Expecting to travel, I saw this project, Progo, on Kickstarter for a carry-on luggage which interested me for two features: a separate shoe compartment and a removable shelf. At the time of this project, there was a similar project, SOLO, that was also available on Kickstarter, but it was the Progo that I was after for its two features.
When it finally arrived, the Progo also had dividers in its main compartment. I had forgotten that it can also be used as a large camera bag. So I took those out since I was going to use the Progo as a simple carry-on luggage. I normally do not check my bag when I fly since it saves time waiting for the luggage at the carousel.
I got to test drive how well the Progo actually was on a short weekend trip and then on a month-long vacation.
I was excited to use the removable shelf on this short three-day trip. As I was loading the fabric shelf and placed it in the compartment, I knew it was going to be packed tight with not much room for anything else save for socks around the edges. I managed to pack three t-shirts, two shorts, one button-down shirt, and a pair of pants. It was just enough, but in the back of mind I was anxious to see how it would do for a longer trip.
As I began to pack for a trip Down Under, I realized more and more that I had to change the way I would pack for this trip if I were to use Progo as my carry-on luggage. First of all, I could not use the removable shelf. I had two polo shirts, two running shirts and shorts, two casual shorts, and three v-neck t-shirts. These could not fit into the shelf inside the compartment. It was too thick. I decided to roll these items, but what to do with the removable shelf that I wanted to bring along? I stuffed it into the back compartment with the pull out backpack straps. It was the only place I can fit it into if I wanted to bring it on the trip, not realizing that there was another compartment conveniently hidden away. This other compartment was for a laptop or tablet.
Then I discovered some flaws which restricted space in three smaller compartments: the front and back of the lid cover for the main compartment, and the smaller “secret” compartment on the side. For the lid cover, after unzipping it and placing something inside (a book for example), only one side of the zipper is open while the other side is stitched closed. The opening to the “secret” compartment is so tight that it is difficult to get any “secret” items in there.
On the plane going to my destination I placed my heavier shoes (running) in the shoe compartment, stuffed with rolled up socks. But on the voyage home, I placed my lighter shoes, also stuffed with rolled socks, in the compartment and found I could stuff the compartment with other items to fill up the space. My clear plastic bag with liquids, I placed in the padded compartment found on the back of the Progo–it was easy to take out before passing security checkpoints.
I do admit that I still have not carried it as a backpack. This is probably due to the fact that I had another bag over my shoulder, the Urban Pack by Loft of Cambie, which had my electronics and other necessities (i.e. granola bar, ear plugs). Apart from the “flaws” that are personal to me, this is a good, functional carry-on luggage. It fit nicely into the luggage compartments of the planes that we flew in. It certainly is a roomy weekender, but if you’re planning longer than a weekend, you will certainly need to plan and trim down what you’re bringing. The Progo has many compartments so it can easily accommodate clothes, shoes, and electronics. All in all, the Progo does exactly it was meant to do: be an organized carry-on luggage. Moreover, it can also double as a camera bag with the compartment dividers that came along with the Progo when it was delivered to me.
Note: If you are flying within Australia, be aware that they only allow a maximum of 7 kilograms (15.43 pounds) for carry-on luggage. By that time in my vacation, my luggage was pushing 11 kg.