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winter packing and the RS Convertible

I'm still discovering just how versatile the RS Convertible Carry-on that I got earlier this year here from the online spring sale is -- just returning from my first use during winter,
and i was able to shove my winter coat into the inside-the-lid pocket along with a nearly dry pair of supplex shorts/bathing trunks, but with the coat inside (I know, I could have worn the coat on to the plane and then stuck it in the overhead beside the bag but I wanted to experiment)
the bag was a skosh too Santa-waisted to make it into the overhead bin the usual way, feet first on its back. So i turned it sideways (not crossways but sideways, I know there are some here on the forum who have strong feelings about proper overhead bin etiquette :=)) and it made it in, snugly. The box of cherry cordials I'd tucked in last before closing the zippers came through unsmooshed.

The zippers have been one thing about the bag that wasn't working completely smoothly for me, and i realized that I should keep the outside cinch straps completely un-cinched until I have the zippers closed first, so that has helped a bit with the fussiness of the zipping.

The outside side pocket that Rick says is perfect for the laptop is indeed easier for getting through the security line, but I'm realizing that leaving the laptop in that pocket really throws the center of balance off, making throwing out one's back more of a danger, so I'm getting in the habit of taking a few moments after clearing the security line to open up the bag and move the laptop closer to the bottom (toward my back when wearing it) and this helps overall portability.
I'm willing to open the bag there because since I'm now using some kind of packing cubes there is less mess to fiddle with in a higher traffic spot. I'm still too cheap to get actual packing cubes, but my dollar store sells sweater storage bags (18 x 12 x 3 inches) in two-packs, for yes, a dollar. Two of those, a cords/chargers bag, a couple of clear ziplocs, and the included RS pouches make for a pretty tidy interior. True, the sweater bags wear out after just a couple of uses, but that still means I can take more than a dozen trips before I reach the cost of packing cubes.
Things still needing resolution for me are how to get thicker socks (et al) to dry quick enough, and the general problem of having a spot to put the bag down that isn't going to get it damp/muddy/gritty.

Posted by
1309 posts

That's great information about your new bag. I just bought the 20 inch roller this month on sale and it will get it's first adventure next week.
As to socks, I really like Sockwell (brand) compression socks, both for on the plane but also for general wear. They are expensive but on sale right now at REI. I have hand washed them while traveling and they have easily dried overnight. They have some wool in them and are similar to Smartwool, but I think that the quality is better. And they are made in the USA, which I personally appreciate.

Posted by
106 posts

Thanks for the great report. Very brave to try a chocolate covered cherry test!! I took the bag you are testing to Germany and France for a six week trip. Really love those big pockets. I will never use as a backpack so I "regifted" to the grandson. Purchased the RS rolling carryon on sale. Already I notice that empty it is heavier. Hope I can cram more stuff in it since it does expand. Will test drive it next week for a domestic trip.

Posted by
18568 posts

I've been using one for a number of years and its about 80% ideal. I just wish I could make it a little more rigid. By the end of the long flight over a lot has shifted to the bottom making the shape a little ungainly. How bad? I still use it on every trip I can. This year I have a trip that requires be to bring a dinner jacket and for that I found this bag: The photo doesn't really describe it well. The garment bag wraps around and clips to a smaller inner bag. Rick doesn't really promote or provide much for such situations.

For winter trips I have a good down filled jacket and thermal bottoms. The down filled jacket if put in one of those compression vacuum bags will flatten out to nearly nothing and then expand when the bag is opened. I think its pretty much the best cold weather travel jacket for fitting a lot of warmth into a small package.

Posted by
2532 posts

Yes, the quilted down jackets that are popular this year have caught my eye not so much for the fashion but because Ricknik Sarah Murdoch showed how she keeps one partially compressed in her veloce iPad day bag in her class during the marathon broadcast from Edmonds this fall.

I want to clarify that this was my first winter packing with the RS convertible -- I've used it for a couple of ~week or less trips in mild weather with, as mentioned, 80% or better satisfaction, the issue being that it is a little bit of overkill in those cases, but I think that's a tribute to Rick's pragmatic spirit -- the RS convertible can handle a very wide range of packing situations, so if you can only afford or only want to store one bag, it is the way to go. If I had no limits, I'd keep a Tom Bihn Tristar (or whatever it's called) for long weekends or short weeks, an Eagle Creek convertible for 1-week trips in good weather, the RS for 1 or more weeks in not-so-good weather, and camping equipment for bad weather, with various folder and packer aids as needed situationally. Until the lottery lightning strikes me though, I think the RS convertible and some bags and pouches will work for me wherever I manage to get to.

Posted by
3428 posts

One suggestion I've read about here for helping things dry- First wring out as much water as possible, then wrap in towel or chamois and wring again. Then, inflate a small balloon (don't blow it up too big, though) and insert it into the sock top so that it holds the sock open somewhat. This will allow more air to circulate and dry the now single layers of sock. Also works on pants legs and sleeves. It's easy to pack a small bag of cheap balloons. If you have access to a blow dryer, you can use it to finish drying any small wet spots (just don't use it to totally dry something- takes too long).

Another idea for packing cubes is the zippered cases that new sheets come in.

Posted by
630 posts

Toni - love the balloon idea. Thanks for passing that tip along. :)