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I've Reached The "Age of Enlightenment"

I have come to grips with the aging process. Having just returned from the RS 'Best of Barcelona and Madrid', where I was the only non-roller, at 68, my shoulders say "no mas".
From now on, my backpack stays home - I'll be rolling through airports and bumping along cobbled streets.
La juventud se escapa lentamente!

Posted by
6511 posts

I totally get it. I made the conversion to rolling carry on at 66. There comes a time.

Posted by
763 posts

I'm going on 64 with a bad back forever and bad knees since 2015. I totally skipped the backpack stage and went directly to roller bag. You'll be fine. Cheers!

Posted by
18380 posts

Anybody who tells me their legs, knees, back can't take a backpack is admitting to me they pack too heavy. In my experience (I've backpacked for 18 years and I'm about to turn 74) roller bags just facilitate overpacking. But then, I think, that's really what you are admitting you want to do.

Posted by
763 posts

Lee: Do you have a bad back or bad knees? Have you had back surgery? Do you live with near-constant knee pain and had injections for two-plus years? At the point of discussing knee replacement? Please tell me how superior you are.

Posted by
184 posts

The inability to carry your luggage in a backpack does not necessarily correlate to age. I am 33 and cannot use a backpack as luggage due to a pinched nerve in my back. I pack the same amount either way too- both my roller bag and my backpack have a 38L capacity. Just because someone uses a roller bag, it doesn't make them an overpacker. Lee's thinking seems quite off base to me.

Posted by
12999 posts

I did not change over to a roller until the 2014 trip when I was 64. Before that I used a suitcase. On the 2016 trip I changed over to a 4 wheel spinner. The advantage of a roller is that it has a bottom metal rod as support. I packed and lifted 30 lbs easily with that roller having that metal bottom rod as support. No such luck with the spinner as there is no metal rod at the bottom. Now, I have to keep the spinner weighing no more than 25 lbs.

Posted by
21858 posts

Sounds like stoutfella is not so stout anymore. You do what you have to do. It is hard to avoid the aging process. I have three years on Lee and still using the backpack in Europe but always think that maybe next year will be the last. But Lee has point, keeping it light as possible does serve a function.

Posted by
13214 posts

Lee, I I think you are being unfair. The choice between roller bag and backpack is a personal one and need not involve age, fitness, bad knees or back. Nor does it need to arouse competitive instincts (lighter is better) or judgmental observations.

I am close to your age and a lot smaller (under 100 pounds). My knees and back are strong enough that I happily do strenuous hikes and also backpacking in the American sense, meaning carrying sleeping bag, clothes, food etc. for a multi-day hike in the mountains of the western US (my husband carries the tent). But I do not like travel backpacks.

I bought a Rick Steves backpack on sale and tried it once for a short trip ( not to Europe) and gave it up as too uncomfortable to wear. My husband ( your age exactly, and very fit) tried next, it and felt the same, so we gave it away. We are happy with our small roller bags, still packing light, but free of sore backs and shoulders ( which we do not experience with our real backpacks, designed for actual backpacking).

I will admit that my roller bag has backpack straps that I can pull out and use when we have to climb several flights of stairs. It is comfortable enough to carry that way for a short distance. And yes, that makes the bag a bit heavier, but who cares. I call it exercise, and benefit from it in terms of fitness. I have never understood the obsession with minimal weight in a travel bag. If I can carry 25 pounds in a camping backpack on mountain trails day after day, why do I need to keep my travel bag to 8 kg or less?

I have been smacked enough times by people wearing backpacks on buses or in airport lines that I want to scream. People using them need to be aware of what happens when they turn with the backpack on in close quarters. Most seem clueless.

Posted by
763 posts

Frank: Yes, sadly, I'm not so stout as I once was, depending on your definition of stout. ;-) But I haven't been able to carry much weight on my back since having surgery in 1986. Plus the knees now. So, yeah, Lee hit a knee-jerk, judgmental nerve for me, especially considering that my original comment was meant to be supportive to Blue439's post.

I'm well able to pull my lightly packed roller bag and lift it into the overhead, but hauling it around on my back would be misery.

Posted by
6511 posts

Anybody who tells me their legs, knees, back can't take a backpack is admitting to me they pack too heavy. In my experience (I've backpacked for 18 years and I'm about to turn 74) roller bags just facilitate overpacking. But then, I think, that's really what you are admitting you want to do.

If meant seriously, this could quite possibly be the most insultingly insensitive post I've seen here in a dog's age. If you meant it tongue-in-cheek, I apologize.

I'm sincerely glad that you have no physical restrictions that prevent you from hauling around a backpack. Good for you, your gold star is in the mail. And, by the way, weight and over packing have little to do with it. My little roller bag is smaller, lighter, and less tightly packed than most of the backpacks I see people wearing.

I may delete this post in the morning, but right now I just had to let it out. Sorry if I offended anyone.

Posted by
5526 posts

Nancy, I'm cheering for you!

My first reaction was why would it matter to anyone else what luggage someone else uses.? Use what works best for you!

Posted by
763 posts

You go, Nancy!

I make a point to try to be polite and considerate on this forum (if I want abuse, I can go to Facebook). I've often typed some words, then taken a deep breath and hit "cancel." Not this time.

Cheers!

Posted by
12999 posts

With 25 lbs in the spinner I am most definitely packing now more than when using the suitcase. The spinner is bigger than the suitcase...simple as that, which means there is more room to pack.

Posted by
1277 posts

Yup. As I've reflected before, the backpack issue here is as much as a lightening rod issue as declawing/ no declawing was on a cat forum i used to frequent.......

I must speak up for a friend who had a radical mastectomy last fall. She is not being defeated by her diagnosis, and she is not staying home. She has the tenacity to buy a rolling bag and "keep on traveling".

Posted by
92 posts

At 54 years old and having shoulder problems that have required 2 surgeries , I have to agree about the small 4 wheel spinner bags. I am fortunate that after extensive rehab I can lift my lightly packed spinner into the overhead bin by myself but I can not bear weight for any length of time on my shoulders or upper back and can’t pull a 2 wheeled bag behind me. Using the small 4 wheeled bags allows me to “keep on traveling” and to do so independently.

Posted by
173 posts

Cathy, which small spinner bag do you use? Feel free to answer by message if you prefer.

There is no one-size-fits-all packing method. No one should feel shamed for using wheels. My goal is to pack smart. For me that means having what I need in a way that I can manage on my own.

Happy travels to Blue439. Roll on!

Posted by
92 posts

Sandy, the spinner bag I currently use is one I got on sale on HSN from Samantha Brown. It is a 20 inch 4 wheeled bag that has held up nicely after much use in snow, rain, and rough cobblestone streets. It was around 100 dollars I believe. I had a 20 inch bag from Briggs and Riley that was great but it was an older 2 wheeled model that became too difficult for me to pull behind me with my shoulder issues.

Posted by
11448 posts

Travel any way that makes you happy. There is no right or wrong. Just what is right or wrong for you.

Ignore those that "know best" or insist their way is right and your way is wrong.

Posted by
1955 posts

Lee.......oh my gosh.......my jaw just dropped when I read your reply. Yes, judgemental, for sure. Apology appropriate.

Not all trips are possible with two shirts, sink-wash undies, etc. stuffed into a business-sized envelope. Some people also need to conduct business when they travel, and not everything is possible (or safe) on a smart phone....so tech stuff must tag along.

Lee, I would love to see how you would pack if you were going to a really hot destination along with a polar destination on the same trip....oh and toss in that you need special boots for zodiac landings and heavy jackets/gloves/hats. It is just downright unfair to judge other people.

But, I'll give you some tidbits so you can just TRY to have at me:

I just returned from a multi-destination trip that had high temps ranging from 98 degrees to low 40 degrees (with an early morning boat trip that day), gone for a total of 2.5 weeks. My carry-on (wheeled) was stuffed to the gills. In fact, just last night I thought about making a posting of: Gee what happens when your aging bones just won't allow you to (comfortably) pull your luggage off the carousel or place it/remove it from the overhead bin? My solution is currently my dear able-bodied spouse, but not everyone has such a spouse (and I pray mine will be with me for many more years). But, I'm thinking a small stack of $5 bills to offer to young people might be a fall-back plan.

Lee if you met me, I think you would declare me in the top 3% of fitness for my age group. I eat healthy, garden intensely (pick up 50 lb. bags of soil conditioner and mulch regularly), fit/slim/trim............BUT, that said, a ganglion cyst has started popping up on my wrist if I grab something too quickly or the wrong way, and my back can also hurt for a few hours if I grab something the wrong way. I will NEVER use a backpack, and I will continue to stuff a carry-on so I don't have to check luggage whenever possible.

On our recent trip, we needed shoes appropriate for wet/rocky environments, shoes for touring, flip flops for pool sitting, and nicer shoes/clothing for certain dinners. Everyone was shocked we had so little luggage (a rollaboard and a tote bag each), but don't even begin to tell me that we could have packed lighter..........Lee, you just do not have the right to impose your preferences or standards on other people. I guess what you are trying to say is that people should only do what you do, travel in the exact same manner, participate in similar activities, and don't plan wide-ranging weather locations in the same trip.................do you have that right?

Thumbs up for Nancy!!

Posted by
12999 posts

Two shirts? I bring anywhere from 7 to 10, including the one I am wearing, all the more so for a trip over a month.

Posted by
1337 posts

I have never equated traveling with a backpack as having anything to do with physical ability, just a packing/travel philosophy preference and one I do not subscribe to, just not my style, but to each their own. I use a backpack when I go hiking and a suitcase when I travel. On our last trip we went with a couple and the husband took his ultra-lite, backpack that he uses when he does multi-day hikes through rugged terrain, no facilities, no campground, everything must be lite to survive (he has a spreadsheet with the weight of each item to ensure he can make the trek). Every stinking time we went through airport security he was pulled aside and his Tetris like packing was undone and all the layers stacked upon layers of the backpack were emptied and inspected. The three of us with roller suitcases took a seat and waited for him before moving on. Felt so bad for him, he was so apologetic...poor guy!

Posted by
2929 posts

I can carry a 20# backpack and will for hiking/camping, but for European travel I don't see the point. Why carry something when you don't have to do so? However, as long as people wearing their backpacks don't swing around and wipe me out, I'm fine with other people traveling with backpacks or bags or whatever. My husband and I tried it twice, and on the 2nd trip we suddenly looked at each other simultaneously saying, 'never again'. I tried the 10# in a small backpack for a recent domestic trip to be stubborn, but will not bother to do it again. It was quite inconvenient, and I did not like carrying it either.

I am one who packs heavier as I age. I like comforts. This trip I'm packing in an old RS 22/23 inch that will probably weigh 23-25 lbs. (I've also turned into a checker.) There's still part of me that looks at the bag, which is actually rather small in the scheme of things, and I have an RS forum, "pack in a lunch box" panic...but I recover (and forgive me that is not my quote, someone on this forum used that phrase and I love it). There's no rule that says we all have to pack alike. And trip types vary. I hope some day I'll be so old that I'll just mail my luggage and travel with a purse, but who knows...

Now if you want to pack 11# and take just two shirts, I don't care. It is an interesting challenge. Just make sure you and your clothes are clean if you are on the seat on the plane next to me! Now, I know we sometimes answer quickly and in the heat of the moment (and I have rethought some), but I try to have manners and be kind, might not always be successful, but it is still a goal, as it should be with all of us. There is no one right way to travel and certainly isn't important enough to get nasty over.

Posted by
1179 posts

I’m going to defend Lee a bit.

Many people are taking 20+ pounds of luggage. That’s heavy and usually needs a roller bag. These people will tell you they want/need everything they’ve packed. OK, that’s fine!

But it is possible to travel with less than 15 pounds of luggage. That’s true even for variable conditions. When your load is that light then most people can take a pack.

So I agree with Lee that age may not be the real issue. It’s what’s in your pack. I also realize that it may not be possible for people to travel lighter. They may have a CPAP or other articles that are big and heavy.

So the real issue is pack weight, not age.

Posted by
1179 posts

Maggie wrote:

but don't even begin to tell me that we could have packed lighter..........

Hi Maggie

I spent 5-1/2 weeks in South America with a single carryon pack. LAN had a 7 kg weight limit. The trip involved trekking across a 15,000 foot Andean mountain pass (in a storm), camping near a glacier, treks through the Amazon jungle, nice dinners in the city, and ended with a cruise in the Galapagos with wet and dry landings. And snorkeling.

It was tricky!! It was probably my hardest packing challenge to date! I had to play games with my luggage. I did have to pull my day pack out of my luggage to make the 7 kg weight limit. But I did do it.

And with all that said...I overpacked. I could have gone lighter

So it’s possible to go lighter. But it required a LOT of diligence to do so. But I’d definitely do it again. It made things So much easier.

BTW. Sorry about the ganglion. I had a reoccurring one on my inner ankle. It caused a lot of pain trekking. TMI - it finally popped while I was hiking in the Sinai this last summer. Good riddance!

Posted by
1146 posts

Anybody who tells me their legs, knees, back can't take a backpack is admitting to me they pack too heavy. In my experience (I've backpacked for 18 years and I'm about to turn 74) roller bags just facilitate overpacking.

Very untrue. It is a matter of preference. Besides this whole idea of "overpacking" isn't a law, just a good recommendation from seasoned travelers. Pack as much as you want and take whatever you want, just remember "WHO" carries, rolls or lifts the bag the whole trip.

Posted by
8293 posts

What you need to realise, though, and what I have learned from all the thousands of posts about packing light, is this: Those who pack light are fine people. Those who don't will go to hell. End of story.

Posted by
2929 posts

Norma, Haha. You made me laugh.

If overpacking means you have enough clothes so that you don't have to do laundry every two days, then I overpack. If overpacking means you bring more clothes than you want to schlep on your back, then I overpack. But, in my mind, overpacking means packing more than you can transport and more than you wear. To me 20-25# is not heavy, when you don't carry it all day long. But again, good for you all who like the little package of clothes. I don't get it, but it's just a preference. It is not the only way to go. On the other hand, if you want to pack 49# of clothes, I think that is fine also, I'm sure you look much nicer than I do. As long as you can handle your luggage there is no right way, IMO. I just think it is fun to think about. And...I'm all for porters, redhats and bellpersons, when they exist, when/if you like to travel like that. Whatever makes each of our travels easier, is the right way to travel. And it is ever-changing... Some day Lee might realize how much time he's wasted doing laundry. LOL. I'm just kidding.

Posted by
1179 posts

Sooo... on the judgement issue.

I get people feel judged about the backpacks.

Here’s the other side of it

  • making statements that people bring “only” 2 shirts. Nope. 4-5 tops, 2-3 bottoms, sweater etc.
  • making comments about doing laundry “all the time”. Nope. 1-2 times a week max
  • comments about smell. Really? Really?

All the above comments are also judgmental. And I’ve pulled every single one of them from this particular thread! And they keep reoccurring on other threads. Believe me, It gets just as old as someone assuming that you packed too heavy because you took a roller bag.

If you don’t want to be judged then that means you also don’t make judging comments. Even if someone else makes a judging comment. Do your eye roll and move on...

Posted by
11448 posts

For those of you who think taking 10-15 lbs is light packing I say you are overpacking:

Rolf Potts No Baggage Challenge

So whether you take 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or more pounds of stuff, it's a personal choice. There is no right or wrong. Let me repeat, there is no right or wrong. No law, no rule, no mandatory requirements. We decide how much we want to take. And if someone says you are doing it wrong, ask them when they were made the sheriff of travel.

Posted by
3331 posts

I once gave in to the admonition to pack light. By the end of the trip, I was so sick of the same clothes, I wanted to burn them when I got home. I sure some will see it as a moral failing, but I like to look nice and feel clean. (I prefer to get my moral jollies from making charitable contributions and supporting humanitarian causes.). I also reject the notion that you can buy anything you need after arrival. Somethings, yes; some, no. Also, it may be hard to find some things, and they may be drastically more expensive than at home.
That all being said, my husband and I manage with a 20 or 22” roller and a smallish tote-like carryon each. In those, I can fit 5 bottoms, 7 tops, a week’s worth of underwear, a raincoat, a couple of cardigans, a bathing suit, 3 pairs of shoes (1 pair on my feet), some books, toiletries, electronics, umbrella, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting at the moment.
I really don’t care if someone wants to do handwashing every night. I just don’t think it’s good advice to give to people with questions about packing.

Posted by
1179 posts

Frank wrote:

There is no right or wrong. Let me repeat, there is no right or wrong.

There is if the airline has a weight and size limit on hand luggage and you want to go carry on only!

Posted by
92 posts

I hear ya, Blue439! My RS backpack has been handy for stateside overnights, but at 60, the reason I may use it as my main suitcase on our upcoming trip is because I can hang it on my husband's small spinner for long airport walks. Best of both worlds. I don't worry much about what anyone may think, I'm just trying to pack light for the convienence of having less to schlep. Period. I am finding it does take a little forethought, though!

Posted by
13214 posts

On the subject of “packing”, a little comic relief is in order.

When my husband and I checked in to our hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts last month, the desk clerk asked if we were “paakkin” with the “a” as in “cat” but a bit longer. We looked at each other, wondering if this question was asked of all guests coming from the Wild West.

Then we realized she was asking if we had a car to park, not if we were carrying firearms.

Posted by
12999 posts

If I can get the 4 wheel spinner down to 25-26 lbs, all the better since I also carry a shoulder sack, definitely not a backpack that serves as a day pack, and that shoulder sack has another 17 lbs. packed.

Posted by
59 posts

Wow, people are passionate about their chosen method of packing. I do try to keep the weight of the bag down because i find it easier to schlep around. To each his own, as long as you can manage your own bag. I have been whacked by those big backpacks, so you backpackers out there try to be a little more observant. Yes, i try to stand back and give you more room. The wheelie people (I am one), watch out for toes in sandals.

  • List item
Posted by
12999 posts

My shoulder sack usually at 17 lbs at SFO or OAK always is part of the overhead bin luggage since I went to the roller and now the spinner, never have been questioned if its size will be in excess of the rules. To make the spinner weigh less, I try to redistribute the total weight for the trip, which may amount to 43-44 pounds for a six week or more trip.

Posted by
745 posts

It was not my intention to serve red herring with this meal, but, apparently I have.
And, while the replies and comments quickly turned to the never-ending debate regarding luggage weight,
my decision to graduate (or relegate) from backpack to roller bag had nothing to do with that.
Four shoulder surgeries over a long span of time have severely limited rotator mobility - and that's the rationale
for rolling.
On the River.

Posted by
1668 posts

I've been following everyone's comments for a couple days and am becoming quite annoyed. Enough already. It doesn't matter how or what you pack. Do what you want. It's no one's business but your own. You are very lucky to be able to travel! Enjoy what ever you can do and where ever you can go.
Snarkiness is beneath this forum. Every one has been so nice and helpful to me with pre-tour questions and tour trauma/drama.
Kathy

Posted by
5697 posts

Snarky is in the eye of the beholder, folks -- just read these responses as humor and move on (think of it as practice for dealing with imperfect situations while traveling.)

Posted by
763 posts

Blue439: I think I helped kindle the never-ending luggage debate when I took a bit of offense to one of the early comments. Sorry ‘bout that. My initial comment on your post was to express support as someone who feels your pain, quite literally. As for the “right way to pack,” who cares? Whatever works is what’s right. Cheers and happy rolling!

Posted by
55 posts

By the end of the trip, I was so sick of the same clothes, I wanted to burn them when I got home.

This did make me chuckle a bit, as I am the exact opposite, even while NOT traveling. I could wear the same navy or black t-shirt and grey cardigan for weeks on end, without a problem.

It really, really drives home the YMMV aspect of traveling and why I think we should never judge anyone else's choices in packing or bags (or outfit repeating!).

Posted by
2989 posts

Blue439, just wanted to chime in and support you in your decision to go with a roller bag. Good move. I have also had shoulder problems in the last 3 to 4 years. A "frozen shoulder" that became totally fixed in place needed surgery. I couldn't put on a backpack now to save my life. One of my arms will move only to the front or side, not toward the back. I feel lucky to have the use of it at all.

I will add that some people will not understand what a disability is until they have a disability.

Stoutfella, sorry to hear of the knee and back problems you have had, and I hope that gets better. I think you have a good attitude for someone who lives with constant pain. And I am impressed that you keep on traveling. And I don't think you kindled the never-ending luggage debate. That's always set to go off.

I agree with Frank II.
Frank II: "Travel any way that makes you happy. There is no right or wrong. Just what is right or wrong for you.
Ignore those that "know best" or insist their way is right and your way is wrong."

Posted by
8411 posts

k-anderson, I’m like you! Sure makes getting dressed easier... 😂

Posted by
1220 posts

I screwed up my lower back at age 21- I was a college shot putter, and it was an overuse injury where it took a good decade before I could really carry anything other than a small bookbag on my back without having to worry about twisting something wrong and spending a couple days in pain.

Posted by
153 posts

U go Blue439. Whichever Proud Mary reference made, I’m loving the tunes going thru my head right about now, and I thank you very much. I’m a proud packaholic and appreciate all viewpoints and tribes. Have been a long term lurker on this forum, fairly brief participant and enthusiastic fan of frank travel style discussions. Roller bags or backpacks, we all can find room for our stuff when traipsing about, no? Call me crazy but som of the most fun I’ve had on trips is dealing with, fussing over, helping out others and finding JUST the right thingamgiggy that puts moving items we just had to lug from 3,000+ miles away into submission. Happy travels, happy life.

Posted by
31522 posts

I tend to agree that there's no right or wrong answer in this situation, and that each of us has to decide which method works best for us. I don't use wheelie bags but judging by what I've seen in airports, the majority sure seem to like them.

Even though I'm about the same age as the OP, I still prefer a Backpack although I haven't yet completely mastered the art of packing light. I've found that a Backpack that's properly fitted for torso length doesn't really put too much weight on my shoulders at all (depending on how the load leveling straps are set). I still have a minor issue with one knee but that's mostly just a problem on stairs. Perhaps I'll consider a roller when I get a bit older, but I'm not at that point yet. The last thing I need is another piece of luggage, so won't buy a roller unless I really need it.

FWIW, I didn't find Lee's comments to be offensive. Each of us here expresses our opinions slightly differently, and sometimes these don't come across well on an internet forum.

Posted by
12999 posts

"...a proud packaholic...." That is eloquent! I most certainly pack more for a two month trip than I do for a 2 week trip.

Posted by
2526 posts

Given the extended and sometimes heated remarks by wheelie and backpack adherents, Rick could now offer a patch all could attach to bags such as, “I survived the wheelie versus backpack wars.”

Posted by
2989 posts

Bruce, given the discussion that followed, I find it ironic that the OP, Blue439, is from "Battle Ground".

Posted by
2526 posts

@ Rebecca: Yes. Cycles of arguments come and go, but classic ones never die. Is the next topic in rotation....whether to check your bag or not?

Posted by
2989 posts

Bruce, could be. Then there's the question of whether to bring a small dog (or baby) along with them to Europe. That gets things going on both sides of the issue.

Posted by
996 posts

I just have to say that I was thrilled that this thread has wound its way to a 'whatever works best for you is fine' theme. This ending separates the RS board from other travel boards which I read.

And for the record, I have a back problem. I have never been able to carry a backpack, regardless of weight or lack thereof, unless it was slung over my good shoulder. So I applaud those people who can carry one or more backpacks and equally applaud those like me who use a roller bag.

Rebecca,
If the small dog is light weight, legs fold-in for packability, does not exceed 20" x 14" x 8", can fit under a seat, odorless, ears tuck in, and can be put in a zipper tote with shoulder straps, etc... Then, the dog passes the RS litmus test for light packing and should be no problem.
I am not going to get started on the baby matter.

Posted by
1955 posts

Sun-baked,
"Howling" with laughter.....great sense of humor in your post :) :)

Posted by
1831 posts

Great thread. Not that I am purporting the best way to do anything, but over the course of three trips to Europe, this is the way we've done it, improving each time I think--

Last two trips, for 17 and 12 nights respectively, wife & I have kept our respective Samsonite spinners to 20-22 lbs. She has a soft Vera Bradley bag for sundry stuff that one can just throw in there at a moment's notice without opening the spinner, and I have a CPAP that slips over the spinner's telescopic handle, but on the last trip the (new) CPAP bag/machine has gotten a lot smaller so other than meds I can't squirrel anything else in there. So it goes in the Bradley bag, which drives you-know-who nuts.

BTW, love the spinners. Not so great on cobblestone (when you have to go to 2 wheels), but 95% of the time it's a push-along type-thing on flat surfaces that is simply wonderful. These spinners size-wise are right at the top of the carry-on limit, so we check them through when flying. The rub is on European trains, which we frequent & where most times the bag needs to be hoisted onto the overhead rack. For the longer trips it's fine, but on the Italian regionales with many changes, you'd like the bag as light as possible, thus we're forever trying to economize.

But I'm afraid we've got it pretty much down to the nuts. Wife takes two pairs of shoes, I've done the last trip with one, in addition to an old lightweight pair of sneakers that I leave over there. I pack 3 t-shirts, 4-5 polo shirts, 1 pair jeans, 2 khaki's, a lightweight down coat that folds into its own pocket & thus into the spinner, stocking hat, gloves, quite a few socks & briefs--that's where I splurge! Traveling mostly off-season, I wear a fleece while on the road. We usually do laundry every 5-7 days. All clothes are packed via the 'military roll' (plenty of YouTubes on it), which--almost scary--allows a lot of stuff to be packed inside a small spinner, and we've utilized the RS mesh packing cubes to organize stuff--works well.

Biggest P.I.T.A. is my dual voltage power strip, not too heavy but bulky as heck. Have to find an alternative for next time. Had a Melitta plastic cone coffee filter holder for the last trip--again, bulky--but have found a wire collapsible one, an improvement. No laptop, just iPhones and one iPad. No camera, used the phone.

Posted by
18380 posts

Frank, what are you thinking. I'm sure that the power strip you linked to is fine for USB, but it has a non-grounding plug and accepts American grounding (2 blade and a round pin) plugs. So it allows you to plug in American devices that need a grounded power source without providing a ground. It's no different than cutting off the grounding pin on an appliance's cord.

I should evoke community guideline #8 (Do not help people break laws). Well, technically these are not laws, but they are safety codes.

Posted by
1277 posts

Jay, you could use the previous cpap bag for the smaller new machine, and fill the gap w yr jacket, meds, granola bar, paper back, and take some pressure off of Vera Bradley. I think it's stoutfella who puts his c pap in Ricks flight bag & fills the gaps w soft things.

Posted by
11448 posts

Lee, If you want to get technical about safety codes being law--they're not--you should report Rick Steves to himself. His UK adapter plugs do not conform to UK code because they don't have a fuse.

Safety codes are rules the manufacturers have to abide by. If I decide to put a grounded plug in the Upwade--I don't travel with one so I probably won't--the gestapo is not going to bust down my door.

I'm more surprised you didn't get on me for "packing heavy." :)

Posted by
11448 posts

For those with CPAP machines, most airlines will allow you take them on in addition to your regular carry on items . As long as the CPAP machine and any accessories that go with it are the only things in the bag, then you can take them on as a third bag. You do have to notify the airline ahead of time so they can put it as a note to your reservation.

Posted by
1831 posts

Frank--

Thanks for the strip tip--will be buying one. Also, having taken 3 trips with various sizes of CPAP, I'm aware of the allowances by the airlines. I have a note from my sleep doctor, and I made a snazzy laminated tag saying 'Medical Equipment' with that snake logo. Works every time. And doric--I'd rather have the CPAP bag specifically for the machine in that this is all plastic and if something breaks or is lost while abroad, I'm definitely SOL.

My issue is not having more than two things to carry or push (CPAP bag atop spinner) when in motion. I always feel like I'm forgetting something--usually I'm also wearing a zipped fleece with stuff in the pockets, feeling like an unmade bed at times.

Next trip we'll really put our moveability to the test by taking regionale trains down the eastern coast of Italy, with multiple train changes & connections, thus the constant desire to build a better mouse trap. :)

Posted by
763 posts

doric8 is right. I pack my CPAP in the Euro bag with my camera, Kindle, jacket or sweater and other miscellany for the plane. I do it this way so I'm carrying only two bags rather than have the CPAP as a third item. I did that a couple of times (also laminated a "medical device" tag), but never again. I had the RS rolling carry-on with the CPAP bag looped over the handle, and the Civita bag over my shoulder. Too much juggling and the CPAP bag was sliding all over. The Euro bag isn't perfect, and I'm always looking for an alternative, but it's better than carrying three things.

In any combination, I've never had any airline or TSA personnel bat an eye at the CPAP. I don't carry a doctor's note and never notified the airline when I carried the CPAP as a third item, though in retrospect perhaps I should have. I think so many people travel with CPAPs these days that it's no more unusual than a laptop, which is to say not unusual at all. I would agree that if you're carrying it as a third item there shouldn't be anything else in that bag, but within a "personal item" bag it's just another electronic device. I got pulled aside for random extra TSA screening recently on a domestic flight and the CPAP was, indeed, just another piece to be swabbed for explosives. No biggie.

Posted by
9 posts

Stuff I resisted doing:

Rolling my clothes. I don't know why, but I folded for years.
Getting packing cubes. I used Ziplock bags. I still bring Ziplocks, but I LOVE packing cubes.

About backpacks: I loved, loved the 'Shasta' day pack from Eddie Bauer. Just a bit smaller - 25 litres instead of 30 litres in capacity - which means it fit smaller torsos better. - but still big enough to accommodate a jacket if one wants to carry layers for the day. Well padded shoulder straps. And TWO straps - one at the waist, the other adjustable but basically a strap to keep the shoulder straps from slipping. Of course they went and discontinued it. If I like something, it gets discontinued! I'm posting this here to see if the RSteves staff can use their clout and develop something similar.