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Switch to a 20-inch Rolling Suitcase?

I've used the 22-inch RS bag for some time, and I'm thinking of buying the newer 20-inch version. Anyone care to share how much less they are able to pack, etc.? Also, does it feel very much lighter than the older one (which wasn't super heavy, but heavier than the newer aluminum frame suitcases). I want to stick with the kind of suitcase the 22 inch is - I like having the pockets etc. on the outside plus the expandibility (assuming the new ones still offer this).

Posted by
19170 posts

If you are talking about the Rolling Backpack, the description says that it does NOT expand.

For things you need during the day, like maps, camera, etc, a few pockets are fine. You avoid having to get into the main cavity. However, for organizing items, use packing cubes or something smaller. Pocket proliferation just adds weights and reduces space.

In my opinion, 2000 ci is all the room you really need. A bigger bag just facilitates over-packing. I just wish they made a bag that size without the weight of wheels.

Posted by
756 posts

I just returned from a 5 week long vacation using Rick's 20 inch rolling carry-on. It is expandable and has plenty of pockets on the outside. I think the key is to roll your clothes and use Rick's packing cubes. I had no problems carrying it on planes and lifting it overhead on trains.

Posted by
484 posts

Personally, I prefer eagle creek brand packing organizers and ebags packing cubes. EC sells a " kit" with a folder and several packing organizers. This is a good place to start. May be all that you need. As a woman, I would get the medium folder. A large man wearing large sizes may need the large folder. Have fun!

Posted by
1194 posts

I have used the 20" rolling backpack for a 3 week trip in the middle of the polar vortex. If you are a light packer you will find the 20" bag just fine, although there won't be room for souvenirs. If you expand the bag it is no longer carry on sized.
On most trips I normally only fill a carry on bag 1/2 to 2/3 full, and many times travel with only an under seat bag. If you pack heavy you won't like the smaller bag.

Posted by
103 posts

I have both the original 22 and the 20. They both expand and have the same 3 front pockets. It made me be more specific on my packing light so I didn't overpack/stuff the 20. The up side is the lower wgt of the 20", and it fits in more overhead bins and fits much easily than the 22" ever did.

This year I bought the Roling Back pack, 20". I'm so happy with low wgt of 5.5#
I can pack ample amount of stuff in the 1960 cubic space. When I do use trains/buses, I love how I can use it as a back pack, especially for the stairs. It has the same 3 outside pockets plus a mesh bottle holder pocket which I love, too.
This helped me trim down my packing list further.

My family uses all 3 depending on length and type of trip. There are very few 22" out there that weigh less and have the accessibility that a RS bag does. Try Atlantic and Eagle Creek Rolling Duffle Bag.

Posted by
208 posts

I have the 22" Convertible Backpack bag, and RS cubes, which I loved. However, I recently bought the 20" Rolling Carry on (which I can't wait to use... my sister borrowed it and loved it), but the standard RS cubes aren't the right dimensions for the smaller case. I bought cubes from Magellan's, and they are a better fit. I typically used 4 small cubes (instead of one large and two small). The Magellan cubes are not only small width and length, they are, unfortunately, shallower. I just ordered ANOTHER set of cubes from Magellan's and plan to double stack half of my case, leaving the other, upper half available for shoes. I like that the 20" Rolling Carry on has a soft, expandable top.

Posted by
2147 posts

Hi Laura, I have both the RS 22 and 20 inch rolling suitcases. The new 20 is much lighter but that 2 inches does make a difference. I like it and I know that with proper packing that is all I really need to take. I took out 1 pair of pants and a sweater and was able to get most of the other stuff in with no problems. Agree with the previous poster that there needs to be an updated version of the RS packing cubes, they don't fit the new design so I was only able to use the larger one and one of the smaller ones.

Posted by
1081 posts

Donna,
I agree that the cubes don't fit very well, try this:

I use the large cube for my shirts and pants, then I bought two "tube cubes" by eagle creek and they fit the bag perfectly and still leaves room for other things. I put my socks, underwear and pajamas in the tubes and I still have room for my toiletry kit, camera, sunglasses , etc.
Donald

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Laura,
I purchased the RS 20" rolling carry-on for 10 days in Spain. The bag requires very strategic packing but the outside pockets are very useful. As other contributors have stated the case really only accomadates one large packing cube (I'm a huge fan of cubes) as the overall shape of the case is not perfectly rectangular--it tapers a bit toward the top. That said, this bag is super light and certainly holds more than most 20" cases. My only complaint is that the mechanism for inserting a lock where the two main zippers meet is quite flimsy. I find bringing the zippers together at a corner makes it easer for the mechanism to overlap and thus receive the lock. It would be a shame if you could not get the case to lock overseas. Overall, this is a really great case if your are traveling with light summer clothes. I believe it would be too small for an extended trip in cold weather.

Posted by
4411 posts

But the packing cubes are smushy ;-) I've used this bag, and had no trouble with my RS packing cubes. Yes, it holds less than the original RS Rolling Bag, but it's not nearly as small as the Rolling Backpack. That holds waaay less! But it was fun putting that little thing in the overhead bin ;-)

Yes, I'm easily entertained.

Posted by
208 posts

I am in the process of packing my new 20" Rolling Carryon for 3 nights in London, then a flight to Rome to catch an 11-night Med cruise. I also have the matching "Euro shoulder tote" to use as my "personal item". I'm the one who bought the two sets of cubes from Magellan's so they would fit better in the RS 20" bag (his other ones fit the convertible backpack well, but not this one). I'm doing very well, considering I'm taking more clothes than I would for self-directed, land-based tour. It looks like there won't be any spare room inside the suitcase itself, but my outer pockets are still empty. I will also have some space left in my shoulder tote. So, I should be able to bring home some type of memento... although I usually gravitate toward earrings, since they take up zero space!

Posted by
15690 posts

A question for the owners of the Rolling Backpack:

Do the measurements of the Rolling Backpack--20x14x7--include wheels and handles?
Which zippers are lockable?
How deep is the main compartment without the lid?

Okay, it was a few questions.

Posted by
1194 posts

@FrankII:
I bought the rolling backpack when I had to carry around several reams of paper for work assignments. I wasn't going to put my bag on my back! I then tested it further by traveling with it for 3 weeks during the winter vortex. I was glad to have those backpack straps when I post-holed through the snow.

To answer your questions:
Yes, the dimensions include the wheels and handles. The wheels are recessed upwards in the back of the bag. The bag itself is closer to 19".
The main compartment is lockable
The main compartment is 6" from the zipper to the back of the bag. So the lid takes up around 1".

The Rick Steves website claims 1960 cu in volume. That's a fraudulent claim. As stated, the main bag is closer to 19" which makes the volume 1862 cu in.
It's still enough for a multi-week trip, but annoying that they are claiming something that isn't true. I contacted the main office about it months ago. They acknowledged that the internal volume couldn't be what they claimed. But they still haven't fixed the advertising.

Posted by
15690 posts

Thanks CindyH.

I keep wishing that manufacturers would give the all around dimensions and then the packable area dimensions--not necessarily volume. But that would probably hurt sales.

Posted by
11 posts

I travel for business but try to follow RS philosophy on packing light. I have tried rolling, cubes, folding boards, etc but ended up just folding and layering the clothes in. I have used RS bags exclusively for 17 years but am looking now at Travelpro, Tumi or Briggs & Riley. RS bags always start tearing at the exterior corners of the main zipper after a couple of years. My last one saw a wheel fall apart at an inopportune time. I travel 35-60% of the time including some Europe every year and have to gate check most of the flights. Some of the other brands cost more but have lifetime warranties.

Posted by
5 posts

Can someone tell me how much their loaded 20" new roll aboard weighed when they loaded it?
We have 2 of the old 22" ones but need to keep a carryon to 15-18 pounds for an upcoming safari. Our old ones usually were about 20-25 pounds.
Thanks.

Posted by
16894 posts

Jan, I'm sure my packed 20" Rolling Carry On did fit within that weight limit last month. The bag itself weights just over 6 pounds. Of course, shoes, toiletries, books, ceramics, and bottles of wine are among the heavier items that can affect the total weight of your packed bag.

Posted by
6 posts

I just returned from a 3+ week trip using the bag. When I expanded it, (checked luggage), it wouldn't sit upright and kept tipping over. The front legs aren't enough to support it. Unexpanded it sits upright just fine. Other than that, I like the bag.

Posted by
4 posts

My husband bought the new RS for our trip to Costa Rica. I used the backpack we bought from 1999. I always buy a soft , fold-able duffel bag in a country that I visit for souvenirs that I take on the plane ride home. Wine, salsa, vanilla, etc. goes in the backpack which I check because international flights home, checked baggage is free. I've never had my luggage lost going home, even with the strike at Air France. It did take a week to get home but not a big deal. I have also mailed things home when we were traveling 3 weeks and they got home a month later so storing things isn't a problem. The weight of the wheels wasn't a problem haul it up stairs in Italy.

Posted by
28 posts

We bought the new smaller wheeled suitcase for flights around scandinavia to avoid checked baggage fees. When the bag arrived, we saw how small it was compared to our regular 22" bag and decided it was better to take a bigger bag and pay the fees vs. a small bag with less capacity. Half of the flights were free for the first bag and the others we paid in advance. If you're spending lots of $,€, etc., luggage fees are actually a small expense not worth stressing about. As abhorrent as we always are to checking bags, we found the waiting time for the bags at the carousel was very short so we suffered little for them to show.

Posted by
15 posts

I just paid $26.00 to return the 20" wheeled carryon. I have the 21" wheeled carryon by RS that I bought 2 years ago and love it! Traveled for 6 weeks in Europe on trains and never had a problem, fit well in overhead on Delta flights to and from Europe. It's my fault that I didn't read the dimensions when ordering the carryon, I just looked at picture and knew that I liked the RS carryon.... what a mistake. I sent an email to RS web complaining that the size is really not 20" and how disappointed I was in the bag. Their response was " bag is still comparable when it comes to how much you can still fit into the bag". Not true. Planning another trip to Europe and "packed the bag" and had to pack much less... and I am not an over packer! I'll just keep using my 21" bag and do train travel instead of any air flights in Europe. Besides, I love the train anyway!

Posted by
9363 posts

I used the 20" wheeled carry on (not the backpack), and fully packed, it was 24.5 lbs. Of course, the weight will vary depending on what you are packing (I.e. summer clothes vs winter clothes).

Posted by
11613 posts

The new 20" bag does not have the same three outside pockets, the largest pocket is now less than half the size of the old one.

Posted by
1 posts

I had the 22-inch but the airlines made sure after several years that it was no longer usable, so I bought the 20-inch hoping for the best. But I too paid to send it back. For me it was just enough smaller that I couldn't use it for the two-week singing tours I go on in Europe each year where I need not only regular clothes, but one cube of costumes. The 22-inch was very usable and always left me with a little room for things I might pick up along the way. I wish that it would come back! I've bought a couple of other carry-on bags trying to replace it, but I don't like them as well as my RS 22-inch.

Posted by
6 posts

This maybe a day late and a dollar short but...I just came back from three weeks in southern Italy and Sicily. My only luggage was the RS 20 inch rolling backpack and my daypack. The RS rolling backpack was awesome. I researched available luggage for months before my trip. I had inter country flights and had read that this could be an issue for both size and weight with carry-on pieces. At one point Alitalia weighed my RS backpack and it passed their weight limit and size box. What a crazy relief!
I also watched RS packing videos and looked at YouTube videos,as well, taking the advise for packing light. At the airports, many travelers asked "is that your only suitcase?" Well, yes, it was...it got me from Capri to Mt. Etna and beyond. Looking forward to packing it for a great trip to Turkey next year, as well as a Christmas visit in El Paso!!

Posted by
327 posts

I like the RS packing cubes, but like others find the large is too big for smaller suitcases. In my carry on, I use the two smaller ones that hold a surprising amount, but I wanted even smaller ones to fit in edge spaces of suitcases. REI (brand) has great new cubes in a variety of sizes including small. They are very lightweight and they have the same type of expanding zippers found in many suitcases.

Posted by
64 posts

Over the years, I have owned the RS Convertible Carry-On (despite the light weight, carrying it on my back was too cumbersome for my 5'1" frame); the 22" Rolling Carry-On (my favorite travel bag until, after many years, the wheels finally wore out); & now the newer version of the Rolling Carry-On. I am pleased to report that the latter is just fine. When it arrives, you might be startled, because it looks small. The look is deceiving, primarily because the new style is slightly less constructed than the old. I have used my new bag on a two month vacation in Asia & another in Europe, traveling by train, plane, subway, boat, etc. In combination with the Euro-Shoulder Tote (recently replaced by the new Euro Flight Bag) which slips over the suitcase handle, I managed to get by without ever checking a bag (except for a couple of flights on small planes, where gate checking was required). Although the pocket configuration is a bit different than in the old version, the new bag weighs less & has the same expandability. I did extensive research on line & in stores around the world before choosing the new RS bag. I discovered that many of the other bags may be light weight, but are less durable or less flexible than the RS bag. Obviously, you are not going to carry formal attire or 10 pairs of shoes in any of these bags. However, I fit a lot in my luggage, including a travel coat, a travel purse & my RS Civita Daypack (which weighs nothing).

Posted by
934 posts

I have had the 22inch bags for years but last June bought 2- 20 inch bags, one a backpack with wheels. I can carry one on my back and then carry my wives up and down steps. We had 15-17 pounds in each for a 13 day trip and took everything we needed.

Posted by
1450 posts

@jack.....how many wives are you traveling with that you must carry up and down the stairs?

Posted by
13 posts

Except for the fact that the 20 inch bag looks cool and easily fits into an airline overhead bin, I still prefer the old 22 inch bag for several reasons.
1. We've had to return two of the 20 inch bags because of zipper problems. The bags were replaced without any problem when we returned from our trip, but defective merchandise is still a hassle.
2. The 20 inch bag is slightly pear shaped. My wife's RS carryon bag does not stay balanced on the top of the 20 inch roller board like it did with the square-topped 22 inch bag even when she secures it to the extended handle.
3. Because of the pear shape, two large packing cubes won't easily fit side-by-side without cramming them into the bag.
4. We typically pack light and have used our 20 inch bags for a 2 month Europe trip, but it was a tight fit with absolute no extra room. We don't use the expandable feature except in an emergency. We've used the 22 inch bags many times with ease on 6-8 week trips. Compared to what we've seen other non-RS travelers carry on, the 22 inch bags are still smaller than most and allow you to move comfortably through airports and train stations.