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Is RickSteves soft-sided "Rolling Carry-On" squeezable to 8"?

Hi packing gurus!
I'm about to get a rolling carry-on, and the Rick Steves "Rolling Carry-On" looks like a great choice, but my airline limits carry-ons to 8" thick. Can the non-rigid Rick Steves Rolling Carry-On squeeze down from its nominal 9" to 8".
Thanks much! Tom

Posted by
23411 posts

Sure, if it is not packed too tightly. But it may have to squeeze a bit more because the wheels count.

Posted by
6788 posts

Probably depends 100% on your self control.

In my experience, whatever bag you take along will almost always be completely filled (sometimes bulging a bit, occasionally almost to the point of bursting). It takes a lot of self-discipline to leave a bag with significant empty space. Can you resist the temptation?

Posted by
19136 posts

It takes a lot of self-discipline to leave a bag with significant empty space.

Thanks for the compliment, David. But really, I just pack what I really need, and it doesn't fill my bag. Putting more things that I don't need in the bag just because there is room just adds weight I don't want to carry. I've had a lot of problem finding a bag small enough to be completely filled that still has the features I want (opens like a book, hide-away straps, cinch straps, etc). Seems everyone thinks an 1500 ci bag should open like a day pack.

But to the original question, I think the previous post a just speculation from people who don't have a rolling carry-on. The bottom wall of the bag has to be pretty stiff to keep it from sagging over the wheels, and it looks like it has several rigid molded parts. If you put it on its back, does it collapse to flat, or does it retain its shape? It might not "squeeze down". On the other hand, 1" is not a lot to squeeze it.

Let's hear from someone who actually has the bag and knows because has tried to compress the bottom wall.

BTW, the Rolling Backpack is only 7" thick (and lighter, too).

Posted by
2844 posts

I struggled to pack it to only 9”. Unfortunately i’m at work so can’t dig it out of the closet right now. If no other RCO owners weigh in before tonight iI’ll check the bottom measurement for you. I love the rolling carryon. It fit the requirements of the airlines I was flying and was easy to fling into the overhead bins.

Posted by
11362 posts

The product description says 'molded shell frame'. Trying to crush it down to 8" from 9" may be a problem.

Posted by
19136 posts

Assuming all of the bottom wall is not rigidly at a 90° angle to the back, you might be able to push all or part of the bottom wall to an angle with the back so that it sticks up less than 8" from the back. But that would reduce the inside volume significantly, so if near fully packed, that won't work.

Like I said, get the Rolling Backpack. You'll give up about 500 ci, but you lose half of that getting the Rolling Carry-on down to 8", if you can.

Posted by
568 posts

Is this airline Norwegian? I have the rolling carry-on and it fit just fine.
Cynthia

Posted by
366 posts

Just measured mine and the rigid frame is 8" including wheels. I have never unzipped it to expand the depth and also don't overpack. Used it as a carry-on with Easy Jet and BA last year along with United and Southwest this year. Never even questioned. If getting it to the 8" size, you'll probably loose some packing space. Nice bag though.

Posted by
2252 posts

I've carried on that rolling carry-on RS suitcase several times and it's always fit into the sizers at the airport. I usually fly either BA or LH. That said, I haven't actually measured it! And caveat: I usually check it for the going home flight!

Posted by
3 posts

OP here (sorry I've been away all day).
Thanks for the replies and great information. Ah yes, I was worried that, as is pointed out above, the soft-sided RS Rolling Carry-On has hard parts that might not want to crush. Reading above that the "hard parts" are about 8" in height tells me there's not a lot of wiggle room. :^( BTW the airline is Icelandair; they have a 20mm bag-thickness limit, which translates to 7.8". But fortunately they allow an underseat bag, too. My thinking was (is?) that once I'm deplaned, I could put the underseat bag (probably the 850ci RS Civita day bag) and its contents into the RS Rolling Carry-On, and thus fill it to full size. There might be something illogical in my thinking, but that's where my head is, so far. As pointed out above, the smaller RS Rolling Backpack would easily fit as a carry-on (even for Icelandair), but of course it's not expandable, so that means no popping of an underseat bag's contents into it after deplaning.
If the RS Rolling Carry-On really can squeeze to 8" (or 7.8"), then I'm hoping that all of the above would work out.
Tom

Posted by
15503 posts

There are plenty of bags that max out at 20cm (7.8 inches) if you are willing to buy something without Rick Steves' name on it.

Start with any of the "international" bags from Eagle Creek.

Posted by
73 posts

I just got back from a trip flying Icelandair (IAD-KEF-TXL) and here's what happened luggage-wise. Sizers were available at all three gates but no one was asked to put their suitcase in a sizer and there were clearly suitcases and backpacks thicker than the 7.8 inches allowed. The underseat space was really small. My husband had an aisle seat and the space was narrow. I had the middle seat and the electronics box hanging down took up most of the underseat space, allowing only for a small, flat purse. The window underseat space had a bit more room, but don't count on taking a small backpack to stow there. United's 17 x 10 x 9 would NOT have fit.

It was very congested at KEF and connection times were fairly short. We nearly missed our return connecting flight due to a delay at TXL so we were glad to have packed clean clothes in our carryons on case we had to spend the night in Iceland. The planes were clean and the crew were very nice. I like Icelandair, but don't count on an underseat personal item for overflow packing.

I took a Red Oxx small aviator bag (https://www.redoxx.com/Aviator-Duffel-Bags/Small-Aviator-Kit-Bag/91013-SM/150/Product ) as my carryon (strap: https://www.redoxx.com/long-hauler-strap/93008/product )(don't use the other brands of cushy straps as the thicker Red Oxx hardware needs a bigger clip). No wheels but holds a lot of clothes. Because it's flexible, if you don't pack to bursting, it can compress to 7.8 inches in case you get "sized". I used packing cubes. Downside is that I had to carry it with a shoulder strap, no wheels. On our connecting flights at KEF we were bused from the gate to the plane and had to board by stairs rather than ramp.

Posted by
16894 posts

My measurement of the hard shell within the Rolling Carry-On puts the bottom, wheel base area at 7" deep (not 8) and the top at 4".

Posted by
73 posts

Laura, the description of the RS rolling carryon says it's 9" deep. Is your 7" including the part of the wheels that stick out?
Product Details
Dimensions: 20" x 13 ½" x 9"

Posted by
92 posts

To Laura: The rigid part is only the back of the suitcase, so when it's laid on it's back, it is rigid for 7" at the base and rigid for 4" deep at the top. The fabric part makes up to the 9". So if the suitcase isn't full, it could be flattened down to 7-8" easily. If you look at the burgundy or blue suitcase on the sales page, side views, the black part is rigid the colored part is fabric. I just measured mine. I love it - but have to admit mine is more likely to bulge after I've packed everything I want to take. It's been years since we've had anything measured at the airport, but the every overseas flight in the last few years they have weighed the suitcase and personal item together. Depending on the airlines, we have not always met the weight limit. The next step may be to ask the passengers to climb aboard the scales along with their luggage.

Posted by
73 posts

Wow, Nancy! What airlines were you flying that combined carryon weight with personal item weight? Yikes!

Posted by
15503 posts

Officially, Air France, Brussels, Finnair, Flybe and Norwegian have a combined weight limit. Whether they actually enforce it is another matter.

This may be the future as it could mean more revenue for the airline.

Posted by
3 posts

Yup! Yup! What Laura and Nancy said. I just received my RS Rolling Carry-On and the rigid part is only 7" high. So the Rolling Carry-On is capable of complying with nearly all international carriers, if not packed too full in some cases: It complies with carriers having a 21.5 x 14 x 9 inch limit and those having a 21.5 x 15.5 x 7.5 inch [55 x 40 x 20 cm] limit--which covers all but the most extreme outliers, who can be all over the board wrt limits.

Posted by
26 posts

Just booked AirFrance from Paris to Geneva to get to Chaminox. They were pretty clear about combined weight. However that was within the Continent flight. One tip from the videos by Sarah cracked me up with suggestion to get early enough so if luggage weight is an issue, go to the bathroom and put more clothes on - switch to jeans from a dress, wear two bras, put heaviest shoes and socks on, take phone from purse and put in pocket, etc. they don’t weigh you, just the luggage so put it all back after security check.

I have had a RS set with rolling carry on, daybag, and purse that I don’t see on the website anymore. The purse is the one Sarah uses in her packing video, and is her day bag instead of a backpack. I bought a new soft backpack for me, and my daughter is using the carry on. I am plus size and 6’2” so packing for 11 days in one bag will be a challenge, so went for the soft side bag for me. My daughter can squeeze clothes into the smaller width bag.

Posted by
393 posts

Here's my youtube review of it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn0B1JxCjd0&t=20s

I thought by posting here, now, I'll try to measure my bag tomorrow and look this post back up and give my results.

The bottom/end is molded plastic. When the case is REALLY packed it can buldge up high. Yet I've been able to squeeze it into some pretty tight overheads.

Posted by
393 posts

I finally got into our storage area and measured the minimum depth of the RS roll-on- 7.25" (very close to )

When the carry-on is laying flat, the measurement from the floor to the top of the plastic, plus a bit for the zipper or seam that's there, is 7.25"

Posted by
1259 posts

A bit off topic but I swapped out my rollers for a carry on backpack. Not a difficult transition for me but it’s a hard concept to sell to some folks. hundreds of youtube clips on the topic and dozens of websites and blogs that explain the differences and compare the usage styles.

For me, moving across an airport with the bag on my back is much faster and easier than pulling a roller. There is no frame so the whole bag is malleable and weight is reduced. Capacity is a bit larger in the backpack but, as we know, the secret is to not use that volume.

The RS branded carryon backpack is not particularly highly regarded among one-baggers but it is a good, low cost travel backpack that will, if given a chance, change your point of view about traveling ultralight.

Posted by
1221 posts

The next step may be to ask the passengers to climb aboard the scales along with their luggage.

There are one or two South Pacific regional carriers that do check passenger weight for plane weight & balance calculations, IIRC.

Posted by
156 posts

Is this airline Norwegian? I have the rolling carry-on and it fit just fine.*

Thanks for the heads up. I’m flying Norwegian for the first time next month and am aware of their strict limits. I’d narrowed down my selection to my RS Rolling Carryon, and it’s good to know that it will pass muster.