Last Updated on February 17, 2019
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So, in 2017 I decided to take a flyer on the Adventuridge Folding Backpack. My family likes to go camping, and folding backpacks are useful for camping because they can be made small for travel but also open up for when we take hikes and other day trips. I really wanted to like the backpack, but after a frustrating day of hiking that included the backpack destroying my plastic tumbler, I not only stopped using it, but I got rid of it altogether.
Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment, because when Aldi brought the backpack back in 2018, I decided to give it another chance. The design was similar, but different, and I was hoping that a year of tweaks would make this a better option for hiking.
I was wrong.
The Adventuridge Lightweight Foldable Backpack, an Aldi Special Buy (ALDI Find), sold for $9.99. (I got it on clearance for $5.99.) It is certainly lightweight; at just 8.8 ounces, the backpack expands to hold almost 8 gallons of gear … or, on paper, just what you’d hope for. The backpack comes with only basic instructions, but folding and unfolding it is a snap, with the backpack storing nicely in an attached bag that doubles as an internal pouch when the bag is fully unfolded.
The problem is that the bag is, like its 2017 predecessor, a really lousy backpack. Observe:
On the positive side, the 2018 bag does improve on one of the most egregious problems of the 2017 bag: namely, the virtually useless cup holders. Where the 2017 bag was designed with side mesh holders that weren’t much good for keeping cups in, this model features rear mesh holders that do hold cups in better. That’s good, although the fix the bag uses — putting in the back rather than the sides — makes the cup harder to get to, so there’s tradeoff.
But one of the fundamental design problems of the 2017 model still persists: the bag is a crumpled heap unless it’s tightly packed. More often than not, we (like most people) don’t back our backpacks to the gills when we hike, because we don’t usually need to. Instead, we carry a few essentials, like a first aid kid, binoculars, and so on. This bag isn’t much good for that, because the fold-over top scrunches down and the bottom scrunches up. We try not to obsess too much over how a bag looks in the wilderness, but this is hideous. And unnecessary, as there are plenty of folding backpacks out there that travel just fine.
I really wanted to like this backpack, and I hoped it could remedy the sins of its predecessor. And it does fix one problem, in the form of the cup holder. But it still by and large fails as a backpack, especially if you’re not stuffing the thing full. As was the case in 2017, I can’t recommend the 2018 model. Very disappointing.