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Old 03-22-2011, 02:05 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by ladypatriot View Post
A few people on the thread have mentioned backpacks. I hadn't considered them before, but the idea seems - on its surface, anyway - to be eminently practical.

What are the negatives? The small size? Careful packing could mitigate that. On other trips via air, instead of lugging souvenirs/purchases back with us, we would mail the stuff home.

I can see the backpacks not working so well when we get older, though.

You do have to think about what you are taking. I take mostly clothes that I can wash in a sink, and will dry overnight. My friends who just take whatever, can take the huge rolling stuff, but then they have to check bags, and they almost always take things they never use.
Also, it limits how much junk/stuff/souvenirs you can stuff in your luggage. I sometimes purchase a cheap bag at the end of the trip, if I want to bring lots of stuff home. My last trip, I mailed a small box home.
Unless you have medical issues, if you cannot carry a 30-pound backpack easily, maybe it's time to hit the gym, or at least start going for walks. You'll enjoy your travel more if you're fit, anyway.
Here is a page from Rick Steves, whose book taught me the beginnings of packing light many years ago:
Rick Steves' Europe: Packing Light and Right

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Old 03-22-2011, 04:13 PM   #42
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For rolling luggage, +1 on the Kirkland carry-on wheeled soft-sided luggage. We love ours. They're several years old, have been away on weekends and weeks and overseas. Durable, practical, fair price. And the handles (for us the weak spot on wheeled luggage) still glide and work beautifully after some serious knocks.

For more active travel, when we think we're going to be using a lot of public transportation, we use soft luggage that converts to backpacks. I bought a convertible from REI twenty years ago; it's carry-on sized with a zip-off daypack. My SIL still uses it to hike around South America. It's seen some real travel, and I lived out of it for two months with no issues. Eagle Creek makes similar ones.

Something to keep in mind with the backpacks is clothing abrasion where the pack rubs against your body while you walk. Many of the newer fabrics that are "travel friendly" don't handle abrasion well, so choose your pack shirts and pants / skirts with this in mind.

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Old 03-23-2011, 10:18 PM   #43
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Victorinox Werks Traveler is light, durable, expensive and has version numbers. Yep, just like software. I own the Werks Traveler 2.0 24″ (or maybe itís 22″) suitcase. When version 3.0 came out all their retailers dumped stock to the luggage and travel discounters. Learned about it because Iím on Sierra Trading Postís mailing list. I'd never buy it at the list price but I'm totally happy with it. Victorinox is better known as the Swiss Army Knife company.

Compare the weight of Werks Traveler bags to bags of comparable size and features. The Victronix weighs a lot less. Compare the higher price for the Victronix bag to your favorite airlineís excess weight fees and do the math.

The best thing about the bag is itís pull handle. I feel the weight of the bag as something Iím mostly pulling forward, not something Iím partially lifting.

The hand grip on the end of the arm rotates 90 degrees. I find it easier on my wrist when my palm is facing my body:

not parallel to the floor:

Finally the handle is rugged. On almost every pass through an airport I see people dealing with broken pull handles. After one bus ride the luggage guy was just tossing bags out. One passenger saw his bag only to see another land on it. He grabbed the pull handle of the other bag to move it off his suitcase. He broke the handle. I didnít hang around to see the subsequent conversation with the broken bagís owner.

The Werks bagís extension arm is a single alunimum tube with a cross section large enough to give it substantial strength. My bag was dropped on itís extended arm. Because it is curved, that meant a significant impact. (The typical straight extension arms would strike the floor flat, spreading the impact). The arm gained a little slop in itís action but it didnít break. I count that as a win

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