Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reader question from Mindy: Mens' carry on luggage

Hi Bek

Just wondering what you would recommend in terms of mens' carry on luggage that is a step up from a backpack, yet not something that smugly declares itself terribly expensive. Sort of mid range, executive style thing in basic black. Only needs to hold toiletries, spare shirt, tie, socks and undies.

Have you seen anything like this in your trawl of travel sites?

Any assistance much appreciated - if you aren't flat out doing other things.



Hi Mindy

I've tried both sorts of cabin baggage - trolley bag and backpack and I can't tell you how much the backpack wins! Schlepping through an airport dragging a bag is just not as easy as strolling casually with a backpack. And backpacks don't all look like you're carrying your gym bag full of smelly gym gear either.

Backpacks come in stylish business-like versions these days, in Australia try the Antler size zero laptop backpack (nothing says you actually have to put a laptop in them) or this one if you want something a little bigger (bagworld does free shipping, too). In the US a smaller size smart looking version could be the  Belkin Slim Backpack or for something a bit bigger try this Case Logic 16-Inch backpack - it has the added bonus of being "security friendly", which in theory means you don't have to take the laptop out for screening.

Or you could go a messenger bag - if he's really only carrying a shirt, jocks and socks and toiletries, it's not like it's going to be heavy. My dad has a Crumpler laptop bag, he reckons they're pretty good, and this one looks like it could be the go for packing light business travel. In America where luggage is freakishly cheap in my opinion, you could get something like This Timbuk2 bag.

But if he's really insistent on a wheeled carry on, these are the things I'd think about:
  1. Go for an "underseat" model. He's obviously not a heavy packer, and although they're smaller, they (a) are much less likely to be gatechecked because the overhead lockers are full (happens all the time) and (b) is more likely to be within a wider range of airlines' requirements for carry on bags, including budget airlines. Two American versions, one from Magellans (they do ship to Australia, although I don't know how much it would cost!) or a cheaper option from Amazon, the CIAO! Wheeled Under the Seat Bag. In Australia, try this one from Snowgum.
  2. Soft sided is definitely the way to go - they look better for longer, you can squish them more without them breaking, and they're lighter, which makes a big difference when you're lugging luggage.
  3. If he's tall, make sure the handle is long enough - if it's too short, he'll be constantly bending over when he's trying to pull it along.
Let us know what you end up with (and feel free to send pictures!!)

Bek, who always uses a backpack for carry on!

Belkin Slim Backpack (Black/Light Gray)

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