The Ultimate Tropicfeel Shell Travel Backpack Review

In this review of the Tropicfeel Shell, we take the latest travel backpack to the test and get on the road with it. It’s been a long time since we came across a design for a bag that intrigued us as much as the Tropicfeel Shell. We’ve long been on the quest to find the perfect travel backpack, and testing the new Tropicfeel backpack has been an absolute delight.

The genius of the bag lies in its versatility, as it can transition from a 22L everyday bag to a 40L capable of extended travel. Previously we’ve had to resort to a two-bag system as most backpacks large enough to accommodate our clothes are too big to double as a daypack. However, thanks to the innovative design of the Shell, it compresses items to fit in its 40L version that zips tight to become an everyday backpack.


Tropicfeel Shell backpack Specs

  • Exterior Fabric: 100% Recycled Nylon
  • Interior Fabric: 60% Recycled Polyester
  • Capacities: 22L-40L
  • Padded Laptop Pocket: Yes
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Carry On Compliant: Yes
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Intial Impressions of the Tropicfeel Backpack

Tropicfeel Shell Cam Creekside

Initial impressions with the Tropicfeel Shell are excellent, and it feels like a high-quality backpack worthy of a $368 price tag. It starts with the outer material used in the bag, durable recycled nylon that is weatherproof and abrasion-resistant. Craftmanship and the stitching on the bag feel tough, and it has a clean look that works well for an everyday carry backpack.

The feature-rich part of the backpack delivers many well-executed ideas that work well for travel. It has fantastic tech features we’ve come to expect, like a dedicated laptop sleeve and organization for tech accessories. Other helpful features include side handles, a hip belt, sternum straps, and an ergonomic back panel.

However, the fundamental standout features are unique. Such as the compressible interior organization that can hang in a closet once you reach your destination. Or an interchangeable exterior pouch that can hold toiletries or more tech gear, securely fastened to the backpack Fidlock security buttons.


Exterior

Initial impressions with the bag are excellent, thanks to the thick Bluesign recycled nylon. The fabric used in construction is thick and supple enough to add an ideal structure to the bag but still flexible enough to expand and conform to the interior items. It’s a sharp-looking bag in person and currently comes in three color options.

Due to the quality nylon, the backpack is weatherproof and Tropicfeel backs that up with YKK sealed zippers that do a great job with precipitation. My contents feel well protected, and I wouldn’t worry about wet or damaged items. It’s all an excellent complement to the buckles and Fidlock buttons that feel secure and easy to adjust. The kangaroo pouch and sternum strap utilize G-hooks, one of our favorite clips for quick adjustments.

Support on the bag is excellent with thick shoulder straps, a sternum strap, a waist strap, and frontal straps to control the height of the load on your back. Shoulder straps are a vital element on a backpack, and the Shell straps are just the right amount of firmness to keep the bag secure on hold up to the rigors of extended use.

Fidlock Buttons Tropicfeel Shell

There are three pockets on the exterior. A primary pocket lies on the top flap of the rolltop and has enough room for several essentials such as headphones, power bank, chapstick, hand lotion, eye drops, etc. Of course, this is if you’re not utilizing one of the accessory pouches that attach magnetically to the Fidlock buttons.

Two hidden pockets are a front pocket on the lower half of the bag behind the buttons and a passport pocket hidden behind the waist straps on the back. It’s a great way to reduce the risk of theft from wandering hands as they feel secure and well hidden. The pockets are large enough to hold a wallet, cash, and a passport. Lastly, there are two water bottle pockets on both sides of the bag, deep enough to hold bottles securely.


Interior

Tropicfeel Shell Open

Compared to the exterior, there is a lot less going on inside the bag. Access to the interior comes from the rolltop or clamshell rear opening. On the back panel of the clamshell lies a well-padded laptop sleeve and two tech pouches for all of your essentials.

Outside of that, there are no other organizational features inside the bag. The Shell comes with the Wardrobe, a compressible organization system for clothing. We’ve found the Wardrobe useful in travel, and it adds a nice structure to the bag.

Packing cubes save room inside the bag, but either way, it does need an organization system for extended travel. In everyday carry, we found the 22L roomy enough to carry everything without more organization.


Key Features of this Tropicfeel Backpack

Cam Creekside Tropicfeel Shell 1

The bag is pretty feature-rich, so we want to touch some standout things in more depth. Some of these features come with every bag purchase, such as the Wardrobe system, while customers will need to purchase the Assecory Pouches for an additional charge.


Accessory Pouches

There are two accessory pouches, a tech version and a toiletry version that attach to the front of the Shell with Fidlock buttons. The Toiletry Bag is great as it made separating liquids for security accessible and served travel well. On a long-haul flight, I easily accessed my toiletries to brush my teeth and freshen up without rummaging through the bag.

The Tech Pouch is a little more basic as it is smaller and contains several elastic loops inside to help with cable management. Another tech accessory worth mentioning is the Camera Cube, a little organizational cube for a run and gun camera set up. It can comfortably fit a camera body, two lenses, batteries, and a couple of accessories in the cube.


Wardrobe

The Wardrobe is one of the unique features of the Shell and what separates it from a lot of other travel backpacks. It’s an organizational system that hangs similar to a closet organizer.

For travel, it’s handy and is easy to use if you have the space to hang the system. It has three levels with different sections organization. A top section secured with a mesh zipper for underwear and socks, a large middle section for pants, and a bottom with stuff pockets perfect for shirts. That is how we used the Wardrobe in testing.

Due to the construction, it does take up a bit more room in the bag, but it does have compression straps, so that is debatable. If that is a worry packing cubes do make an excellent substitution.


Kangaroo Pouch

We love Tropicfeel shoes, and they make it into our luggage for just about any warm destination. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they would think of a nice feature to deal with dirty shoes in their travel backpack. The Kangaroo Pouch is around 6L and has enough room to fit a pair of shoes like the Tropicfeel Canyons or my trail running shoes Salomon Speedcross.


Laptop Sleeve

The laptop sleeve is enough to fit both our 13″ Macbook Air and 15″ Macbook Pro. There is enough room to fit a 16″ laptop, but much more would likely be too big. It’s easy to access from the rear clamshell opening, and is the closure secures with a magnet.


Hidden Pockets

The hidden pockets on the backpack are a great feature to keep your valuable secure. A hidden passport pocket is hidden away as you will not need access to that every day. While the front hidden pocket does work well for a wallet, important documents, a watch, or some cash.


Travel With the Tropicfeel Shell Backpack

Cam Tropicfeel Shell

The Tropicfeel Shell works wonderfully as an everyday carry backpack for minimalists. All of the finishes on the bag are high quality, and the Wardrobe is highly functional. It surprised us with how helpful it was in our travels as it made unpacking and organization a breeze.

On the bottom of the bag lies the Kangaroo pouch. It’s great for shoes or dirty clothes, but I would recommend a small/medium-sized packing cube for the pouch if you plan to use it for dirty clothes.

This bag would be great for a minimalist who enjoys thorough organization. We do feel you sacrifice some space for the Wardrobe system, but it’s so good at the organization we found it worth the sacrifice. If you prefer to pack more or do not care about the organization you may want to look for a roomier or more basic travel backpack.


Tropicfeel Shell backpack Specs

Tropicfeel Shell Side Handle
  • Exterior Fabric: 100% Recycled Nylon
  • Interior Fabric: 60% Recycled Polyester
  • Capacities: 22L-40L
  • Padded Laptop Pocket: Yes
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Carry On Compliant: Yes
About Cameron

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past six years. During this time he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Ireland, Scotland, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.