Last summer, Eagle Creek announced a new type of travel bag that was the first of its kind. A wheeled backpack where the bag could be removed from the frame and then the frame disassembled for storage. It would be called the Lync System and be available towards the end of the year. It would be available in four sizes–20, 22, 26 and 28. We were sent a 22″ version.
The Eagle Creek Lync 22 measures 22″ x 14″ x 9″/56 x 36 x 23 cm and weighs a mere 4.9 lbs/2.07 kg. The bag without the frame weighs 1 lb, 14oz/o.85kg. Capacity is 2526 cu in/43L. It’s made of a combination of 200d and 450d nylon and polyester. (The measurements include wheels and handles.)
The Lync arrives disassembled in its own stuff sack for storage.
The bag has removable and storable backpack straps, #10 locking zippers, a large front pocket, a smaller zipper pocket on top for a 3-1-1 bag or smaller items, both internal and external compression straps, and a mesh pocket on the inside lid. It has a locking, single pole telescoping handle.
Instructions are included on the stuff sack explaining how to put the bag together. To save yourself frustration, watch the video Eagle Creek made showing how to do it. It’s much better:
The last two steps in assembling the bag are attaching the four straps you see in the photo to the left. It looked easy in the video. Then I tried. The top two were difficult. The bottom two downright ridiculous. They were very tight and it took a lot of strength, and tries, to get it done. Well over five minutes of trying when it should have taken seconds. I searched the web, including this site’s forum, and it seems others have had the same problem. I’m hoping that over time, the straps loosen up.
Once assembled, the bag handled well and rolled easily. The more time I spent with it, the more I liked it.
But, there are a few negatives.
When wearing it as a rolling backpack, I did slightly feel the telescoping handle in my back as there really isn’t much padding between you and the handle. For a short distance this isn’t bad. But for a long hike, it might get annoying. But then, who is taking this on a long hike with the frame attached?
To store the backpack straps, they have to be completely removed. There are three attachment points and this takes time. There is a storage pocket for them in the rear.
The frame itself is fine but I would be concerned checking it. It’s somewhat pliable and does move a little. The bottom foot rest that keeps the bag from toppling over frontwards moves quite a bit. I’m concerned about rough handling if it has to be checked. (Not gate checked on regional airlines, I’m thinking of it having to go through an airport baggage system.) Over time, we’ll hear if this is a problem.
There is also a 20″ version: 2220 cu in/36L, 4 lbs 6 oz/1.98kg and measuring 20 x 14 x 8/51 x 36 x 20. Or that 8″ could be a 9. I don’t know. Eagle Creek told me it was 9″ but their website says 8.” A big difference when it comes to carry-on regulations in certain parts of the world. (No 20″ bags were available for review, which I would have preferred, so I got a 22″) If anyone has the 20″ version and wants to measure it for us, let me know.
Currently, the entire Lync line is only available at REI. Starting May 1, it will be available at Eagle Creek retailers both online and in person.
The big question is who is this bag for? If you like to travel very light but want the convenience of both wheels and backpack straps, or if you live in a tiny place with limited storage, or if you live in either Asia or Australia and have extremely low carry-on weight limits, you want to consider this bag.
And don’t forget, once you get to your destination, you can remove the bag from its frame and use it as a day bag or a hiking bag.
You probably want to know if I will use it. The answer is yes and no. The 22″ is too big for my needs. If the 20″ version turns out to have that 8″ depth, I’m going to go buy one.
It’s lightweight, easy to handle, and gives me the option of rolling or carrying. With a bag that light, I’m sure to keep it down to carry-on limits.
The Lync 22 retails for $260. The 20″ version is $5 less. It’s available in graphite, orange and blue.