The Backpack Breakdown: A Review of the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender

Sometimes, rolling around suitcases can be a pain. Especially when you are on the go-go-go. When walking down cobblestone streets or on rocky terrain, the wheels too often get stuck and cause you more hassle than anything else. Do times like those make you wish there was an alternative to make traveling easier? Nowadays, backpacks are the way to go. The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender has many attractive features that make it the perfect bag for urban traveling, hiking, and weekend road trips. We really appreciate the versatility of this pack. Keep reading and maybe you will too.

A Little About the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender


The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is for international travelers, road-trippers, study abroad students, and backpackers. It is designed for everyone. It is also designed in a way that sets it apart from other travel backpacks.

Most backpacks are top-loading. This can be bothersome because it ends up taking a long time to rummage through your belongings to locate and yank out items from the bottom of your pack. Often times, travelers have to take everything out just to find their sweatshirt at the bottom of their bag. The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender avoids this inconvenience altogether. Rather than being top-loading, this pack is front-loading, like a standard suitcase. This bag packs like a suitcase and carries like a backpack. That means that you can have the benefits of both. Genius. In addition, this travel backpack lets you dodge baggage fees. The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is a carry-on backpack, even when stuffed to maximum capacity.

Features & Benefits

Product Specifications

ebags2 specification

The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender weighs in at 4.1 points. The product dimensions of this lightweight travel backpack are 22 x 14 x 9 inches. There are many organizational details and compartments for travelers to keep all their items and belongings in their rightful place. The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is made of 840D & 900D twisted poly fabric. This pack also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The backpack's straps can also go into hiding, which is particularly convenient when hauling your backpack into the overhead bin on the airplane. All those flailing straps and buckets can be easily stowed away when the pack is not on your back.

Carry-On Compatible

ebags carry - on

Travelers can carry-on the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender with ease. Even when the pack is filled to max capacity, it will fit within the airplane's overhead bin. The carry-on compatibility of this travel backpack makes it extremely attractive to travelers who don't want to go through the process of checking a bag and waiting for it around the baggage claim carousel. When the backpack is not packed full, it can even fit under some airplane seat. The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender allows for a smooth travel experience with its carry-on capability.

Main Compartment

ebags compartment

The main compartment of the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender zips open “suitcase style.” Basically, this backpack opens like a standard carry-on suitcase, but wears like a traditional backpack. Therefore, it is the best of both worlds. Why roll around a carry-on suitcase when you can wear a comfortable backpack instead? The main compartment also includes a fold-down “shelf” that splits the section in half for greater organization. If you would rather pack with packing cubes, then you will be extra pleased to hear that the main compartment can efficiently store packing cubes too. The main compartment also has a small zippered pouch for miscellaneous items that you don't want floating around inside the bag.

The main compartment also has a zippered mesh panel. This mesh section provides more opportunities to keep your belongings organized. Travelers can separate their clothes from their toiletries or use the separate compartment to separate their clean clothes and dirty clothes. As if things cannot get any grander, the main compartment is also expandable. The expandable feature of this bag is a great addition for when you are on your journey home and your luggage seems to be fuller than it was when you left. Hmm… it's strange how that tends to happen… (did someone get carried away with souvenirs shopping?). For when you find yourself in that situation, the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender's expandable main compartment will be a blessing.

Front Compartment

ebags - Front Compartment

The front compartment of the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender has a U-shaped zipper design. This feature allows travelers to easily access any items stored in this compartment. Anything you want can be stored in this area. One packing option that we recommend is placing your toiletry items in the front compartment so they can be quickly retrieved when going through airport security. We appreciate the convenience of this compartment and how spacious it is. The front flap of this section has three zippered pockets of different sizes. To give you a gist of the sizes, the largest zipper compartment can easily fit an iPad Mini. It also has a section of pens and a pouch where a cell phone, cables, or other small items can be stored.

Laptop Compartment and Other Compartments

Laptop Compartment

Compartments, compartments, and more compartments. Do you think the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender has enough compartments? We know that all of you organized travelers are lighting up at the mention of all these compartments.

The compartment list continues with a laptop section and other exterior zippered pockets. The laptop compartment is located at the back of the pack. Storing your laptop in a section separate from your clothing is very convenient when passing through airport security. Simply slide out your laptop, place it in a bin, and send it down the conveyer belt. This cushioned laptop section also includes a sling that secures your laptop into place. What's more is that laptops up to 19 inches wide can fit within this protected area. Finding a travel backpack that can fit such large laptops is hard to come by. For that, we are impressed with the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender.

In terms of additional compartments, there is a small front zippered pocket that can store thin papers, passports, boarding passes, or small books. The top zippered section is roomy enough to store sunglasses, mints, keys, snacks, or other small items. Oh, the possibilities when it comes to packing this backpack!

What Travelers Are Saying About the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender

Travelers appreciate how organized they can stay with the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender. The bag's expandable main compartment is also a unique feature of the bag that customers have found useful. The one downside of the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is that the backpack doesn't have a side or front water bottle pouch. Thankfully, a water bottle can fit in the front compartment. Some travelers love that the water bottle is hidden and secure inside the pack, whereas other travelers wish the backpack included an external water bottle pouch.

Also, the bag can get heavy. Given that the pack is expandable, some travelers stuff the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender so full that their shoulders begin to ache. Be mindful that everything you pack into the bag will be getting hauled onto your back to carry. The hip belt on the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is not padded, so you'll be feeling the weight.

Alternative Travel Backpacks

Osprey Waypoint

Osprey Waypoint

If you do not want your shoulders to ache while carrying your backpack, opt for the Osprey Waypoint. This travel backpack has a suspension system that makes it comfortable to carry no matter how heavy the bag is. Osprey is a brand you can trust. Their high-quality, high-performance backpacks are geared towards outdoor explorers and urban explorers. Whereas the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is a unisex bag, the Osprey Waypoint comes in a male version and a female version.

We should note that this bag is much larger than the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender. It is not carry-on compatible because of its large size. The Osprey Waypoint comes in a 65L size and an 80L size. While the main pack cannot be carried on the airplane, the detachable daypack can be. The Osprey Waypoint may be an ideal alternative for travelers who are planning a longer trip and need a bag that can take the heavy load. This pack is more also customizable than the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender.

Tortuga Travel Backpack

Tortuga Travel Backpack

Looking for an alternative carry-on backpack? The Tortuga Travel Backpack is 44L in size, meaning it is carry-on compatible just like the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender. This pack also has a separate laptop compartment that can hold laptops up to 17 inches. Another shared feature between the two bags is that they both pack like a suitcase, so belongings can be easily retrieved during your travels. Unlike the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender, the Tortuga Travel Backpack has a padded hip belt that redistributes weight for a more comfortable fit. What's more is the Tortuga Travel Backpack has lockable zippers to keep belongings safe and secure.

AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

Carry-On Travel Backpack

The AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack is very similar to the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender. This pack is lightweight and made of durable polyester fabric. It also folds out “suitcase style” and has an internal zippered mesh compartment and optional “shelf.” This travel backpack may be the most similar to the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender in size, function, and capability. Like the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender, the Amazon Basics Carry-On Travel Backpack has an expansion zipper. This creates 10% more packing space in the main compartment of the bag.

Is the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender for You?

If you enjoy staying organized during your travels, then the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender may be a pack worth considering. There is ample storage within this travel backpack. The fact that the bag is a carry-on is another attractive feature for many travelers. When it comes to the downsides of this backpack, we find that the lack of an external water bottle pouch is a deal breaker for some travelers. Also, the hip belt is rather thin and flimsy. Given the size and expandability of this travel bag, it can get very heavy. A padded hip belt that helps to redistribute the weight more comfortably would have been a nice addition.

Apart from those two things, the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is praised for its versatility and durability. You can take this travel pack on any adventure and it will faithfully keep all your belongings safe. The fact that the bag packs like a carry-on suitcase, yet carries like a backpack is another standout feature.

We hope this in-depth review of the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender was helpful to you. What are your thoughts on this travel backpack? Let us know in the comments section below!

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