught up as we stuff the bag in the airplane's overhead compartment or under the seat. The Gonex has lots of straps. If our flight is packed and we have to check the bag last-minute at the gate, we are concerned about what might happen to the bag when not under our careful supervision. Again, this limits the utility of the Gonex travel backpack to moderate outdoor use at your destination.

Weight & Capacity


This category is a slam dunk for the Gonex travel backpack. It is designed to be light and compact enough to bring with you in your luggage. In fact, it even stuffs into its own zippered pocket inside the lid of the pack, making it easy to bring with you almost anywhere. The bag is 45 liters in capacity, which is larger than many backpacks in this review. The pack's performance in this category confirms it as an excellent bag to bring with you for the occasional day hike at your destination.

Value


The Gonex is so absurdly affordable that it is almost not even worth considering buying this bag based on cost, but rather on whether or not it is worth the space in your luggage, closet, or life. As gear reviewers, the accumulation of equipment can feel cumbersome, so weigh the utility of this bag for your uses more than the traditional cost/benefit measured in dollars.

Conclusion


The Gonex 45L is a specific-use travel backpack. It is great for short hikes with lots of soft, warm layers and some snacks, and maybe a picnic blanket. It is not a very comfortable bag for longer distance treks, and the organization scheme and extra straps make it cumbersome for airport and city use. That said, it is super compact and lightweight, making it easy to toss in your luggage for those occasional day hikes at your destination. If you don't need much from a hiking backpack, this is a simple, affordable, and durable option great for occasional use.

The Gonex 45L travel backpack was ultimately not a top performer.
The Gonex 45L travel backpack was ultimately not a top performer.


Lyra Pierotti