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Classic Back Door bag and Convertible Carry-on Structure

Do these bags have any type of framework to them?
Or are they basically like a fabric sack when empty?

Posted by
19170 posts

The shape and stiffness of the panels does contribute a little to the structure, but not much. So it's not exactly like a "fabric sack", but close. That's not a problem for most packers, who fill their bag until it's so packed it makes it's own structure. But for a few of us light packers, who don't completely fill their bags (I put 1400 ci in a bag that's almost twice that volume), those cinch straps on the side are an absolutely necessary feature to "tighten" the load.

Some bags don't have cinch straps. It you are a minimalist packer, avoid them. A partially filled bag without cinch straps is like a bag of potatoes - floppy. It looks like Rick's bags do have them now (my circa 2000 RS bag did not. I considered filling it with bubble wrap just for the structure.)

The GOOD thing about a bag without structure is that, when not completely filled, it conforms to the available space. A more structured bag might be smaller than the available space in an overhead bin, but not fit due to it's shape.

Posted by
18778 posts

The Classic Back door bag does have the mentioned, and needed, cinch straps and is about 1/3 lighter than the Convertible Carry-on which might make a difference on a flight that has weight limits; I have owned both but gave the Convertible carry-on away and have used the Classic maybe 30 times over the years.

The front pockets just added bulk and thickness to the bag that I didn't need.

In the winter the Classic holds all I need, well that and a small personal item and in the summer sometimes its a bit much; but I dont pride myself on how light I pack, but I do pride myself in packing what i know will add to the enjoyment of the trip.

My style has changed a bit and I am about to purchase a hard shell carry-on bag (Shopping Walmart and Target this week .. I dont get the deal with name brands ... I have discount store cheapies that have lasted decades).

I think the hard shell will work better for me as I dont need any outside pockets and I do carry things that might get crushed from time to time.

Together with a small cross body pouch for passport and $$$ (and everything else on my body before I go through security), and from time to time a $30 Amazon under-seat bag ("personal item") that slips over the handle of a typical carry-on will take care of any potential packing needs; but I do like the Classic bag.

Posted by
8639 posts

I have the Classic Bag. There is no frame, but its not without shape. Kind of like a school backpack - the thick fabric and seams hold its shape. If I laid it across my arm, it would droop over, not stay stiff. It wont stand on its own. Thats how it only weighs 2 pounds. The Civita daypack, on the other hand, is like a fabric sack when empty.

Posted by
240 posts

I have the Convertible Carry On, and like it. I think I can fit more in it than in my traditional wheeled carryon suitcase. But it doesn’t have much structure, so I find packing cubes are a must. I’ve found that without them, everything sinks to the bottom when you put the backpack on. The cinch straps are also helpful in this regard. The packing cubes in the RS store fit nicely, by the way.

Posted by
23466 posts

Far more than a sack. We have used the classic back door bag for 30 years. Had a broken zipper once, and it was replaced. We follow the practice of everything packed in a bag. Each bag uses one of the packing envelopes - medium size -- for shirts and pants that are folded. Everything else goes into a variety zip locks bags. The bag is packed fitting the various zip lock bags into a space and the packing envelope goes in on top. Works well if you are not trying to carry 50 lb.

Posted by
5837 posts

Classic bag does not have a frame but does have a "pad" on the side of the bag with the shoulder strapsssss. While a thin pad, it does hold a ractangular shape when empty. With proper packing and "packing cubes" and use of the cinch straps, the loaded bag hold is rectangualr shape.

Posted by
5 posts

I have the convertible carryon. It’s too big for me and picking it up is like a couple of crazed monkeys because it’s unstructured. This can be solved to a degree with compression straps and packing organizers, but I mostly just use it for off-season clothing storage. A slightly larger 46 L Gregory pack with a real suspension system worked better for me on a 3-month trip, but I didn’t pack it bursting full and checked it on the way home (always wrap it in a rain cover for that). When you shop for an unstructured backpack, be sure to consider rounding out, where the bag gets round when you tighten the compression straps. This can disqualify them for carryons, but doesn’t seem to happen with Rick’s bags.