LL Bean Quickload vs Expedition
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I just handled both side by side in the Bean store near me. Both bags are similiar in weight and capacity (each slightly over 2 lbs, around 3000 cu in). Expedition styling is more sturdy and outdoorsy than the Quickload. Expedition has an outside pocket for shoving in a w Pandora Charms indbreaker, newspaper etc, but no zipper or closure to keep these items from spilling out. Expedition zippers do not lock; Quickload main bag zipper locks (other two pockets do not). The eBags MotherLode has a lot of handy features the Quickload lacks, but again the QuickLoad is half the weight. Both have lifetime guarantees and great customer service.
About the Quickload Travel Pack:1) While the main compartment has “lockable” zippers, the other zippers can be locked together. I line all three up and put a small luggage lock through the metal zipper pulls. Bean shoulder strap with a Tom Bihn Absolute Strap IMHO, the best strap on the market. It adds about 5 oz of weight but it worth it.3) I have the black model. Bean logo in gray sticking out so I blackened it in with a black permanent marker. There are several ways to weave it through the four outside compression straps to create a criss cross X shaped to attach a windbreaker, sweater etc. Works well, you can still access the bag interior, and you can rig this with any bag that ha Pandora Charms s exterior compression straps. And it looks not funky hobo, if that matters. REI also sells online an under $10 elasticized cargo net intended for bicycle racks. I found it will attach handily to the back of the Quickload, eBags Weekenders, etc, with either its own plastic hooks, or you can use small WalMart carabiners, or thread the compression straps through the edges of the net, lots of options. With that you can attach quite a lot: outerwear, reading materials, shopping bags etc. Always easily detachable if not needed, stows in the outside pocket.
Sarabeth, I think you be very happy with the Quickload ( I like mine ; it my second favorite bag overall just behind the eBags TLS Weekender/Mother Lode. One would be easy to rig from any generic camping store belt buckle/strap. I find the Quickload is comfortable enough without the belt, but I use it anyway. A deal breaker could be it does not have the lockable main zipper like the Quickload, but as a pack, I think my preference is for the Expedition. Sigh, actually I think both are too big, but I have been unable to find a 20″ pack. Companies all seem to go to the automatic 22″ size. Tom Bihn does have the Tri Star, but it is a full pound more. I do have the Bihn Aeronaut, but as Pandora Charms nice as it is, it 22″ . so, I continue the search.
In response to your video, let me answer one of your questions. You mention the main zipper on the Quickload is off to one side while the one on the Expedition is centered. This is strictly a design feature and has nothing to do with the durability of the bag.