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Packing extra light question

After reading TexasTravelmom's post about wayward checked luggage and having mine come home a day after I did, I'm seriously thinking about downsizing to a mini rolling carry-on, plus my ultra-light-weight RuMe tote. On each of my last two tours there was a lady who used a similar bag. Both looked well-dressed throughout the trip. Although I struggle to pack light, I think I can do it. It'll easier to lift into overheads and carry on trains since my back is giving me a bad time.
Any opinions from the ladies?

Here's the link
The only think I don't like is the weight. A backpack is out of the question; back and shoulders barely tolerate a 5lb day pack.

Posted by
6103 posts

horsewoofie, I don't see why not. I don't know how big the mini you mentioned is (the link doesn't work!,) but I've carried a Appenzell bag (18"x13"x6.5") as my main bag for years. Fully packed, it usually weighs about 12 lbs or so, often less. My personal item is a shoulder bag not much bigger than some purses I've seen, and it'll weigh about 5 lbs fully packed. I may move the electronics (tablet, bluetooth keyboard) to the Appenzell next time to redistribute the weight.

I just checked a recent trip report, and my two bags together came in at a combined 17 lbs. I think 16 has been my best.

Posted by
4092 posts

So Jane, let the competition begin to try to beat your awesome 16!

Posted by
5153 posts

Jane, I think this might be the link horsewoofie was referring to:

That does look nice, horsewoofie, and I think it's a great idea! After all, no one ever said, "I wish I'd packed heavier"! I wonder if you could find a lighter-weight bag, though - the Ravenna weighs almost 7 pounds, which is more than my 21" TravelPro Maxlite spinner.

ETA: I just found this list of rolling bags (some minis) that are all under 6 pounds:

Posted by
2446 posts

I edited my post to include a workable link.

Jane, how in the world do you pack that light? I struggled to fit everything into 20lb rolling carry-on and 7lb tote. Thus my challenge with a smaller suitcase, which is not a bad thing.

Mardee, thanks for the links. Lightweight is good. I agree that this RS bag is on the heavy side, actually heavier than my Rolling Carry-on, but small dimensions. EDITED: I don't think I'm a fan for spinners but I've never tried them. Price matters so I'm watching for sales. Yes, I know that's another debate on the forum 2-wheel vs 4 and rolling vs backpack but not for now. As stated above and below, backpacks are not an option for me.

Posted by
6103 posts

Yes, it looks like finding a lighter rollie bag may be key. Cala, someone posted recently about totalling something like 10 pounds; that would be hard to beat.

Luckily, I'm not competitive (in that regard, anyway.)

Posted by
18942 posts

My main bag, an older eTech Weekender Jr., comes in at about 2½#, empty, about 12# packed, and my "personal item", a transformer pad, in it's case with charger and mouse weighs in at less than 5#, so I'm in that 16-17# range.

ETA: I just found this list of rolling bags (some minis) that are all
under 6 pounds

At 6# for your bag, empty, it's going to be difficult to keep its packed weight down to 12#. Think about it. Half the weight is just the bag, nothing you can wear. I take just under 10# in order to keep my 2½# bag to about 12# packed. If I used a 6# rolling bag, the packed weight would be almost 16#.

I'm often amused when I see someone claiming their 6# bag is "ultra-light". To me, 6#is ultra-heavy. Why buy a 6# bag to carry 10# of clothes and stuff?

The advantage of a rolling bag is that you don't have to carry it. The disadvantage is that it's harder to carry when you do have to carry it (like on stairs).

The inconvenience of a rolling bag was certainly made apparent to me on my last trip to Germany, when my partner came along with a rolling bag, which she couldn't easily handle by herself.

We would have to change trains in a station frequently. When we got to the station, I would put on my bag with the shoulder straps. Then I would pick up her bag and carry it to the vestibule by the door. We were often on double decker REs, so there were usually stair to/from the vestibule. I would lift the bag over the gap, deploy the handle, then roll the bag to the stairs to the connecting tunnel. There I would stow the handle and carry the bag down the stairs. If the change was just one platform, I would usually just carry the bag to the next stair, but if the distance in the tunnel was longer, I would re-deploy the handle, roll the bag to the next stairs and stow the handle. I'd carry the bag up the stair, re-deploy the handle, roll the bag to the next train, stow the handle and carry the bag to seats, often up or down stair on the train.

Then I'd take off my bag.

Posted by
2446 posts

Lee, which ROLLING CARRY-ON do you use? Backpacks are not an option for me. Trying to stay on topic about "under-the-seat" size rolling carry-on.

Posted by
13237 posts

If Lee doesn't come back, I've got the bag he uses and it is a backpack style. I've given up on them as well.

I did a LOT of searching last summer for a smaller, lighter bag to meet AirFrance's dimensions and sizes. To me the Ravenna is too heavy. I even stopped using my old RS 2-wheeler because it was 6#.

Do you have a TJMaxx near you? They sometimes have the underseat suitcases which I think is the name of what you might be looking for. I bought one last year - a London Fog -which I knew was too heavy but wanted to see if I could pack in that space. It didn't work for me then but I've improved on my packing since then, lol!! I purchased knowing I would take it back but wanted to see how things fit.

I found this article with some lighter 17 inchers. The Rockland looks like a good weight but it's inexpensive so not sure how good it actually is. Part ofthe problem with the Ravenna is that it's probably overbuilt for a carry on.

Posted by
2446 posts

Thanks Pam. You're always so helpful. I remember some of your suitcase dilemma posts but can't remember what your used.
Yes, there's a TJ Maxx nearby. I just have to keep looking since things come and go quickly. And take a tape measure and luggage scale with me when shopping.

Posted by
364 posts

horsewoofie, I looked into purchasing an under-the-seat roller bags recently. I ended up not buying one. As a retired airline employee, I fly standby probably 95% of the time and as such, never know if my seat will be an aisle, middle or window. On certain airplanes, aisle seats are configured that the under the seat dimensions are very, very small. I read quite a few reviews in which folks weren't able to place their small roller bags under the aisle seat. Although, I suppose you could always put your roller bag up in the overhead storage if that were the case. Good luck with your search!

Posted by
13237 posts

"I just have to keep looking since things come and go quickly. And take a tape measure and luggage scale with me when shopping."

Hahaha...I wound up just leaving them in my purse while I was on the hunt. I also found a Baggallini underseat bag at my AAA but it was pretty heavy and a little wide. I do still look adoringly at it on the Baggallini website, hahaha!!

I wound up with a bigger bag than you might want. It's the Osprey Ozone 21" (which is 55cm so fine for most overheads). It's a little weird as it has a monopole handle. I don't stack my personal item so that doesn't bother me but it might not work for many. It also packs weird - there are always spaces that turn up,haha. Lo warned me about that quirk! The best thing is that it only weighs 4.5# so I can lift it into the overhead.

Posted by
176 posts

Stylish clothes are often lightweight and won't wrinkle when scrunched together. The mini rolling carry-on looks like it is designed well and will hold a lot.

Posted by
3486 posts

I don’t have trouble packing carryon size with contents (even though I usually check) - but if weight is a concern, you want to start with the bag light. If only size is a concern, then choose based on that. And yes, the debate, but I do love my spinner. TravelPro gets good marks, so I don’t think the “broken wheel” thing is a huge issue. I am NOT nice to mine (maybe that is why it keeps leaving me 🤣).

Posted by
6103 posts

Osprey! I was trying to remember the new bag Pam got. I'm glad she chimed in.

I've seen threads on rolling duffels, which I thought might be lighter. A quick search brought this:

It's bigger than some of the other roller bags, and only weighs 4 lb. And is only $27!

Posted by
2446 posts

Leslie, haha, stylish I'm not. I gave up years ago, about the time the old lady in the mirror started laughing at my wrinkles. I pack leggings and tunics which take little room and don't wrinkle.

Posted by
182 posts

I have a Lipault Foldable Plume 2-wheel bag that is lightweight and might be something for you to consider. My bag is a carryon and the exterior is tougher than it looks. Since it is always carried on I don’t worry about it being damaged by baggage handlers.

You might check out these: 2-wheeled Foldable Cabin Plume, 55 cm x 37 cm x 22 cm (21.7” x 14.6” x 8.7”) including handles, wheels, etc. and it weighs 4.6#. Or the 2-wheeled Mini Cabin Plume, 45 cm x 32 cm x 20 cm (17.7” x 12.6” x 7.8”) and it 3.97#. Here is a link:

The bags are lightweight, good looking and the measurements include the handles and wheels. I love my 2-wheeled bag but they also have spinners.

Posted by
14150 posts

Unfortunately, the bag Jane linked to is too wide. But it is lightweight.

I travel with the Samsonite Airea Expandable carry on. It weighs 4 lbs and is 21.7 x 13. 8 x 9"

It's not available in the US but can be bought online. I got mine through Selfridges.

IT luggage is also lightweight and can usually be found in stores like TJ Maxx

Posted by
16593 posts

Check or carry on? Doesn’t matter. I don’t like waiting in the check in line so I do carry on so I can go and sit and have my beer and fries for breakfast before the plane leaves.

If you travel frequently and you want the most flexible solution then the closest thing to a universal size carryon is 55 x 35 x 23 which is approximately 21 5/8 x 13 3/4 x 9 for those of us using tape measures.

Other than Wizz and Ryan, I do not know of a carrier that this size does not fall within their limits.

When packing I do not know of an airline in Europe that has a weight limit below 8kg (17.6 lbs on the bathroom scale)

Most of the soft bags that I have measured are of their advertised size only when empty. All those pockets and compartments on the outside make the bag larger the minute you put something in them; not to mention what stuffing the main compartment does.

Its why I went to a hard sided bag with no pockets. The bag measures 9” no matter how much I cram in it. Okay, to a reasonable limit that is true.

The weight of the bag has nothing to do with putting it in the overhead on the plane, because every legal bag weighs the same when packed. I guarantee you that if the limit is 8kg, 99% of us will pack to 8kg. Some of us with lighter bags will just end up with more clothes. And yes, you can find a hard sided bag that is as light as many of the soft ones I hear promoted here.

Spinners? Unquestionably easier 95% of the time. In 20+ years of using Walmart and Target cheap-o spinner bags, I never lost a wheel.

Posted by
830 posts

I just did a 4 night trip using a budget airline and did not want to pay their carry-on fee. So I used a fabric tote bag, 14” x 11” x 4”, that I bought in Hawaii some years ago. Into this I packed a pair of dress shoes, a linen midi-length dress, a gauze blouse, a nylon rain jacket, 3 panties, meds in their 7 day pill box, a nightshirt, toiletries (only skin and tooth care), a very small travel hairdryer, my hairbrush, a pair of shorts. On the plane I wore cotton/linen trousers, a gauze blouse, a cotton jacket that could double as a blouse and multi-coloured sneakers. The total weight of the packed tote was 8lbs! The friend I was staying with commented that what I had with me would be ideal for any trip I might take in the future as everything was easily washable and dries quickly. If doing that I would swap out the dress shoes for all-purpose sandals. My electronics went into my cross body purse.

I learned to travel light when going on my first RS tour (Hill Villages) about 15 years ago and have slowly whittled down each trip. I find the linen dress I used this time can be dressed up or down with a necklace and can be worn exploring ruins or going to a nice restaurant. It washes easily, dries quickly and, hung to dry, you can get away with no ironing. It was definitely my best buy this year and even better it was on sale!

For longer trips I now use a no-name spinner I bought in Greece after my Travelpro gave up the ghost. It is 19” x 11” x 6” and weighs 6lbs. Before that I used the RS Expandable Carry-on - it now sits in my closet housing my winter weight duvet!

An underseat rolling carry-on is going to be a challenge. The RS one is good for about 2-3 days of light clothes - that’s it. Underseat means about 18” x 14” x 8” or 27 liters. This is tote or backpack territory like the Appenzell or Patagonia lightweight tote pack with RS packing cubes. It’s difficult to get a rigid bag underseat. So, some kind of soft fabric rolling duffle if it exists. If you are going with an underseat rolling bag - you need one with a main compartment and as few features/compartments as possible. I will look up a popular one used on Frontier airlines for you.

Here it is - American Tourister 4 Kix. The teal one is on sale for $58. This is about the best you will do for an underseat rolling bag and maximum packing space. This bag may not be super durable. But, with handling it yourself - it should hold-up fairly well and get you through your trip. You can find this bag on Amazon.

Posted by
324 posts

I love my Rick Steves 21 inch spinner, but when packed it's too heavy for me to lift into the overhead or up the train steps. I've now gotten a 16 inch Verage underseeat spinner as my main suitcase. It's just over 4 pounds and has a lot of nice features. I will also have a large tote and that will go under the seat with the spinner in the overhead. I've had to buy some new sink washable clothes to make it work, but I'm sure I'll be happier with less to manage.

Posted by
2446 posts

Thanks everyone for all your ideas and links. Now I have lots of time before my next trip so will look around locally to decide that I want do. The telescoping handle on my 5 y/o RS Rolling Carry-On decided not to retract. Because I'm frugal (cheap?) I'll have Beerengineering (hubby) look at it + YouTube to see if he can fix it, then decide which what to do--stay with carry-on size or smaller, weight isn't much different.

Posted by
2446 posts

Linda, you posted just as I did. Your reasoning for a small suitcase is exactly my thinking, although I still like the idea of two wheels instead of four. My RS rolling carry-on weighs 6 lbs or 6 1/2 lbs so it's easy for me to lift if I don't overstuff it and carry a large very lightweight tote. I want to travel as long as I can, rather as long as my back holds out.

Posted by
172 posts

Posted by Linda

I've now gotten a 16 inch Verage underseeat spinner as my main
suitcase. It's just over 4 pounds and has a lot of nice features. I
will also have a large tote and that will go under the seat with the
spinner in the overhead.

Hi Linda,
I also recently bought the Verage 14-inch plus underseat spinner, but haven't travelled with it yet. If you have, how does it roll under the seat?

I travelled with an old 2-wheeler in December and it was nice that I could tilt it back on the wheels to roll under the seat, but I wanted a spinner to be able to roll it down the aisle of the plane and then roll it sideways over to my seat. Wondering if it will fit with the handle facing me. When I compare the size of the Verage to my 2-wheeler, they are the same dimensions, just turned 90 degrees. i.e. the width of the 2-wheeler is the same as the height of the Verage and the height of the 2 wheeler is the same as the width of the Verage.

Posted by
305 posts

Horsewoofie, what size bag are you using now?

I have a “fleet” of 2-wheel bags: 15”, 17” and 21”. Either my husband or I have used each as our main bag on different weeks-long European trips. They all pass as carry-ons. The 15” fits under most seats, but not all.

Take a close look at the configurations of the bags you’re considering. What I found is that the smaller bags often have extra features in them that take up precious space or just make packing efficiently difficult. My 15” underseat (I don’t remember the brand and I’m on a trip right now or I’d check) has a laptop sleeve and lots of little, useless pockets. I much prefer a big open space to pack in.

Posted by
172 posts

Posted by horsewoofie OP

Because I'm frugal (cheap?) I'll have Beerengineering (hubby) look at
it + YouTube to see if he can fix it, then decide which what to
do--stay with carry-on size or smaller, weight isn't much different.

Might be a good idea to get a cheap, light-weight, underseat size bag to make sure you are willing to really pack "extra light".

Posted by
128 posts

Don’t forget that RS has a warranty on their bags if the handle is wonky….

Posted by
11 posts

I have an old black Campmor bag that weighs 1 lb. empty and a old orange RS convertible backpack (3 lbs). I use packing cubes and folders for structure and keep the weight of packed clothes and shoes to about 10 lbs. I paid about $50 for the Campmor bag (long discontinued), which is like the RS bag with a shoulder strap, side carry handles and hide-away backpack straps. The RS bag has more "oomph"and a waist belt. More recently I used a friend's old 5 lb. two-wheel roll-aboard and kept the total weight packed to 15 lbs. I take a week's worth of clothes and do laundry along the way. When I studied abroad in the early 1970s, I look 2 large suitcases (one a giant heavy blue American Tourister) filled with who knows what. This was long before the advent of wheeled luggage, technical clothing, and packing cubes. My "weekend getaway" bag was my brother's heavy, unstructured canvas BSA backpack. I vowed then never to "pack heavy" again. And I've been doing carry-on only since the early 1980s. However, I am constantly looking for a small, lightweight 2-wheel roll-aboard that weighs less than 5 lbs.

Posted by
324 posts

I have not flown with the bag yet, though Hubby liked it on a road trip and reported the wheels were sturdy. I did do a test pack when it arrived and everything fit!
I am not planning anyway to put mine under the seat because I will use my tote for that. I'm also a bit concerned that it might limit the very small amount of foot space that we are allotted on planes these days.

If you are a minimalist packer - you can pack for 6-7 days in a 27 liter bag. Here’s an idea about what you can pack; wear sandals - no extra shoes or socks; daily undies, 2 pairs of light weight, polyester pants; 6-7 light weight tops; sleep shirt; 311 toiletry kit; packable dirty laundry bag; papers; small first aid kit; small packets of tissue and granola/nut snacks; zip-up fleece vest. Just the basics in addition to what you wear or carry in an extra day bag.

The problem with the RS underseat bag is it is rigid and has a computer compartment. So, may be more difficult sliding underseat. Computer section means smaller clothing section. I see the RS case as a good choice for 1 - 3 days worth of clothes and a computer. It is more of a supplemental case rather than a primary/sole piece of luggage.

The American Tourister 4 kix bag is better as a primary/sole piece of luggage if not traveling with a computer. It has a larger main compartment - better for 5 - 7 days worth of clothes.

Posted by
2446 posts

There's a new thread with a link stating underseat size by airline. It's very helpful. On it I posted "My goal if I choose to go to under-the-seat size rolling carry-on is to use that in place of a “standard size” carry-on and put it in the overhead. Then put my personal item tote under the seat."
Thanks everyone for your ideas and suggestions! I agree that a laptop compartment is a waste of space and probably adds weight, especially since the only technology I carry is my phone.

Posted by
17 posts

Another vote for Lipault. 21.6" × 13.8" × 8.3". It's 4.8 pounds empty and its a spinner which I love. I've yet to find an overhead it doesn't easily fit in and it has a side handle which makes it easy to carry up stairs or over cobblestone when needed. If anyone has found a lighter spinner, I'd love to hear about it.

I've learned a lot about packing light from Sarah Murdoch

Good luck!