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Carry-On Duffle vs. Carry-On Luggage

I have the latter and it qualifies just fine for the overhead compartment, but lately I've been considering a wheeled duffle due to the decreased weight and the possibility of packing more stuff. I'll have a courier bag as my personal under the seat bag as well.

For a two week trip, how do y'all vote on this?

Thanks!

Bill

Posted by
9110 posts

The question is unclear. A duffle is a subcategory of luggage. It's clear what a wheeled duffle is, but what's the other thing?

A duffle, wheeled or not, falls over ever time you turn lose of the sucker unless you prop it against your leg and stand real still. A wheeled duffle is too heavy to sling over your shoulder.

Wheels on anything add weight. Once you've passed the toting weight, extra doesn't matter until you come to stairs and overheads.

Why would you want to take more stuff than you essentially need? That argument would lead to a steamer trunk and two spare footlockers.

Take the smallest, lightest thing that will work for a particular trip. If, for that trip, that thing has to be big and heavy, get one with wheels. Consider that 'carry-on' is a lineal measure used by airlines. For the individual 'carry' is the operant word and weight is the trumping consideration.

Posted by
242 posts

Ed, the other thing is a suitcase. And no, I don't want to take more than I need, but the suitcase I have which fits overhead already weighs 10 pounds empty, so I don't want to go over my weight limit. It was part of a set, but the wheeled duffel is 5 lbs 10 oz. and is the same dimension as the suitcase. I know you're thinking this isn't rocket science, but I just wanted to get some idea what the forum here has used. And no, I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid, okay, and I wouldn't consider carrying a steamer trunk. The duffel is just over $30.00 bucks, but again, I'd like to know what others use.

Thank you, Ed

Posted by
9110 posts

I use a small convertible which is seldom stuffed. My wheeled duffel is huge and is only used for expedition gear - - it's a major effort to toss it onto the back of a truck.

Posted by
7711 posts

Hi Bill - I totally understand your dilemma. I have traveled to Europe with both a convertible non-wheeled suitcase and a wheeled suitcase. I have a wheeled duffle bag that I have used domestically. Due to some physical problems, I will not probably not be taking my convertible bag to Europe this year. I will decide between the wheeled suitcase and the wheeled duffle. It's surprising how much lighter the duffle feels when packed. For me, the duffle shape is also easier to carry up and down stairs, as I am vertically challenged. A suitcase is more awkward for me. I would suggest doing a trial packing job with each of them and see what works best for you.

.

It's nice to see you are doing well enough to travel. Have a fantastic trip!

Posted by
2081 posts

Bill,

Andrea has the right idea. do a dry run.

also, why not spend a day with your new toy lugging it around town and such. You will have a better idea if youre going to like it or not.

wheeled luggage is a great idea but its not for me and how i travel.

Its something YOU have to decide for YOURSELF.

Happy trails.

Posted by
242 posts

Thanks once again, everyone! This is great advice - I can order a duffle and try it out and return it if it doesn't meet my needs. Ed's comment about it banging against one's legs has me curious, so I want to make sure that won't be a problem. I have until September, so that will give me plenty of time for trial and error.

Another reason I want to limit my bags to carry ons (my other one will be the aforementioned canvas courier bag) is kind of embarrassing to tell you about: It is so that I can keep the use of those airline carts to a minimum, because one time I was on an escalator (this was after I was diagnosed, so I have an excuse of sorts) and, when I got to the bottom, forgot to let go of the handle you squeeze to make it stop. This caused quite a ruckus and yelling, so I don't want to take a chance on that happening again.

Lastly, and I keep coming back to my courier bag because that little thing (11"H x 15"W x 6 "D) really does hold a lot, and I've had it with me the last two times, so I am looking forward to travelling light, yet still having all I need.

Again, thanks so much for all the advice.

Bill

Posted by
7288 posts

I don't like duffel bags cuz everything falls to the bottom when it's upright. And, as Ed said, it falls over easily.
I like my RS carry on wheeled suitcase best. You say you have a wheeled suitcase that weighs 10 lbs empty... I'd buy a new one that is much lighter. There are some out there that are even lighter than the RS version and that's what I'll buy next time I need one.

Posted by
7711 posts

To keep things from sliding in a duffle bag, use packing cubes.

Posted by
8715 posts

Over the next few months, there will be quite a few "lighter weight" wheeled carry-on bags being introduced to the market. It seems that was the big news at last week's Travel Goods Show.

While I can't give you any models specifically, they should run in the 5-6 pounds category. I know, that's not "lightweight" which is why I referred to them as "lighter weight." If you need wheels, and you're flying with a weight restricting airline, every little bit helps.

As stated earlier, a trial run is a good idea. The other thing to think about is which type of luggage would be easier for you to manage. Considering your health situation, that's something that should be considered. If your courier bag fits on the handles of a wheeled bag, and that's easier for you to manage than carrying two bags, then do what's easier. It doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks.

Posted by
580 posts

I had a wheeled duffle a few years ago and it was a real pain. Don't get the kind I had, which had wheels (that was nice) but no internal frame or extendable handle. I should have tried it before I traveled with it! When packed it was floppy and hard to control. I guess if I had been able to put enough stuff in it to make it rigid it would have worked better, but I didn't fill it completely. Which was just as well because the height of the sewn-on handle at the end of the duffle was not the same height as my hand, so I had to stoop to roll the thing.

Posted by
3696 posts

Go to TJMaxx and see if they have the IT suitcases... they are superlight about 3lbs. I just bought one that has the 4 wheels so its easy to haul around. Used it twice already and so far, so good. I have or have had ever possible suitcase, backpack, wheeled RS bag, wheeled duffle bag and always find something I would change...but now the weight is becoming the most important issue. The duffle bags do fall over and when I use mine I also use the packing cubes, but it always seems a bit disheveled. But, it does seem like I can fit more? If you buy something from TJ's you can leave the tags on, try it out at home and if it doesn't work, take it back. I returned 3 before I found the right one for me. I don't think they will last forever, but they are pretty cheap.

Posted by
1261 posts

I have the Osprey 18" Carry-on roller

http://www.rei.com/product/837013/osprey-ozone-wheeled-luggage-18#specsTab

It weighs 4 pounds and will stand up, no problem. It is soft-sided like a duffle. It is easy to manage and even lift. (I have 3 torn muscles and a detached tendon in my shoulder.) I also carry a minimal day-pack. I have taken it to Germany and for multiple trips in the US. I have it packed to leave for two weeks in Germany again. It is not cheap, not to my budget. It has been worth the price for me.

Bill, good luck with your choice. Gary

Posted by
24 posts

On a whim I purchased the Eddie Bauer Travex Expedition rolling duffel, and it has turned out to be a super choice. It's fairly light despite the wheels, true carry-on size except for the smallest airplanes. The hard bottom protects things like laptop and other gear; while the soft top allows clothing to be stuffed in and the bag to expand slightly as needed. Has lots of handles, straps, dividers and pockets. I really like this thing, and I also have used bags from RSteves. Tom Binh, and others. Oh yes -- has a fairly invisible interior thing (like a lever) that keeps it standing up!

Posted by
242 posts

Appreciate the replies. While some of the brands you name are way beyond my budget (I only fly when I fly home to Germany, now on average of every 2 years) plus being on a fixed income, it's been very informative that you all noted the benefits/criticisms along with your replies. Right now, I'm leaning toward trying the Overstock dot com version listed at $32.00. I'll do a trial run (also great advice!!:) ) and see if it works out. My courier bag will fit around the handle of either the suitcase or the rolling duffle, so that won't be a problem. My initial concern was the weight, so right now I'm 95% sure it'll be the duffle I'll purchase. The last time, my wife went along and we checked one of her bags, but I have to tell ya, it felt nice me having just the one suitcase and it being being light and small enough to fit in the overhead compartment. This time, however, it's a two week trip not 7 days, so I'll be a lot more judicious in choosing what to pack. Here again, the trial run will be optimal. Meant to mention that several years ago I bought one of those hang-from scales, so that will come in handy as well.

Thanks

Bill

Posted by
103 posts

Atlantic Ultra Lite: Wheeled duffle, 22 x 12 x 13, weighs 5.5 pounds. I have used it now for 2 years and it doesn't tip/fall over. It is sturdy and made well. Easily handles a tote/boarding bag over its handles.

Once I used the front straps & wore it as a backpack, in order to pull someone's rolling luggage when they were became sick during our travel. The Rick Steves bus drivers love my bag with the side handles and front straps. I received alot of where did I get it?

I use mesh bags & ziplock bags to organize my bag. I like the open deep spacing it offers.
Over time the rigidity has lessened and fits in the overhead bin better each time I use it. In the beginning I had to push down the empty space in it to fit the bag in the bin.
You can put alot in it or not. I pack it 75-80% leaving space fo purchases and the clothes taking more space once soiled.

The one thing I miss is a long outer zipped compartment where I'd put my coat after TSA or after my destination arrival. I have this feature on my RS rolling suitcase.
My RS bag is an older model, in great condition but weighs 8 pounds empty. It has become more my domestic bag than my Europe bag.

I have everything laid out for May. Now I am trial packing each bag. I'll weigh and measure each and
decide what I will take on RS tour. I'll try to remember to let you know what I decide.