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Tradeoff weight for space?

I'm trying to decide whether expansion capacity or reduced weight is the better virtue on a long trip (5-6 weeks) with many trains, several regional flights, and 3+ flights of stairs for a couple of the hotels.

I need to keep the carryon to 55x35x23 cm and I've narrowed it to this list, with capacities listed in cu in (converted from liters) to make it easy to compare. I picked up the IT luggage spinner at TJMaxx so I actually have that as a default. The RS sale has me wondering if I could do better.

IT luggage hardside spinner @6.4lb=2136-->2746 expanded, $80
RS Rolling @6.5lb=2430-->2970, $128
RS Ravenna @7.25lb=2640-->3200, $160
Travelpro Maxlite Air Compact hardside @6.1lb=???-->2440, $145
Osprey Daylite @4.944lb=2441 (no expansion), $200
Bric B/Y @5.9=2440-->2746, $180

I knocked the Travelpro Maxlite 5 for size (55x40x20) and the Osprey Porter 46L since it's a backpack.

I like the Ravenna and would probably be most torn between that and the Osprey Daylite. But will I regret that extra 2.25 pounds when climbing up 3 flights of stairs? Which will I want more during the trip, capacity or light weight? Did I mention I'm in a walking boot right now and can't test it myself? The doctor is being evasive about how long my foot will take to be better, sigh. It almost makes me wonder if the compromise has shifted to lighter weight just as a point of survival. But if I did that, would I regret the lost capacity the Ravenna would bring? Is 2.25 extra pounds THAT NOTICEABLE going up stairs? Or is the extra capacity (8% base but 30% when expanded) worth it? Fwiw my test packing so far had it under 16 pounds with the 6.5 lb hardside. So the Ravenna would 17.5 and with the Daylite I could get that total down to 15. Is 15 vs. 17.5 insignificant and it's better to have the expansion capacity? Is there another way to think through this?

I can ship a box after a few cities, which means capacity to expand, hold things, and ship them could be nice. I'm actually paying more money for less space if I do the Daylite over the Ravenna. The RS Rolling would be the same weight, higher capacity than what I have, but then that would beg the question of why I didn't just do the Ravenna. I'm not sure I care about the jacket pocket, which seems to be the feature everyone adores on the soft rolling carryon. I don't think I want to do a packable tote, because then I have to repack the thing before every flight.

Do you see anything there? Any hindsight on the capacity vs. weight debate? Where would you compromise? Would I regret the Ravenna weight? Would I regret the Daylite lack of expansion?

Posted by
10303 posts

Yes to both questions and shipping even a small box is about $50 or 45€.

Posted by
990 posts

We are currently on a 9 week trip in Spain. We packed no more than we would have for a 2 week trip. My husband has an Osprey Porter 46 litre backpack and I have an Osprey Sojourn 60 litre wheeled bag which has heavy duty wheels for managing cobblestones. Both bags have been used on several previous trips.

We also use packing cubes so our bags can be unpacked and packed in just a few minutes.

We prioritised ease of use and durability for our trip as we have been travelling by train and bus and have 16 destinations in our 9 weeks and lots of cobblestones.

Is 2.25 extra pounds THAT NOTICEABLE going up stairs?

YES especially if your foot is not 100% and your balance is slightly off. Can you look for hotels with lifts or less stairs?

Posted by
18564 posts

But will I regret that extra 2.25 pounds when climbing up 3 flights of
stairs?

As long as you don't buy things and add to the weight after you land in Europe, chances are all the bags you listed will weigh 8kg (maybe 12 if you are flying KLM). If you follow the airline rules, it's rarely about weight, it's about how many things you can carry in the bag.

That 2.25 pounds is about 4 McDonalds Happy meals or two pairs of 501 jeans and a t-shirt.

I like my happy meals so I wouldn't buy a bag over 6 lbs.

Posted by
531 posts

I have both the RS Rolling Carry-on and the Ravenna…..both have capability to expand.

I don’t use packing cubes and I don’t roll….I lie flat my clothes when packing and find I can get more room. I found the Ravenna difficult to pack and I missed the outside pockets on the Rolling Carry-on.

Posted by
149 posts

Our family of 4 spent 3 weeks in Europe last year (22 year old daughter was there a month); each of us had 1 travel pro soft side, maxlite 5 (not the spinner), and 1 backpack. Husband has a bad knee (no cartilage at all in one knee) so we are VERY careful on stairs. We traveled by train, tram, bus, vaporetto, Delta airlines to Europe and back, and EasyJet between two cities--No issues at all with the travel pro as a carryon. I will say on the EasyJet flight I paid extra for exit row seats and the carryon option at the time of booking.

Posted by
6842 posts

All I can is that I have never ever thought to myself, "I wish I had packed more stuff." I have regretted packing too many things and wound up doing what you want to do, which is pack up a box and ship it home. It's doable but it's not fun and it takes a lot of time. You have to get a box, pack it up, fill out the customs declaration on it, schlep it to the shipping office, and pay a minimum of €40-50. It can easily eat up half a day depending on where you are. And then you have to wait 4-6 weeks for your box to arrive.

Be smart and pack as light as possible. I can guarantee that you will not regret it, especially if you are climbing a lot of flights and taking a lot of trains. It's not just the hotel stairs that are problems, but carrying them from one track to the next - possibly up and down more flights at the train station, and then trying to lug them up over the steps to get on the train without falling onto the track. And I speak from experience.

Do yourself a favor - get a lightweight bag (my TravelPro Maxlite 5 weighs 4 1/2 lbs) and then pack as lightly as possible. If you absolutely need something, buy it in Europe.

Posted by
739 posts

Frank II discussed the Samsonite Airea a while ago: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/samsonite-airea

It appears to be out of stock right now but we purchased ours last September when it was available again. I'm not sure when you plan to travel but it might be worth watching to see when it's restocked. I think we saw them available elsewhere with a subtle light gray/blue but the seller seemed a bit sketchy.

55 x 35 x 22 cm(expandable to 25 cm) and weighs 4 lbs. They are lightweight, sturdy and conform to size requirements. Selfridges shipped us 2 of them for $30 and they arrived within several days. They have worked perfectly for us so far.

https://www.selfridges.com/US/en/cat/samsonite-airea-spinner-four-wheel-suitcase-55cm_R00120368/?previewAttribute=BLACK

Posted by
4574 posts

Particularly for your current foot issue, I would be reducing weight but not to the detriment of functionality. I have 2 ultralight IT bags (which are also my first spinner bags), and after a certain weight (much less than full volume) it gets bogger down on things like airport carpet and needs to be pulled like a trolley 2 wheel bag. The light aluminum frame of the IT has some wiggle room handle track which means pushing the 4 wheels on any resistant surface rather than the ideal gliding as on smooth surfaces. Now, more than ever, you need luggage to suit a prolonged recovery period.

Posted by
15571 posts

As "Silas Marner" noted upthread, I use a Samsonite Airea spinner (4 lbs). But regardless of the bag I pack the same.

My average trip is 3 months. I pack for five days. I'm going to have to wash clothes anyway and find five days works for me. The only things I take for longer than five days are prescription medications and some OTC medications that aren't found in Europe.

Everything else I need to replenish I can buy while traveling. Deodorant, razor blades, batteries, etc.

I use a combination of packing cubes and Tom Bihn stuff sacks. ( I just started using the stuff sacks and they are amazing. Too bad they aren't currently in production so the selection is limited.)

If you can already pack in the smaller bag, what is so important to bring that you need the extra space? Regarding weight, lighter is always better. It's easier to manage.

Expansion means checking bags on some fights and extra weight to lug up stairs.

Posted by
2157 posts

I have the RS rolling carryon and truly love it. I have looked at every bag out there, so it seems, and keep coming back to this one. I do wish it had spinners, but that is the only drawback for me, but it is still easy enough to maneuver around. As others have said, yes the extra weight WILL affect you as you carry the bag around!

This past December 2 of the 3 of us had this bag for just over a week while in Germany/Austria. We had one hotel that did not have an elevator and we were on the 5th (so 5th) floor. When we arrived, it was not a big deal, but coming down after making a lot of purchases was not fun.

The RS bag holds up very well. We had a prior one that lasted 14 years I think it was. The zipper finally gave up.

Our kids just gifted me a Solgaard bag a few weeks ago and it is a spinner. I was so excited about it, except the weight. It is 8# and that extra 1.5# is very noticeable to me. I love the bag for simple trips within the US, but would never take it to Europe or anywhere I had to lug it around much. It does not expand either which for me is a negative.

Posted by
30 posts

Mardee, Which TravelPro Maxlite 5 weighs 4.5 pounds? Could you give a link?

Posted by
3181 posts

Weight is about what you put in the bag as much as what the bag itself weighs. If you are so concerned about weight why would you want expansion capacity?

Choose the lightest bag and pack as light as you can and you will have nothing to regret.

Posted by
124 posts

I'll keep reading replies here. I think y'all are right that my first priority is going to have to be getting the weight down and then getting the base storage (not expanded) that is the largest I can have at that lower weight. The compromise will be whether it expands or not.

I did some more searching and it turns out Macy's sells a version of the Travelpro Maxlite5 rollaboard that they call Walkabout and are updating to a 6. So the version 5 at 23x14x9 did not work but the version 6 at 22x14x9, 5.4 lb, does work. I'm going to try to see this today in person. It would give me better storage capacity and a 2 wheel rollaboard for 1 pound less weight than what I have. It looks like the Travelpro Tourlite on amazon is the same as the Walkabout 5, but they do not have an update version yet. It's no WONDER I was confused by all the Travelpro I was seeing, lol! Multiple names for the same product, all of which are quietly being updated. The Travelpro website does not yet show a version 6 for the Maxlite.

I'm still trying to find that Samsonite Airea or the successor to it. It would need to be the 55cm expanded spinner (not rollaboard, not top pocket), which is how you get the 55x35x23, and it's a little tricky to find. Amazon has it for $211 shipped, but that's pretty rich. It would be .8 pounds lighter than the Travelpro Walkabout 6 and possibly less storage since it's a spinner. For 50% more $, the Samsonite would have to be a lot better.

Are the Travelpro Rollaboards a solid choice? I'm going through old board posts and it seems like many people using Travelpro in fact had rollaboards and were happy.

The RS Rolling Carryon is 6.5 lb and I'm going to guess that the Travelpro Walkabout 6 will be about the same capacity or slightly larger, for 1.1 pound less weight. You'd get theoretical Travelpro reliability (?) but lose the RS features like jacket pocket, etc.

I'm going to go pick it up because the Walkabout 6 is at least a reasonable choice. Then I can test pack it and see how it rolls. If I hate it for some reason, I could go fixed capacity Osprey Daylite for more $$, less weight or of course the RS Rolling Carryon. Thank you Chris for absolution on the Ravenna. Thank you Bets and AussieNomad for the frankness as I thought about those comments all night. Thank you Mardee for your push on the Travelpro. I hadn't found this newer version till now, and it solve the problem nicely.

I'll keep you posted when I get my hands on the bag. :)

Posted by
14167 posts

If you are going to look at that bag in person take your tape measure and a handheld luggage scale with you. And yes, I've been in to TJ Maxx with a luggage scale, lined up the bags I was looking at and weighed them all. I even weighed bags for other customers.

-->(Yes I felt like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory where he wound up helping other customers at the electronics store, hahahah!)

AND I vote for getting the lightest bag you can. I went from a RS 6# 2 wheeler to an Osprey 4.5# last Fall and I could tell a huge difference. I also weighed every item that went in and made decisions on what to take based on that. I just got 2 new shirts from Macy's that are an ounce or 2 lighter to compensate for having to take warmer clothing for my next trip.

I would not get the Ravenna at that weight if you are on/off trains on your own. I'd sacrifice capacity for weight.

Posted by
7401 posts

I’ve been using an older version of this 2-wheel suitcase, and it’s between the weight of your two RS options. I like a lot of the features of it, including that the bottom pan is separated from the top section. It is easy to organize, and I store any dirty clothes in a bag in the bottom section, along with non-clothing items. If I purchase something fragile, it’s protected in the bottom section.

I travel by train and move locations a lot! Last summer my solo trip was at 11 locations in Italy.

It’s on sale right now for $139.

https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/82300254/expedition-22-duffel-2.0?sp=1&color=Black&size=ONE%20SIZE&sizeType=

I am considering just bringing a backpack on this next trip, but I will miss the nice features of this bag. I usually bring four outfits, plus a 3/4 sleeve top for the flight. My suitcase is usually 3/4 full.

Posted by
124 posts

Well I saw the TravelPro Walkabout 6 in the store and it is NOT smaller than the previous generation. The listing at Macys.com is completely inaccurate and does not reflect the specs on the tags. The Walkabout 5 and 6 (or the Maxlite 5 and a future Maxlite 6) are the same sizes. It's 58.4x36.8x24.1

So I need to regroup, because it would skate by on United but not the rest (Norse, EasyJet, British Airways, Luxair).

I guess the one thing I did establish is that a lighter suitcase is very noticeable. The 7.5+ suitcases FEEL heavy empty even, whereas the 5.4 feels quite light.

Posted by
124 posts

I'm looking through this list again with the new suggestions. The Osprey Sojourn is a great size but it seems to be 8.0 pounds. And it's $350, which is $$ for my budget. But even if I wanted to pay that, the 8.0 surprises me. It does have structure though, which the Osprey Daylight doesn't. I'm just continuing to think here. The new Osprey Ozone 40L is bigger than the previous generation 42L and too big for my flights.

Salbeachbum, are you saying EasyJet did NOT put your carryon in a sizer? The TravelPro definitely is bigger than their specs, but it's really just that stupid puffy fabric handle that doesn't scrunch down. I imagine if you needed to put it in a sizer you'd just shove the puppy in. I'm watching videos here and it looks like you can do that. I tried to take a picture with a measuring tape in the store but it's hard to read. It looks like the last 2-2.4cm is that puffy handle, which might compact a bit and allow the bag to go in the sizer. Did you happen to try putting the TravelPro in the EasyJet sizer? :)

Posted by
14167 posts

I’ve got the new (August 2022 model) Osprey Ozone 40L 2 wheel carry on. It’s 55cmX35cmX25cm and comes in at 4.5#. (And yes, it checks out the same weight and close to the dimensions as well as you can measure those things at home.)

Pro: lightweight, sturdy, excellent handle on the bottom

Cons: Stupidly expensive, packs weird (gaps keep turning up in different places when you think you have everything just so, lol)

Might make a difference to someone but doesn’t matter to me: monopole handle so it’s difficult to use a bag with a trolley sleeve on it. Inside of the lid is divided into 2 separate zipper sections. Both too small to be functional. (What were they thinking?)

That is interesting about the dimensions and disheartening. Don’t they know people depend on them to be correct? I’m glad you got to lift some different weights side by side, though. That is helpful for your research.

At the risk of sounding too nuts, do yourself a favor and start some kind of spreadsheet or chart with your results even if they are negative. I got confused part way thru my search and wound up going over some of the same territory twice. 🤨🙄

Posted by
124 posts

Thank you Pam, you're right I forgot to toggle to metric on the Ozone 40L! So it's at the higher end of my budget (sigh) and it does not pass for Luxair (55x40x23). British Airways, EasyJet, and Norse are all 56x45x25. United is slightly smaller at 56x35x23 but not so picky. In my dream world the bag works for ALL of them, including Luxair.

I know, lol. This is why Rick says 21x14x9! LOL So the ones I listed in my initial post I picked because they all could do all the airlines I'm planning to do this year. I could call Luxair the outlier and check the bags for that trip. Luxembourg is going to be cool, but yeah I'm kicking myself on that one. So if I did the Ozone, I'm paying a LOT more and I have to check it (more $$), but I'd get a really great bag with structure, something very light. The Osprey Daylite is 55x35x23, meaning it would pass for all my flights, no extra fees, and it's 4.944 vs. 4.476 of the Ozone. Bummer is no structure. After that pretty much everything is heavier (6lb+), not in that superlight category.

When you look at the Daylight, as an Ozone lover, how does it strike you? Would the lack of structure be a dealbreaker to you? Is the Ozone SO much better than the Daylite that it would be worth possibly checking on LuxAir? They are 8k=17.6 lb limit anyway. Seems like in that case the lighter case, either one, would be more likely to get through than a heavier case that is bogging down mid-trip.

I saw the Ozone at an airport last time we were out btw. The person was going into a bathroom, so I didn't get to gawk or talk with them or anything, lol.

Posted by
124 posts

Ok, I'm thinking out loud here. If the Osprey Ozone is 2cm too thick for LuxAir and if they actually ask me to put it in a sizer, the bag is soft and would SQUISH, right? Would I be able to squish it right in, no biggee, assuming it's conservatively packed? With the lower weight, I shouldn't have a problem with weight. (My trial pack was 16, under 17 pounds, with a 6+ pound bag.) So if they weighed and didn't put it in a sizer, I'm fine. If they use a sizer and I squish I'm fine.

If I push my budget I could get this for myself and get a backpack for ds. Or for less money, I could do two RS Rolling Carryons. LOL

This has clearly gotten ridiculous, when I'm deciding a bag based on whether I could squish it enough to avoid fines, oh my.

Samsonite makes a number of bags on their UK site that are 55x35x23. The Respark seems to be the successor to the Airea, though it only comes in 4 wheel. EcoDiver and Securipak also work.

Posted by
14167 posts

I think the Daylite must have been out of stock at the end of summer because I didn’t really look at it. I was also obsessed with the 4.5# weight of the Ozone. 🙄 It looks like a good bag although I don’t particularly care for the way the top opens…prefer it opening across the long side. The old RS convertible pack I had opened across the short end and it was a nuisance at times when the bag was on a luggage rack in a hotel room although the lid of the Ozone is soft enough it collapses sometimes as well.

Otherwise if it works sizewise that really pushes the daylite into the plus column. Plus it’s priced better.

It is just crazy when there are so many size requirements! And yes, if I were buying something I’d get a bag that fit the smallest dimensions of any airline I thought I might fly on.

Btw, I have only done the one trip with the Ozone so I might discover something I don’t like about it. I was gone about 3.5 weeks last trip and will be gone almost 6 this time. The length shouldn’t make a huge amount of difference but you never know.

I think you’ve decided against the Ravenna but a friend has that bag. She doesn’t like that it opens flat (2 equal depth sides) and needs more space which is at a premium in European hotel rooms. That was before she and I ever had discussions about bag weight.

Posted by
14167 posts

If the Osprey Ozone is 2cm too thick for LuxAir and if they actually ask me to put it in a sizer, the bag is soft and would SQUISH, right?

Cross posting with you..The Osprey Ozone has a solid plate at the bottom where the wheel assembly is. Measuring from the outside back edge of the wheel to the smallest it squishes empty it comes to right at 9 inches with a tape measure. This is with the bag sitting on a chair half packed, haha. I can try and do a better measurement tomorrow if you like but I would not count on it squishing down tighter than the listed measurements.

Posted by
149 posts

@Stw1b. I keep vacation stuff in a folder; it helps with future trip planning. I looked at last year's EasyJet tickets (Venice to Amsterdam FWIW) and when we bought the tickets, we paid for extra leg room (exit row), one large cabin bag AND one underseat cabin bag.
When we were in line to board, one of the attendants walked by and said we would have to check the bag and kept walking. Note: she did not look at our tickets, just looked at our luggage and kept going. At the gate, the same attendant was there saying we had to check the bag, to both me and the attendant actually checking the tickets. I showed the tickets to the attendant actually checking tickets, and he pointed and said they are allowed. We all four boarded fine. None of us had to put our suitcases in the sizer and they fit in the overhead easily.

Later in the same trip, our daughter flew EasyJet from Gatwick to Madrid, same ticket type and luggage (underseat bag and large cabin bag-prepaid), with absolutely no issues.
I will note a weird thing that happened with Easy Jet app. For our VCE to AMS tickets; the app did not show the correct "class" of ticket for sitting in an exit row, so when I showed the ticket checker my ticket on the app, I also had a printout that showed we all had one small and large cabin bag included in our ticket. Due to that glitch, I suggest having printouts or pdfs ready to show what you actually purchased.

If you are worried about the sizer, I was concerned, bring a luggage strap, cinch everything down and easily put it in the sizer. While (knock wood) we have not had zipper issues, I always bring a luggage strap for a possible zipper problem, and to to shove a suitcase in a sizer, if required. Walmart has a single strap for less than $5.
I just weighed the empty Travel Pro suitcase and it is 5.4 pounds.
Sorry for tedious detail, hope something in the novel above is helpful.

Posted by
739 posts

Samsonite makes a number of bags on their UK site that are 55x35x23. The Respark seems to be the successor to the Airea, though it only comes in 4 wheel.

The 55x35x23/25 Respark does look really similar to the Airea but I notice it's weight is 2.5 kg (5 1/2 lbs.).

Airea's 1.8 kg. (3.95 lbs). really does make a difference for us. I wonder if the Respark has a tougher build?

Posted by
124 posts

Salbeachbum, thank you that was incredibly interesting. I'll be sure to have documentation showing my seat and the included carryon. I think some of what is factoring in here is just stress, potential stress. The TravelPro was very practical but I'm not a huge lover of the pockets. If I skip it, I skip stress and worrying about whether I might get gate checked.

Pam, thanks for all the info. I'm still hesitating on the Ozone and I'm not sure if my reasoning is concrete or not. I don't like the RFID tag, the price, the pockets, or even really the monopole. The only thing really in its favor is the weight. For 1.8 pounds more (admittedly a chunk) I can go with the Eagle Creek Expanse 4 wheel. It has more durable fabric than the Daylite and terrific rollers as well as being able to expand.

So I think at this point my short list is:

RS Rolling Carryon @6.5=2430-->2970, $128
Eagle Creek Expanse 4 Wheel @6.375=2475-->2746, $249
Osprey Daylite @4.944=2441, $200
Osprey Ozone @4.5=2441, $280

If someone else mentioned a bag that would have worked and it's not listed, it's because it wasn't available in my time frame, not because it wasn't a good suggestion. :)

It seems like a really ridiculous comparison when you think about it that I'd be comparing the RS Rolling carryon with a bag twice the price, but by the numbers and specs that's where it's at. I found a store with the Daylite and Ozone, so I can go see them tomorrow in person

I reviewed my upcoming itinerary and I have a fair amount of sidewalk walking. The next trip later I didn't do the math on, but I think that may add cobblestones. At a minimum I have 6 occasions where I may be walking a short distance (¼ mile or less) on sidewalks to get from a train station to where I'm going with my suitcase happily coming along. It got me to thinking about rankings/winners for important categories.

-handling sidewalks/rough--Expanse, Ozone, maybe RS?
-fabric--Expanse, Ozone, RS
-price-RS
-weight--Ozone, Daylite
-base capacity--all the same
-expansion--Expanse, RS

It's not hard to say the Expanse is a nicer version of the RS, but then it begs why you wouldn't step up to the Ozone. The Daylite doesn't actually have much to commend it compared to the other bags, which all seem to do everything else better, lol. But maybe it's the good enough bag for the right price? LOL

I'm not sure any of them are wrong choices at this point. Do the spinners on the Eagle Creek Expanse spinner look hearty enough that they'd be fine used on sidewalks for short distances repeatedly? Plain rollerblade style rollers vs. hearty rubber spinners, who wins on sidewalks?

Posted by
124 posts

Silas, that is a good question on the build. Total aside, but there are so many models of the Airea and the one I thought/assumed Frank II had, or at least the one I would want (55cm expand, 55x35x22, weighing 4.6 lb, not the narrower x40x20 versions) is hard to find. Not sure they're continuing it.

I realized something today in reading through old posts. I was tracking Frank II and the various bags he has mentioned using on the boards and it seems like after a while one just accepts that the bag will have imperfections and eventually crap out on you from use. So then it's a question of whether you can afford to replace the bag. If you spend $$$ and it craps out unusually soon for whatever reason and it pinches your budget, that's a problem. But it seems like when we're quibbling over $249 this or $211 that, they're all going to die at some point just based on usage and have to be replaced.

Frank II did say something about needing metal to screw the wheels into to make them hold solidly. Maybe you're sensing that Samsonite could go in the other direction and beef things up?

I guess I've decided I'm going to try to minimize likelihood that it will croak in the first trip (from materials that are a mismatch for the tasks) but beyond that not sweat too much. I may just throw a dart and buy something, lol. I'll probably decide tomorrow, after I get to see the Ozone and Daylite (half my short list) in person.

Posted by
739 posts

@Stw1b,

The weight of my Airea is definitely 1.8 kg (I weighed it with my luggage scale and it's 3.95 lbs - exactly 1.8kg.
It does conform to the claimed specifications:
Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 22cm
Expanding dimensions: 55 x 35 x 25cm
Volume: 38/43.5l
Weight: 1.8kg
https://www.selfridges.com/US/en/cat/samsonite-airea-spinner-four-wheel-suitcase-55cm_R00120368/?previewAttribute=BLACK

I recall reading Frank II's comments about reinforcing wheels with screws but I don't recall the circumstances. I do think he has said that he used the Airea extensively for a year or more without any issues. We certainly haven't seen any issues with our 2 Airea cases but we've only had them since September with limited travel in that time. To me they seem of exceptional strength considering their lightness. I'm not sure that strength and longevity require weight - that's certainly the case with my Flexon glass frames. What I like is that it complies with all of the carry on policies of the airlines we use. I like it's light weight. the handle is strong enough to handle a sleeved personal bag and the interior isn't cluttered with unnecessary dividers and things we don't use. The cost wasn't the most important consideration for us considering how much we spend to get premium select seats. But everyone prioritizes their needs differently and we may lean towards pampering ourselves in retirement.

I suppose we simply have to expect constant obsolescence in most products now and just replace when needed. I agree it sometimes just requires a throw of the dart and sometimes we get super lucky!

Posted by
124 posts

Silas Marner, Do you think your Samsonite Airea would go over sidewalks, cobblestones, etc. nicely or would you have reservations about that? Say the distances were about ¼ mile but were going to be repeated many many times? Would you rather have the spinners on something like an Eagle Creek in that situation? I'm with you that the numbers make sense.

Posted by
15571 posts

Let me answer a few of the questions raised:

First, if you look closely at the Respark, it has a larger pocket in the front, a divided interior lid pocket and larger side handles. These all add weight.

I recall reading Frank II's comments about reinforcing wheels with screws but I don't recall the circumstances.

No, I didn't say that. I said that if you should have to change a wheel, all you have to do is unscrew four metal screws, remove the wheel housing, attach the new wheel housing, and tighten the four screws. The new wheels come with two new screws in case you need them. (Most spinner bags are designed this way for easy changing of wheels.)

I have had the Airea for two years and used it extensively. I had its predecessor, the model name I forget, which was the same bag but with four wheels instead of eight. I used that one for a couple of years as well.

Both have gone over all types of ground without a problem. Occassionally, I do tip it as a two wheeler but it has worked just fine.

It looks like something has changed with the Airea because the model I have is now listed as 2.1 kg where mine is 1.8 kg.

I did break one wheel. But before the spinner haters start screaming it had nothing to do with any type of pavement. It was kind of silly. My bag was on a train luggage rack. When I went to get it to leave the train, it was caught. Instead of looking to see what the problem was, I yanked it free. It rolled fine and I didn't think twice about it. When I got to my hotel, I put the bag on the luggage rack and noticed something didn't look right. One side of one wheel was gone. I contacted Samsonite and they sent me a new one free of charge. It took less than five minutes to change the wheel and all I needed was a screwdriver. The hotel lent me one.

In fact, I ordered additional wheels and I pack one with me. It only weighs 2.2 oz.

One last thing I didn't notice when first getting it was that inside the front pocket and the side pocket are small o-rings so you can attach the zippers with a lock or small carabineer for extra security.

Posted by
124 posts

Frank II, thanks for the extra clarifications. If you knew you were going to be tipping the Airea a lot because you anticipated walking along roads from trains to lodgings in rustic, uneven settings a LOT, would you want the airea still or would you be wanting something a bit more rugged? I'm looking at the little IT spinner in my living room here and I think the wheels would cry and be worn down after repeatedly doing that. Or are the wheels inexpensive enought that if that happened after a trip you'd just freshen and change them out?

Posted by
124 posts

I think I'm going to look for a video so I can see how you replace the wheels. I'm curious how they're supported, whether structurally the more beefy looking wheels are actually any less likely to break than more typical spinner wheels, etc., whether there are limits to the materials and how many times you can unscrew and add new ones, etc.

Posted by
124 posts

So I'm watching various wheel replacement videos on youtube, and it looks like it's easy when the design involves screws and difficult when brackets holding the wheels were riveted on. It also looks, to my non-engineer mind, like the wheels should be more or less similarly stable, whether spinner or rolling, assuming the brackets have multiple points of connection.

It's also a little confusing that Eagle Creek has old videos showing how to install their replacement parts but currently says they're warrantied, implying you'd have to ship, which would o course be prohibitive and time consuming. So my whole theory that you could easily change out wheels seems to depend on how the prospective unit is assembled.

Posted by
496 posts

OP I'm not sure why you're comparing the Osprey Daylite to the others - its a small day pack sized backpack - the equivalent to correctly compare a backpack to a roll along is the Osprey porter 46 which I have and my partner has the Osprey Ozone 2 wheeler.

I hate and loath pull along bags - they wreck my back - and they are a pain to carry up and down stairs. My pack just sits on my back. If I need to check it all the staps disappear and is easy to convert t from mode to the other literally why waiting for bag drop queue to clear. Sometimes I check it - sometimes not - it depends on the airline.

One thing I was surprised an disappointed in is that the Ozone is far from water proof - the wheels kick water up the bottom of the bag. My porter isn't waterproof either - but it was partly sheltered by my umbrella, and nothing got wet inside - I could buy it a pack cover too - while you can't for roll along.

If you want the lightest bag you probably want the porter 3.26lbs. If you MUST have wheels the Ozone is a nice bag so long as you are aware of the wet issue.

Posted by
124 posts

Lissie, thank you for your reply! The Daylite I was looking at is the 40L wheeled duffel. https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/daylite-carry-on-wheeled-duffel-40-DAYWHDF40.html You're right that ANY pack that size is going to be a pain in the butt to carry up stairs. In my testing a 20 pound backpack definitely inflamed my back problems and wasn't a reliable option. I still dream about whether I could get that down (13-15 pounds) but I think it's still splitting hairs. I can carry weight out to the side and be ok, but straight down on my spine is a problem. Even if I started really light (say 13-14 pounds), doubtless I'd pick up some things along the way, even functional things like toiletries, and have it creep up.

Ironically, when I started looking at packs months ago my teen ds swore he wanted something that rolls and now swears a backpack would be better. Haha. There are some logistical reasons why a roller makes sense even for him (bringing along a weighted blanket which either has to go in the carryon or in the person item on top of the carryon).

I'm going to try to see the Osprey Daylite 40L wheeled Duffel and the Osprey Ozone 40L wheeled carryon in person today, which hopefully will clear up a lot. I didn't realize the products might not shed water very well. The Eddie Bauer bag someone had recommended in this thread https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/82300254/expedition-22-duffel-2.0?color=Black&sp=1&size=ONE%20SIZE&sizeType= shows some kind of water resistance (DWR, whatever that means) so I just naively stopped asking whether the other pieces I was considering did.

Hopefully I'll be more confident on a choice after I see these two in person, either by liking them or removing them from the list.

Posted by
739 posts

No, I didn't say that. I said that if you should have to change a wheel, all you have to do is unscrew four metal screws, remove the wheel housing, attach the new wheel housing, and tighten the four screws. The new wheels come with two new screws in case you need them. (Most spinner bags are designed this way for easy changing of wheels.)

Thanks Frank II for taking the time to explain that again. I didn't have the time to find your original post. I did seem to recall that it wasn't normal wear and tear that led to the wheel issue.

Posted by
124 posts

Btw, in that thread someone else mentions what I was seeing in the video. She calls them grommets and in the video they call the fixed attachments rivets. So whatever you call them, it's a whole lot easier to change wheels if they're attached with screws rather than rivets. It's something I'm going to be looking for as I look at the luggage. But the whole idea of wheels completely breaking off, what would require replacing the entire housing of the wheel, right? What a mess. Seems like that would have a limited span, unlike an actual wheel change which on some units (Eagle Creek) is just a pop. But given that spinners and rollers both attach similarly to the units (screwing or riveting into the same types of wall material) it seems like they ought to be relatively similar in durability within the same manufacturing style and it seems like what would make them less likely to rip off is number and solidity of attachments, not only whether they're spinner or roller or whether they're thick. And it seems like if you actually rip a well attached spinner wheel housing off a piece of luggage the luggage itself is going to show some wear and be not so happy at that point, mercy.

That's pretty in the weeds, but I figure if you pay $300 for a spinner it's a valid question whether/why those spinners would last better than a $70 spinner. LOL

Posted by
739 posts

Silas Marner, Do you think your Samsonite Airea would go over sidewalks, cobblestones, etc. nicely or would you have reservations about that? Say the distances were about ¼ mile but were going to be repeated many many times? Would you rather have the spinners on something like an Eagle Creek in that situation? I'm with you that the numbers make sense.

@Stw1b - good questions.... So far my impression is the Airea does roll rather easily on various carpets, easily on pavements but I haven't used it over enough cobblestone to assess that. I do know I've tipped it to 2 wheels several times without scraping the bottom edge. I have a feeling that I will have to lift it up and carry in extreme situations and that's just fine. We're both fit and healthy. Our goal was to get the best we could find at the lightest weight so that we could max out the clothes packed. I can't really assess the longevity of the wheels yet but will have a better response in a few weeks. It's going to be used extensively for 6 weeks straight in 5 European countries Apr - May and again for at least 3 more weeks in a 6th in September.

I've looked at the Eagle Creek Expanse 4 Wheel @6.375=2475-->2746, $249 you mentioned. It does look sturdy and appealing. I think the wheels look nearly the same size as the Airea but have the wrapping covers around the wheel rather than exposing them, I'm not sure how those will play out in real use.....could be great. I think the corner wheel structure looks similar in size to the Airea.

I lean towards the lighter weight of those we bought (I'm glad we got the 3.95 lbs.). I may have a different opinion late this year.

In some ways I think I must still have a slight preference for my 20-year old 2 wheeler that was used extensively in my domestic work travel. I lean more towards dragging something behind me rather than negotiating something beside or in front of me and I suspect it would outperform the Airea on cobblestone. But 2 wheelers have their own collection of issues so I was willing to go along with my partner's ideas for change. I do like that Eagle Creek.

Posted by
15571 posts

Stw1b......look......I used to write about luggage and travel accessories and review them. I have a Travel Goods Specialist certification from the Travel Goods Association. That means I took a series of courses to learn about bags, their material, manufacture, etc. I know what I am talking about.

Here is what I am going to say......You are way overthinking this. A wheel on a $70 bag can break. A wheel on a $500 bag can break. If you get a bag with a stronger wheel housing and attachment, where the wheel is screwed directly into the wheel housing over seeing plate riveted on the bag, you have better odds of a wheel surviving.

I travel full time. I use my bag more than most. I've had it and its predecessor for about four years. I've had one wheel break in that time. And that had nothing to do with dragging the bag.

Can I guarantee a wheel won't brea? No. No one can.

I like the Airea. I will continue to use it as long as I can. I chose it because it was very lightweight compared to other. I learned to pack more efficiently and take less to keep the weight down. I have only once used the expansion on the bag and that was on a domestic trip where I had to take a suit. My trips average three months and I don't have a problem because I don't pack for three months. Whether it's one week, three weeks or three months, I pack the same.

If you have an IT bag why not use it.

Posted by
124 posts

I'm back! I saw the Eagle Creek Tarmac 4 wheel (not on my list, very heavy) and it had the same wheels as the Expanse. They're excellent, very sturdy. At another store I saw a 4 wheel Osprey Ozone, which I didn't care for at all (odd to pack, monopole uncomfortable in my hand, wheels lock when pushed, etc.) and the Osprey Daylite 40L wheeled duffel. Ds LOVED the Daylite wheeled duffel, so we bought one for him. I'm hoping to play around with it and test pack to see how it compares. By the numbers, it's bigger than the IT luggage spinner I have. The wheels are satisfactory, neither beastly nor minimal. It's better in person than I anticipated, much nicer, and definitely a good middle of the road choice. It doesn't expand but if that doesn't matter, it's a well made choice. To him the bonus was the backpack straps that can velcro together to make a duffel handle. With the stairs we need to do, to him both options seemed very practical.

So I'm going to recover from this adventure, test pack the Daylite a bit, and think. It's so beautifully light but in the store we had them pack 30 pounds in it, which it could handle well enough. I'm not saying you want to hike miles using it as a backpack with 30 pounds, haha. But just for a short distance to get up and down some stairs, even with a ridiculous load, it was fine. I think they've hit a real nice point here with price, quality of materials, etc. I don't think somebody traveling 9 months a year is going to want it, but for someone more like us (a couple long trips a year), it's really brilliant. About the time you'd use it up, you'd be sick of it anyway and ready to move on. So the price and quality kind of go together to make a nice product.

The RS people got me some metric measurements for the Rolling Carryon (53.5x34.3x22.9) and the Ravenna (53.5x35.5.23).

I'm going to do some test packing with the Daylite and see what happens. It comes in a pretty muted floral/abstract print that I could go for. I need to think through what I saw and how it relates to the other pieces on my list. If the Expanse were lighter, it wouldn't even be a question. If the Ozone comes in a 2 wheel, that will be in the running. The Daylite is probably better quality than the RS Carryon (admittedly for more $$) but it is fixed capacity. I didn't see anything more Samsonite in person, sorry. So hopefully after I regroup something will be obvious to me. At least I got my ds' bag figured out.

Posted by
124 posts

Frank II, thank you, that's very good advice. Yeah, keeping the IT could be on the table. My ds LOVES the Daylite duffel, so no regrets on that at all. The Airea is definitely on my short list. I'm going to do some test packing with the two things I've got and then just ponder what I like and pick one. I don't mind $80 vs. $200 for the duffel because he loves it so, so much. However if I don't LOVE something and the function of what I've got is adequate, no need to throw around money. So I'll test pack, watch some tv, and come back when I'm fresh and decide. I did find the wheel discussion interesting btw. It helps to realize what I'm looking at. The bags start to make more sense, even if it does make you look silly peeling back linings to look for rivets and screws, hahaha. It just starts to make sense what they were expecting the bag to be able to do. This Daylite has some kind of odd backing liner and nobody is going to be confused and think it's Briggs & Riley or the Ozone, haha. But it's really solid for what it is, and considering I'm handing it to a teen who will throw smelly things in it and get mud on it and half ruin it somehow, it's a nice product. The zippers are killer, wheels middle of the road adequate. But for me, as a middle aged woman, probably not what I want. I take more care of my stuff and I want a bag that takes care of my stuff. I'll probably buy some breakable things, etc. so protection is in order.

Sorry, that's just talking out loud. Back later.

Posted by
14167 posts

I'm still hesitating on the Ozone and I'm not sure if my reasoning is concrete or not. I don't like the RFID tag, the price, the pockets, or even really the monopole. The only thing really in its favor is the weight.

If the Ozone comes in a 2 wheel, that will be in the running.

My Ozone is a 2-wheeler. It did well over broken pavement in Rome and I could easily maneuver it around dog 💩 there as well.

BUT BUT BUT with your above concerns I would just say no. If it were $100 you could work around the monopole, the pockets and the tracking tag but for $280, not worth getting something that isn’t near perfect for you.

Posted by
124 posts

Blockquote but for $280, not worth getting something that isn’t near perfect for you.;

Exactly!

Posted by
124 posts

Well that was easy! I did a test packing with the Daylite wheeled 40L duffel and it's terrific. I filled 1 large, 1 medium, and 2 small packing cubes with what I roughly would like to take for an upcoming trip, not even a redacted list. (3 dinner tops, 1 formal top, 2 tshirts, 2 long sleeve casual, 1 convertible pant, 1 yoga pant, 1 thin dress pant, 2 swim tops, 1 swim short, skivvies, etc.) and I still had room for another medium packing cube for medications, a pair of shoes if I want a 2nd pair, toiletries, and a 3:1:1 bag. The thing is a BEAST! And when you put all that in, the handles are the bomb and what blow you away. The zippers are solid, wheels fine (neither anemic nor beast), but the handles, oh my. I loaded the same packing cubes into the IT hardsided, and even though they fit and had room to spare for one more medium packing cube, the handles were so strained under the load that I was afraid they could actually break and make it non-returnable.

So I've ordered the Daylight in an adorable crysanthemum print and it's DONE! Done and dusted, no more thinking about it. The handles will be very practical for slinging around on trains and it should just work out fine. It's light, it rolls, it holds enough, and it's not too pricy.

Thanks everyone for setting my head straight! :)

Posted by
919 posts

Stw1b: time to start traveling and breaking that Daylite in!

Posted by
124 posts

Amazon in the US sells the Samsonite Airea and the seller is Amazon UK. They ship to the US with no shipping cost. It does take a little longer to arrive.

Hi cjkml, yes, I saw that. Ironically, Osprey is running behind enough that both bags will take about the same time. It was a toss up and the Airea would not have been a bad choice.
Airea--spinners, expansion, quality handles and appearance, structure to protect contents, ease of changing wheels
Daylite Duffel--rollers, pockets, rugged handles, will look great dirty, squishability, slightly higher base/unexpanded capacity, backpack straps that link to form duffel handle

That's how I see it, just tradeoffs. Price similar, weights similar, time to deliver similar. I thought about my upcoming trips, with many many walks on sidewalks, concrete, etc. and the flinging on trains and shoving in dirty places and my seeming preference in the store for rollers (which is what I've used in the past) and the pretty print on the Daylite duffel. I thought about that duffel handle formed by the shoulder straps and the flexibility that gives me for the MANY stairs will be doing. And when I weighed (haha, weighed) stairs with an easy duffel handle vs. the expansion capacity, the duffel handle seemed to win out. I'm short(ish), so for me to carry the Airea on it's side, it requires me to lift the bag higher (14" side), by a smaller handle, than lifting the Daylite duffel from the widest, flat side (9") if that makes sense.

I'm definitely not disparaging the Airea, as it could have been a great choice. At a shrunken 5'4", those logistics like handles and the side I'm lifting it from suddenly seemed more important than capacity. I'm a lot less likely to break a wheel if it's easy for me to pick up high enough to clear obstacles. I think that had been my reservation on the Airea in the first place, how I would do carrying it up steps. That's specific to me, not saying it's the right all for someone else. So yeah, Daylite won for the handles, lol.

I'm sure I could kick myself, but I thought logistics ease might make me happy more of the time. Capacity I can improve with my personal item selection or by mailing things home or by not buying stuff, lol. I'm probably also going to look for some new shirts to reduce shirt duplication (touring and dinner shirts).

Posted by
53 posts

Stw1b, did you measure the Osprey Daylite duffel once you got it home? I read a couple reviews that said it was half an inch longer than the stated dimensions on the website...

Posted by
124 posts

did you measure the Osprey Daylite duffel once you got it home? I read a couple reviews that said it was half an inch longer than the stated dimensions on the website...

You are not making my day. So I'm trying my best to push it against the wall, draw lines, and measure, and I'm never getting below 22.5", which converts out to 57.15 cm.

EasyJet, Norse, and British Airways all say 56X45x25. United says 22x14x9 and is known for being generous. The others I don't know about. Osprey on their website says 22x14x9 US, 55x35x23 metric. You are correct the product as I'm measuring it is 57. I'm trying to imagine some scenario where it's 55. There's this handle at the bottom that becomes a little stand and the bag can kind of roll. I can play with it to see if there are angles where it measures 55. That's just really ridiculous that the manufacturer isn't providing accurate measurements.

Posted by
124 posts

Ok, I don't know if I can attach pictures here. Before I was measuring it standing up, which as I said seems a little fraught. Now I'm measuring it lying flat between two solid objects, caliper style. I'll be back.

Posted by
323 posts

"An ounce at home is a pound on the trail." (Was it comic strip hero Mark Trail who said that?) Rick's packing suggestions on this site are terrific -- and I cut stuff from that list.

Get the lightest carry-on possible. And "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!" (Or otherwise just leave it at home.) You'd be surprised how much you don't need. And that's coming from a recent four-week trip to Scotland and planning for a two-month trip to Spain and Portugal shortly.

Get a bag with wheels and an extension handle. The 3+ flights of stairs is one thing. Walking from the curb or bus to the train station or through the airport, you can use it to roll your backpack, too.

Posted by
124 posts

I spent some time here measuring, because I couldn't figure out why I was getting inconsistent results. If you try to measure it standing, you get some sliding with the rollers and this odd effect where the stand/handle thing at the bottom almost seems to extend farther.

So to eliminate those issues of angle, I decided to lay it flat on it's back. I tried multiple locations, because as you will sort of see in the picture some of my kitchen cabinets had grooves that allowed the kick stand to slide in or possibly slide in. So then I tried against a door (which ought to have been stable, right?) but the numbers I got were different. So then I went back to the kitchen cabinets, which aren't going to move in a door frame, and I reversed the unit, putting the kick stand toward the HEAVY BOX I was using as the other side of my press. The top ridge of the duffel at that point was below the ridges in the cabinetry and not impacted. I also centered on the boards so I was measuring in one plane with the duffel, not on a piece that was inserted or possibly somehow (though it shouldn't be) different.

I'm attaching below a link for the picture so you can decide for yourself. There's some imprecision in my measuring, because I'm using a random home depot style tape measurer. It seems accurate when held up to the yard stick I had lying around. I'm getting 21 15/16"=21.9375"=55.72cm

So we can ask whether my measuring tools are accurate within a ½ cm, haha, but that's what we're talking about here. I suppose if they're slightly off (.2 or .3cm) and the unit actually technically is 55.2 or 55.3, then it would round down to the stated 55cm on their website.

I DID get 22.5" when measured standing up in a very casual manner, up against the wall like you measure kids. However laying it flat, which is how it would be in a sizer, those issues of angle, wobble, etc. are eliminated and we're left with raw compressed product between two stable surfaces. I'm saying compressed, but there is no compression. The top of the frame is firm, though slightly rounded. I placed it between a cabinet that wasn't going anywhere and this heavy heavy box that has extra thick sidewalls and framing, ie. not going anywhere, then I pressed them together to get a fair caliper style measurement.

That's it. I'm not saying someone is wrong saying they thought they measured it at 22.5. Just saying when you lay it out flat and get more ocd about it, it's probably pretty close to the stated 55cm.

Link with picture
https://flic.kr/p/2opNrWf

Posted by
124 posts

https://flic.kr/p/2opQQ2c side view so you can see.

and
https://flic.kr/p/2opQ3Xd So you can see that in fact the box was level, not pushed in on the sides by the stand.

I can see why people are getting differences, but with methodical measurement I can get numbers that are closer to the website. I wish they were under, but that's quibbling. If you're flying and want your bag under 55 for a super picky airline, I guess go with the Rick Steves rolling carryon (which is 53.5), the Ravenna (also 53.5) or something else. I had given up hope of doing carryon for LuxAir anyway, which is 55x40x23. Would they dock you for something under a cm over? I don't know. Everyone else I'm flying is 56x45x25, so I have no issues. The bag is definitely under 56 when measured carefully. Not meaning to imply the others weren't careful, but you see it for yourself. Heavy surfaces, put it between, line up the tape measurer.

Posted by
53 posts

Thank you for your thorough reply! My bag actually arrived today (same chrysanthemum print!) and I schlepped it to the airport to stuff it into a sizer (9” x 14” x 22”). It fit perfectly! Hopefully that eases your mind; it certainly was a relief to me, so I’m definitely not returning it to Osprey.

Posted by
124 posts

Thank you for your thorough reply! My bag actually arrived today (same chrysanthemum print!) and I schlepped it to the airport to stuff it into a sizer (9” x 14” x 22”). It fit perfectly!

Thank you, that is reassuring!!! Can I ask what airline that was for? :) During our upcoming trips we're booked on United (not worried), Norse (not terribly worried), EasyJet (worried), and British Airways (also worried). And is the print pretty? It looked like it might hide dirt really well, haha, while also being pretty. I'm kind of psyched. The black looks SO much better in person than I anticipated based on looking at it online.

Well good, I'm relieved to hear the bag is sliding into sizers just fine! And was your impression of it as nice as mine? Have you tried packing it up? I was realizing my packing success didn't allow for purchasing anything at all. I don't know if I'll buy much on this upcoming trip though. When I do the Caribbean I like purchasing handmade things like little paintings or vases. The 3rd world, low price point personal charm thing makes it all work. Even in San Juan I found some small affordable art. I guess I figured Europe would be stuff out of my price range, haha. People keep talking about olive oil and purses and none of that interests me, mercy. I guess that's always the surprise, when you find something you REALLY want. If that happens and I have zero space, I'll probably be a little unhappy. This bag isn't going to have that much allowance though, that's for sure. Are you taking an extra bag and checking something on the return? Or are you going to trim your packing list to leave room for a few goodies?

Haha, we could just do consumable goodies. Then they'd be gone by the time we fly. Turkish Delight!

Posted by
53 posts

My upcoming flight is on Alaska Airlines, and their carry-on limit is 9" x 14" x 22". They don't fly from my local airport, but American Airlines uses the same carry-on requirements so I just used their sizer box. The plan is to use the Osprey roller as my carry on and a 25L backpack as my personal item.

The print is better than I expected. I only ordered that one because all the others were out of stock (and I wanted a light-colored interior anyway), but I was pleasantly surprised! I think it will hide dirt pretty well and I like that it doesn't look like every other bag you see out there.

I haven't packed it up the way I will for the Alaska Air trip, but I'm already packed for a different Icelandair trip I'm going on this weekend, so I just squished THAT bag (a Tom Bihn Western Flyer) into the Osprey so that it wouldn't be totally empty during my test, lol. I think if you overstuff it, the width may be a problem fitting in the sizer, but the length was what I was mostly concerned about and that's not an issue. My plan is to just not stuff it so full that it bulges.

I usually don't buy many souvenirs other than the odd magnet or keyring, so I don't really plan ahead for stuff like that. I think if you take a decent sized personal item you should have plenty of room with the Osprey for souvenirs, especially if you keep the clothing you take to a minimum. But your idea of taking a foldable tote or something and checking a bag on the way home is always a good back up plan!