Backpack Review: The eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible

A few months ago, eBags gave us the opportunity to test out their Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible packs, which Brooke & I used as our main packs on our recent 3.5 month trip. It is approximately 55L and can suit your needs as a large carry–on or a medium sized backpack (as we are using it).

I used my macpac day-pack in conjunction and when both are fully packed the eBags is actually not that much larger!

The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

Exterior : the bag itself is mid-sized and quite rectangular in shape. I have it in black and it looks good – smart enough if you are more of a corporate traveler but not too delicate for backpackers. The exterior material is tough fabric, with sturdy carrying handles on the top, side and bottom – which make it the easiest bag I have ever owned to stow and retrieve from overhead lockers and car boots.

On the front lid of the bag are several compartments – one has several smaller storage options suitable for passports, pens, keys, & valuables as well as several flat zippered sections. There is also a compartment above that and even a drink bottle holder which can be hidden away when not in use. The back pack straps can also be zipped in for transit which is always a great feature if you are flying.

 

Inside: this is where the bag really shines. The main compartment has a divider which can actually be released- to form either one or two sections depending on what you are packing. The sides are quite deep and that is even before unzipping the exterior to expand the depth of the bag. There are two tie down straps which come in handy for compressing clothes or valuables. On the lid of the main section there is a mesh zippered section perfect for a few flat items such as collared shirts or a sweater that doesn’t roll-up easily.

Main compartment

Located behind the main compartment is the laptop compartment and ‘sling’ – which allows you to fit any sized laptop under 17″ quite easily without the laptop resting on the base. There is padding for protection and behind that is the flat zippered external compartment which can house the backpack straps.

In Action: so what is the bag like on the road?

  • Great when it comes to packing 15 minutes before check-out. I haven’t had any problems finding places to store stuff and haven’t had any battles getting the bag shut.
  • Organization is probably the best selling point for the TLS Weekender Convertible. Whatever you’ve got to pack, you should be able to find a space for it that just feels right!
  • Different modes of transport love the bag too. It fits carry on regulations and the exterior handles make it the best bag I’ve ever owned to maneuver and grab from planes, cars, trains and the ground.
  • Carrying the bag is probably its weakness in my eyes. In the last 6 weeks, it has weighed between 9 kg – 15 kg and even for someone in fairly good shape, it can get uncomfortable to use the back straps or shoulder strap for longer than 10 minutes at a time.
  • After a fair bit of rough and tumble from at least 10 bus trips and 5 flights, the appearance is still good bar a few scruff marks and some dust.
The front pocket has separate storage for any small valuables & documents

So should you buy one? That’s really up to you and what type of trip you have planned. I for one am really happy to have it in my arsenal for travelling- it is fantastically flexible and has an incredible amount of smart features for one bag.

If you are seeking a ‘weekender’ bag as the name suggests (something for flying, road trips or travelling where you do not have to carry your luggage for long stretches of time) – this bag is excellent. If you have some lengthy treks planned, it isn’t designed with the back support/ weight distribution systems and long-distance carrying capacity of a purpose built backpack.

For more info on the eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible, check out the great videos by the product designers which give you a lot more info about the features & specifications.

>> Buy the eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible on Amazon

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