Choosing the right luggage

Choosing the Right Baggage for Your Travel

When it comes to travel baggage, every traveller is different. The main thing is that you’ve got the baggage that will meet your needs. There is nothing worse than suitcase zippers failing when you’re hurriedly packing for a flight  or poorly designed shoulder-straps cutting into your shoulders on a trek or realising on exiting the terminal that your cheap four wheeler spinner is now a wobbly two-wheeler.

The Best Bag for Travellers is the Right Bag.

Giving yourself time to choose the right stuff will pay off big time. Give yourself time to consider – What is the right baggage for my journey?

Do some homework and think through what you need. Think about – how strong are you ?  – because you don’t want to be lugging something that’s just too heavy. Think about –  is the luggage robust enough to be tossed around by airport staff, again and again and again. Anyway – have a look at some of the different types of baggage, and I’ll meet you at the other end, I mean, at the carousel.

And make the decision yourself, unless the advice is from a real expert, not just a friend who knows someone who worked for some  airline, a few years ago.

  1. The Versatile Backpack

Backpacks are a timeless favourite for many travellers, thanks to their adaptability and ruggedness. They come in all sorts sizes and styles (and price points) , making them suitable for a broad range of travel experiences.

1.1 Daypacks:

  • Ideal for short city walkabouts day hikes, and gallery /museum  visits
  • Lightweight and compact for carrying essentials like water, snacks, and a light jacket or umbrella
  • Comfortable to carry for extended periods.
  • Examples: Small, stylish urban daypacks or hydration packs for outdoor activities.
  • HINT always pack a daypack in a bigger bag and use it for little sojourns.
  • Negatives – Check if its waterproof. It might always be just too small.

1.2 Travel Backpacks:

  • Perfect for backpackers, adventure travellers, or anyone exploring multiple destinations and continents.
  • Offer ample storage space for clothing, toiletries, and stuff.
  • Often equipped with special compartments – think water bottles- laptops, torches.
  • Designed for easy carrying with padded straps and flo-thru ventilation systems.
  • Examples: Osprey Farpoint, Kelty Redwing, or Gregory Baltoro for hiking enthusiasts.
  • HINT: Always spend a bit more for quality, you’ll appreciate it on the road.
  • Negatives: Not a good look in refined establishments.

1.3 Laptop Backpacks:

  • Designed for business travellers and digital nomads.
  • Feature dedicated laptop compartments and pockets for charging accessories.
  • Professional and sleek appearance suitable for meetings and conferences. Usually black, dark blue.
  • Examples: Tumi Alpha Bravo, Samsonite Pro-DLX, or Herschel Little America for a chic look.
  • HINT: Don’t ever try and use it for mountain treks and hard travel.
  • Negatives: It’s easy for strangers to notice you’re carrying a $ laptop.

1.4 Convertible Backpacks:

  • Ideal for travellers who need versatility for the unexpected.
  • Can transform from backpacks to duffel bags or carry bags.
  • Useful for combining business trips with urban leisure activities.
  • Examples: Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler, Patagonia Black Hole, or Thule Subterra Convertible.
  • HINT: Look for simple clean design. No need to be a Magician.
  • Negatives: Sometimes not easy to expand in a hurry.
  • The Trusty Suitcase

The classic suitcase remains a popular choice for comfortable urban types of travel due to its durability, organization, and style. Different suitcase designs can really reflect a personality.

2.1 Hardside Suitcases:

  • Excellent for protecting fragile items and equipment with special sections for protecting clothing.
  • Water-resistant and resilient against lots and lots of flights.
  • Often equipped with TSA-approved locks for security.
  • Examples: Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX, Traveler’s Choice Tasmania, or Rimowa Essential Cabin S.
  • HINT: Check for good wheels. Don’t do bright colours. Use a colourful strap.
  • Negatives: One Trick Pony.

2.2 Softside Suitcases:

  • Known for their flexibility and expandability (is that really a word?)
  • Lightweight and easy to move around.
  • Pockets and usually extra compartments for organized packing.
  • Examples: Travelpro Platinum Elite, Tumi Alpha 3, or American Tourister Fieldbrook.
  • HINT: Look for strong reinforced corners and webbing. Add a touch of colour for identification.
  • Negatives: Can be extra easy to cut open –  thieves badge of approval.

2.3 Spinner Suitcases:

  • Equipped with four multi-directional wheels for effortless movement.
  • Ideal for air, rail and bus terminals and urban environments.
  • Available in both hardside and softside options.
  • Examples: Samsonite Freeform Spinner, Delsey Helium Aero, or Away Bigger Carry-On.
  • HINT: Polyurethane wheels are best. Check those wheels!
  • Negatives: Not so good staying still on sloping floors. Likes to sneak away.

2.4 Carry-On Suitcases:

  • Designed to meet airline size restrictions for cabin luggage.
  • Fast exiting terminals and avoiding checked baggage costs
  • Convenient access to essential items during flights.
  • Examples: Away The Bigger Carry-On, Travelpro Maxlite 5, or Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner.
  • HINT: Look for strong webbing. Add identification features like colour tags.
  • Negatives: You’re always restricted by the amount of finite space.
  • The Functional Duffel Bag

Duffel bags combine ultra simplicity with versatility, making them a practical choice for various sports and leisure scenarios:

3.1 Gym Duffel Bags:

  • Designed for fitness enthusiasts and those seeking a compact travel option – toss all the gear in kinda bag.
  • Fit workout attire, sneakers, toiletries, and a laptop.
  • Some come with separate shoe compartments.
  • Examples: Adidas Squad Duffel, Under Armour Undeniable Duffel, or Nike Brasilia.
  • HINT: Buy easy wash.
  • Negatives: Impractical for check in baggage travel.

3.2 Weekend Duffel Bags:

  • Perfect for short weekend getaways. Overnight excursions etc.
  • Spacious enough to carry clothing, toiletries, and a few extras.
  • Stylish options available for a fashionable appearance. Optional chic.
  • Examples: Herschel Novel Duffel, Everlane The Twill Weekender, or Fjällräven Duffel No. 4.
  • HINT Choose a dark colour – doesn’t show stains /scratches.
  • Negatives: No wheels means who can’t make it too heavy.

3.3 Adventure Duffel Bags:

  • Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, such as adventurers, campers.
  • Durable and weather-resistant materials.
  • Available in different sizes to accommodate different gear loads.
  • Examples: The North Face Base Camp Duffel, Patagonia Black Hole Duffel, or Arc’teryx Carrier Duffel.
  • HINT: Look for good waterproofing seals.
  • Negatives: It’s a bag not a backpack, versatile but not long term.
  • The Specialized Gear Bag

Some travel / sport /adventure experiences require specific bags as a must have. Here are some of  the simple formats.

4.1 Ski and Snowboard Bags:

  • Designed to transport skis, snowboards, and related gear.
  • Padded and hard case options to protect valuable equipment.
  • Examples: Dakine Concourse Double Ski Bag, Burton Wheelie Gig Snowboard Bag, or Thule RoundTrip Ski Roller Bag.
  • HINT: Get a bag with wheels if you’re flying everywhere.
  • Negatives: Don’t rush into the choice. Think about Straps, Double Bags etc.

4.2 Golf Travel Bags:

  • Created to transport golf clubs and accessories  easily and securely.
  • Offer padded protection for equipment
  • Some models can accommodate multiple sets of clubs.
  • Examples: Club Glove Last Bag, Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian, or CaddyDaddy Golf Phoenix.
  • HINT: Make the right decision. Stand, Cart or Carry?
  • Negatives: A bag that’s feels heavy when empty is a bag you don’t need.

4.3 Camera and Photography Bags:

  • Essential for photographers with costly kit.
  • Customizable compartments for cameras, lenses, and accessories.
  • Provide cushioning protection against falls, bumps and weather.
  • Examples: Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II, Think Tank Photo Airport Security V3.0, or Peak Design Everyday Backpack.
  • HINT: Go with quality bags. You paid $ for the camera gear. Protect it.
  • General Bags for Family, Work and Leisure

Apart from the common types of baggage, certain travel occasions will have unique requirements

5.1 Family Travel:

  • When traveling with children, consider luggage with additional compartments for snacks, toys, and diapers. A pocket for each child?
  • Wheels and handles for easy usage.
  • Examples: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Kids’ Carry-On Rolling Suitcase, Trunki Ride-On Suitcase, or Skip Hop Kids Luggage.
  • HINT: Think about bright colourful bags easy to recognise.
  • Negatives: Be sure it’s easy to clean.

5.2 Adventure Travel:

  • If you’re embarking on adventurous journeys like safaris or treks, prioritize rugged and weather-resistant luggage.
  • Backpacks with hydration systems (water storage) and versatile carrying options may be preferred.
  • Examples: REI Co-op Ruckpack 40, Osprey Aether AG 70, or The North Face Phantom 50.
  • HINT: Choose some bags with bright colours – easily spotted from a distance.
  • Negatives: Not suited to urban chic,

5.3 Business Travel:

  • Choose luggage that combines professionalism with extra functionality.
  • Garment bags for keeping clothing wrinkle-free. Special hidden pockets.
  • Charging ports for electronic devices. Strong zippers. Baggage handler proof.
  • Examples: Tumi Alpha 3 Expandable International 4-Wheeled Carry-On, Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage, or Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Mobile Office.
  • HINT: Add features for instant recognition. Go with Classic not Showy.
  • Negatives: Not for holidays.

Well I told you I’d meet you at the Carousel. How was your flight.?  Which bag is yours? Can you recognise it from a distance? Did you put a distinctive name tag on it with a bright colour? Did you secure the bag with a luggage strap?

Are here it comes! Good choice!  Let’s go!

Peter Aspin

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