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Luggage cart?

We've ordered RS convertible carry-on for an upcoming trip to Europe and are considering purchasing a luggage cart(s). We'd primarily be in backpack mode but think one or two might be useful. A Samsonite model I found online is quite lightweight (2 lbs) and folds up hopefully small enough to fit in our bags.
Anyone ever use a folding luggage cart for such a trip?

Posted by
9110 posts

Two more pounds just for 'maybe' use? Not hardly.

Posted by
1994 posts

I did that on one trip, at least 20 years ago. I found to be more trouble than it was worth. It don't feel fit easily into an overhead bin, and it would be awkward to carry if you're not using it. My suggestion would be to go with wheeled luggage if you feel that you need it; carefully selected wheeled luggage wouldn't weigh more than a wheeled suitcase plus a luggage cart.

Posted by
23469 posts

I certainly would not do it. If you think you need a cart for any reason it would be much better to use wheeled luggage. When do you think you would use it? However, I rarely see free carts in airports and even less frequently in train stations.

Posted by
10401 posts

One solution to the convenience of wheels but also having the option of putting the suitcase on your back when you encounter stairs is to use a wheeled tote for your personal bag. With the handle extended you can set your convertible bag on it. When the convertible bag has to go on your back the wheeled tote is small enough to easily carry. I did that on one trip when I was having some physical problems that deterred me from wanting to carry the convertible bag all the time. It worked out great!

Posted by
15678 posts

I'm sure the question is more for during a trip perhaps not wanting to have a heavy load on one's back for a long time, which has little to do with being in an airport and a lot to do with a hotel that's a kilometer or so from the train station. That's why I use a wheeled bag, even though it's heavier than one without them.

Posted by
2 posts

Yes, the option of wheeling when possible, thus resting our senior-age back-bones is indeed the idea here. We didn't purchase the rolling back pack because it doesn't offer a waist belt as does the convertible. But it appears most are voting no on a small, fold-up pack-able luggage cart.

Posted by
3260 posts

Hi Julie, Thirty years ago I used to use a wheeled luggage cart with my backpack. I'd put it in my backpack or under the seat in transport. It does take about 30 seconds to put the bag onto the wheels. However, that was before wheeled bags were perfected, so now I just roll. When I was 30 I didn't want to schlep my luggage on my back and I certainly don't want to do that at 60. I just prefer not to carry my luggage, but that is just me…there are so many choices and none are wrong. To infer that anyone who uses wheeled luggage is unfit is a bit of a stretch. I think advocates the wheeled carts rather than wheeled luggage if you go that route. I know you can find some pretty light, compact, but strong luggage wheels. If you want to carry the backpack, but have the ability to roll it, I think the wheels are a great addition to your packing. Have fun. Wray

Posted by
16894 posts

The convertible carry-on is all backpack, no wheels, the style I have been using for 20 years. The key to making that work is packing light (and the waist belt is also important for me). Carrying two extra pounds is out! I do carry my backpack more than necessary, for instance, I may fail to take it off when waiting in a "short" line (because it's heavy to lift from the ground and put back on), but then the line takes longer than I expected; you might not make that mistake. You will also make it a habit to look for luggage carts (usually free, where they exist) in train stations and airports. Backpack is a good way to carry your gear up hotel stairs, but you may also have an elevator available, to avoid that exercise.

Posted by
19170 posts

I agree with Laura. Pack light and you won't need wheels. It's only when you can't control yourself and pack everything you might possibly need that you end up needing wheels.

I take a little under 10 lb of "stuff" in a convertible bag that weighs less than 2 lb, so I have less than 12 lb, total. Almost anyone should be able to carry 12 lb. You probably carry that much out from the grocery store regularly.

The trouble with having wheels so you don't have to carry your bag is that when you do have to, it weighs a lot more.

I wish Rick would sell a 2-3 lb, non-wheeled version of his rolling backpack (around 2000 ci) for those of us that have taken his advice and learned to pack light. His convertible bags are all too big (everything I take will actually fit in a 1400 ci Appenzell bag, but I would like a little bit of margin).

Posted by
15690 posts

Lee, I know of a few convertible bags that are about the size of the RS Wheeled Backpack but they weigh more than 2 lbs.

Perhaps this is the bag you should consider:

I was sent a couple of them for review. They are not as strong as your typical convertible but they weigh under 1 lb. If you just carry-on you should be fine. These shouldn't be checked.

Posted by
5678 posts

Yep, don't go with the cart. Years ago I used to use a little cart--all the air crews had them too in those days. But they were a pain. the longer the trip the heavier they got...they roll around when you don't want them and are generally a nuisance. I do a combo of wheeled luggage and a backpack. Practice walking with your convertible bag with it full and see how it goes. At the very least you'll build up your endurance. :)


Posted by
715 posts

I use and Osprey Porter, which is carry on size, no wheels, capable of hiding the backpack straps. It is carry on with compression straps when you only need to carry a weekends load. I have packed for two months in Italy, and three days. It works great. Mine is 46 liters, they also make a 40 liter one. I am usually somewhere around 17 lbs packed full.

Posted by
67 posts

Julie you might want to go to a luggage store and try out a cart before you buy it. I understand your need for wheels but as someone else mentioned many of these carts are not worth the trouble - i.e. they don't hold your bags in a stable position for rolling, they don't fold up small enough to put into your bag when not in use, etc. I'd be interested to know how this works out for you. I know you've already ordered your bags but if you consider wheeled bags in the future you can often find waistbelts for backpacks at camping stores.

Posted by
502 posts

Try out a cart before you buy, and personally, if this will work for you,
I would go for it. My mother did and she had no problems. Get a good brand. Not all of them have wheels going all over.

I dislike the bags we bought from RS. Those bags were never comfortable no matter how light. Much prefer the wheeled versions we bought elsewhere.

Posted by
5837 posts

Test before you buy is a great idea except that luggage stores don't replicate field conditions. The real tests are scenarios including running to the train station dragging the cart over brick or cobble stone walks and going up/down stairs.

Posted by
208 posts

Oh gosh. Been there, done that. My husband and I (I was 50, hubby was 60, and in good condition) travelled with the RS convertible carry-on for a couple of trips, and then, after running through too many huge airports to meet tight connections, We were done with carrying all the weight on our backs. We opted to buy the Samsonite wheels, and we used those for two trips. They were ok, but definitely not optimal. Their wheel base is very narrow, so the bag had a tendency to tip over frequently. Also, they are cumbersome going through security, and if you store them, folded up, in the long, thin exterior pocket, you're negating some of the space benefit you got from getting a non-wheeled bag.

So, we just went through the process of replacing them with the RS "rolling carry on" bag, and matching "Euro Tote" as the "personal item". I haven't used it yet, but my sister borrowed mine for a carry-on-only trip to Europe, and she raved about how great it was (and she, too, has used several bag types for carry-on travel).

I do not find wheeled types to be disadvantageous over the backpack type. I can run through airports faster with wheels (and with far less fatigue); I don't have to worry about "if I should happen to have a sore back from a poor flight, etc"; you won't wear it going onto public transit anyway (it's too intrusive to have a big pack on your back in such close confines with other people). And I find you really do very little rolling on actual cobblestone sidewalks... MOST are cement, and you can actually carry it by the handle if necessary, and up and down stairs.

But, to answer your question, we decided that using the Samsonite wheels were better than not using them. But, ultimately, we were not happy with the limitations that THEY presented.

Posted by
31 posts

It looks like vfyorke and I are the only ones here that have actually used the exact product you are asking about. My wife and I shared one Samsonite cart on a three-week trip to France and Germany. It did pack into our bags when we weren't using it and it was light enough (for us). We took some Velcro straps, like you get at Costco and I was able to strap TWO soft carry-ons onto the cart, admittedly top-heavy and wobbly.

Everything vfyorke says was true for us. Cobblestones were a hassle, but I am a large guy and it was still easier for me to wrestle the set-up around bumpy streets than carry a pack on my back all the time. We had to practice the "drill" of mounting our packs onto it and then getting them off.

The big issue with our set up was thinking we would have clear rolling to our destination and then finding unexpected stairs or out-of-service escalators. If we each had our own Samsonite, we could just hoist our bags by their handles.

I'd say it's not for everybody. I just didn't want to buy new luggage (again) and thought a 22 dollar solution may turn my old convertible carry-on into a wheeled one, and it did, OK enough. Nothing to rave about. With a single bag on it, I was actually able to put the convertible carry-on onto my back with the cart still attached! Kind of the goal I was seeking.

With just one bag mounted, we could take turns wearing the other pack. One of us could roll while the other wore the other pack, then switch off. That's sort of relieving, cutting our labor in half overall.

If it turns out you don't like it and would rather stick to wearing your pack, you can ditch it (it's only 22 dollars) or give it to the hostel, or sell it! We actually lost it on our last leg to Frankfurt airport but I would buy it again because the added benefit is that you now have a cart you can use for other things when you are home, and it's a good cart for the price!

Probably the best solution for me is to be more of a packing ninja (as are posters Lee of Lakewood, jkc and Laura) and get the whole thing to under 20 pounds. Then it wouldn't be so much a hassle to wear. Someday...

Posted by
11613 posts

I guess I am missing the point of why I would carry an extra two pounds on my back, when it's easy enough to roll a piece of luggage behind/beside/in front of me. Stairs? I pick it up by the top or side handle.

Posted by
31 posts

"I guess I am missing the point of why I would carry an extra two pounds on my back, when it's easy enough to roll a piece of luggage behind/beside/in front of me. Stairs? I pick it up by the top or side handle."

Depends on your needs. You are still carrying the weight of wheels and structure, including less internal space due to wheels. Stairs aren't the only thing. Cobblestones, curbs, uneven streets in places, and doors - all those obstacles do add up - unless you stay in cities with good sidewalks, use cabs a lot and travel in a way that supports rolling luggage. It's your travel style that determines what works. Between the two of us, the ONE luggage cart was only a pound each. We enjoyed the best of both worlds, without consuming (buying) new luggage. When we hiked the trail to our room in the castle above Bacharach, we were glad we weren't rolling or hand-carrying our luggage. If your trip is just cities and good sidewalks, roll-on! The further afield you go, the less even the terrain.