I am currently about four months out and I’ve been analyzing our bag options for over a month now believe it or not. Yes, I analyzed the crap out of every option so you don’t have to. Its an obsession, what can I say!
So what is the best bag for round the world travel?
Focusing mainly on the needs of the 3 month South America leg for now, the considerations are:
– Weight (can’t be too heavy)
– Portability (easy to carry around)
– Safety (thick enough materials, and small enough to be carried on the plane / onto the buses – Carry on size)
– Capacity (Big enough to carry everything we need to live for 3 months)
WHY THIS ROLLING BACKPACK?
– Versatility. Yes, we will be hiking the backcountry once in awhile, but for the most part, I don’t want to lug around my stuff on my back at all times. Every travel blogger (besides the backpacking purists) seem to agree. Save your back & save your energy where you can! Lugging around a heavy backpack when you can wheel it with ease seems silly. This rolling backpack gives me the option to backpack it when I have to go up stairs, or hit some rugged terrain while wheeling it (straps tuck away) on dirt roads, pavement and cobblestone!
– Comfort.This bag’s mono handle swivels 360 degrees for wrist comfort & the patented curved monopole handle system makes the bag feel lighter in hand and helps keep the wheels away from your heels when rolling. The shoulder straps are adjustable and well padded, ensuring correct weight distribution when wearing it as a backpack.
Also – bonus feature – Zip-away wheel cover protects clothing from dirt and debris when the bag is worn as a backpack. Exterior features a top zippered pocket ideal for tickets and a vertical-zip front pocket for quick access items
– Carry on. For safety & ease of travel, I really didn’t want a bag that I had to check in or leave in the luggage compartment of a bus. Factor in the long bus rides, unsafe nature of travel in South America, and the constant airplane transfers, I want my bag to be with me at all times. Technically the carry on size on a lot of my flights max out at 20″ height, BUT I decided to risk it an go with the low profile 22″ and hope they don’t make me check it.
*The general consensus from those who have traveled South America extensively – if you have a bag that’s bulky / thick / looks like it might be bigger than the carry on size, they will make you check it, especially when it is a budget airline. BUT since this particular bag is very rectangular & low profile (not bulky) and is a US carry on size, it should be just fine. I’m willing to risk it to have the extra 2 inches for my stuff.
– Capacity. This suitcase, since it only has one handle, maximizes the internal capacity – and it is also expandable, and has compression straps! (useful for those days when I don’t have time to pack everything back in nicely. I can just expand it, stuff everything in, rezip the expansion & compression straps and I am good to go. Yes this method has worked for me many times before.
Capacity: 2,624 cu. In./ 43 L
Compared to other rolling backpacks: this suitcase maximizes the carry on space (more rectangular vs rounded edges, etc that wastes space) and it also can fit more since its not an awkward shape. Other rolling backpacks also often has attached daypacks, which takes away a lot of the internal capacity.
– High Quality. The Victorinox brand is an established one with amazing customer support and repair services. The handle is a lightweight but durable aluminium. And it has a lifetime warranty. (see below)Lifetime Warranty Products covered by the Lifetime Warranty are guaranteed to be free from manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship for the life of the product. If such a defect appears during the warranty period, we will repair or replace your product, as appropriate, free of charge with an equivalent or updated model of comparable value. This guarantee is non-transferable and does not cover cosmetic wear and tear or damage resulting from abuse, misuse, unauthorized repair, improper handling or common carrier damage. In the event of a defect during the warranty period, contact Customer Service to obtain a return authorization number, and return your product to our authorized repair center with your original sales receipt validating your purchase. Shipping costs to our repair center are the responsibility of the owner. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state or country to country.
– Consolidation possibility. You can buy this day bag to securely buckle in and dock to the front of this bag for easy wheeling. OR since I decided on a different day bag I can use the Removable Attach-a-Bag strap that secures an additional bag to the front of the upright and holds up to 30 lbs (13.6 kg)
– Weight. Heavier than regular non-wheeled backpack. At 8 lbs, it is average – light for a wheeled bag but certainly heavier than the non-wheeled options.
– Price. At around USD $280, you are certainly paying for the quality & features.
Other than that, honestly, I truly believe this is the best option for world travel. I have never felt more confident with my choice.
Note, I went to look at every single model available to compare & contrast them in person and also analyzed the specs extensively (and my boyfriend might say, obsessively) – but it was worth it. This is THE bag.
Why Not a Backpack?
– Its heavier, you have to carry the weight at all times. Your back will hate you.
– Its not as safe, backpack materials are easier to slash for thieves.
– You risk whacking people in the face when moving around in crowded areas. As a victim of many backpackers, I’ve noticed that many backpackers are unaware of the extra bulk behind them& I’ve seen someone take out an old lady and not even notice. I’ve also seen what these do in a bus and a store. Not good.
– Generally unless they open in the front (unsafe) – it is harder to access your belongings.
Why Not a Wheeled Suitcase ?
– Getting on & off trains, buses and going up & down stairs is very difficult w/ a wheeled suitcase alone.
– There will be times when you just need the option of carrying the weight on your back vs lugging the suitcase by the handle.
Tips for shopping for these bags online:
– Go to google shopping and type in variations of the model number (omitting words in each search) – and sort by lowest price first. You will find deals that way. Don’t be afraid of clicking away. Sometimes the price on the site is even lower than on google shopping.
– Also search Ebay separately. Sometimes Google doesn’t pull up listings on Ebay.
Tips for checking these bags out in person:
– Go to REI, they have most of these and for the Victorinox bag, either check out the Victorinox store or Macys. NOTE: that this recommended bag is a fairly new model (mono handle vs dual handle) so a lot of places may not have it yet. But the Victorinox stores can special order it so you can check it out (without you buying it).