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choosing luggage / suitcases for travel


  • there is no one solution for all needs
  • consider price, size, volume, weight, toughness, protection, waterproofing, ease of maneuver whilst in check in queues, ease of lifting (does it have good handles on top and side), zip quality, etc
  • consider how easy it will be to spot on the conveyor belt
  • ensure straps and seams are double-stitched and wheels are tough and robust and easy to maneuver
  • synthetic zippers made of interlocking nylon coils may be better than metal zips for durability
  • check the retractable handle to ensure it slides in and out smoothly and locks in position
  • at various times of the year, many products can be purchased new at 40% off the retail price, such is the retail mark ups.

checked in luggage for the international traveler

  • most singles will want to consider a medium size suitcase which weighs 2.5-3kg
  • a rolling suitcase rolls better and will allow more weight to be taken than a rolling backpack
  • hard case vs partially framed soft cases:
    • advantages of hard polycarbonate cases:
      • more protective of contents
      • generally more waterproof in case your luggage gets caught in the rain on the tarmac
      • usually allow better packing
      • usually lighter and stronger
    • advantages of soft cases:
      • get less scratches and dents
      • generally more expandable
      • more compact to store
  • 4 spinner wheels vs 2 inline wheels
    • advantages of 4 spinner wheels:
      • much more maneuverable
        • especially in queues saving your back from continuously lifting your 20kg bag at each step
        • usually can rotate 360deg so easier to wheel around corners
        • some manufacturers such as TravelPro, have magnatrac magnetic wheel alignment, allowing for a smooth ride and preventing the wheels from locking
    • advantages of 2 inline wheels:
      • more compact and may be a touch lighter
      • allows a soft case to be more compressible for storage
  • airline size limits
    • ensure the size is not too big that you get charged for over-sized luggage and not too heavy that you not only damage your back but also the taxi drivers and the baggage handlers
      • total dimensions for each piece must not exceed 158cm (62in).
        • dimensions for checked baggage are calculated by adding together the width, height and depth of the piece of baggage.
      • no single piece should weigh more than 32kg - preferably keep it under 20kg
  • how tough and light are they?:
  • weight vs capacity
    • Samsonite Cosmolite FL medium 69cm = 68L at 2.5kg but too expensive for most
    • Samsonite Lite-Shock medium 75cm = 98.5L at 2.5kg but may be too large and too expensive for most
    • Samsonite 72 hours or Uplifter soft medium 71cm = 79/86L at 2.6kg but may compromise on durability and thus the slightly heavier but the much more durably built Samsonite BLite 3 may be the best compromise
    • Delsey Helium 69cm = 101L at 3.2kg
    • Delsey U-Lite soft 67cm = 78/86L at 3.0kg
    • Antler Aire Softside medium 68cm = 70L at 2.3kg more affordable but less protective
    • IT Luggage, The Lite expander soft spinner medium 65cm = 77L at 2.1kg and very affordable

the large backpack with wheels option

  • unless you are actually planning to carry this on your back a lot instead of rolling it, AND you can keep the total weight including bag down to around 15kg, AND you do not have a bad back, THEN, a rolling backpack MAY work for you, and will certainly be easier on cobblestones in Europe or if going on trails.
  • IF you decide on this option, ensure it is well fitted to YOUR body shape
    • it should be as close as possible to your back
    • all the weight should be transferred to your hips, NOT your shoulders - make sure the waist belt is large, padded and can be adjusted so it fits over your pelvis snuggly
  • don't forget you also have to carry your cabin luggage which will probably be a day pack which can attach to the main pack, although this can create a security risk with potential valuables out of sight and out of feel from pick pockets
  • protect your back by taking great care when lifting it on and off your back

cabin luggage

  • many will take a backpack, but for those this is not a preferred option, then wheeled cabin size luggage is usually the way to go
  • 5 main considerations:
    • IT MUST COMPLY with airline cabin sizes:
      • safest option, especially for smaller flights is a total circumference of 105cm or 41“, which usually means a 48-50cm height
      • you may be able to get away with a slightly larger one on some flights up to 115cm or 45” circumference and these may be around 56cm high
    • it should be LIGHT:
      • airline cabin weight limits are usually 7-7.5kg but may be only 5kg on some flights
      • the lighter the case, the more you can pack into it without going over the limit
    • it should wheel well:
      • as you are not carrying it on your back it will need to be wheeled, so make sure these are good.
    • it should not topple over:
      • some designs can allow the case to topple over easily
      • part of this can be resolved by packing heavier items at the wheel end to lower the centre of gravity.
    • it should preferably be durable
  • examples:
      • Samsonite's latest hard case technology gives a 115cm case with 36L weighing only 1.7kg - that's 0.5kg less than the B-Lite 3 of same size, but it is expensive at around twice the price!
    • Antler Aeon 56cm spinner:
      • 56cm x 35cm x 23cm = 114cm = 38L and 2.2kg is well built and more affordable than the Samsonites
australia/luggage.txt · Last modified: 2017/04/09 13:29 by gary1

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