Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- Lo & Sons
- Lo & Sons makes travel-friendly bags that help keep your belongings organized and are easy to maneuver with innovative features and high-quality materials.
- The Hanover Deluxe backpack ($148) has two side slip pockets, a front pocket, and main compartment with a removable insert that maximizes space. It’s also light-weight, durable, and travel-friendly due to its handle sleeve.
- I tried the Hanover Deluxe backpack to put Lo & Sons’ space-maximizing claim to the test and was impressed by the number of items I could fit in one bag.
I recently graduated to full-adult status when I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own apartment. Lucky for me, I didn’t move too far away (only a 30-minute train ride) so I make a point to go back home about once a month to spend a weekend with my parents.
Now, I don’t know about you, but the only luggage I have is a carry-on with wheels and a handle. While I can definitely find things to stuff inside (it’s better to have five pairs of shoes than just one, right?), I’d rather spare myself from the weekend-long joke that I’m moving back in. (Hi, Mom and Dad!).
All jokes aside, wheeling a suitcase around New York, through your office, then back through the congested streets, and onto NJ Transit is not ideal. I needed something smaller and more light-weight that optimized the space I have to work with. That’s when I discovered the Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe backpack.
Read more: The best travel backpacks you can buy
What is Lo & Sons?
Fred and Helen Lo met while pursing their Ph.D.s at MIT and Brandeis, respectively, in Massachusetts. Both bonded over their big dreams and wanderlust; Fred has apparently flown more than five million miles during his life to exotic destinations.
The couple moved to California and had two sons, Jan and Derek, both of whom loved traveling just like their parents. As Helen neared her mid-60s, her back pain began to hinder her ability to travel. She tried every bag out there, but they were either too heavy, overpriced, lacked organizational pockets, and more. That’s when Jan and Derek suggested that she just invent the perfect bag herself.
Helen wasn’t convinced it was possible, but her sons thought otherwise and decided to ditch their day-jobs to help fulfill their mom’s new dream. With the support of her husband and leg work from her sons, Lo & and Sons was born.
In less than a decade, the brand has successfully designed more than a dozen bag styles, many of which come in multiple sizes. Its mission: Inspire people to travel while leaving a positive impact with versatile, light-weight bags that are easy to move around in but don’t fall short on functionality. Read: No more bags that are just bottomless pits.
Fred passed away in 2016, but his family continues to honor his memory and the support he gave them in everything that Lo & Sons does.
Read more: 5 work bag startups every woman should know
- Lo & Sons
Inspired by the Los’ story and forced by my regular commute to my parents’ house, I needed a backpack that left both my hands free and gave me the flexibility to jump through closing train doors if need be. The Hanover Deluxe is the largest and most spacious of the three Lo & Sons backpacks offered at 18 inches tall, 12 inches wide, and 6 inches deep. For context, the bag is still small enough to fit under most airplane seats. The bag also comes in three wear-everyday colors that’ll match any outfit.
The exterior of the backpack is adorned with two slip pockets, with one on each side for a water bottle or umbrella. The front zippered pocket has a secret interior pocket for extra security and two mesh compartments for added organization. There is also a key leash to attach house keys, bike lock keys, or anything else that might need an extra safety net.
The main interior of the backpack comes with a removable insert that helps you stay organized. It includes of two mesh side pockets, two padded slip pockets, and a padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop.
There’s also special zippered handle sleeve on the back that can be used to slip over the handle of your suitcase. This is a very popular feature in many of the Lo & Sons bags and a by-product of Helen’s need for a pain-alleviating bag.
For added comfort, the two shoulder straps are designed with memory foam padding and non-slip mesh for easy-wear minus the discomfort.
The design materials
This backpack, along with four other bags, are made with durable, high-quality, and eco-friendly materials. When Lo & Sons grew as a company, it wanted to make sure that the materials used did more help than harm to the earth.
The Hanover Deluxe is made from used plastic bottles that would have otherwise ended up in landfills or the ocean. The plastic is melted and spun into a high-density yarn that is then treated with water-resistant and rip-stop technology to ensure the longevity of your bag and dryness of your belongings.
Read more: The best backpacks you can buy
What it can hold
- Lo & Sons
Initially, I was skeptical about how helpful the removable interior insert would be. At first glance, it looks like there would be twice as much room if you’d just removed it so items can be placed inside the bag naturally instead of sitting within confined compartments, but boy, I was wrong.
Let’s start on the outside of the bag. I used the two side pockets to house my glasses case, toothbrush, perfume, phone charger, inhaler, gym lock, and face wash. I used the front zippered pocket to hold my wallet, keys, headphones, three pairs of socks, and a sports bra.
Now for the interior. I used the main compartment to pack a pair of jeans, workout leggings, long-sleeve top, tank top and zip-up sweater. On top of that, I was able to fit a pair of running shoes and my makeup bag, as well as my 13-inch work laptop and Kindle in the large laptop sleeve.
I seriously had enough space for more than the 20 items I “needed” for a weekend back home. Plus, I even had room to pack a few more items that I acquired from the mall (but that’s a totally different story).
Surprisingly, my back wasn’t in any pain despite my bag being stuffed. In fact, as soon as I slipped the bag over my shoulders, I almost felt like I possessed a superhero-like strength. Obviously, I could feel some form of weight, but the memory foam straps and sturdy backing allowed me to keep my normal posture without having to compensate for the extra 20 pounds on my back.
The bottom line
The Hanover Deluxe backpack is built with travel in mind. Not only is it light-weight, but I found that it can hold a heavy load without bearing an uncomfortable amount of pressure on your shoulders or back. Don’t forget, it also has the genius handle sleeve feature if you’re traveling with luggage.
It’s also designed for maximum use of space with a removable insert capable of holding electronics and other personal belongings while keeping them organized within the main compartment.
Additionally, the backpack is made with eco-friendly materials which helps eliminate the amount of plastic that pollutes our landfills and oceans. This recycled poly is why the Hanover Deluxe is water-resistant and durable in all types of weather, which comes in handy whether you’re traveling to NJ or New Orleans.
I loved my Lo & Sons backpack so much that I told the rest of the Insider Picks team about it and many of them have decided to try the bags themselves, so keep an eye out for a complete Lo & Sons review in the near future.