Really disappointed with RS classic back door bag

Well, we haven't even left SeaTac airport yet, and my new RS bag developed a large hole where convertible straps are attached to the inner lining of the bag. So now I have a big hole on top of my bag for the entire trip, or I'll have to forego the straps and lug it around by hand. Guess my sturdy old backpack was the way to go after all.

On a related note, does anyone know how easy it is to obtain a sewing kit or duct tape at Keflavik or Heathrow airports?

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5585 posts

What a bummer Anna. If you post this under General Europe more people might see it and offer some suggestions. Your trip is off to a bad start, but it can only get better now, right? Have a good time!

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8533 posts

Anna, sorry to hear about that. When you get a chance (and I realize it might be awhile), please notify the RS folks of your experience so they can hopefully take steps to rectify the situation. Hopefully they could even express mail a replacement item to you if you are at a hotel long enough to receive mail.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8533 posts

I would hope (but don't know for sure) that travel or luggage stores at Heathrow would sell a sewing repair kit.

Posted by Nink
Santa Paula, CA
2 posts

Sorry to hear that happened to you. I know it doesn't really help you now, but when you can, contact their customer service department. I had a problem with something I ordered and their CS was fantastic! Safe travels.

Posted by Kristen
Chicago
527 posts

Heathrow has everything and I am sure you would be able to get a sewing kit. I know this probably isn't what you want to hear but they also sell luggage. It is an expensive fix to the problem but maybe RS will give you a refund.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3634 posts

I recommend taking a photo of the damage which might help when dealing with RS customer service because "a picture is worth a thousand words"... Have a good rest of your trip!

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
2404 posts

anna,

major bummer.

its too late now, but when i get stuff like that i always do a torture test and fill the snot out of it and then carry/toss it around to see how well it holds up. i also will pull on the straps and such to see how well the stitching holds. I dont do any more than i would when traveling so if it doesnt hold up at home, it goes back.

If the hole is a "tear" then you dont have alot of options. If the hole is just where the sewing failed, then yes a sewing kit can work. you should be able to deal with it as it for a while until you get settled.

what i would do is on your first stop look for a taylor/alterations place or maybe a saddlery/tack shop. Even a drapery business may have a sewing machine that will handle the material/strap. Ask your hotel too since the locals will have a better idea.

happy trails.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12351 posts

When you land you might look for a shoe repair or leather shop which has the type of sewing machine that can handle the heavy fabric. Years ago I had strap on my day pull loose - too much weigh or a too long a period. For 5E a shoe repair guy sowed it back together and it still works today. Even if it is a rip, they can put some reinforcing fabric behind the tear and sow it back together.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20530 posts

Anna,

Sorry to hear about the problems you've experienced with your Pack. That's a very unfortunate thing to happen at the start of your trip. There seems to be a trend over the last few years with luggage manufacturers using lighter polyester materials rather than more durable (but heavier) materials such as Cordura, and IMHO the newer products don't stand up as well. My favourite Backpack uses 1000 denier Cordura Nylon, and it's lasted through a lot of hard use.

I agree with Frank that the best bet might be to find a shoemaker or other luggage repair place at your first destination. The staff at your hotel should be able to recommend a suitable firm. You'll probably find that the type of sewing kits you'll find at airport shops, etc. are designed for clothing and fabrics and NOT luggage, so any repairs you handle on your own may not last for the duration of the trip.

When you return from your trip, you might have a look at THIS product for use on future trips, which is somewhat similar to the Classic Back Door Bag and also has backpack straps. The manufacturer and factory showroom are located in Seattle and they will be able to explain the features and you'll probably find that this product will last for a lifetime of travel. They also have a slightly larger product (also with backpack straps) if you need more capacity.

Hope you have a wonderful trip, despite this unfortunate problem.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
6852 posts

Hello, Anna. We’re very sorry to hear about this this situation. We have a guarantee on our products that provides for repair or replacement in the event of a product defect. Please contact our Customer Service department upon your return at 425-608-4220 or customerservice@ricksteves.com so that we can take care of this for you.

Posted by Nancy
Beaverton, Oregon
252 posts

Laura,
It would be really impressive if you could get a replacement to Anna in time for her to use while still on her trip since I assume that's what she purchased it for.

Posted by Linda
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
326 posts

Laura,

I have to agree with Nancy on this one. It would be nice if the problem could be solved sooner rather than later...

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12351 posts

Anna is probably a moving Target.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
2404 posts

all it would take is some planning and effort.

how much is a happy customer worth it to a business?

its been studied that an unhappy customer will tell their bad experience to 10+ people, where as a happy customer will only tell 1 or something to that affect. Dont know if it worth it, but for me, it would be a fun experiment.

also, moving targets can be hit. just ask any trap/skeet shooter.

happy trails.

Posted by Anna
Seattle, WA, United States
723 posts

Thanks, everybody. I did send an email to customer service just now to see if I could get a replacement while I'm here if at all possible. I'll be I'm London from the 9th through the 14th, so maybe that's enough time.

I'll see if there are any relatively inexpensive repair options once I get to London (doesn't seem to be the case here in Reykjavik...but at least the weather is beautiful!). Thanks again!

Posted by Ginger
TX
210 posts

We had to send one back a couple years ago, and got a replacement. Same thing happened after the second trip, so ours is in the attic and we replaced with another brand of bag. Quite a nuisance. Hope it works out for you.

Posted by Anna
Seattle, WA, United States
723 posts

Well, while the bag didn't meet my expectations, at least the RS customer service folks were nice and prompt in their response. I will do some online research and assess my replacement options once I get to London. Any suggestions on comparably sized bags or places to shop?

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2048 posts

Take a picture if you have not done so already. As someone else posted, a picture is worth a 1000 words. I have always use a 21" RS roller bag for my monthly trips to Europe every year and several years ago the pull out handle would not stay recessed. I took it up to the RS Headquarters store in Edmonds, WA (convenient if you are in Seattle) and they inspected it and determined it was a manufacturers error and told me to go over to the bag section and pick out a brand new bag - no charge. One of the best customer services I have ever experienced. Hope you are able to get it fixed or even buy a replacement and then return the RS one when you get back. I like the idea of trying to find a shoe repair shop to fix it. Heavy machines with heavy thread.

Posted by Dotty
Edgewood, WA, USA
8 posts

Sorry for your frustration, Anna.
I'm one of those too busy, and "should have reported the damaged merchandise" people. I bought one of the discounted $5 RS bags a couple of years ago. I wore it at my grandson's birthday party at the aquarium, set it down on the pavement as we got the cupcakes ready. I slid my brand new iPad into the RS bag after I took a few pictures.
As we were leaving, I slung the bag over my shoulder and felt the strap pull out, sending my iPad crashing to the pavement. It felt like a slow-motion movie where you want to rewind it. The iPad still worked, and I could see the screen through all the shards of glass, but I knew I'd have to replace it. The Apple Store charged me a couple hundred dollars to replace it, and I got all my files back, anyway.
My lesson? It's not worth saving money on a bag if you plan to use it for an iPad that you worked all summer to save up to buy. I threw the bag away.

Posted by Roy
East Alabama
944 posts

I feel for Anna, having to go through this. And for the others, too. Not to excuse the bags' poor performance, but in these cases, how fully were the bags packed? I have had a "Classic" bag that I have used on several trips since 2007 and never had a problem with it, but I always under-pack and have checked it only once, for a return trip. Have these things changed since I bought mine?

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2048 posts

I forgot to add that I check in my 21" RS roller bag every year when I go to Europe (11 of the last 12 years) because I carry liquids that do not make it into carry ons. My wife has the same bag and also checks hers and also has had no problems. My one problem was with the collapsable handle and the folks throwing our. bags around at airports do not extend those handles. Hope you were/are able to get yours fixed or replaced.