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Luggage Questions

I've been looking at getting a new set of luggage for our trip to Europe next year and I really want something lightweight. But even though they advertise it as lightweight or even ultra-lightweight, the larger suitcase seems to always weigh over 9lbs. That doesn't seem very lightweight to me! So does anyone have any recommendations for luggage that is truly lightweight. I want a large bag that we can check (26 inches or so) and also one that I can carry on. I'd also like to be able to buy another of the carry on size for my DH so they all match (although not 100% necessary, if I find a 2 pc set that fits my needs). I'm not sure if I want the inline wheels or the spinners but I'm leaning toward the spinners unless they add too much weight. I'd really like the big suitcase to weigh about 7lbs. Is that even possible? I'm having a hard time finding it. Oh and my budget is around $200 for two pieces, or less of course. Thanks in advance for any suggestions or ideas.

Posted by
276 posts

EBags website. Has an "It's bag" 27 inch spinner on sale for around 50 dollars. It has good reviews. Weight is under 6 pounds.

Posted by
11294 posts

The Delsey Hyperlite line is the lightest I've found. My 21 inch two-wheeler (also available in a spinner) says it weights 4.6 pounds. I haven't confirmed this myself, but it was so much lighter than I was expecting that it flew up when I went to pick it up. According to the website, it's a Macy's exclusive, but the Delsey Chatillon line seems similarly light (slightly different design). While the 21 inchers are available as inline wheels or spinners, the larger sizes are available in spinners only.

Here is a link to Macy's with the Delsey Hyperlite 25" bag; it says it weighs 7.1 pounds, and at the time I'm writing this, it's on sale for $135: http://tinyurl.com/zzgvrst

Here's are two links to the Delsey Chatillon 25" bag. The Altman luggage site shows the weigh as 7.7 pounds, while the Amazon site does not specify weight but is significantly cheaper, at least as I'm writing this ($88.96 vs $150). Altman Luggage: https://www.altmanluggage.com/delsey-chatillon-25-spinner-trolley-402294820.php Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/hhxblhk

Posted by
27453 posts

Diana, is this your first European trip? You're smart to look for something lightweight, but I'm really concerned about the 26" size. In 2015 I took a 24" bag to Europe and nearly died. I assume your husband won't have excessive difficulty carrying a 26-incher up and down steps in trains stations, etc., but getting such a bag onto trains is quite awkward, and a bag that size will almost certainly have to be stored on the luggage rack rather than above your seats. I'm afraid you'll come to hate that bag and everything you've packed in it quite soon.

I used a smaller bag (about 23" including handle and wheels) this year. Under-packed (but with three month's worth of things like vitamins), it was just manageable for me, a non-athletic female. I was forced by what was available locally to buy a spinner. I'm happy (and sort of surprised) to report that after 89 days in Europe, the wheels still roll, but the bag no longer moves easily in a nice straight line even on smooth surfaces--surely a result of the beating the wheels took on cobblestones and other rough surfaces commonly encountered in Europe's historic areas.

Posted by
4175 posts

Okay, I'll say it, that's a HUGE bag. The temptation with it, indeed with any size bag, is to fill it full, taking way more than is needed and making using public transportation or getting the bag(s) to and from the lodgings a real, sometimes literal, pain. Before you buy anything, be sure to continue to check the Packing Forum and Packing Light for tips on taking less.

I know it's hard to imagine, but many people travel for weeks or months with only a week plus a day of clothes. And all that's needed for that is a 22" carry-on (or smaller) and a personal item like a tote.

My husband travels with the RS convertible backpack and his CPAP machine in its bag. He still takes more clothes than he ever wears.

I can use this Lipault spinner for my biggest bag, if I choose. I have used it on trips 4 to 6 weeks long. Contrary to what most people say, I find the 4 wheels easy to manage and tip it onto 2 when the going gets rough. So far it has survived well, but it has never weighed more than 20 pounds total.

I can step down to the slightly smaller Eagle Creek Load Warrior bag with only 2 wheels. I did that for the 6-week long trip to the UK this year (May 1 - June 12). It was not as easy to move around as the spinner, but with all the handles, it was easier to put overhead in the plane or on trains. I must confess that I bought some stuff, used the expansion option and checked it on the way home in June.

And I recently got this Eagle Creek backpack which is smaller yet. So far I've only used it domestically. Much to my surprise, even at my age, it is very comfortable on my back and actually helps my posture. I hope to meet the challenge of using it as my big bag on my next trip to Europe. It's about 500+ cubic inches smaller than the other 2 bags.

For totes and very small purses, I'm a baggallini fan. My favorites are hobo totes. I have 2 in different colors. They are the perfect size for a 4 week trip. I have 3 other different and larger totes for longer trips, mostly to accomodate extra medications. Whatever tote I take has to have room to put a small purse in, as well as my meds. My current favorites are the Bryant pouch and the Nassau.

Posted by
276 posts

Diana, I can echo what acraven and lo have said.

I went to Europe with a 26 inch bag. My friend had a bigger bag. We had a hard time getting on and off trains. We went during Christmas market season. I bought so much I needed to buy a second suitcase! The last train ride was a nightmare. We made it but it wasn't fun. My next trip I bought another suitcase. A light weight one. I packed only what I needed but still some how it weighed almost 50 pounds. The trip was an escorted tour so I didn't need to carry the bag much. But it was so heavy the little I did was too much. I wore everything I packed and honestly I didn't over pack. I now choose my clothing and toiletries more carefully. My last trip I used a carry on only. It's your choice whether you check bags, carry on only or both. I'd recommend weighing your packed bag and keeping it at a weight you can easily pick up and carry even if it means you have extra room in the suitcase. Have fun on your trip!

I have been to Europe with a 26" incher and with smaller pieces of luggage. Whether or not you are hopping on and off trains is a big factor. Whether or not you are carrying casual clothing or business, formal clothing is a big factor. If you are doing multiple locations and trains, dragging both a large case AND a carry on case can be a chore unless the carry on is a backpack or can be securely attached to the top of the large case. As for brands of luggage at a good price and excellent quality - I like RS brand, eagle creek brand, and Ebags brand. Ebags will be your best price for very good quality. Check out the TLS or etech collections. There is a mother lode collection, but I believe it is more expensive and heavier. LL Bean has good quality as well. I prefer the above mentioned brands due to size/case dimensions. For ebags, look at the tool bar at the top of the page. There is always a promo. code which will reduce the cost. USE IT!

Posted by
8660 posts

It won't make any difference having a lightweight bag if it is so big you pack all the extra weight in clothing.

The real test for luggage is when it is packed. Can you maneuver your bag yourself up and down stairs on a train? Notice, I did not say can your husband maneuver your bag. You need to find the combination that you can handle. I remember too many "Sherpa" husbands trying to get large luggage for two people on and off trains and causing major bottlenecks. It is hard to be patient with this when so many connection times are just a few minutes.

If you aren't traveling by public transport, it won't be as big of an issue.

Update/Apology
I just looked up ebags luggage for you. Ebags just changed its luggage line. The etech luggage no longer seems to exist, except for the backpack which I have and really like. Also, the TLS line has changed a great deal. It appears to be more expensive, looks heavier, and a different design. I no longer recommend the TLS line.
My husband has delsey luggage. It's light weight and works well. Eddie Bauer has a Travex collection. Just write down your criteria. Then, use your filters at a site like Ebags.com to see what's out there. I would also check out RS luggage here, LLBean, Eagle Creek. These are all good companies.

Posted by
19171 posts

I know it's hard to imagine, but many people travel for weeks or
months with only a week plus a day of clothes.

I pack the same regardless of the length of the trip. I take three pair of slacks (khaki, brown, and black, one worn and two packed), three sets of underwear (one set worn, two sets packed), and four or five knit, golf-style shirts (one worn, the rest packed). The shirts are all different and go with any pants. The shirts and underwear are cotton/poly mix and dry overnight. I wash something almost every night.

Posted by
16143 posts

Diana, I'll echo my concerns about a 26" bag unless you are on an escorted tour where it's always going to be handled for you (and some companies have weight restrictions). We do travel with 24" bags, which is not the RS way but work for us as long as we can manage them on the trains and up/down multiple flights of staircases in hotels, etc. The day we can't, then we'll have to make adjustments. We also don't pack them to the hilt, and mine always weighs less than The Husband's as I know how much I can handle.

We've watched too many travelers struggle mightily with oversized, overpacked bags in Europe so caution is advised. Pack lightweight clothing that can be mixed and matched, can be worn multiple times, a fair amount that can be rinsed out in a sink and drip-dried overnight, and plan to hit a laundry (or pay a service, if desired) when the sink isn't cutting it anymore. Personal preference, maybe, but we'd rather split the weight into two smaller bags than combine it into one that's very large and difficult to manage.

Posted by
7050 posts

I was looking for the same thing (a very light bag) and found this one to be the best compromise between price and other criteria. Laura (from VA) mentioned this model in her post. It's only carry-on size (22 inches) but it's very light (6 lbs) and will do at this price point. It ended up being about $88 (by applying the 20% off promotion) on eBags. It took me a long time to change my packing behavior and accept just having a carry-on but it's changed my life for the better and saved me a lot on check-in fees.

Caveat: I am strongly biased against spinners, but you can find spinner models in this same line.

Travelpro Maxlite 4 22" Expandable Rollaboard
http://www.ebags.com/product/travelpro/max-lite-4-22-expandable-rollaboard/311979?productid=10417657&cartItemId=1

You may also find this reading interesting, it ranks carry-on luggage:
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Best-Carry-on-Luggage

Posted by
16143 posts

Agnes, I don't like spinners either and am baffled to see so many of those out there. We're praying that our beloved two-wheeled Travel Pros can hang in there another 10 years!

Posted by
7050 posts

Kathy,
I hear you. My style of travel does not involve airport glossy surfaces and door-to-door cabs, it's a lot of dragging across all kinds of unfriendly surfaces (Istanbul really gave my luggage a workout with broken pavement, potholes, cobblestones, etc). If my back was better, I would go with a backpack with no wheels, but I just can't hack that my weight on my back. So my next-best choice was a two-wheeler because I prefer the sturdier wheels, not the baby doll wheels of spinner bags. Having said that, spinners do distribute the weight so it's a lot easier on your arms but they just don't go with my style of travel, which is more rugged (I don't only travel to Europe). They're perfect for business travelers and folks who use cabs extensively to get around.

Posted by
19171 posts

I agree with several other who think you are setting yourself up to overpack. If you a taking a reasonably sized carry-on for absolute essentials, you don't need that big a checked bag.

Having a packing list is a good way to avoid overpacking. Start it well in advance and review it often. Look at each item and ask yourself if you really need it, or if you can leave it out and save some weight. Then stick to it when you pack. Avoid the temptation to throw in a lot of last minute extras.

Posted by
16143 posts

....dragging across all kinds of unfriendly surfaces

Yep, Agnes, it was exactly those potholed, cobblestoned, broken surfaces as well as very narrow sidewalks where you HAVE to drag the bags behind you that has us eschewing spinners. Just not practical for our sort of travel.

Dear Diana,
I just looked up delsey luggage for you. Delsey has changed a great deal also and only seems to carry hard-sided, spinner luggage. Hard-sided luggage is not necessary unless you are carrying delicate technology like computers or medical devices or photography gear.
On another thread, there was discussion of hard-sided, spinner luggage as a current trend. There seems to be a marked increase in this type of luggage. For casual travelers, I don't see any benefit in this trend.
You can also drive to your local Sears store. Sears carries a brand called forecast. I bought a piece of forecast years ago on clearance and it is still going strong.

Posted by
430 posts

I can get all I need for 5-6 weeks in Europe (summer) into this trolley backpack.
I roll it where I can but unzip the backpack straps when I expect to encounter stairs (train stations and B&Bs) or for getting on and off trains and buses. Only downside is that you then need to zip the straps away before rolling again, or they drag on the ground.

Posted by
703 posts

Hello everyone and thank you for your suggestions. I haven't been ignoring you really. I've been sick for the last week. :(

It will be our 3rd trip to Europe, my 4th. Typically we visit one city for a week (2014 it was London, 2015 it was Rome and Venice) and then Paris for another week. We stay mostly in apartments so there isn't a lot of train travel involving our luggage. We have taken one 26" suitcase (outside measurement) which we share, although most of the stuff belongs to my husband and one carry on each plus our personal bags. I get the concept of packing light and could easily do without the Big Boy but my DH likes to take any possible thing he might need so hence the big bag which is checked.

Next year we are taking a week long guided tour of Ireland with CIE Tours. They do restrict what you can bring but the 26" would comply. However, they 'give' you a backpack which fits in their overhead bins. If you want to use your own and its bigger than theirs, which I'm sure it would be, then while you're on the bus, it has to be in front of your feet which sounds very uncomfortable so I am thinking I will check a 26" and use their backpack. Not sure what my DH will do. We might end up with one bag scrunched between us. After the week is up, we're spending a couple more days in Dublin then traveling to Liverpool (Ryan Air) and by train to Edinburgh. So one train trip and another flight involved. I might just look at our 'old' luggage & see if we can make do. I did find some I liked at the Samsonite Outlet where we live so I might just get that. We shall see.

Anyway thanks for your suggestions. I do appreciate them very much.

Posted by
1536 posts

Diana,
I took a CIE tour last year. I absolutely loved it. I took the largest suitcase they allow half filled and brought it home stuffed. I also took their backpack and a purse. The hotels all had easy access and they will porter your bag to and from the room for you if you would like. I usually grabbed my bag on the way to the room so I could have my stuff before dinner but left it outside my room on travel mornings. I have adopted the packing light approach but I think that this is a situation where a larger bag makes sense IF you plan to do all of your Christmas shopping in Ireland like I did. I had quite a bit merchant shipped and still brought home half a bag and a large shopping bag (spent all my Euros at the airport).

I bought a bright green Osprey 46L backpack for my RS tour next year and tried it out on a cruise. Turns out it is actually larger than I need but it cinches down nicely to a smaller size so I am very happy with my purchase. I like the idea of only taking what I can carry on my back. I will also take a cross body purse which I will use as my only day bag.

Enjoy Ireland!