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Appenzell Bag Changes

As many of you know, I love my Appenzell bag. I've used it as my main piece of luggage for 6 or 7 years. This year, my DH (who has had bag envy for some time now) decided to use part of our $100 credit for his very own Appenzell. It arrived today, and there are two changes to the design.

Negative: the zipper pulls are solid. This means there is no cutout through which one can thread a lock or identifying ribbon.

Positive? Maybe: the small pocket at the front top of the bag (the higher up of the two front pockets) is now much deeper, extending down the entire length of the bag. On mine, it's only a few inches deep - perfect size for stuffing a windbreaker into, but not good for much else. DH is not sure yet whether or not the deeper pocket is a good thing. I guess it all depends on what you get used to.

The bag is still beautifully made, and is small enough to be a carry-on even on budget European airlines, and large enough to pack all necessary clothing for a three-week trip. Padded back, adjustable padded straps, 2 water bottle pockets - it's a beautiful thing.

Posted by
1164 posts

Hi Jane --
My roll aboard doesn't have the cut outs on the pulls either, but I use small twist ties from the market to keep them closed. It doesn't provide security but I think it does help the zippers stay closed during transit.
May I ask what you pack in your Appenzell bag? I'm a good packer but I would like to downsize even more.
And do you manage okay without a waistbelt to distribute the weight?

Posted by
5152 posts

SharYn, the bag is not that heavy. Last year it weighed about 13 pounds.

I pack (more or less): 2 pairs of slacks, 1 skirt, 4 or 5 tops (usually 4, at least 2 with long sleeves,) one pair of shoes, socks and underwear for about 4 days, a (very) light jacket, a windbreaker, sometimes a cardigan, and a small toiletries kit. Sometimes I wear the cardigan, because I get cold on the airplane. When it's going to be cold, like London in January, I add some silk long underwear.

Our 3-1-1- bag and various odds-and-ends go in my personal item, along with any papers we're going to need, and a journal. DH carries all his clothes, and any maps or guidebooks.

Posted by
920 posts

I can vouch for Jane on what she gets in her bag. Amazing, she brought it loaded with above stuff to our travel group meeting. I can pack light, but that is super light! LOL

Kim

Posted by
1164 posts

Thanks, Jane and Kim!
Jane, does your list include what you wear on the plane?
And how about a phone or tablet?

Posted by
5152 posts

Thanks, Kim! I was hoping you'd chime in,

No, the list is only what goes into the bag. And I don't carry a phone or tablet, at least not yet. If I did, there would be room. The Appenzell has a padded back pocket designed for a laptop, but I only use it to slip papers or house keys into. So there's still room, but that would add to the weight, of course. I also usually have extra room in my personal item, which is a medium sized shoulder bag.

Unfortunately, my beloved bag I carry as a personal item is beginning to show its age, and may have to be retired. About 5 or 6 years ago I tried using a smaller canvas shoulder bag (the kind you used to get free when you joined the Sierra Club) as my personal item, as kind of an audition. It worked, but lacked one or two features of the bag I usually carry. It's a leather shoulder bag I bought in Poland 30 years ago. It was a splurge, but I love it.

When I say it's beginning to show its age, that means (among other things) the strap disintegrated in the Rome airport as we were hurrying for a plane a couple of year ago. And the reinforced areas where the strap attaches are also shredding. We patched it together well enough that I could carry it on our trip to South England this year, but it's probably time to pull the plug. Sigh.

Posted by
1164 posts

Thanks, again, Jane.
I know what you mean about wearing out a beloved travel item.
My local travel store a few months ago had a beautiful leather bag, probably either a Travelon or Baggallini, which I greatly admired. I decided on the Travelon cross-body bucket bag instead, both for weight as well as price considerations, and I have been very happy with it. It has been improved based on my reading of older reviews and I can't find any fault with it.

Posted by
67 posts

We have three Appenzells in our family, all bought on sale years ago. Even though it is described as a day bag I find it too big for that purpose and often use it as my main carryon like Jane. Once you accept that you may be doing laundry on the road and/or wearing your clothes multiple times packing light becomes easy. I've always had room for everything I NEEDED on trips from a few days to a few weeks. The changes don't sound like deal-breakers and if my Appenzell ever wears out I'll get the newer model.

Posted by
166 posts

Years ago I had to take my Travelpro rollaboard to be repaired at Kambers in OKC. It is a small store that sells and repairs luggage and several zipper pulls needed to be replaced. Maybe you could find a luggage repair store in Tulsa that could replace some of the zipper pulls with pulls with holes. I have been traveling with a Tom Bihn backpack and use Nite-Ize S-Biner locking carabiners to secure the zippers. They work very well on my pack and should work on your Appenzell if you could change out the zipper pulls.

Looks like a very nice bag!

Posted by
11452 posts

While I can't speak for the Appenzell directly, most of the newer RS bags have the non-holed zipper pulls. However, the open area where the pull attaches to the zipper is larger and I use the Nite Ize S-biner to connect the zippers there.

Posted by
5152 posts

Thanks for the tips, Carole and Frank II. We'll check them out.

Posted by
920 posts

Hey - Jane

what size zip lock bags did you use in your backpack when we had our group? I am thinking about just taking my new Appenzell bag to Seattle in two week for the reunion. We are only going to be there 5 days. So I really see no need for my rolling RS bag. I think our flight to Denver going and coming back is a really small plane!!

Kim

Posted by
5152 posts

Kim, those were 2-gallon freezer bags, probably Best Choice brand (Reasor's and Warehouse Market "generics.") For a short weekend trip, I'd probably use smaller bags for undies or even tops.

I can't wait for you to tell us about the RS Alums Reunion at our next RS Travel group! (Jan 21; I'll post it next week.)

Posted by
1 posts

I was looking at buying this or one of the smaller packs but want to discourage pickpocket-type thieves.

Using wire cutters, can you cut off the zipper pulls and replace them with carabiners? If so, you can clip the two carabiners together with a third carabiner. That would provide about the same security as if the zipper pulls had holes in them and you clipped them with a carabiner. A pickpocket-type thief might be frustrated by it.

The setup I described is not as good as the old design (with holes in the zipper pulls that you could lock together with a small padlock) though someone who really wants to get in to the pack could cut the fabric and bypass a lock.

Posted by
11452 posts

Handsaw.....there are holes in the zipper pulls only they are at the bottom of the pull where it is attached to the zipper itself. I use these Tyny Tools Swivel Carabiners to attach the pulls. No need to go through all the hassle of removing the pull and attaching new ones.

Posted by
34 posts

Handsaw.....there are holes in the zipper pulls only they are at the bottom of the pull where it is attached to the zipper itself. I use these Tyny Tools Swivel Carabiners to attach the pulls. No need to go through all the hassle of removing the pull and attaching new ones.

Ohhh! Awesome little carabiners. Those are the first I've seen that swivel.

I've got a few of these that I use for attaching zippers on bags:
https://www.rei.com/product/860182/nite-ize-s-biner-microlock-keychain-2-pack

I used to use the standard Nite Ize S-biners before, but these biners have little twist locks and I really like them. They won't protect 100% from pickpockets, but they will frustrate them and they do a slightly better job than the non-locking biners I've used.

When I've used carabiners to attach zippers that didn't have holes in the pulls, I threaded a small keyring through the hole and attached the carabiner to that. Worked like a charm.

Posted by
3 posts

Has anyone tried putting this below the seat on an airplane? My husband and I are traveling with our 8 year old son and trying to carry everything on which gets tricky with a family, so were thinking our son will carry his own small rolling backpack (which I have tested and will fit all of his clothes), my husband and I will each carry a lightweight 21" rolling carry-on, then one regular sized day pack (like the civita) and one larger backpack like the Appenzell. I just want to be sure the back packs will fit under the seat and am wondering if I would be better off with the euroflight bag (although I would prefer a backpack) or Ravenna day pack sized bag? We are flying Delta to and from Italy, but will have a short flight from Rome to Munich on Luthansa. We will also be taking lots of trains. Just having a hard time getting a sense of how big the Appenzell is once packed and don't want to look and feel ridiculous with a giant backpack and rollerboard trying to maneuver on and off trains and buses, but also don't want to have too many small bags which ends up being hard to keep up with when trying to keep up with a kid as well.

Thanks!!!

Posted by
5152 posts

kimberlydthoma: We have managed to get the Appenzell under the seat, but then there's absolutely not much room left for feet! Just the tiny space in front of one's own seat. It's doable, but I wouldn't advise it. It may not work too well if the bag is completely stuffed, either.

And if you end up in one of those seats where there's something under the seat in front of you - some kind of structural element (that's happened to us several times,) then it won't work, or not as well. They do fit very easily into any overhead bin I've ever seen, including on smaller US planes or budget European airlines.

Of course, with children, being able to stretch out one's legs may not be as much of an issue. Hmmm. We need someone else to chime in here.

If it seems like I'm waffling, it's because as I write I'm remembering that there were a few times when we had to put the Appenzell under the front seat, usually because the overhead bins were already full. So it does work, but isn't optimal.

Posted by
5152 posts

Kimberly, I just reread your post, and no, the Appenzell is NOT a giant backpack. In fact, it's probably smaller than your roller bag. It's only 18" tall. Check out the specs on the Travel Store section of this website.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks. We will have 3 under-seat options to choose from in case of a structural obstruction (since there are three of us), and if my son can fit it under his seat, room to stretch out feet is not such a big deal, as his feet don't touch the ground anyway...lol! One of the benefits of traveling with a kiddo! I think we will be able to check our suitcases on the way back too, so it is really just the one Delta flight and the train we are worried about. Good to know though that it is a tight squeeze for under the seat. Thanks so much for the input! :-) I will have to try packing up what we will carry in it first to make my decision, I think. If I can get away with the over the shoulder carry on, that one might be the smarter option.

Posted by
5152 posts

The euro flight bag holds a lot of stuff - we use it as our main (sometimes only) bag when we travel in the States. But I find it doesn't ride on my shoulder comfortably. Maybe as a cross-body bag it would.

Posted by
91 posts

I have traveled several long flights with the Appenzell as my personal item. I have long legs so don't like to have anything under the seat in front of me on long flights. Once the flight takes off and restrictions are removed, I move the Appenzell bag towards me, more under my knees so I can stretch my legs out. Might not work for a short legged person, but then they might not need all the room in the seat in front of them to stretch out.