Tropicfeel Backpack Review: Is It Actually as Good as They Say?

tropic feel backpack review

We worked with Tropicfeel at the beginning of this year by reviewing their jungle shoe. I was shocked by how impressed I was by those damn shoes - in a way that I haven't been impressed by a company in a long time. (Ever since I found out about wage labour basically.) But with Tropicfeel I just couldn't help but like them - they're challenging the fashion industry, they're anti over-tourism and their products really are catered to their consumers - not in the 'traditional' 'tell us what you like and we'll pretend to listen', no they really do listen and provide. So this is our review of the Tropicfeel Shell backpack [this post was updated on the 10th of February, 2024]

Our Tropicfeel Review

So when Tropicfeel wrote to me again and asked if I was interested in reviewing their backpack, I actually did a blogger taboo - I didn't look at the backpack online or read other reviews... I just said yes. This review is not paid for, so I knew it wouldn't be the end of the world if I hated it and wrote about it (spoiler alert: I don't). But, I'm rambling on about this to let you know two things:

1) I trusted Tropicfeel enough to 'blind taste' a backpack and

2) other than assuming it would be great because the company is great, I had zero expectation of the rucksack - which included what it would even look like, let alone what the features were.

tropicfeel hive review

Now I've got my blogging crimes off my chest, I can get to actually reviewing this bag:

Tropicfeel Shell Backpack Review

First things first, I fell in love because of the colour - bearing in mind I hadn't looked at it I didn't know what colours it came in (black, moss and burgundy), I took it as a 'sign from the universe' that they sent me one in my favourite colour (burgundy). Having looked at it online now, I would say the colour is much more vibrant and kicking than it looks in their photos:

tropicfeel shell backpack review

Which was a nice surprise - or would have been if I'd known, lol. Seriously though their photo says more 'red' to me rather than 'burgundy' and if I'd have seen red I might well have gone for moss. (Which tbf would have also been fine, moving on.)

Then there was the pockets. I think I might have a pocket kink tbh. And not because I'm in the closet (bi and loud about it). I have a pocket kink because I like to have a place for everything and a thing for every place. I like knowing exactly where all my things are at all times because it feels safe. (Pretty sure this comes from being a suitcase kid but that's for another blog post/therapy.) There are bags that don't really have great pockets, there are bags that have some mediocre pockets - in the wrong place, not big/small enough etc, then there are bags that are perfect when it comes to pockets and Tropicfeel is one of them.

tropic feel review

There's a pocket on the side for your water bottle, and it's made of some magical material where the water bottle is somehow securely and snuggly there once in, but is also easy to get in and out? It's also good for different sized water bottles, not just mine (I tried it with Tamás's too). What's better than one of these magic pockets though? Two, of course: one on each side, one for your water bottle, one for another water bottle/coke/burrito etc.

There's a pocket on the flap which I personally use for my sunglasses and earplugs but would also work for anything you need easy access to. There's also a pocket on the outside that is quite hard to spot (especially if you are using a toiletry or tech pack), you could keep your phone in their, I keep a lighter in there so it's easy to find and access (iff you know it's there). There's another pocket on the side where your back goes that is very secret and I keep my wallet in mostly (plz don't read this and then rob me lol). Inside are more great pockets - one for my passport, one for my jewellery and one safe padded one for my laptop. Speaking of laptops, the backpack is very waterproof - very important.

best backpacking bag reviews

One thing I don't particularly like is without either the toiletry or the tech add on (see below for reviews of those), the bag looks kind of like something is missing. It's probably a taste thing and maybe you don't mind it like that, but if you do mind, and you have to pay extra for the toiletry or tech (because they are add ons and do cost extra) then that is kinda sad.

One thing that you can never see on websites (assuming you've looked beforehand) is how good the quality is, you can't really see it until you feel it with your own hands right? Well my hands are here to tell you that I really like the quality of the Tropicfeel backpack. I could feel in the beginning that it was good quality, but I purposefully kept off writing about this until I'd tested it over time - I've now travelled with it through two countries and five cities, it's been thrown around in trains, buses and taxis, and I've walked a lot with it - and it still looks brand new. One of the most important things for me (along with safe padded laptop space and waterproofness) is that the zips aren't rubbish - partly because I went to Egypt with a different bag, the zips failed and it was such a pain. And partly because bad zips are just so irritating. These zips re great and I love them.

Tropicfeel Backpack Wardrobe Review

If you buy the backpack, the wardrobe comes included (nope, you cannot buy the bag just by itself). Since I didn't realize they were gonna send a wardrobe, my initial reaction was annoyance because I assumed I wouldn't need it and that I'd have to throw it away and I don't like doing stuff like that (although plz note that someone else might like it and need it: 'one human's trash is another one's treasure' as they say & let's be fair, dumpster diving is cool, we do quite a lot of it nowadays as well).

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Anyway, that annoyance quickly turned into absolute joy once I realised it's really clever, this thing - it's like a packing cube! It has three different compartments, one for pants ('knickers' for my US readers), one that can be closed by a zip, one that can't. What I really like about it is a.) you can use it as a wardrobe. You get to a place, e.g. a hostel and you can hang it from the edge of the bed and that really makes me feel at home immediately; and what I like about it even more is that b.) you can pull the straps on the side and it goes from being as long as the rucksack to being really short. It compacts your stuff and I find that really smart. True, it is kinda heavy by itself but I think how useful it is makes up for the extra weight.

tropicfeel hive backpack review

What I pack in them: I have my black pants when I'm on my period and my colour pants when I'm not so it's nice to be able to see 'oh I've only got a few pants left, I need to do a washing'. Whereas before they were all at the bottom of my bag and I never knew when I ran out. In the bottom bit, which has got loads of different compartments, I keep pants, socks, my bikini, my bra (yeah I still carry one around, even though I haven't worn it for over a year. It's a sports bra, just in case I go to a boxing class. But mostly, just chuck bras, they're totally unnecessary). In the top bit, there's two separate compartments that zip up and I keep my vest there and my T-shirt. In the middle I keep a pair trousers and a jumper.

Tropicfeel Backpack Accessories Review

Although I really like the wardrobe, I'm surprised they don't make one of the accessories either the toiletry or the tech pouch included. For me, the bag without either a tech or a toiletry pouch (which both fit nicely on the front) looks kinda empty. I'm surprised they don't include one of these by default. Important note: they're both made from 64% recycled polyesther which is quite a good ratio, we'd like to applaud Tropicfeel for this. (Even more important note: we recommend buying stuff second-hand as much as possible).

tropicfeel shell backpack review

Back to where we were: there are three different accessories (or add-ons) available: the toiletry pouch, the tech pouch and the camera cube (they sent us all three to review). The toiletry and the tech pouch you can actually latch onto the rucksack. I personally like both of them, I use both of them, one for toiletry (which is sometimes the tech pouch) & one for tech (which is sometims the toiletry pouch lol) - they're both very useful in this unexpected reverse way.

Tropicfeel backpack toiletry review

Having used both I actually think that the toiletry pouch would be much more useful as a tech pouch! It's waterproof, it's got many more compartments, it's got this secret compartment kind of thing inside.

tropic feel shell backpack review

However, when I travel with this bag, I keep the toiletry pouch on the front of the bag because even though these clip or latch-on things are ingenious and it's actually quite hard to pull it off, no matter where I was I still wouldn't wanna have my tech stuff on the front of my bag... so I keep the toiletry one on the outside (with actual toiletries inside) and if anyone nicks it, they're just gonna get a moon cup and a bamboo tooth brush. If you're on a limited budget and if you only wanna choose one to go on the front, I would pick this one.

Tropicfeel backpack tech review

It's pretty similar to the toiletry one, with some differences: the toiletry one has two pockets on the inside, two where you can slide things in and it's waterproof, whereas this only has stuff for your leads.

backpacking bag review

It doesn't open up fully, the zip only goes halfway (whilst the toiletry pouch opens up like a book). I keep this one inside the rucksack where it's safer. I do really like it because my external hard drive and my Kindle fit in there both... my phone charger would easily fit in alongside these two in the toiletry pouch though.

Tropicfeel backpack camera cube review

Like the wardrobe, I was initially annoyed by getting a camera cube - I already had a camera bag! I was like, well, I don't need this. But then I looked at it more thoroughly and realised that I do like this cube a lot. First of all, it fits in really well at the bottom of the backpack and gives it a solid base when I put it down (the backpack does not topple over). Secondly, I used to have a camera bag that wasn't rectangular, whereas this is shaped like a proper box. I can put it down on the floor or the ground or on any surface and it feels safe, like there's not much chance of it toppling over in itself.

best Tropicfeel Rucksack

I was annoyed initially because the zips are a bit hard to open on it but now I'm happy about it because that means that it's hard to steal the camera from it. It also comes with these pieces that are velcro and can separate the space inside the cube in various ways so you can choose the layout of the compartments yourself which find very useful. When I'm travelling, I keep my camera charger and adapter inside the cube as well so I know where it all is, and when I go out for a whole day, I take just the camera in the cube. It also has a lot of nice little pockets.

Wrap Up: Tropicfeel Backpack Review

I find it kinda awkward to say how much I like this bag because I feel like I might come across as in-genuine but truth be told I really really like it. Tropicfeel seems to be quite an ingenious company: they're listening to what their clients are saying and they are delivering. I had basically no expectations of this rucksack other than I like the company and the shoes so I was quite blow away by it.

tropicfeel shell backpack review

I've been travelling a long time and the problem with backpacks is that they are either too big and you end up carrying too much stuff or they are too small and then your stuff doesn't fit. This backpack is the perfect size for me personally, I like all the different pockets, I like the quality of it, I feel like it'll last a long time (and I have used it quite a lot already, it's pretty sturdy and looks brand new still). It's also really comfy to carry. I like that it works as a day bag and also as a longer term bag because you can make it longer (you can pack up to 20% more in it) which is really important for me bc I do both: sometimes I will be a city rat, wandering around relatively short urban distances, sometimes a country mouse, going for long hikes - and always, always a travelling weasel :) Hope my review helped!

And as a final note: if you want to make some unique embellishments for your backpack to prevent it from being mixed up during long trips and transfers from place to place, you can DIY your backpack through custom rubber patches. Whether it is your favourite pattern or your initials, your travel slogan, or just symbol you identify with, it can become the decoration of your travel backpack. Give it a try (we have :)

P.S.: If you're interested in a way of travelling and getting accommodation cheaply, you might wanna check out house sitting. was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount, feel free to click on the link to use it :)

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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