If you’re familiar with the gear reviews on this blog, you’ll probably have heard of Tropicfeel.
It’s a great company that makes all sorts of functional and great travel products, especially bags!
Today, it’s time for the Tropicfeel Nook Backpack to take the spotlight.
With its own customizable ecosystem and adjustable volume of 14L to 34L, there are a lot of features to unpack on this bag.
It might seem overwhelming if you’ve never used a Tropicfeel product before, but the appeal is certainly there.
Is the right bag for you?
How comfortable is it actually as a travel backpack?
I will be talking about these and more.
Let’s dive right in…
Tropicfeel is a travel brand that advocates conscious travel and positive change.
They’re mostly known for making backpacks and luggage, but also offers clothing, footwear, and various travel accessories.
They create high-performance products designed to meet modern-day needs that are versatile, functional, and sustainable.
Another value that Tropicfeel is all about is innovation, which shows in the unique designs and features of their products.
If you’re looking for a light day-to-day backpack that you can expand and adjust depending on your needs, this is a great backpack. Especially to adapt from everyday bag to longer weekends away.
While I personally don’t feel like you need ALL the added accessories, some of them are actually very useful, like the Nook Pouch and Packing Cube.
As for me, I mainly use this in its smallest form of 14L and find it perfect for daily use and commuting around for work.
The roll top makes it feel more urban and casual but the high-end materials mean you get premium quality.
While the Nook Backpack prides itself in being expandable to 34L and this works great for occasional use, I don’t think it’s best suited for constant use in its biggest form.
This is because of the lack of good support from a sternum strap and hip belt, the bag becomes too bulky and too heavy.
Yes, you can pack it out and fit a lot inside, but it’s not going to be the comfiest to carry when full.
So, if you’re looking for a larger travel backpack that’s more comfortable and sturdy, then I suggest looking at the Hive Backpack, also from Tropicfeel.
The bag starts at around £139 pounds or $170, depending on conversion rate and online sales.
This also depends on whether or not you get the add-on accessories and how many.
For all 5 accessories, the price range is around £300 pounds or $370, which admittedly is a lot more than the base price.
You certainly don’t have to get all the accessories to enjoy the bag, but if you are fond of the customization, then by all means!
This bag is made with 100% recycled main polyester, which is a huge plus in terms of sustainability.
But more than that, it’s actually very well-made and designed.
This material is lightweight while still maintaining excellent durability.
You also get DWR treatment and aPU coating on the exterior, so the backpack itself is weatherproof and water-repellent.
I suspect that during heavy downpours, some water might penetrate through the seams over time, but in general, the weatherproofing works very well.
The back has great airflow and soft meshed padding that runs through onto the straps, which make the backpack overall super comfortable.
I also find the straps to be more comfortable than the Hive Backpack and the mesh is much softer here, giving more flexibility.
Plus, the back padding on the Nook is also something I appreciate more than the harder material on the Hive.
As mentioned above, comfort becomes an issue only when you have the bag at its full capacity and load it, and that’s just because of the lack of support, not the material itself.
One great detail here is the handle configuration on the side as well as the top, which makes moving the bag around and getting it from smaller spaces much easier.
The Nook backpack doesn’t come with these accessories, but I think they’re worth purchasing just because of the seamless integration and customization you can get.
You can get the Nook combo or buy them separately.
Of course, there’s no need to buy them all, and that’s the great thing about the concept. You can pick and choose as you need.
Also, most of these accessories can be used with all the Tropicfeel backpacks and even other brands.
First up is the Nook Pouch, an easy organization with 2L of storage with mesh and zipped pockets.
This pouch attaches to (and detaches from) the front of the backpack and comes with a handle so you can hold or hang it accordingly.
I find this perfect for storing items you might need quick and frequent access to like medications and other essentials, or simply for organizing accessories like your cables.
Micro Pouch and Soft Lined Pouch
The Micro and Soft Line Pouch can both be attached to the straps of the backpack via their lockable carabiner.
The Micro Pouch is a tiny round pocket that’s just about the size of your keys, coins, and earbuds.
I imagine this is handy if you have small items that you’re constantly carrying around, though unfortunately, it doesn’t fit the standard card.
Meanwhile, the Soft Lined Pouch is perfect for sunglasses and other delicate items.
It can even fit certain phones, like my iPhone 13 plus its case.
Roll-up Toiletry Bag
Just as its name suggests, this is a roll-up toiletry bag that can attach to the front of your bag.
It’s held down by a G hook and very nicely put together, I love it!
The material is water-resistant and high-end, which is important considering this is something I’ll be taking in and out a lot, especially when travelling.
Inside, you have plenty of pockets, a hidden mirror, and even a detachable liquid pouch.
10L Smart Packing Cube
This last one is what I feel is the must-have if you had to just pick one of all the accessories.
The Smart Packing Cube will help you save space, thanks to its dual zip compression and great organization.
You can fit this cube into your Nook Backpack easily for the perfect packing combo!
What’s even better is that it has a hook so you can hang it up in a closet, door hook, or anywhere else.
1. Unique and customizable ecosystem
The different accessories and integrations above make this Nook Backpack impressively customizable.
Whether you need a simple backpack for your everyday commute or a spacious bag for your four-day trip, you got it.
You can adapt and transform it as much (or as little) as you like, and the best thing is that it all still feels straightforward, which I’m a fan of!
2. High-performance but lightweight
1.4 kg for a backpack may sometimes be classified as heavy but this doesn’t feel like it at all. It’s comfortable to wear and carry around.
Yes, there is a bit of weight to it which mainly comes from the back padding and protection for your back and laptop, so it doesn’t bother me at all.
And what makes this backpack truly high-performance is, of course, the durability and spacious interior.
3. Built-in organization
In addition to the organization you can get with the extra accessories and pouches, the bag itself is already very functional on its own.
The main back compartment comes with features such as mesh pockets, pen holders, zipped pockets, and a dedicated compartment for your laptop.
The side pockets are cleverly designed too, with mesh netting that’s soft but strong. They can fit my 500ml water bottle even when the bag is fully packed.
I was also able to fit a thicker taller tripod on one side too, and it held it in nicely!
4. Expandable back and top opening
The top of this backpack expands to give you 3L more storage space, which is the difference between a weekend’s worth of clothes and several days’!
It’s super easy to use with the daisy chain that keeps everything tight and secure.
The pull-in strap is definitely an older, classic style you don’t see often these days, but it works well in this bag.
Additionally, the back expands 4L to fit in the Nook Packing Cube, while the kangaroo pocket at the bottom can give you an extra 4L.
This part isn’t overly padded but is perfect for shoes or dirty laundry. I’ve put UK size 5.5 shoes max, but anything larger won’t fit here.
The weatherproofing on the Nook Backpack is overall commendable.
All of the materials have been treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment, aPU coating, or both.
This makes the exterior weatherproof and water-repellent, which will come in handy when travelling and commuting.
Last but not least, I have to give a shout-out to the colour of this backpack.
I’m in love with the colour combination, which I think is extremely pretty with the olive and the sand! It’s subtle and earthy but still has a style to it.
I even have the shoes to match from 8000Kicks. You can check out that review here, but yes, this is totally my style.
For me, the main drawback of this backpack is that there’s no hip belt or sternum strap.
You probably don’t need these when you’re using the bag in the everyday carry or 14L form.
However, the fact that it’s expandable to 34L means that it should’ve been designed to carry heavy loads.
If you want to pack this up and use it actively, say for hiking up hills or mountains, you won’t get the best support with this.
It might work with a detachable sternum strap that you add yourself, but I don’t know how secure it would be.
Moreover, some people might see this as a very busy bag what with all the add-ons and pouches. But I’d say that you don’t need to get them if you know you’re not going to be using them.
The external features can add to the bulkiness of this backpack, but on its own, it has a rather slim and flattering profile that I do like.
Another thing I don’t like is the fact that the kangaroo or shoe pouch can’t fit bigger shoes. Even my 5.5 pair of shoes were quite a tight fit.
Also, I don’t find it pleasing that aside from the Nook Pouch, none of the other items match in colour unless you get the All Black colour.
This is definitely a shame because, as I said, I love the olive-sand combination!
Here are my impressions after using the Nook Backpack for the first time versus three weeks later.
If you don’t have much time to read this entire review, you’ve come to the right section.
My review boils down to this one question:
Is the Tropicfeel Nook Backpack worth getting?
I would say yes, it is!
I have to say the Nook is probably my favorite compared to the Nest and Hive Backpacks, which I’ve also tried.
This is due to the pure flexibility of the bag, making it easier to get away with it on flights or moving through spaces.
In comparison, the boxy ridge style of Tropicfeel’s other bags does help them stay upright and in position, while the Nook flops over if it’s empty.
The bag itself works well for daily use and even as a gym bag, as you can place your shoes at the bottom compartment and use the rest of the space for your clothes and other gym essentials.
If you’re looking for a bigger backpack specifically for travel, the Shell Backpack might be for you. It features a unique built-in wardrobe system and adaptable design to adjust the capacity from 20L all the way up to 42L.
I’ve reviewed the Tropicfeel Shell before, which you can read here.
The Tropicfeel Nest is an all-rounder backpack perfect for hobbies, quick getaways, and everyday travel. It has a much more urban style, making it ideal for city life.
Here’s my full Tropficfeel Nest Backpack review!
Next up is the Cruiser, a functional and packable backpack made from 100% recycled nylon and polyester. It’s extremely lightweight and versatile which you can take on your travels as the perfect hiking or emergency backpack.
The Tropicfeel Hive is the ultimate travel lifestyle backpack with an even larger capacity than the Nook. This one comes with a sternum strap and hip strap, making it more suitable for carrying heavy loads.
Check out my full review of the Hive Backpack.
Knack Medium Expandable Pack Series 2: A top alternative for the Nook Backpack is the Series 2 by Knack Bags. It’s brilliant as an all-in-on carry solution but can also work as a getaway bag in a simple transformation.
Hive Backpack: Tropicfeel’s Hive backpack is great for travel and a fantastic alternative to the Nook. It has clever features and enough space to adapt to a variety of needs.
Stubble & Co: So far, I feel like the Stubble & Co backpack is one of my favourites. It’s reliable and high-quality while still being reasonably priced, making it perfect to just pick up and go.
That wraps up the Tropicfeel Nook review!
Have you ever used this Tropicfeel backpack?
Or their other products?
Comment and let me know below!
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