Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag is a perfect weekender that combines durability, quality, with practical elements allowing travelers to take work with them without the need for another piece of luggage.
Matthew review a prior versionMatthew review a prior version of this bag a few years ago and the brand sent me an updated version to try. The Bento Bag from Nomad Lane is the ultimate travel companion for the weekend traveler. It’s a versatile bag that can be transformed into a backpack, tote, or cross body bag, making it perfect for any traveler’s style and preference. The Bento Bag is designed with functionality in mind, featuring multiple compartments and pockets to keep your belongings organized and easily accessible. It is made with high-quality materials that are both durable and water-resistant, ensuring that your belongings stay safe and dry while on the go.
For a quick weekend trip, it’s ideal to be able to pack everything in one bag and a rollaboard carry-on isn’t necessary. The Bento Bag v 3.0 that I used qualifies as a personal item on all carriers. That includes discount ULCC airlines like Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, Ryan Air, and EasyJet, but also mainline carriers that don’t include a free carry-on in Basic Economy. It fits under the seat in front of you and can take clothes, toiletries and tech in one bag.
Compartments keep business elements separated from clothing items. Some compartments are flex containers where they adjust to the needs of the traveler. The exterior fabric is reminscent of a Tumi ballistic nylon bag.
Business compartments accommodate the following:
- Equipped with a padded laptop sleeve that fits up to a 15-inch laptop; additional slot for a large tablet
- Compartments for phone, organizer, business cards
- Includes a removable key leash for convenience
- Features a trolley sleeve for easy attachment to upright carry-on luggage handles
The clothing compartments of Bento bag included:
- A spacious main compartment with a zippered closure
- Includes multiple interior pockets and compartments for organization
- A netted interior for securing contents and compression
- A separate compartment that can be used for shoes and other bulky items away from clothing compartments
- Two top pockets available for miscellaneous items
What I Packed
For my short weekend trip, I was able to fit in everything that I needed. In the utility compartment I was able to fit an alternate pair of shoes, my dopp it, and space for a charger. The two miscellanous compartments on top held a full size bottle of 100ml cologne with room to spare, and I left the second one open for worn clothing items.
In the large compartment I had a full change of clothes, some extra items from my family (including a curling iron and a change of clothes for my daughter, as well as a laptop.
In the front, I brought business cards for the event I was attending and other items needed for business purposes including a handful of chargers and cords.
The leather hand straps and the shoulder strap felt solid. The side clips for the shoulder strap were solid and a small carabiner was included but I didn’t use it during my trip. The nylon seemed robust but only testing over years will tell how durable it remains over the test of time and abuse.
I liked having everything in one place and how handy it made grabbing a laptop quickly. I really appreciated that the utility compartment (my name for it) was separate from clothing so that I could put my shoes inside without worrying about them being coupled with my clean clothes.
I didn’t use the trolley slip on this trip but for a little longer trip, it would be helpful to place it on top of a rollaboard. The Bento comes in a clever box with travel quotes and a de-scrambler challenge my daughter loved decoding. Inside, it comes in a fabric drawstring bag. Shipping was also incredibly fast, arriving in just two days.
The zippers felt solid with a nice glide, and overall I felt like the bag would hold up to the challenges of a road warrior. I also like the option to be able to pack separately for other parts of a trip. For example, I have an upcoming trip that will require more luggage but we have a side overnight planned. It will allow me to only use the Bento for this portion and not open the other bag until necessary. If I were going on a long haul flight with an extended connection or layover (like this one) it would be perfect to keep it separate from the rest of my belongings.
The cost of the Bento Bag is $298 and comes in a variety of colors. Some premium backpacks on the market run $100 or more and when coupled with a weekend bag with fewer features, the pair easily exceed this price point. For some, it will seem expensive, but readers of this blog will know that we use our bags for a long, long time and this one feels like it will last for decades. When compared to comparable premium brands of a similar design, the Bento Bag is a little bit cheaper but it didn’t feel like Nomad Lane sacrificed quality to achieve it. I found it to be a good value for the price point and a rigorous business traveler.