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Convertible Carry-On - Pros & Cons

Just got back from 2 1/2 weeks in the U.K. and Netherlands, and purchased before hand the Convertible Carry-On, the packing cubes, and the Civita Day Pack.
First off, just noticed that there is no review section when purchasing these items. Would have been a big help.
Love the backpack idea, since I preferred this from a rolling bag. My wife purchased a small rolling bag, not a Rick Steves, and was happy with it. But many times I'm carrying her bag up steps, and it's easier for me to carry only one bag while wearing mine. Also the different sections and zippered compartments are well thought out. The Civita Day Pack was great. Preferred this from my usual backpack, since I could wear both this and the Convertible Carry-On together. Also loved the 2 mesh water bottle holders, so I could carry both mine and my wife's bottles. Only negative for the Civita was that the strap was too narrow and not padded enough when it was weighted down by full bottles and other stuff.
Love the concept, but actual Convertible bag had some major design flaws. The first and biggest problem was that the shoulder straps weren't good. Way too thin, and not nearly padded enough. I have small backpacks that have far superior shoulder straps than this bag. Made this uncomfortable, especially if I was wearing this for any length of time. Also I like to occasionally sling the bag over one shoulder for a short distance, and these straps made it way too uncomfortable to do this.
I used the packing cubes, but even with these the bag is too soft and didn't hold it's shape. The outside side straps to cinch down the bag helped this, but a little more structure would be nice.
Bottom line is that the poor shoulder straps are a deal breaker for me. I can't recommend this bag for this reason. If you still want to use a backpack type bag, you might want to look at the bags from Eagle Creek. These seem to be in the same price range, which is good since I'm not one to spend a fortune on luggage.

Posted by
43 posts

Thank you!! I am going to start a thread about this. I just want a pros and cons of RS bags and back packs and can't find it so far.

Posted by
4595 posts

Bags are 'reviewed' frequently, but often buried in posts about other things or other bags. It benefits to put aside a few hours, pull up a good chair and a cup of tea and just start reading this forum. Or test how well the Search function at the top of the page works.
Unfortunately, hoping to have one post for reviews of all RS products will just become all the other relevant posts.
Searching may pay off better than posting/asking.

Posted by
2795 posts

We feel we must counter the above negative review of the RS Convertible Bag.We have two of these (actually 4, as the first pair we then turned over to our ids in college when they started traveling) and have never had any issues. Firstly, we are able to take our necessary stuff for 2-3 weeks comfortably. This falls within even Lufthansa's 8 kg limit, which we have checked at home. We have never been asked to have then weighed, nor put in the sizers (although we have checked them ourselves in the sizers and they fit fine. We each use a large compression bag, which is fantastic for shrinking the clothing load. The closest we have ever come to being stopped was once my wife was told to check because she is only 5' 1 1/2" and so the pack clearly must be oversized when looking at it on her; she simply told them it was identical to her husband's bag which they could see on my back in front of her, and she kept going through the gate.

But what we really do not understand is the complaint about the straps. We have always found these incredibly comfortable under the full load when they have been properly adjusted, along with proper adjustment of the waist belt. And it's not like we only go short distances. On the contrary, we have often walked 2-3 miles with the pack en route, between lodging and transportation, once even at a run across London to make sure we were on time for the Eurostar while the bus was being horribly stuck by road closure.
traffic. No problems.

Posted by
4 posts

Lent this bag to my daughter when she went to Thailand for 18 days, and she had the same complaint about the shoulder straps. She said it was very uncomfortable, and wouldn’t use this bag again.