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Broken Rick Steves Travel Bag : HELP!

Traveling in Germany. Today the pull-out handle on our RS roll-on travel bag (older style) got stuck in the down position. NEED HELP to figure out how to get this working again.

This is a problem.
Temporary Fix - go to a hardware store - get some rope/nylon cord/strap, something to cut the cord (box cutter) and duct tape. Tie the cord to each end of the handle to create a loop. Then, use the tape to create a grip. (A short piece of PVC pipe can make a grip as well.)
This is a lousy solution, but does offer some extension.
You can try jerking heavily on the handle - knowing full well you might break it.
Contact RS company if your bag is new. The RS company may be able to bail you out with a new bag. (I know you stated your bag is older style. Don't know how old it is.)
This is aggravating - but try not to let this spoil your trip.
You may just have to awkwardly use the bag handles.
If your bag is old - consider buying a new bag as a souvenir.

Posted by
16088 posts

A luggage store might be able to provide a fix as well. You don't mention where in Germany you are but we saw a fair amount of those in the cities.

Posted by
6372 posts

RS is known for replacing bags that go bad. That doesn't help you much right now, but be sure the contact the company about repairing or replacing when you get home.

Posted by
8234 posts

They have carry on bags in stores in Europe. Buy a new replacement bag there.

Posted by
3992 posts

On a day when you know there is a store nearby try forcing the handle out again. The worst thing that could happen is that the handle could end up stuck in the OUT position—not good for overhead bins. If it gets stuck OUT you’d want to be able to replace it ASAP.

Posted by
4593 posts

The YouTube fix was great until it got sticky again at the end. The take away is more lubrication and perhaps some filing.
If it were me (at home) I would start with WD40 narrow straw applicator up in the handle area (possibly from the push button on the handle).
As you are not at home, is there any sort of oil you can get your hands on to ease into the identified space to see if you get some play.
Otherwise, the original temp fix of a rope handle will do until you get home. I suspect the hardware store would be happy to sell you the rope but do the cutting for free with their daily use pocket cutter. Or they may have an alternate solution.

Posted by
5053 posts

Look in the center top part of the side of the bag that contains the handle channels. There should be a zipper that will give access to most of the working parts of the handle. Being able to see the working parts may give you an idea of the nature of the problem. You may just have a screw / bolt that has come loose. Happened on one of our other bags -- but not a RS bag.

Posted by
15665 posts

Before you start disassebmbling bags, try this.

Unzip the inside lining. You'll see two little movable pins that go in and out. When you press on the lever of the telescoping handle, those pins are suppossed to retract. However, I've had RS bags where they stop. All you have to do is manually push them in and pull out the handle. It should lock into place. Chances are it won't happen every time but this should help you get through the trip.

Let the RS office know and they will replace the bag.

Posted by
891 posts

I'm sorry that this won't help while you are traveling in Europe. I had a RS bag with with roll out handle that I had used for some years.
Same thing happened to me, but, I was traveling domestically. When I got home I called RS company and asked for recommendations for local repair places. They said no, looked up my account. Said they would send a new one, the colors had changed and asked what color I want. When I asked how they wanted the old one to be sent back, they didn't want it. I won't buy another brand now, I am a lifelong customer!

I hope this doesn't ruin the rest of your Europe trip, but if I were you, I would send an email to the RS company now.

Have a Great time and let us know how this turns out!

Posted by
3259 posts

I had the opposite problem with the pullout handle. I found a sweet spot near the entry point that just required a little pressure and the handle would then drop down. Maybe look for this sweet spot. I was on an independent, rather mobile, solo trip and it did make me nervous before getting on trains, etc...

Posted by
101 posts

UPDATE: Although am grateful for the many suggestions for "field repair" of my bag, none we're feasible. Unzipping the bag liner, revealed a riveted retracting mechanized. No access or repair possibilities without a power drill. THEREFORE, I carried the bag for the next week; trams, trains, walking, and to the airport. TRAVEL TIP: don't pay an Euro for a bag cart at the train station in Frankfurt unless you a sure the elevator to the upper floors is working!! I didn't want to buy another bag to add to my collection at home and I was hoping RS Customer service would offer me some sort of help. This proved to be true after some email back and forth with "Lisa" in Customer Service. My problematic bag is one of the older, larger designs; the replacement will be a bit smaller, consistent with evolving carry on criteria with most airlines. Thanks again to all of you that responded within a few hours of my call for help while on travel in Germany. This forum is amazing!!