First of all, I'm a picky picky shopper. I actually bought a Patagucci MLC from the cardiff Patagonia store and returned it the next day because the shoulder straps cut into my neck like most other Patagonia packs (Yvon, the owner of patagonia, is something like 3foot2inches and wants everyone else to be his height too...;)). I then ran to the Timbuk2 store on Hayes street to check out this bag, then bought it from my favorite "store", Backcountry.com. Here's the rundown...
This bag is fricking sick, and here's why...
a. Unlike the MLC, this bag has one large main compartment, allowing you to pack a LOT in there. I'm a bigger guy (6'4", 285 pounds-but not a fatty), so I've got size 15's to put in the bag, and much larger clothes than normal. The large compartment means you can put those workboots in the bag and they'll fit without weird squeezing...
b. The bag has an expandable pocket on the "bottom" side(when in backpack mode). I threw my shoes in there, but you can throw wet clothes in there too. You could technically put dirty clothes in there too, but it doesn't expand enough to throw all your dirties in there from the main compartment at the end of your trip.
c. The bag on the top(in backpack mode) is not expandable, but does pooch out a little bit allowing you to throw some shtuff in there just fine. I threw my carryon ziplock toiletries in that pocket to allow me to run through security quickly.
d. The zippered pocket on the large mainflap works great for throwing documents, keys, wallet, phone charger, etc. in it. Absolutely perfect and LARGE.
e. Being able to zip the main flap out is way more convenient than you'd think. You can see everything in your bag immediately. It definitely beats the slit opening on some duffels.
f. The compression straps are a nice touch. I didn't NEED them, but I still used them and they do their job.
g. The shoulder strap is bomb-proof, but I never really used it. The backpack straps are fricking awesome. I didn't think I'd use them much, but it's all I use on the bag to carry it (save the grabhandles).
h. Though Patagucci states that the MLC is the maximum legal carryon (hence the MLC), it's not. maximum is a cumulative exterior dimension measurement of 45 inches or less. so 20"Wx20"Dx5"H or something like that. The Timbuk2 is an inch bigger in two of the dimensions compared to the patagucci, and still is under the 45 inches. This thing easily works as a carryon.
On to what I packed for the trip, and still had room for it.
pair of size 15 dress shoes, 2 long-sleeve buttonups, pair of jeans, pair of workout shorts, 2 v-necks, a polo, a sleeveless shirt,3 boxers, 3 boxerbriefs, 4 pair dress socks, pair of short cotton socks, bag of toiletries, a thick paperback book (5oo+pages), Smith sunglasses case, and numerous knickknacks in the flap-pocket+2magazines in the laptop pocket... I could have packed much more.
In short, if you're looking for a kickass carryon, you will love this. And now that it's on sale it's an even better deal
notes on color (I've seen all three in person...)-
The potrero and violet bag is nice-looking. the Potrero has a brownish tint and the purple is dark enough it doesn't look like it's a female-specific color
The black and grey is simple and clean-looking, with a gray interior that will help locate things inside the bag...
The blue and gunmetal is a lighter color blue than the picture shows, and the interior color is darker than it looks in the picture. I bought this color, and I do like it a lot...
Hope this helps!