Everyone knows bringing hold luggage on short flights is pretty much pointless, especially given the reasonable cabin allowance you get for free and fact that hold luggage can cost you almost as much as your seat. In the interest of fighting costs, passengers have resorted to all sorts of creativity: tough wheelie bags made to measure the exact space allowed or even wearable luggage. However, the question remains, what is the best way to transport your possessions on a short haul flight?
I like to look a little beyond the flight. Yes, any luggage needs to be cabin approved, but what about once you reach your destination? Kasha and I differ in our approaches, she opts for a purple wheelie case, while I use a big rucksack. So, when a huge staircase approaches us, I end up carrying my own bag on my back, and Kasha’s too (because I’m a gentleman).
This is the exact situation that ends the advantage of wheelie luggage. Europe is bloody full of stairs; you literally can’t avoid it. You can – with most wheelie luggage – carry it by hand, but this can get hugely tiring over long distances. I’m a firm believer that the backpack is the king of short-haul, so when the folk at Arcido asked if I fancied trying out their latest cabin approved rucksack, the Novaya, I was massively excited to try it out.
The exact dimensions of the bag are 50 X 35 X 20cm, so it’s the perfect size for most airlines including Easy Jet. The pictures don’t do this bag justice, it is huge, and it has tons of space!
In the main compartment there is a mesh pocket perfect for coins, keys, cards and other bits that often go missing, while the outer pocket is a dedicated laptop section, complete with an inbuilt, removable and adjustable laptop cover so you can separate it from the bag quickly as you pass through security. Also in this pocket there’s a dedicated space for pens, tablet and your passport; handy for when you are trying to breeze through the airport.
The whole bag has a reassuringly thick padding, which especially comforting if you’re carrying electronic items. This quality feel extends to the shoulder straps, which use a fused and ventilated back place for additional comfort. I was carrying this for over four hours and I had no complaints.
One delight I didn’t expect was that the bag opens like a suitcase, so unlike a conventional backpack you don’t have to remove all your neatly packed belongings to find something you need (which is always at the bottom of the bag isn’t it?). If you want to look a little smarter, you can even convert the bag into a briefcase and use the handles to carry it; that’s about as complex as it gets with the Novaya.
Using the Backpack
When it came time to pack for a weekend in France, I had plenty of room to fit everything I needed. Carrying the bag as I’ve already stated, was made a whole lot more comfortable by the padded straps.
Boarding the flight was a doddle, and always is when you have a rucksack slung over one shoulder, but an additional benefit was that the soft casing allowed me to cram the bag into a space that a hard cased bag might have had trouble getting into. There’s nothing worse than finding out there is no overhead luggage space, so the knowledge that I can always find somewhere to stuff this bag gave me peace of mind.
Arriving in the destination, I felt comfortable strolling around the city knowing that I didn’t look like much of a tourist. In fact, the bag wouldn’t look out of place if worn casually or taken to a bar or restaurant.
The neutral grey styling also helps it to blend in and not stand out too much wherever you are; a clear advantage to standard luggage. Another key plus with rucksacks like this in general, is that you avoid the irritating rolling sound you get as you drag wheelie cases across Europe’s many cobblestone streets. This is especially off putting when you have to catch an early flight, and the sound of your trundling possessions wakes up everyone in the neighborhood; carry your stuff, don’t drag it.
Initially I had doubts about the Novaya, thinking that I might find the bag a little clunky and boxy, but after a weekend away I feel very happy with it. The high-quality finish, huge amount of space and convenient pockets meant that the rucksack was more than fit for purpose. My only real concerns were that the material used is not waterproof, however the guys at Arcido seem to have thought of this already as the new model (still to be crowdfunded, see video below) will be made of a 100% waterproof canvas combined with waterproof zips.
The only other thing I might flag up is that the adjustable laptop cover was a little on the small side for my computer, but the whole bag is so well padded I wouldn’t worry much. Overall, I was very impressed with the Novaya, and I definitely hope to be using this bag for years to come.
You can grab one of these for a reasonable £65
Where you can buy it
If you are desperate to get hold of the Novaya, you can grab one here:
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Disclaimer: My Novaya bag was supplied to me by the team at Arcido, but as always any opinions expressed are entirely my own.
If you want to enjoy hearing more about my travels, check out this blog on how travel has changed for me over the years.