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Poor quality with RS carry-on back pack

Just prior to boarding my flight to start my RS 13 day tour of southern Italy and two bookend vacations I discovered one of my shoulder straps on my brand new RS back pack was broken. It broke in less than a couple hours of use. Upon closer inspection I saw the back straps were secured with cheap plastic clasps. Really Rick? I thought the quality would have been better. I know the guarantee will replace it but that does me little good for the next three weeks. I’m now going to tie the straps together. The clasps could have and should have been of a metal type of material. I am looking forward to my trip but did want to point this out to others as I didn’t see a way to review the back pack on the product page.

Posted by
923 posts

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I know many people love the RS luggage -- but we've owned several pieces since 2014 -and none of them have 'blown us away.' Now we love his GuideBooks, but his luggage isn't up to par with other companies we love like Eagle Creek, Tom Bihn (favorite Back Pack and packing accessories - if you need a new BackPack, Tom Bihn has the most comfortable straps ever), Briggs & Riley, even stuff at TJ Maxx, etc we've had better luck with. Have a great time in Italy !!

Posted by
5445 posts

I have several brands of packing cubes, and the RS brand is the least durable. Love his guidebooks, tv show, and the RS tour I did, but not his packing cubes

Posted by
3724 posts

Also his toiletry bag, the red one. I already had to get a replacement after one use. I take it for weekend trips or short hops but not overseas. Can’t overstuff it like some others, maybe that’s on me.

Posted by
2258 posts

I had the same thing happen with an eBags carry on backpack, which malfunctioned while racing between flights at JFK. So now I travel with back up carabiners and duct tape to address any luggage issues. You might not find a carabiner in Italy but you might find something in a hardware store (even a split ring for a keychain might work). Think of it as a cultural adventure in shopping :)

Posted by
2381 posts

Can you be a little clearer in what you're talking about?
Do you mean the RS convertible carryon that has on the bottom back corners rings to attach the clips from the tuck-away straps?
I love that arrangement, and the clips on the RS civita shoulder bag as well, because it allows one to clip other things to the rings, and the clips to other rings, instead of the permanently sewn straps of many other similar bags. It's a clever way to make the bag even more versatile, which is part of the design - it's a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none outlook on bag design.
It's true that you have to take some care not to break those plastic parts, but at least in the years that I bought them, the durability of those plastic parts was enough to last many trips and still going. It would be a shame indeed if the quality has changed.

Posted by
14596 posts

The prices of these bags hasn't changed in years and the RS company doesn't want to raise them. Unfortunately, the costs of material and manufacture do go up so cuts have to be made.

I noticed over the years that the interior lining has gotten smaller and smaller and covers less area. The zipper quality has decreased and now, I'm guessing, they have changed the connectors.

I've had a few of his backpack bags going back to 1991. The first bag was built solid but I slowly saw the quality diminish. I no longer use them. (BTW, the design is completely different,)

Don't get me started on the wheeled bags.

The good news is the RS store stands behind their bags. I was on a tour in Italy when the handle on my Ravenna broke. I had the bag less than a month. The guide got in touch with the office as did I. They offered to send me a new bag to my home but since I was on another tour after that one, they refunded my money as I would have to get a new bag while traveling.

I respect this forum. Posters are free to express their opinions on travel subjects, including RS travel products. I have some older RS products. Some items are very good for the money. A few items - I would not purchase because of the design or would not buy again.
Items I do like - Appenzell backpack, civita backpack, neck wallet, small cylinder packable duffel.
Items I would not buy again: euroflight bag, red toiletry pouch.
Items that fill a niche: go-go gadget pouch, black mesh packing cubes.

I have all of these items.

I agree that the packing cubes are not the highest quality and my older ones were made in China. I have discovered recently that the dimensions (deeper than other brands) do make these cubes good for underseat airplane packing for budget airlines. So, they fill a niche for me. Otherwise, I prefer my old ebags and eagle creek (old, also) classic cubes.

Posted by
4179 posts

I'm thinking this might be an issue with newer bags. I have the rolling carryon and two of the original backpack. My husband stuffs the original backpack as full as it can go and has never had a problem. My rolling carryon is a few years old now and was a replacement for an older one where the handle stopped telescoping. I only use the carryon for car trips because it tkes up too much space in the overhead bin on connecting domestic flights because I can't resist the urge to stuff the outside pockets.

Posted by
521 posts

I agree about the packing cubes. The first version I had are awesome and I still use them the most. The recent ones with the red and blue colored hard edges are not as good.

Posted by
3724 posts

Frank II makes a valid point. I would rather pay up for better quality. I’m pretty sure most posters here feel the same.

Posted by
14596 posts

I’m pretty sure most posters here feel the same.

Most people buy the RS products because it has the RS name and they like and trust Rick.

The same reason people buy Samantha Brown luggage.

Posted by
3926 posts

Besides books, the only RS items I have is a money belt that came with the tour and never used and a compass that I ordered at the same time. The clip on the compass didn't make it past the first day it arrived and the compass stopped working this Spring (3 years old). Having said that, luggage and other travel items are something I've never felt comfortable buying online because it's inconvenient to discover while travelling that it's no good. I want to touch and feel and know it's going to make it through a trip.

The books though are outstanding. It's ironic that he wants us to tear them up.

Travel Gear
It’s all about quality, risk, style, function, and cost. Example: not much risk in a neck wallet failing. If it does, it can be easily repaired or replaced. Same for the packable duffel.

Different strokes (and budgets!) for different folks. People new to travel may not know what is needed. Different trips have different requirements. Some folks rarely get to travel. So, I think RS stuff is a good starting point for many. Plus, travelers can ask for opinions on this forum before purchasing.

Posted by
17317 posts

Frank II makes a valid point. I would rather pay up for better
quality. I’m pretty sure most posters here feel the same.

But there are limits. I hear a lot of $350 day bags and luggage promoted. My $100 Walmart junk has done fine .... nothing has ever failed or broken and I do 3 trips or more a year.

Posted by
4179 posts

Mister E, but oh for the snob appeal of Tom Bihn bags. I do have one and it is really durable-it still looks new.

Posted by
198 posts

Sorry to hear about your bag, Mike. That’s a bummer the first time out. Sounds like it was defective from the start. A carabiner does sound like a good work around, and hopefully RS will give you some customer satisfaction.

As for the general discussion on this thread regarding price vs quality…
My husband and I both have those convertible backpacks and haven’t had an issue over the course of a few trips. We have some other items from his store (packing cubes, Civita day pack) and have been happy with how things have held up so far. It’s not high-end, but we didn’t pay high-end prices. Not sure it’s fair to compare an $80 RS convertible backpack (what we paid for ours) with something from another company that costs more than twice that amount.

But really, Mikes bag shouldn’t have broken on the first use!

Posted by
17317 posts

cala, Understand and love it. I have a few things in my life that fall under the same category of "appeal". We all need a little of that, me too 🤣

I am roaming around NYC now. Many are carrying bags of some sort. I don’t think I have seen the same bag twice. It’s rather amazing just how many kinds of bags exist. Literally, millions of people - all different bags. I think “snob appeal” (joking here) has more to do with ourselves than what others think. Nothing wrong with personal preferences.👍