Gear Closet: Yeti Crossroads Backpack 23 Review

It is amazing to see just how far Yeti has come over the past few years. The company that was once known as a premium cooler manufacturer has grown into a highly-recognizable brand in various other areas.

It’s durable and dependable drinkware is a fan favorite for sure, while its line of Panga duffel bags is a must-have for nearly any adventurer.

Yeti has even branched out into camp chairs, gear boxes, dog beds, and much more.

They’ve even launched several packsacks, including the Crossroads Backpack 23, which I’ve been testing extensively lately.

Design

Designed with travelers and daily commuters in mind, the Crossroads isn’t likely to catch your eye with its design. In fact, it has a decidedly retro look that feels a bit disappointing when you consider it’s from Yeti.

For some reason, I expected a bit more in terms of the bag’s aesthetic, but instead, we’ve got a pack that is rather nondescript and plain looking.

Don’t get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way the Crossroads looks. It just isn’t all that flashy. However, as it turns out, there is much more to the Crossroads than its understated design, which definitely puts function ahead of form.

Storage Capacity

Yeti says that the Crossroads has 23 liters of capacity, but thanks to the way it is made, it actually feels like a lot more. The main compartment is cavernous, swallowing up tons of cargo without missing a beat.

I have been continually surprised at how much room is inside, making it easy to carry an extra layer or two, snacks or lunch, books, headphones, and a variety of other gear necessary to get through the day.

This compartment also includes several organizational pockets and a mesh zippered pocket that is perfect for keeping charging cables and other items organized. There is even an integrated key clip to ensure that you never lose your keys as well.

But that’s just the beginning. A second pocket serves as a laptop sleeve with room for notebooks up to 15.4″ in size. That seems to be a rarity these days, where laptops and tablets are continually getting smaller.

A second pocket inside the laptop sleeve can easily accommodate an iPad or similar device, too, with room to spare for other items, such as a charging brick or cables.

There is even a zippered pocket inside the sleeve too, which I found handy for storing USB accessories and drives, earbuds, and other things you want to keep close at hand.

Other Features

Other nice features include dual water bottle holders on either side, a rugged grab handle on top, and nicely padded shoulder straps. The back panel is also well-padded and comfortable, making it easy to load the Crossroads down with plenty of gear and still carry the load comfortably.

A reinforced, water-resistant layer at the bottom of the pack protects its contents from moisture should you have to set it down while outside in a rainstorm too, which is a much-appreciated touch for sure.

Build Quality

As you would expect from any product made by Yeti, the Crossroads Backpack is built tough.

The materials used in its construction, including 1000D nylon fabrics and very durable zippers, convey the sense that this is a pack that you can carry with you daily for years to come and still have it continue to look good and function properly.

Mine has been on several trips with me already and yet still looks brand new. That after taking it on at least six or seven airplane rides, visiting a busy conference, and making several business trips along the way.

Stands Well on It’s Own

Perhaps my favorite feature of the Crossroads is its ability to stand up completely on its own. Most of the time, when you have to set your backpack down, it just ends up flopping over on its side, or you have to lean it up against something else.

Not so with this bag, as it was designed to stand independently when needed. At first, I thought this just seemed like a gimmick or possibly even a happy side effect of Yeti’s design.

As it turns out, though, this is super handy to have, as it makes accessing the interior of the pack much easier, and it helps to prevent someone from accidentally tripping over it at a busy airport or trade show.

Now, when I switch back to a different pack, I find myself really missing this handy feature.

Price

While Yeti is well known for its over-engineered designs and incredibly durable products, it also has a reputation for making products on the expensive side. The Crossroads Backpack 23 fits that description as well, coming in at $199.99.

That’s a lot to pay for a travel/daypack, particularly in a market where there are many other options available at half that price.

Conclusion

Yeti’s brand shines through here, with a backpack that has been thoughtfully designed, built to last for years to come, and with all of the storage and organizational pockets you could ask for.

I know that moving forward, this will likely be the bag I grab for most of my travel experiences because it is dependable, can carry everything I need, and has the features that I want while on the go.

I can understand why someone would bulk at the $200 price tag, but for those who need this level of performance, the Yeti Crossroads Backpack 23 is worth every penny.