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15 Year Old RS Convertible Backpacks

My wife and I just returned from an 8 day trip to London and Paris. We each took just two items, with our main bags the Rick Steves Convertible Carry-on Backpack. We bought these bags for a trip to Scotland back in 2002!

They've done a lot of traveling since then. We chose these bags for our latest trip because we knew we didn't want to take any checked luggage and wanted something that would be easy to carry on subways and on the Eurostar. We had plenty of room and fit in the overhead compartment even when packed for a trip this length.

They are tough as nails and have held up extremely well. They are very comfortable to wear as a backpack. We are in our '60's and I have to help Deb get her backpack on her back, but once there she's a real trooper!

I heartily recommend these bags. I also heartily recommend the RS philosophy of traveling light, especially if you plan to be moving about and taking public transportation.

Posted by
15545 posts

Be aware, the version sold i 2002 is not the same as the version sold in 2017. I've had a few of them over the years, including the original Back Door Bag, and the quality has deteriorated to keep the price the same.

They are still good bags for their price but not the same as they used to me.

Posted by
2136 posts

Sorry to hear the quality isn't what it used to be. More reason to hold on to the originals!

Posted by
3428 posts

DougMac- I can 'beat' you. Hubby and I bought our bags MORE THAN 25 YEARS AGO! We still love them and they are still in great (I'd say almost new) shape. While we don't travel as much as we used to, these bags have seen more than 40 trips to Europe and 1 around-the-world trip!

Posted by
315 posts

30 year old RS convertible bag is still up for travel!

Posted by
19149 posts

I bought my RS convertible in 2000 and used it for a half dozen trips or more. It held up fine.

In the beginning I pretty much filled it, but as I learn to pack lighter, I found it was only partially filled and sagged.

I went to a smaller Essential Carryon, which was a lot lighter, but eventually it was also too big for what I take.

Finally I went to an eTech Weekender Jr. bag. It's not necessarily smaller, but it has cinch straps to "tighten" the load, which is what I really needed.

As for durability, if you carry the bag on, and don't give it to the gorillas, durability is not so important. However, zipper quality is important, particularly if you over-stuff the bag.