On a recent press trip to Chicago, Travel Well had the chance to try some OnSight Equipment products courtesy of Eartheasy, an online retailer of sustainable living products. Based in British Columbia, OnSight Equipment specializes in sustainable outdoors and travel products with an expert combination of technical sewing and production with 60 – 100% recycled PET materials in nearly everything they make. This mission is right up our alley, so we were excited to try their Clothes Box travel organizer and Diamond Activity Bag over three weeks on the road. Here’s what we found.
Updated as of 4/5/16: The links in this guide are affiliate links. If you click through to Eartheasy and purchase anything, we’ll get a small referral commission to support the magazine at no cost to you.
Clothes Box Travel Organizer
Packing systems have become a new favorite among frequent travelers in recent years (and it surprises me it took us this long to come up with such a simple solution to the irritations of packing a suitcase.) Since I have transitioned to traveling only with a carry-on backpack in which packing cubes are a great addition, I gave OnSight’s Clothes Box a run for its money but stuffing it to the brim with workout clothes pre- and post- sweat sessions.
Durability: Even when it was perhaps too full, the zipper held strong and opened and closed with ease. I couldn’t find any discernable loosening of seams, and the box didn’t hold on to the scent of dirty laundry.
Shape: Unlike most packing systems I’ve tried, OnSight’s held it’s three dimensional shape when empty instead of slumping flat. I can see this being helpful if I’d ever need to pack in a pinch.
External pocket: Also unlike other systems, this container has a handy separate external pocket for small items like phones, keys, or toiletries.
Materials: 100% recycled PET. Can’t beat that!
What’s extra neat about all of OnSight’s products is that they show you how many plastic water bottles were recycled to make it. In this case, the large Clothes Box recycled 10!
Cost: At $17.50 for just one, it’s kind of a tough pill to swallow compared to $25 – $30 for a set of three or four nesting cubes elsewhere, although the durability and eco-friendly materials could make the cost justifiable.
Size: Even the large Clothes Box isn’t all that big. I’d love to see an even bigger version sold with this large size and the smaller one for a full system.
Diamond Activity Bag
Designed for the regular gymgoer, the Diamond Activity Bag comes in a sleek design and offers plenty of built-in features. As such, we thoroughly tested it by stuffing it full with shoes and jackets and being less careful with it than we would any other brand new purchase.
Size: This duffel is the perfect size for a trip to the gym and even a weekend trip if you’re a light packer. At 50 cm long, this bag would fit easily in any overhead compartment.
Organization: With one standard side zip pocket, one large-capacity side zip waterproof pocket, and the main compartment, the Diamond is great for keeping your wet/dirty laundry and small items separate from clean clothes and towels.
Yoga mat bag: The mat bag that came inside the duffel was a great addition! It perfect fit my yoga mat and was made of the same nylon ripstop as the bag lining.
Mesh bag: The yoga mat bag came neatly folded in its own mesh pouch that detached from the interior of the bag which could be used for any small items when the mat bag was in use.
Durability: The ecofriendly 1000d EPO Tarpaulin exterior material is hard to beat—literally. After three weeks of lots of rough and tumble, there’s not a scuff or scratch on it.
Price: For a bag that can last for years in the travel and fitness worlds, $89.95 is a worthwhile price for me.
D-style zipper flap wouldn’t stay open: The other side of the coin of the durable exterior fabric is that when I wanted the D-style top to stay open while packing and unpacking, the stiffness of the material forced it shut every time. I had to hold the top open with one hand while packing with the other, which became a bit frustrating, but I’m optimistic the crease will soften just enough over more uses.
No straps for yoga mat: When using the yoga mat bag, there were no straps to sling it over my shoulder or attach it to the duffel, a tad inconvenient.
Shape: Though the Diamond had a flat bottom, its round shape caused it to roll forward and back quite a bit, another hassle when packing and unpacking.
I’m not a duffel fan: This is no fault of OnSight, but I never opt for a duffel for regular use. I much prefer cross-body or shoulder bags that stay flatter to my body and don’t require being carried by hand, and while I know duffels have straps that allow shoulder carrying, the round shape sticks out off my hip way too far for comfort and is an inefficient use of space. If you’re like me, you’re in luck: OnSight has backpack options.
All in all, these products clearly demonstrate that quality and environmental consciousness are not mutually exclusive. OnSight is a prime example for the travel, outdoors and fitness product industries to follow, and we’ll certainly be heading to Eartheasy.com next time we need some new OnSight travel gear.