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Rick Steves bag

My husband are going to Italy in October for a week and I am shopping for a new suitcase for the trip. I'm considering either the rolling or convertible bags from Rick Steves and I have heard good things about them when researching on the board. But perhaps those of you who have and love (or not) the bag could give me some specific feedback about what makes the bag better than others/work for you? (Or equally, not work for you). It would help me make my final decision.

Posted by
204 posts

There is a problem with the back pack type bag. You will discover the problem when you get a little older.

Posted by
91 posts

I like Rick's bag because: 1. It meets the maximum size for carry-on. 2. The bag itself is lightweight which helps on weight limits. 3. The straps allows it to be carried like a backpack--good for foot hikes to hotels, around airports/train stations. 4. Durable...had since 2001, multiple trips....still looks new. 5. Easy-to-get-to outer pockets for misc, yet important items you need i.e. hotel/car rental reservations, passports, etc. This allows you to not open the entire bag. 6. When its laid out on my bed, it reminds me that I am off to someplace fun and exciting!!! happy travels.!

Posted by
1449 posts

I have the bag, I like it. One thing I'd change about it, though, is the zippers on the side. They're in about the middle of the thickness of the bag and let you open it wide to put stuff in. The problem for me is that if you have packing sacks and clothes you have to stack them carefully to keep them from sliding out before you close the bag. But a minor problem, not a reason not to get it.

My advice is to get the convertible, not the rolling one. Rolling bags work great for business trips and the like; roll thru the airport, the hotel, etc. But Italy has lots of cobblestone streets, and if you take the train you'll be climbing stairs up and down to the platforms. Bag on your back is easy, rolling bag you're hauling by the handle.

Posted by
29 posts


I spent two weeks in Italy this summer followed by a week in Ft Lauderdale using Rick's roll-aboard bag. I was amazed at how much more I was able to fit into this bag than previous carry-ons I had used. As a previous poster stated, it is also very lightweight. The bag has good balance and the wheels are very sturdy so I also had no problem dragging it over stone streets and up and down steps in hotels and train stations in Rome, Florence, Bologna and Venice.

I stayed away from the convertible bag for the reason a previous poster alluded to: at 52, my back is just too darned old!

Posted by
23232 posts

I guess some backs are older than others. We are in our mid 60s and still carry them as we have for the past 15 plus years. Used to it I guess. But for moment we are stickly with the backpack style -- maybe when we are older we will shift to rolling bag.

Posted by
127 posts

boy i gotta say: i bought rick steves' backpack,,and it lived up to all the claims..however..i walked EVERY day, [and night], and my lower 1/2 from feet to thighs were sereaming, lack of proper foot ware]...while in florence, by a dumpster, i found a roller thingy..[found out later VERY cheap], and it really helped: yes the cobbel stones was a pain, but it was NICE to just drag something the end of the trip, i re-packed everything in the RS bag, ditched the roller thing.
my advice: get the roller thing when you get there..VERY cheap, split the real heavy stuff to that, then ditch the roller thing by a dumpster when u are done w/ the trip..[who knows ...maybe i'll find it if i ever get back there]re pack for home like u left.the one i found was like the RS back pack in that it has a side handle like a suitcase.

Posted by
32198 posts

I've been interested in trying Rick's Convertible Bag, but I'm still trying to decide if it will offer any benefits over the Pack I'm using now (which is good quality and still working well, however seems a bit small at times).

As some of the others have mentioned, "older" travellers (such as myself!) can have problems with Backpacks. The most important factor in selecting a Pack is proper fitting according to torso length. Most of the weight should rest on the hip belt and NOT the shoulders. If proper fitting is followed, even older travellers shouldn't be able to avoid back problems.

In my case the Pack is normally just used from the train station to the Hotel, so I'm not travelling long distances with it. I use the detachable Daypack for touring in cities.

One other feature that is highly recommended is a stowable harness (as Rick's bag and my Pack both have). That can prevent straps from being torn-off by airport conveyor systems.

Posted by
32198 posts


I can't recall what size my present Pack is? It's basically the same physical size as Rick's bags, but I know from past experience that most airlines won't allow it for carry-on.

I might be able to attend the travel festival next spring, so that would be a good opportunity to check out the ETBD bags (and the 20% discount would be nice!). I wonder what torso range they're designed for?

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks everyone for all your replies. You've definitely sold me on the Rick Steves bags. Now I'm just deciding between 2 rollaboards, 2 backpacks or 1 of each. I expect we'll try one of each and figure out which works best for us through trial and error (hopefully without too much pain in any errors lol). Thanks again!

Posted by
21 posts

One more comment for your wife and I just returned from 4 weeks in Italy with each of us using a Rick Steves' rollaboard was perfect...held plenty for the trip and only weighed about 20 lbs was very easy to manuever around the country on planes, trains, and in hotels in Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Orvieto and the Amalfi Coast...up and down stairs... the soft handles made it very easy to pick up and the molded sides made it very easy to pack and stay organized...all in all, it is probably the best carry on bag we've ever used...I would recommend it highly...good travels.