With the introduction of a new design, YETI continues to redefine what it means to be outdoorsy. This backpack is perfect for hiking, camping, and other activities requiring you to take your gear with you. Its easy-to-use features make getting around simple, while its durable construction will ensure years of use at a great price point.
The YETI Crossroads Backpack 23 may be the perfect everyday carry bag for you if you’re searching for a rugged backpack to keep up with your daily grind. It also functions well as a compact carry-on travel bag. The Crossroads is a 23-liter backpack from the well-known Austin, Texas, a business known for its durable coolers, insulated mugs, and other outdoor living items.
Our crew has been putting the YETI Crossroads Backpack 23 through its paces in Detroit and northern Michigan for the last three weeks. How did it hold up in the end? Let’s get right in and see what we can learn.
Aesthetics & Materials
Overall, the Crossroads Backpack 23 has that distinctive YETI design, but it’s a bit more muted than the brand’s coolers, which have more oversized zippers and brighter colors. If you prefer to carry your belongings in a bag, YETI also offers a 16L Crossroads tote.
There’s a tiny YETI patch on the front of the Crossroads Backpack 23 and one on the rear of the shoulder straps when it comes to branding.
We appreciate that the logo is gray on black, a more muted option than the white-on-black patch seen on the YETI Tocayo (a bag previously reviewed that has since been discontinued).
The primary fabric on the YETI Crossroads Backpack 23’s exterior is 1000D nylon. It has a lovely, soft feel, and we anticipate it to last a long time.
This bag is available in three colors at the time of this review: Slate Blue, Charcoal, and Black. We’ve been putting the Crossroads Backpack in Black through its paces (surprising, right?). However, we chose the Charcoal hue for the Tote, which also looks great.
On the other hand, Pack Hacker HQ is divided on the bag’s overall appearance. It appeals to some of us. Some of us don’t think so. And some of us believe it has a “dad” feel (sorry, dads). We asked our Instagram followers for their views, as we usually do, and they tended to agree with the “haters” among us. If you want to be a part of future poles, follow us on Instagram @packhacker.
The inner lining of the YETI Crossover Backpack 23 is 420D ripstop nylon, which feels good and offers some durability.
The bag also features high-quality Duraflex buckles, plastic hardware on the strap adjusters and sternum strap, and YKK zippers on the openings.
Components from Outside
The YETI Crossover Backpack’s harness system allows for a comfortable carry of this 23L pack. In addition, the shoulder straps are made of high-density foam and have a good amount of squish, making them extremely comfortable to wear.
While on a big bag, you probably don’t need such thick straps. We’re not complaining. You can expect a pleasant carry even when this backpack is filled with your stuff.
A row of PALS webbing where the sternum strap connects is covered by fabric welting on the straps. Although a removable sternum strap of this type is still conceivable, the sternum strap remains fairly firmly bound, so it’s unlikely to be misplaced.
The plastic Duraflex adjusters slide and adjust smoothly as you go down the straps.
Only elastic keepers to control the extra strap are lacking from the bottom of this harness system. So we used Tom Bihn’s detachable strap keepers during our testing to create that wonderful dangle-free feeling.
The YETI Crossroads Backpack 23 has a cushioned back panel that feels comparable to the foam used in the shoulder straps, but there isn’t much mesh to assist with ventilation. This bag’s rear panel is stiff, particularly compared to other packs we’ve tried.
You’ll feel this rigidity when you tighten the straps if you prefer a more flexible backpack that contours to your back. However, if you place a 15-inch laptop along the rear of any bag (as many manufacturers do), you’ll lose part of that shape in any case. As a result, it’s something to think about.
Overall, the Crossroads 23’s harness system is sturdy and comfortable.
The top handle of the bag is cushioned, grabbable, and just about the right size. The handle also seems connected to some stay, giving this item more solidity when you grasp it.
There are two exterior water bottle compartments on either side of the YETI Crossroads Backpack 23. However, they aren’t your typical water bottle compartments. Instead, they’re magnetic and expandable (!). They’ll expand to accommodate most water bottles when you need them; when you don’t, they’ll lie flat.
These water bottle pockets aren’t stretchy (they’re made of the same 1000D material as the rest of the pack), but they have an elastic mesh at the bottom. Furthermore, these compartments were designed by YETI to accommodate most Rambler bottles. We tested them with a 36oz Rambler, and they barely fit.
Finally, even when it’s empty, and there are no water bottles in the side pockets, this bag stands up on its own. Plus, the bag’s bottom is coated in a tarpaulin-like material that provides extra toughness and water resistance, so you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to put it down.
Inside the Bundle
The YETI Crossroads Backpack 23 has some innovative organization, but it leaves a lot to be desired.
Let’s start with the bag’s most elusive compartment: a zipped pocket concealed beneath the rear panel. When you’re on the move, it’s a fantastic spot to keep your passport or wallet.
In addition, the side of this pocket is gusseted (meaning it has some dimension built-in) and the cushioned rear panel ensures that nothing pokes you in the back. However, flatter things are still preferable since anything too large would alter the contour of the rear panel.
The front quick-grab pocket on the Crossroads Backpack 23 opens and folds down to create a kind of tray where you may store your daily essentials. It’s ideal for the Airport Pocket Shuffle—you know, when you take everything out of your pockets and put everything in your luggage to go through security, then put it back in your pockets while trying not to hold up the line by putting on your shoes—or other tiny things that you need fast access to.
This quick-grab pocket has a partition that helps keep things organized. While it’s large enough to hold a small notebook or power bank, if the main compartment is overflowing, the capacity of this quick-grab pocket will be compromised.
The laptop compartment is located approximately a third of the way down the backpack and opens up. On the interior, a soft lining and cushioned bottom safeguard your laptop from harm while traveling.
A tablet sleeve is located at the front of the backpack and is similarly soft and cushioned. There’s a sleeve for your pens, pencils, or styluses (styli?) on either side of the tablet pocket.
Above the tablet sleeve is a zipped lining pocket. The interior of the pocket is constructed of the same elastic material as the bottom of the water bottle pockets, and it’s a good size for storing additional cables, dongles, and other electronic things.
This top zippered pocket intrigues us more than it intrigues us to use it. We found it to be a bit difficult to get there throughout our testing. It’s possible that this is due to the firm stay beneath the top handle. Also, stuffing this compartment with bulkier goods would reduce the bag’s primary capacity, so we only used it for tiny items like a very expensive pen and a phone charger. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s worth noting.
With a No. 8 YKK Racquet Coil Zipper, the main compartment of the YETI Crossroads Backpack 23 opens up clamshell style.
A zippered mesh pocket is located on the front flap of the clamshell. Although the mesh has considerable flexibility, the pocket is best suited to smaller, flatter objects. There’s also a key clip in this pocket, which seems like a strange location to put it. To get to your keys, unzip the main compartment, then the mesh pocket, and then take your keys out. We’ve usually kept our keys in the front quick-grab pocket or a sling bag since they’re easier to get to.
Another sleeve for papers, periodicals, or a tablet may be found on the rear of the clamshell. Remember that reaching this location may be challenging depending on what’s within the tech pocket above it. There’s a zipped pocket in front of that sleeve for extra organizing.
Finally, there’s the primary capacity of this clamshell area to consider. There’s a good lot of room, but it fills up quickly. The elastic pocket in the laptop compartment, as previously stated, may protrude into the main capacity if it is overstuffed. The front of the bag’s quick-grab pocket may also be used. Overall, it seems tighter than other bags of comparable size that we’ve tried.
Testing & Durability
Our Founder, Tom, and Managing Editor, AJ, had been using the YETI Crossroads 23 for three weeks at this review—mainly as a daily bag around Detroit, but with a trip to northern Michigan thrown in for good measure.
We appreciate the internal structure. However, there are a few things we don’t like about it. It seems smaller than comparable bags of equal size for a 23L pack. And the pockets may often be more of a hindrance than a helper when it comes to organization.
Overall, we’ve had a good time with the YETI Crossroads Backpack 23. When you pick it up, you can tell it’s a high-quality bag. And it has remained high-quality throughout the testing process. Of course, if we run into any durability problems, we’ll update the Usage Timeline below, but we don’t anticipate that to happen anytime soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are YETI Backpacks worth it?
A: It might be worth it for a backpack that is more expensive than the one you want but also has pretty unique features and design.
Is the YETI Crossroads backpack a cooler?
A: Yes, the YETI Crossroads backpack is more fantastic.
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