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Packing tips for RS convertible carry-on?

Hello, last summer our family traveled to Spain using only backpacks as our luggage. Our 2 upper-elementary age kids just used their school backpacks and my husband and I used RS convertible carry-ons.

I loved the freedom of traveling with just backpacks, but I feel like I’m missing something with packing. Even with the compression straps and packing cubes, everything in my backpack just sort of slumped to the bottom of the bag which ended up pulling on my shoulders.

We’ll be traveling to England and Scotland this summer. I’d love to be better at packing :). Any advice for best use of RS convertible carry on?

Posted by
2532 posts

When I use the RS convertible carryon I will put in one large folderpacker and a medium cube, perhaps two, plus a cables and chargers pouch. That keeps it from all settling in the bottom. Also, I put my other pair of footwear in the very bottom.

Posted by
10339 posts

The RS packing cubes fit perfectly for us and give the bag some shape and stability. We found putting the large cube on the bottom and the small cubes on top. Maybe the trick for you is to make sure there isn’t any dead space?

Edited to add that Avi’s suggestion of shoes on the bottom is good.

Posted by
5006 posts

Using a combination of packing cubes and garmet packing folders eliminated the problem you described. The key, I think. is to put the heavy things on the "bottom" of the bag as it is situated on your back. The lighter stuff in the middle, and the lightest on the "top". It took us some experimenting, but it did work.

Posted by
8 posts

Contents slumping is definitely the elephant in the room that no one likes to talk about. if your luggage gets bumped and thrown around enough, straps and packing cubes will succumb and shift out of place. eBags has the best solution with their mid compartment divider panels on their Mother Lode backpack line - but for other reasons I don’t like them. It would be great if Steves Back Door included similar optional mid main compartment dividers. Steves approach is very traditional - use stuffed cubes and then the included interior straps to cinch them down. Unfortunately heavy cubes that are higher up (in backpack orientation) can still wedge their way to the bottom.

There are only two sure-fire solutions:

Overpack like crazy. This is not a solution, it’s a problem. But it’s true that snugger contents shift less.

Or put denser articles on bottom, lighter but bulky items like parkas and jackets on top.

So (crushable only!) shoes on very bottom, dense clothing cubes next up, bulky puff jackets at top.

The one caveat is: many daypacks in the 30L range can be stowed over head the same orientation they are worn. The Steves Back Door convertible suitcase, however, is carried vertically but stowed horizontally on edge, nose in first.

On edge overhead for just one flight won’t shift things too much. Carrying by the side handle will, though. All the jostling from walking. Same in the back.

Finally, consider cinching the bottom of the Steves very tight, then putting a narrower packing cube crossways over the bottom contents of the bag. That should help stop cubes toward the top end from wedging their way downwards, sliding past the bottom cubes.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the already large Back Door is at its best only when packed to the hills. Even then there will be some slumping. Which is why we don’t bring it up.