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Best carry-on for short backed female

I was just about to order the RS Back Door Bag when I thought I'd better check a few reviews elsewhere. One of them did not recommend it for a short female. I am 5ft 1/2 in and my back is also short. I'll be travelling from Australia on Singapore Air initially and their carry-on limit is just 7kg. Later in the trip on Lufthansa and their is 8kg. The carry-on size limits are the usual 115 cm/45 in.. I'll need the pack for travel on planes, trains and buses, not back-packing. I'd love to do it all from one bag but I don't think I can manage within 7kg for a 5-week trip even in June-July, although my last 10 days will be with my sister in the UK where I can do laundry and borrow some of her clothes.
But my question is really: is the Back Door Bag suitable for a short female in her 70s?

Posted by
11613 posts

Something you might consider: I've been using the rolling carryon for years, the side handle makes it easy to carry up/down stairs. It's the 20" version now. I'm a little shorter than you are, backpacks in general stopped working for me several years ago; the extra wheel/frame weight on the wheeled bag are worth it to me, and the size helps limit the weight. And the RS bag does well on cobblestones and irregular pavement.

Posted by
6509 posts

I'm a short female also (5'2") and I ordered the RS back door bag but had to return it because it did not work for me for just this reason. I thought of keeping it even though I could not use it as a backpack but that didn't make sense so I just opted for the lightest carry-on wheeled bag that I could find. It's a 21" and easy to manage on trains, etc and it worked well for me on a 5 week trip last summer. Had to do full laundry 3 times during those 5 weeks and sink washing the rest of the time. At my age (69) I just don't see myself using any bag as a backpack anymore, those days are gone.

Posted by
3655 posts

A number of years ago there was a convertible RS Back Door Bag with should straps and a waist band specifically designed for short people and the users I know said it worked well. Not sure if RS still has it available. Perhaps Amazon still has one, or maybe a poster in your area has one they don't need anymore and are willing to part with it. TC

Posted by
31513 posts

cg,

The RS Back Door Bag may not work for you. Although some versions of the bag have a waist strap, the design of the pack doesn't allow for torso range adjustment, which is what is normally required with a backpack to allow distribution of weight to the hips, rather than shoulders. With a properly fitted Backpack, height is not a concern because the pack is adjusted for torso range (torso range is measured from C7 to top of hips), and not overall height. If you'd prefer to use a Backpack for your trips, you might have a look at either Osprey or Eagle Creek products. Otherwise you could look at some of the wheelie bags.

If money is no object and you'd like a wider variety of bags to choose from, you could also have a look at Tom Bihn products, although they also don't have provision for torso range adjustment.

You may find it helpful to have a look at excellent One Bag, One World website which has a lot of information on various types of luggage. The owner of the site is also a contributor here on the Forum.

Posted by
5789 posts

I'm your opposite. Long waisted male. Pack length is a concern if the suspension system has a load supporting hip belt. If it only has shoulder straps then the concern would be strap width spacing. If the straps are too wide and it doesn't have a sternum strap, the straps may slip off of your shoulders.

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpacks-torso-hip-size.html

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpacks-adjusting-fit.html

The bigger problem may be that a bigger pack can hold more stuff than you are comfortable carrying.

Posted by
396 posts

Many thanks to everyone for their advice. Unlike Nancy I don't have a problem carrying a pack (not one of the allowed weight anyway), but it does seem as though the RS Back Door Bag would not be a good choice. By that REI site that the last poster linked to it does seem that my torso measurement would be 'small' so I'll look at the packs there with that in mind. Yes, the alignment of the shoulder straps is crucial as I have narrow shoulders. I'll look at the other options suggested, but am coming to think I should look locally because of the freight cost from USA to Australia.

Posted by
11434 posts

I run the website Ken mentions even though I'm not allowed to mention it.

There are three convertible bags that I know of that are geared toward the "shorter" person:

Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender (I used this one this past weekend)
Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30
Tom Bihn Tri-Star
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Junior

The lightest convertible bag on the market, considering your 7 kg weight limit, is the Campmor Essential Carry On. It's under 2 llbs but has no structure.

(I have all of the above mentioned bags and all are recommended.)

What are your laundry plans.....if you are willing to do a sink wash every 2-3 days, and a full wash every week or so, you can easily pack light. It's all about the laundry.

One other thing, if you go to my website, as mentioned in Ken's posting, we have a forum where you can post questions. We have many readers from Australia who can help answer your questions regarding bags available there and weight issues.

Posted by
484 posts

My picks would be 1) Ebags etech weekender 2.0 Junior (backpack) 2). Eagle creek load warrior or flatbed 20x14x8 (rolling and lightweight). As a small woman, I understand the issues of fit versus luggage capacity. Use eagle creek or ebags packing folders and cubes. You won't have any space for extras - just the basics.

Posted by
16883 posts

Try on backpacks at a store near you if at all possible, preferably loaded with about 8kg of something. The Eagle Creek carry-on sized backpack that I've used for years may not have been particularly made for my 5'4" height, but it has worked well enough (until the waist buckle finally broke this year).

Posted by
396 posts

Many thanks for the additional suggestions. I have to rule out all from ebags as they don't ship overseas. I've also enquired on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum and the response is that carry-on baggage is often not weighed by the airlines I'm using most. The experience is that they are more concerned about the size limits so within those is more important, and it needs to look small enough. I think internal and external compression straps will help. And yes, I do need to try on but unfortunately even within Australia there is a much wider range available by online order only than in the shops. Yes I will certainly look at OBOW: I've seen the site but missed the forum.

Posted by
31513 posts

cg,

If you'd like to have a look at Eagle Creek products that may work for you, check the "Dealer" lists at....

http://shop.eaglecreek.com/store/storelocator.aspx

For Osprey products, have a look at (something like the Porter series may work for you).....

http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/outdoor_shops/australia_and_new_zealand

You could also have a look at Macpac products, that I believe are manufactured in your part of the world.....

http://www.macpac.co.nz/packs/packs-travel

And finally, one that both Frank II and I mentioned.....

http://www.tombihn.com/travel_bags/aeronaut30.html

Although that product also doesn't allow for torso adjustment, it can be carried either by the handle, by a shoulder strap or as a backpack. If you can tolerate a bag that size, it's one to consider. TB products are exceptional quality but not inexpensive. They will ship to Australia, but again it won't be cheap as the shipping cost via UPS International Expedited will be $65.

Posted by
396 posts

Thanks Ken. Through your links I've identified a shop that I can get to easily that has both Eagle Creek and Osprey. Both the Osprey Farpoint 55 and the Porter 46 seem to have shorter torso versions. I just hope they have both in stock so I can compare them. I do wish they had photos showing the fully open interior as Rick's bag photos do.

Edited to add: it seems that the Farpoint55 doesn't meet carry-on requirements, despite the sizing seeming OK, but Farpoint 40 does and this shop does have it listed.
Further edit to add: Wonderful review of the Farpoint 40 from a women's point of view here http://herpackinglist.com/2013/11/osprey-farpoint-40-backpack-review/ (see also the comments) and a new light packing site to explore. I think this might be the one.

Posted by
11434 posts

@Barb

I got the Eagle Creek Flatbed 20 you mention last week, took it on a quick trip this past weekend, and will have a review up on my site in about a week.

Posted by
484 posts

Thanks Frank. Looking forward to your review. I like simple and straightforward. The flatbed seems to be the answer.