Carry-on luggage is getting more functional and lightweight than ever before. And thatâ€™s a good thing, because airlines are getting stricter about the size and numbers of carry-ons onboard.
Carry-on luggage is getting more functional and lightweight than ever before. And that’s a good thing, because airlines are getting stricter about the size and numbers of carry-ons onboard. Perhaps if airlines didn’t slap fees on checked luggage and charge outrageous prices for an extra stowed bag, we wouldn’t have to fight for space in the overhead bins.
Since that era seems like part of a lost land in a fairy tale, here are two excellent carry-ons as well as a packing system that helps get the most into your luggage.
I am lucky enough to be going back to Africa for a safari, my favorite trip. Since I’ll be moving frequently and traveling in small planes, some that seat just five people (counting the pilot), I need a carry-on that’s lightweight and small. But I also need a bag sturdy and large enough to hold camera equipment and a computer, and because of my back, the piece must have wheels. The only wheeled luggage allowed on bush planes are those whose wheels don’t protrude much, if any, from the bag’s frame since the luggage must fit into the tiny plane’s compact hold.
Eagle Creek’s Load Warrior International Carry-On (pictured, left) is a great option for those, like me, who need lightweight bags with wheels that offer good storage. The piece weighs 4.9 pounds and features a water repellant fabric (important since bags sometimes are offloaded in wet weather).
Three handles make the bag easy to grab and lift into overhead compartments. The outside pocket fits most computers and tablets and the bag expands two-inches so you can stuff in tee shirts and other souvenirs. Plus, the bag is rugged enough to withstand exploration by Maggie, my 150-pound Newfoundland.
Genius Pack G 3 22-Inch Carryon Spinner (pictured, above)
This bag, at 7.8-pounds, still meets international carry-on requirements and packs a good many “genius” features into the design. With four wheels, the bag moves easily and its design frees me from having to hold all those traveling necessaries. A mini-umbrella pops into a pouch, a water bottle slides into a side pocket, a tablet—but not a laptop—goes into an outside pocket a phone and charger fit in another outer pocket and a strap keeps my jacket handy on top of the luggage.
Another “genius” feature: the laundry “chute”. Load dirty items into the outer sleeve. Then, press the compression valve to suck out air so more soiled items can fit. The bag detaches so it can “travel” to the washing machine.
Sewn into the inside cover of the luggage is a packing list and four zippered compartments, three of which have labels—undergarments, chargers, and socks. Hmm. I think I could cram more into my own system of packing cubes. While the luggage may not be a “genius,” it’s certainly clever.
Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes (pictured, above)
I watched a woman in the travel department of a major store demonstrate how to push the air out of a plastic compression bag to reduce its size so that a traveler could fit more into a suitcase. She rolled, she wrestled, she broke out in a sweat one-third of the way through and stopped half-way for water. I couldn’t watch the rest; it was too painful.
Instead, I purchased Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Compression Cubes. I put my shirts inside, close the zipper and the bag easily reduces in volume, maybe not quite as much as the plastic contraption, but hey, I don’t have to fight and the cubes are made from a lightweight material.
What are your favorite pieces of luggage and your favorite travel gear? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.
Top photo by Candyce H. Stapen; Others are courtesy of the manufacturer.