Confused about what luggage to bring

Old Jan 19th, 2011, 04:36 PM
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Confused about what luggage to bring

I have read that safari planes are really strict on luggage size and weight. I understand the 15 kg limit but I'm confused of the type of luggage to use. Is it true that I cannot use those carry-on rolling suitcase? What would you recommend? Am I only limited to backpack or duffel bag?
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 04:52 PM
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I am going to South Africa and am also confused. Can you use the duffle bags on wheels?
Jeanne
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 05:08 PM
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I was told wheeled luggage was NOT recommended since luggage often has to be squeezed into the luggage compartment & wheels tend to hinder that process.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 05:12 PM
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Generally, whatever is easily stuff-able is best. The compartments on the small planes tend to be small and oddly shaped, so people shove and push luggage in there. This is why they like soft-sided luggage. Luggage with wheels or hard-sided cases tend to be stiffer and resist stuffing. It's not the wheels per se, it's the fact that wheeled luggage tends to also have a stiff frame. Then again, wheeled luggage without a stiff frame is pretty useless - it just flops around when you try to wheel it.

I won't say that it's forbidden to have a rolling suitcase, but you run a very high risk of not being able to fit it in the plane and having to deal with that situation on some dusty airstrip in the middle of Africa.

It also depends on the airplane. Can your safari operator reasonably guarantee you an airplane that can handle your luggage?
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 06:27 PM
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I feel compelled to answer because I now consider myself an expert - take a look at the beginning of my trip report re: luggage anxiety. Our goal was to have the largest possible carry-on allowed by international airlines, yet also be able to stuff the bags on small safari planes. In the end we took medium duffles plus two lightweight luggage carts (each fits two duffles - there were four of us). We also each had a small backpack for personal items - make sure your purse fits in it.

My favorite duffle was this one: http://www.ebags.com/product/eagle-c...ductid=1174171

And this is the cart we used: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/prod...p?SKU=14682740

We have since lent both the duffle and the cart to a friend who went on a very long dream safari, and she thought the ensemble was perfect as well.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 08:23 PM
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I have a medium sized rolling duffle that I got from Nat Geo quite a few years ago (the ones in the current catalog are square)and even though it has wheels, it squashes flat (height-wise). My daughter had a duffel and it had one end that was fairly rigid and stuck up about 10" and it was a problem on the really small planes because it did not want to squash through the tiny cargo hold door.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 04:16 AM
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We traveled without wheels based on the "no wheels" talk, and regretted it. My mom was 68 at the time, I have some very fun shoulder and back issues. The challenges weren't in Kenya as much as our plane changes at international airports, our overnights in Europe, both coming and going. In Amsterdam, we had to trek 3 blocks from the train station to our hotel - cabs refused to drive us such a short distance. I was cursing the lack of wheels the whole trip.

We were in about six small planes in Kenya, one in Tanzania - and many people had wheeled luggage and non-duffled bags. (Just what I saw).

Crosscheck's set up with the luggage cart is a great option! It's in our plan for the next safari. Plus, we won't be staying 5 extra nights in Europe during winter, so less clothing to pack next time.

Here's a square option I've looked at, which has more space than round duffles: http://www.redoxx.com/Safari-Travel-....5/110/Product

Not inexpensive, but great quality.

Either way, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful safari!
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 05:08 AM
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I dont know about anywhere else, but Safari planes only allow 15kgs and they do not allow plastic suitcases/hard luggage, they prefer backpacks, i hope this info has helped ;-)
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 07:13 AM
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Best soft-sided duffle-types. And, if as Local mentions you'll have need for walking distances where there are no luggage carts available (they're free at all European connections) or nice cab driver to assist, then bring a wheelie-cart.

And, though "no wheels" isn't set in stone, don't be surprised if a wheel is broken and thus bag of no/little use after. Why the soft duffles are recommended.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 11:07 AM
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Another option is to travel with both. If your safari operator, or perhaps your initial hotel, can hold luggage for you, you can travel with the regular wheeled variety and then transfer everything to soft sided duffel bags for the safari portion.

I did this when I was in Tanzania. I had a bunch of equipment I used for my Kilimanjaro climb that I didn't want to take with me on safari. So, I left a bunch of it with my safari operator in Arusha and took a smaller duffel with me on safari. I picked up my gear at the end of the safari when it concluded in Arusha.

Of course, this only works out if you arrive and depart from the same city in your destination country or have a safari operator willing to forward your luggage to you at the end of your trip.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:01 PM
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Totally anecdotal but almost everyone I saw on my last safari had wheeled luggage. Not me though. Ouch, my aching back.

Flights were on Safarilink from Tsavo to Wilson via Amboseli and then back from the Mara to Wilson.

Whatever you do, don't spend a bunch of money on your luggage. In the end it's of no importance. Safari njema!
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:59 PM
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Thanks for the links. DH and I will be looking to buy something too for our trip in Aug so this helps.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 04:45 PM
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I also do the duffel/cart combo plus a small backpack. I use the cart from Brookstone. Very convenient.

http://www.brookstone.com/compact-lu...st1FDT|8582916

http://sierraclub.usptgear.com/Produ...%20and%20Packs

I got my duffel from Cabela's, but I no longer shop there. Just find one that will fit in the carry-on rules of the airline(s) you use for your int'l flights.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 07:39 PM
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I took the advise of the Fodor experts and for 3 weeks had a duffle that would fit in an over head and folding cart with wheels...it was perfect!
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Old Jan 21st, 2011, 12:00 PM
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We took the "large" LL Bean duffels without wheels. Its cheap, its easy, it holds a ton. I don't think we every lifted the darn thing or carried it anywhere. There was always someone offering to help or a cart to use.
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Old Jan 21st, 2011, 08:03 PM
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I loved my soft bag.. about $100.
Transit 40 Conversion Pack by EMS
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