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Feedback on carry on travel backpacks?

I am looking at "travel" backpacks to use as my second bag/carry on. Something small and lightweight but big enough to carry a change of clothes, iPad, meds, and purse items. Is there any feedback on especially good travel backpacks? Thanks.

Posted by
518 posts

Lots of good ones out there, but look beyond the usual suspects (with regards to brands) such as North Face, Kelty, Osprey, etc. Also, since you mentioned carry on, you should be aware of any baggage size checks you may run into at the gate or at security. From all that I've read both in this forum and elsewhere, there doesn't seem to be a consistent practice across air carriers, routes, or airports with regards to when and where staff choose to check carry on luggage dimensions compliance. Backpacks aren't going to be the standard luggage dimensions and may or may not fit the test cage that appears at boarding gates or check-in counters. Of course this only matters IF an airline/airport chooses to check.

Posted by
2393 posts

I am looking at new luggage for our next trip. It will include several flights on the European airlines with the smaller/stricter size/weight limits. I am considering Ricks Ravenna Rolling bag (I know it is .6 lbs more than the backpack but the more cubic inches and expansion ability will come in handy.

I am also looking at the Euro Flight Bag - it looks like a good size for second carry on item. Fortunately the Euro airlines we will be using still allow one bag up to 10kg (challenge on) and a personal item (not weighed - so you know the heavy stuff will be in there!

The Euro Bag by RS will work fine. But, I find it heavy and awkward to carry around an airport when fully loaded. I find a backpack to be more comfortable to lug. Look at size. Something 16-18" long and 5.5". - 6" deep. I use a Merrell rouge from ebags.com. The RS Appenzell is a good pack. I use the Appenzell bag also. Use a couple of packing cubes to easily load your backpack. LL Bean has a deluxe school backpack that is a nice size, good organizer panel and decent padding. My daughter has this one. It's a good pack. Plan on about $45-55 for a pack to suit your needs. Have fun. Get one with an organizer panel. Maxpedition Pygmy falcon pack my suit you.

Posted by
2788 posts

I am about to go to Europe for the 14th Summer and every year I have used a 12" RS roller bag or its predecessor. Check that in when flying from Seattle to Europe and use another RS travel bag for a carryon. I have never had a problem with using either of them. I happen to use the roller bag because I can not put a back pack on my back.

Posted by
19118 posts

I'm assuming you are checking another bag. If so, the RS Civita day bag would be a good choice for a 2nd, carry-on bag. It should have plenty of room for what you claim you want to carry, and it only weighs 9.6 oz.

Posted by
20 posts

Like barbnrob94, I have had one too many experiences with awkward, shoulder straining, heavy shoulder bags. I tried small rollaway but that is awkward to stack on my RS 22" checked bag and those wheels really add to the weight. So I am committed to at least try a travel backpack...always searching for the perfect combination of checked/carry on bags. Thanks for all of the suggestions.

Posted by
2393 posts

I was liking the Euro Flight Bag as it is supposed to slip over the handle of your larger bag and does not have to be lugged on one's shoulder.

Posted by
5697 posts

Euro bag worked for me on Ryan and Easyjet and it DID balance well on the roller bag handle. But check the specific size and weight restrictions on the airlines you will fly. Every airline seems to be different. (I checked the roller bag and carried the Euro tote.)

Posted by
2393 posts

Thanks Laura - I normally just have one carry on bag and a big a$$ purse but I am tired of the heavy purse on the shoulder so I will pack a small purse to use when not in transit.

The airlines I am using fortunately allow one of each and the Ravenna bag fits the dimensons. Now the weight thing - gonna take some trial & error!

Check out eagle creek roaming backpack at $80. Has a back panel for sliding over a suitcase handle. Good size as an overnight bag. Has an organizer in it. Eaglecreek.com

Posted by
28 posts

I recommend www.eBags.com because it has a very large selection from many manufacturers and you can see the ratings from the people who have used the items.

Posted by
32224 posts

eveleen,

You might also have a look at Tom Bihn backpacks. They're a bit expensive but exceptional quality and should easily last a lifetime. A product like the Synapse 19 would likely be a good choice.

Posted by
5836 posts

I have a older version of Patagonia's Lightweight Travel Pack which appears to be "sold out":
http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/lightweight-travel-pack-backpack?p=48817-0
26 liter/11.4 oz and stuffs into its own pocket

Just got a LL Bean catalog with a similar lightweight packable backpack.
http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/86674?page=stowaway-day-pack
22 liters/14 oz and stuffs into its own pocket.

I carry the travel backpack flat in my carry-on backpack (RS Classic) and use the travel pack as a hands free day bag at my destination.

Posted by
139 posts

I second Ken's suggestion. I love my TOm Bihn Synapse 19 for a personal item. Great organization, roomier than it looks, and it works well with my RS roller. (I can cinch the waist strap tight and slide it over the suitcase handle if I don't want to wear it as a backpack.). This combo worked well for 2weeks in Rome/Paris.

Posted by
20 posts

Between my bum knee, problematic shoulder, and a confessed obsession with luggage, I am in the market for something new. In search of the perfect travel backpack, I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing all of the suggestions. After living for decades in the NW, I was amazed to discover Tom Bihn bags and am enchanted with the possibilities.
Thanks again all for helpful feedback, eveleen

Posted by
139 posts

Eveleen, if you want something lighter, you might look at the Daylight Backpack at Tom Bihn. I don't have one, but people love 'em. Also, I highly recommend a Side Effect (great for plane seat bag or small bag) and the 3D clear organizer bag for 411 toiletries-- they are so handy! You can peruse the Bihn Forums for nifty tips. Don't mean to sound like an ad, but some items really changed how I travel and how I refined a lighter packing strategy.

Posted by
1078 posts

I have just purchased a Pacsafe Venturesafe 45L travel backpack, I like the safety features and the size is perfect for placing in the overhead bin, has shoulder straps with waist belt. I'm leaving for Italy in two weeks for the Ricks Steves 9 day tour of Venice, Florence and Rome, I'll report back for everyone how it works out when I get back.

Posted by
1040 posts

I bought new luggage for this year's trip as due to a major skiing accident, I will not be carrying a travel pack on my back this year. I am extremely happy with my two choices from Eagle Creek. I've already taken them on some business trips and the two bags work great together. The 20" Lync bag is very light and can be removed from its wheels when I'm ready again. The small day bag has secure fasteners side and bottom so it can be attached right to the front of my little Lync bag. It will be much harder to pickpocket when I exit the train station in Florence, as it will be attached to the suitcase and down at my feet (and locked) :) The day bag will definitely hold a change of clothes and some toiletries if you want to leave the suitcase behind a day or two. They are light, durable, and have a lifetime warranty. The links are:

Lync 20"

attachable day bag

Posted by
139 posts

Nelly- that daypack looks interesting. How does it attach to the Lync bag?

Posted by
1040 posts

Wish I could attach a photo, but let me try this in words. The day pack has 4 cord loops, each covered with a plastic tube, one on each side and two on the bottom. You unbuckle the Lync's compression straps, run them through the daypack loops and then back to their clips. On the bottom, there are similar straps that attach the Lync bag to the Lync's removable wheel carriage. Same thing, you unbuckle the straps, run through the loops and back to the clips. Takes 10 seconds each. Everything is of course properly sized so it's a good fit and an efficient dual purpose use for the compression straps. Yes, you have to unbuckle it again to get into the suitcase, but you have to unbuckle the compression straps with or without the daypack to get into the suitcase.

Also, the daypack cord loops are placed near the back of the pack, so even if you stuff it full, the cord loops and the straps will still mate up - the straps don't have to reach across the front of the pack. And this makes them even less accessible to the casual pickpocket. If you are sitting away from your luggage on a train, it wouldn't take long for someon to unbuckle it, but it won't happen as you're passing by someone.

A thousand words is worth one picture? Hope this helped. And, I confess, I bought the pack in the same colour (orange) as my Lync bag. Very matchy-matchy but I Iike it.