Tropicfeel Shell BackPack Review: Is it Worth it?

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Tropicfeel is a sustainable travel brand that have recently gained a cult-like following after several back-to-back Kickstarter campaigns that were all a huge success. They create a range of shoes, bags, and apparel.

Tropicfeel reached out to us, and asked if we’d be interested in trying out the Shell Backpack— a travel backpack made from sustainable materials.

The team at Tropicfeel didn’t ask us to mention anything specific, and all views here are our own. We’ve tested it for short (1-3 days) and longer (10-14 days) trips and wanted to share our findings.

Topicfeel shell backpack
My Tropicfeel shell backpack in Green (gifted)

The Verdict:

All in all, I’ve been impressed with the Shell backpack. It delivers on the promise of being a versatile, practical bag that offers enough space for all of your clothes and gear for a week or two away from home, and also doubles up as a good daypack.

ProsCons
👍 Practical backpack ideal for travel – the backpack size can be adjusted as needed, from 22L to 40L👎 Relatively expensive for a backpack
👍 Uses sustainable and recycled materials👎 Built-in wardrobe is slightly bulky (but still useful)
👍 Small enough to be a cabin bag
👍 Lots of space and pockets to store things
👍 Multiple straps to spread the weight of your bag

First Impressions and Findings

The Shell Backpack arrived in recycled packaging, which was a great start. It had all of the accessories, including the camera bag and different pouches organized and labelled. Included in this set was the built in wardrobe system that you can use to organize your clothes.

The zips and clips are solid and don’t feel like they’re going to break if you pull on them too much.

Tropicfeel shell backpack and accesories
The Shell Backpack with all of the extra accessories and components

First impressions were good, and I was looking forward to testing it out.

Key Features on the Shell Backpack

1. Increase (or Decrease) the Size of the Bag

Tropicfeel market the Shell backpack as the ideal travel bag. This is partly due to how you can increase, or decrease, the size as needed, from 22L to 40L.

Tropicfeel shell backpack
Shell Backpack shown without clip on washbag and straps at smallest setting, here we see the shoe compartment open (at the bottom of the bag)

At the start of your trip you can load up the bag with all of your clothes, books, tech, and toiletries, and have plenty of room for everything.

During your trip, you can reduce the size and use it as an everyday backpack.

Tropicfeel shell backpack review
Still using the Shell Backpack on travels in Lisbon one year on

We found this versatility to be true, and increasing or decreasing the size using the straps is fast and simple.

The bag is small enough to take as a cabin bag on flights, but large enough to mean you don’t always need to take any larger luggage with you.

Tropicfeel shell backpack
Shell Backpack shown here with the removable front pocket fitted, and the shoe compartment closed (in contrast to above picture)

2. Wardrobe System for Staying Organized

One of the selling points of this backpack is that it comes with Tropicfeel’s unique wardrobe system. This wardrobe comes with multiple compartments that you can pack to your heart’s content. It fits into the backpack perfectly, and when you arrive at your destination, can pull it out and hang it up.

Simply pull the straps on either side of the wardrobe to squash and condense the wardrobe down, meaning you can fit more clothes into your bag.

Tropicfeel shell backpack removable wardrobe
The removable wardrobe compartment features three sections, perfect for keeping your clothes organized

We found that the downside to this wardrobe is that it’s slightly more bulky than a regular packing cube or simply folding your clothes and packing them individually. But, it definitely helps you stay organized.

3. Pockets and Organization

We loved that there were lots of pockets and features on the backpack to help you stay organized. There’s a laptop pouch that fits a 15″ laptop, and smaller pockets on the inside and outside to store small valuables and electronics, including two which are near-invisible from the outside.

Tropicfeel shell backpack internal padded pouch for laptops and ipads
Padded laptop section of the backpack within the pouch, extra pockets for valuables

The bag also has interesting magnetic fidlocks that you can use to quickly add or remove pouches from the bag’s exterior.

4. Accessories

There are options to add on the three accesories when buying the shell backpack. The options are the tech wallet, wash bag, and camera bag.

Both the tech wallet and wash bag come with the magnetic fidlocks, and can be clipped onto the front of the bag, saving space inside the bag.

I recommend adding the wash bag and tech wallet, as they were both really handy, especially when clipped to the front of the bag. This meant all essentials were easily accessible, saving space inside the bag.

Here’s a closer look at the wash bag and camera cube.

Tropicfeel padded camera bag

Camera cube: A padded camera bag which comes with internal, removable compartments to secure your gear, big enough for a decent size DSLR camera and lenses.

The cube comes with a detachable padded strap, and can be used on its own as a camera bag.

Tropicfeel shell backpack wash bag removable pouch made from sustainable materials

Inside the wash bag, compartments to secure toiletries. The wash bag is waterproof so if you put wet soap in, the rest of your stuff won’t get wet.

There is a handy hanger on the top of the wash bag, great for hanging up in the bathroom.

This can be clipped externally to the outside of the backpack.

How sustainable is the Tropicfeel Shell Backpack?

We were mainly interested in this backpack because of Tropicfeel’s sustainable credentials.

The bag is made from two core materials:

Tropicfeel also let you learn about the full impact the backpack has on the planet in an interactive section of the product page. You can track the Product’s Journey, seeing details on all the factories involved and miles the product or materials have been shipped.

Tropicfeel shell backpack sustainable production journey

There’s also full details on the materials and certifications the materials have.

For example, Tropicfeel work with bluesign certified partners to ensure there are no harmful toxins created or used, and the factory creating their recycled material compounds adhere to the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).

Tropicfeel also work with Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certified factories to ensure that anyone involved in the manufacturing process has been treated fairly and has safe working conditions.

Tropicfeel is also partnering with Climate Neutral, a non-profit organization, to offset their carbon footprint. They’re in the same cohort as brands like tentree, Knickey, Will’s Vegan Store, and other great sustainable brands.

Wrapping Up: Tropicfeel Shell Backpack

Overall, we’re impressed with their credentials. There’s always room to do better, so it’s good to see that they’re partnering with non-profits and sustainability-focused organizations to improve how they operate their business.

Although we didn’t pay for the backpack, I would definitely recommend it and I would be happy to pay full price – for me personally I would opt for the tech and wash bag accessories add ons and wouldn’t bother with the camera bag add on if you already have a decent camera bag.

If you’re looking for a versatile bag made from sustainable materials, which covers both everyday and travelling, the Shell backpack is for you.

Tropicfeel shell backpack
Tropicfeel Shell Backpack in action

Shop the Shell Backpack…

You can easily check the price and shop the Tropicfeel Shell backpack on their website by clicking the link below.

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The Ecothes Team

Hi, we're the team behind Ecothes. We started this platform to help share the sustainable brands we discover, making products from clothing, to homeware, to sneakers.

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