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wheels vs back packs

what luggage should i buy because some people say wheels don't go well

Posted by
6950 posts

I'm sorry, but questions without punctuation and capitals are not very clear. Are you asking whether to go wheeled luggage or go back pack? I prefer a high quality 20" or 21" rolling bag. I've yet to have any airline lose something I refuse to let them touch. I carry a small backpack for day trips. I can travel indefinitely with the rolling bag. Some young people that are strong do well with back packs.
Either will do well. Just make sure the back pack is too large as you might want to carry it on an airplane.

Posted by
3 posts

I said should I purchase a rolling suitcase or luggage without wheels because some people say that wheels are a bad idea

Posted by
31519 posts

Steven, Could you clarify what type of "luggage without wheels" you're considering? Are you referring to something like a shoulder bag or a Backpack? Also, did the people who told you that wheels were a "bad idea" provide any reasons for that? Based on my observations, the majority of travellers use wheelie bags and seem to be quite happy with them. However my preference is a properly fitted Backpack. If you could provide more specific details on what you're looking for, it would be easier to provide more detailed suggestions. Also, have you travelled before and what type of luggage did you use on that occasion? Cheers!

Posted by
2081 posts

Steve, Get what floats your boat. When it comes to luggage, this is your choice. Most all of the luggage people use now have wheels on them now. Yes, wheels can fail like anything else thats made. Ive seen chunks and parts of wheels on trains and walkways, so i would suspect that over time, they will fail. But like anything else in this disposable world, just get another one. just so you know, wheels dont work well on stairs and in some places you will find alot of them around. Some places discourage you from using them on escalators too. If youre use to carrying/wearing a backpack they can be great. but again, it will depend on what you want. I use a travel backpack for my travles and i like its use, size and how 99% of the time i can bring its as "carry on". your milage may vary..... happy trails.

Posted by
1834 posts

Nobody has used the term "convertible carry-on" yet and I think that may be what Steven is alluding to. We have used them for fifteen years, the same ones. No wheels.

Posted by
11613 posts

Steven, I've used a rolling carry-on for three-month trips to Italy for the past several years, never had a problem even on cobblestone streets. Make sure it's a good quality bag. I have seen people struggle with the 4-wheel luggage (the wheels tend to be smaller), especially where terrain is bumpy or the streets are cobblestone-paved. I used to carry a convertible backpack but I find the 2-wheel carryon works better for me (I'm not young and not tall).

Posted by
13716 posts

Too much grief Steven. Sorry for that. My wife and I use 21" wheeled hard cases. The kind with four wheels. Super light but they were not cheap. Got them from Brookstone half dozen years ago. Those and a moderate size soft bag have been plenty enough room for any trip and I can usually carry them both on. They are enough because we either do or pay for laundry service. The hard shell just works better for me. Prior to these I used, and still do on occasion, the Risk Steves soft bag that converts to a back pack.

Posted by
2788 posts

this type of question get asked regularly on this web site. You might want to use the "Search" feature in the upper right had corner of this web site to get much more information that you will posting here. I personally, go to Europe every summer for 11 of the last 12 years and have always used a 21" roller bag from Rick Steves. I have been all over Europe and have never had a problem with its wheels. I once had a problem with its handle and the RS folks replace the whole bag at no cost.

Posted by
1540 posts

I have an 18" Eagle Creek canvas bag, I can use it as a rolling bag with
extending handle, a back pack with fold out padded straps, or as a regular suitcase with the handle on the side. This bag does everything for me and I have traveled for over a month in Europe with just this bag and a small daypack as a daily backpack..... They say that Eagle Creek lasts forever and I have heard that they offer free repairs or replacements....but I have not had any problems with this bag in the over 10 years I've owned it.

Posted by
257 posts

I am second to Ken. My wife and I are in the sixties. We use no wheels for years. We only have carry on, no check-in and we use public transportation most of the time. No wheels mean 2 pounds lighter and it is a lot for us.

Posted by
129 posts

my preference has always been a carry-on that you do not check...i have used rick's classic bag numerous times...great bag...versatile as most know since it can be used as a traditional luggage bag and also as a backpack...a bag being able to go into backpack mode is a must...over my past number of trips i have switched to a patagonia mlc...similar to rick's classic bag yet a bit smaller and a bit tougher but still a light soft sided bag...the more i travel the less i take...walking is inevitable in travel and you are at your most mobile with your "stuff" on your back and with your hands free...

Posted by
11973 posts

We always carry on. My wife uses a rolling 20" Hayes USA (may be spelled a little differently) X-case because it's the lightest roll-on we could find. I use a Campmoor Essential Carry On convertible because it's light (and cheap). She's smaller than me, so her stuff packs smaller and she doesn't mind losing four pounds to the weight of her bag. I like having a one-pound bag, especially when I have to meet an 18 lb. carry-on weight limit. We both get where we're going and aren't unhappy with our choices. The roll on is much nicer in airports and elevators, mine is nicer hopping on and off transportation and going up and down stairs. If you think you will doing more of one or the other, you might take that into consideration.

Posted by
82 posts

I use a RS convertible backpack/suitcase and have been very happy with it. I have not used a wheel bag but I have recently noticed an advantage to the backpack as a carry on versus the wheeled bag as a carry on. Airlines are starting to have stricter enforcement of carry on luggage and asking people to place their bag into a plastic box to see if it fits the regulation size for carry on luggage. Because so many wheeled items are hard sided, they sometimes have a harder time passing inspection. Also when the overhead bins on a plane are nearing capacity, it is much easier to squeeze a soft sided bag in as compared to the wheeled bag. Something to consider. it's a pet peeve of mine when I have to check my carry on bag just because the overhead bin is full!

Posted by
21851 posts

In the US we always used two wheeled, carryon size bags because you can generally depend on smoother surfaces and often have a car. In Europe it is always a back pack style of carryon for a number of reasons. Wheels can be a problem because of the conditions of streets and sidewalks. If you are going to use a wheeled bag be sure it has two large (skate board style of wheels) - larger the better. The much smaller four wheel, swivel bags tends to get stuck in the cracks and breaks in the streets and sidewalks. Break one of those wheels and you have serious problems. And those wheels are much easier to break. Second, when moving through crowded areas I would rather have my hands free rather than dragging something behind me which people are stumbling over. But, it is your personal preference. You can live with either choice. Just have to make some trade offs.