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Deciding between a couple of travel packs, want some opinions.

Hi all,

This is my first time posting on this forum, though I have done my fare share of reading of other peoples comments. Anyway, onto the question. My wife and I are looking at some travel packs and wanted some of your opinions. We are looking at the following packs.

Eagle Creek: Voyage Travel Pack 65L
Eagle Creek: Track LT Travel Pack
Osprey Porter 46
High Sierra Passport
High Sierra Transport

We defiantly want a pack that we can take as carry-on (is there any other way) and that will last. My wife likes the Eagle Creek Voyage the best and I am leaning towards that one as well, just was also considering these other models. Carryability is also a requirement and the technical backpack straps/hip-belt are also a feature we need/want. Please let us know your opinions as well as any experience you have with these packs or if you have any ideas of a similar pack, please let me know.

Cheers,
Sean

Posted by
1656 posts

There's an REI in Cranston, RI (close to you?). They often have "stuff" to put in bags at the store so you can test them out fully loaded so-to-speak before buying them. They may also have other options that you hadn't thought of (like REI brand packs).

Posted by
18297 posts

Seems that several of the packs are 23" high. Although they claim they are legal on most airlines, most airlines specify 22" as a max. Of course, they are soft, so if not completely full, you could squish it down.

Other than keeping to the 22" limit, I would say pick the lightest one (you can carry more "stuff"). The Porter 46 looked like the lightest one and maybe the only truly legal sized one.

Posted by
21709 posts

I am not familiar with any of the bags other than the EC Voyage -- I think that is my bag. We have three of the older style Rick Steves' bags and the one EC bag. While the EC bag has more bells and whistles, we prefer the Steves bags. The Steves bag is slightly lighter by a pound or two but, in our opinion, has a better shape that allows for easier packing. I prefer the RS bag over the EC but both bags work very well and are very durable. For the price I don't think you can beat the RS bags.

Posted by
75 posts

Ahh, finding the perfect bag is a quest near & dear to my heart. I suggest you buy all of them, plus the RS bag, fill them with what you will be packing and then go downtown in your city on public tranportation with each one. It should be quickly apparent which one is for you, and then return the others. Any cost/inconvenience to this will be less than discovering which you want in the midst of a trip. Happy travels

Posted by
1589 posts

No brainer....get whatever your wife wants. If momma ain't happy, then nobody is happy!

Posted by
4125 posts

Sean, airlines are often merciful, but it looks like some of these don't meet formal carry-on requirements. Even were that not an issue, I would go for small--the smallest Osprey Porter, say, or the Passport. Or you might consider the classic Rick Steves bag.

These all seem huge to me. Eagle Creek used to make a wonderful Solo Voyager that was something like 2200 cubic inches (and had an internal frame!), but their line has been supersized like everything else.

So you have to chose from today's bags, obviously. But why on earth would you want to wear those hulking 65L bags? You'll end up filling them with stuff you don't need, and you very well might have to check them. Either way they will slow you down.

Pick the smallest and lightest, and have a great trip!

Posted by
11 posts

I know many of you out there are a huge fan of the Rick Steve's bag, and why wouldn't you...it's a great bag. However, we are looking for bags with a slightly more technical backpack/hip belt system than the Rick Steve's bag allows. Thanks for your suggestions of that though and keep them coming the more info we have the better it will be. I like one of your ideas on buying a bunch and trying them out. Look forward to hearing more responses.

Sean

Posted by
357 posts

I went with the Rick Steves convertible carry-on, and it was the best bag I feel that I could have brought! I also carried a small daypack with me. The RS bag was nice because of the way it collapses down when not stuffed (I try to travel light), by pulling the side tighteners. And being soft-sided, it'll compress even when full as opposed to some of the harder sided bags that fight the overhead bins. Plus, by wearing it on your back, they don't really give it a second look upon boarding. And had I bought a lot of stuff, it is expandable - although it would then have to be checked. The classic bag is the same, but without the expansion or waist strap (which I didn't end up using).

Posted by
21709 posts

It all depends on how you define heavy. For Sean, it may be something on the far side of 20 lb. I looked on the ECreek site to see if my bag or something close to it was still around. After ten years the models have changed. Fully stuff with the second bag attached the ECreek would not meet carryon requirements. Probably OK with second bag removed.

The need for "more technical backpack/hip belt system" would indicated that you intend to take a lot of stuff. If you have a large bag you will fill it. At 62 L it is about 60% bigger than the standard size carryon bag. Do you really think you need that much volume? You really want to carry 40 to 50 lbs of stuff? Especially your wife !! In our family I carry about 40% more than my wife cause I get the heavy stuff.

I think you need to reconsider your size needs.

EC does have a lifetime warranty which I used last month to get a buckle fixed.

Posted by
46 posts

My husband and I swear by our Eagle Creek bags. We've taken our Explorer bags all over several dusty Mediterranean countries. Despite being thrown in the bowels of old buses, slept on during ferry rides and stuffed too full on the way home, they still look and feel new.

We were looking for bags with more support than a Rick Steves bag and our Eagle Creek bags have a good balance of hip support and shoulder straps. All the straps easily adjust while you are wearing the pack, very helpful when you're on-the-go. If you can, trying the bags on can really help. It is worth it even if you have to go to several stores.

I didn't see a woman's version of the voyage pack or the track LT, but I have a woman's fit of the explorer bag and it has a slightly smaller frame and well placed straps that make wearing a backpack more female friendly.

I can't say enough good things about EC, my everyday backpack is an EC and I just realized that I've had it for over 12 years.

Posted by
11 posts

Hi there Katharine,

Thanks for your reply. Have you ever had problems carrying-on your EC Explorer? Also, what do you do with the attachable day pack when traveling on planes that allow only one carryon?

Thanks,
Sean

Posted by
1805 posts

Sean, why do you feel you need a technical backpack for Europe? Will you actually be hiking, are you backpacking through Europe, or just getting from plane to train to hotel?

These are questions you need to ask. If you are just planning on carry on size backpacks...there are tons available.

I just used my High Sierra Summit 45 for a week in Italy. I wanted a backpack, carry on size. I wanted comfortable straps, and a lightweight bag. This bag empty is 3lbs. this allowed me to carry as much "stuff" as I needed, and I had room to bring home a few things.

I'd suggest looking to the weight of the bag first, then the features if you plan to use a backpack.

Any bag you buy will last a long time if you are just using it for travel. If you are looking for a bag to use camping once you get home, that's another issue.

Most all companies offer a full life time warranty against manufactured defects.

Posted by
11 posts

Hi Ellen,
Thanks for your suggestions. I feel we need more "technical" packs than the ETBD bag for a few reasons. While yes, most of our travel in Europe and around the globe with the bag will be from airport to train to lodging I know from going to Europe before that occasionally I found myself taking a longer walk/hike with my bag. It was nice and very comfortable to have a bag with beefier shoulder straps than the ETBD bag as well as a wast belt to stabilize the bag and take the weight off the shoulders. 2nd, my wife needs something a little bit more technical (due to back issues) in order for her to be comfortable carrying the bag around (we have tried on some bags and this seemed to be the case). I agree that a bag with a minimum amount of initial weight is all around a better as it lessons the total weight and allows for more personal items in the pack as to not interfere with airline carry-on restrictions. My wife and I appreciate all the input we are getting :-)

Posted by
75 posts

Aha, I have it. Google "one bag one world"and you should find a website with an august review of the carryon, with pictures, of a more-backpack-than-suitcase that I think you want. The bag is a MEI Voyageur, which was the first carryon style backpack on the market. Many people swear by it, including the guys at"one bad one world" and onebag.com Happy travels

Posted by
875 posts

I recently purchased the MEI Voyageur after considering a backpack. The Voyageur is lightweight and packs like a suitcase, and you don't lose packing space like from the rounded top of a backpack. The Voyageur also has a great waist belt which is very comfortable. The travelpack has some padding at the back making it comfortable to wear when full. You can also carry it like a suitcase, or you can add a shoulder strap.

Posted by
46 posts

We've never had a problem carrying-on our Explorer packs. Visually, even when fully packed, they look smaller than most of the carry-on bags that many people use and I think that helps. Also, we take mostly clothes, so the bags can squish.

As for the detachable day pack, when we're on airlines that only allow one carry-on, we do one of two things. If we've packed light, we put it in the backpack, it is a small, flat daypack. If we've packed a little heavy, we attach it and hope for the best. It look like one bag... So far, no one has objected and we often fly through the UK. The daypack can also attach on the front straps, further distributing the weight. It looks silly though.

We also like that the Explorer includes a duffle bag which fits over the entire bag to protect it if we have to check it (ie. Ryanair, bottoms of buses) or (what we usually do) can be used as a checked bag (full of dirty laundry) on the way home, leaving our pack free to be a carry on for all our souvenirs.

Posted by
1158 posts

I ordered once an Osprey Porter , but I retrun ir because it had a strange shape. when you load it it looks like a space shuttle. I am not kidding.It's very deep and it would be hard to move around in the crowds.
In my opinion Eagle creek make one of the best baclpack, along Gregory.
I love ec voyage 65L, even if I don't own onw, but i read some reviesw about it , and they well all good. I own a Eagle Trek trek, 2006 model i bought from REI.It's very light 2.6 lbs, and it has hide-away straps and waist belt.

Posted by
31465 posts

Sean, I'm also a big fan of Eagle Creek Packs. I presently use a 2003-vintage Continental Journey, and it's worked well for me so far (although it seems a bit small at times). The features I liked were the detachable Daypack, stowable harness system, panel load with zippers (lockable), built-in rain cover and flexible carrying modes (as a backpack, a suitcase with handle or with a shoulder strap).

I've looked at Rick's convertible Pack and I may consider that on a future trip. I had the opportunity to try one fully loaded on a recent trip (for a short period) and it seemed to fit well. However, I don't think Rick's packs are designed for specific torso lengths, as technical packs would be. It seemed to fit me comfortably though. Rick's pack appears to have provision to carry a Laptop, so that would be a benefit for me, as my present Pack just doesn't have any room for that. I've resisted carrying a Laptop so far, but there have been times when it would have been useful.

cont'd.

Posted by
31465 posts

continued from previous Post (this Board is TOO restrictive!)

As some of the others have mentioned, most of the time a Pack is only carried for a short time from the train to Hostel or whatever, so "technical features" perhaps aren't as important in a travel pack. In reviewing my experience from recent trips, the maximum time I've had to carry the Pack is under 20 minutes at a time.

I don't have any experience with Osprey or Gregory Packs, so can't comment on the features of those.

Good luck with your decision!