Duffel bags or suitcases?

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Sep 23rd, 2003, 05:34 AM
  #1
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Duffel bags or suitcases?

We leave Sunday for SA. We will be flying from Johannesburg into the preserve, as well as flying between lodges once we are there. Are soft sided suitcases (within the weight limit) ok, or do we need duffel bags? After reading past postings, it seems duffel bags are the only things people talk about.
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 05:58 AM
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The duffle bags are best for the small aircraft as they have to push it around to fit. I think they require duffle type bags. Even though your suitcase is softsided it still has a hard frame.If you take other luggage ,it can be stored at the Jo'burg airport. What camps?
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 06:05 AM
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Thanks Jann - any suggestions on type of duffel etc.? Also we will be staying at Singita and Londolozi.
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 06:14 AM
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I find duffels awkward to get stuff out of so I use a huge and completely soft sided bag which is kind of like a giant gym bag - zip on top with handles there too but size of a large duffel.
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 07:22 AM
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Sounds like the type of bags we used. We purchased them at L>L> Bean Store but I've seen them in several stores. Be sure & watch the weight of the duffle. We couldn't believe the difference in the weight of the duffle bags.
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 08:26 AM
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Wilderness Safaris provides black duffle bags, and these work very well. They unfortunatelky were out of carry-on suit bags - I simply refuse to stuff black tie into duffle. Bruises the lapels and bends the pleats.
 
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 08:32 AM
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Wilderness Safaris did our 19 day trip but we didn't get any duffle bags----you did say they provided them?
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 09:03 PM
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We saw a pilot make a girl leave behind a large soft-sided "suitcase". Duffles are the way to go - in SA you can have two each and twice the weight allowed in Botswana. We got ours from REI (I think you can buy online too) camping stores. Kav, what's the difference between these and your large "gym bag?"
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Sep 24th, 2003, 04:41 AM
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Did you agent give you the measurements of the duffle bags? It sounds as if you have the weight limit. Duffle bags cannot be over a certain size so before you purchase one ,get the size. I tried to find it for you but things are a mess here so your agent will know exact.
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Sep 24th, 2003, 04:47 AM
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How would a soft sided back pack be considered? Thanks!
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Sep 24th, 2003, 04:53 AM
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Clematis -

Checked the REI site (I've used them for other items). Checking the duffles, they have a 24" duffle at $60 (wgt.1+ lb) and a 30" @ $70 (wgt.2+ lb). Which did you use (in Black & Blue)?

Did they have a hard bottoms, or soft all around?

Bye the way, did you see anyone using "rolling" duffles boarding the planes into the Delta? Thanks.
 
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Sep 24th, 2003, 05:24 AM
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The luggage areas slung beneath the tiny planes are teeny weeny so they need to able to really squish your bags into the weirdly shaped space.

If the backpack hasn't got metal shape struts I'd imagine it would be OK.

Goes without saying not to pack things that can break - cameras, electricals, anything at all that might be vaguely fragile, needs to be in hand luggage.
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Sep 24th, 2003, 05:35 AM
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Know nothing about this specific destination - but am now the duffel queen of the world after Europe trip for daughter. She used a 2-part duffel with a more constructed bottom and softer top - bottom zips all the way around to open flat and offers some protection for more fragile items and is also good for heavier things. Great for laundry on return. Top is usual duffel with 2 large outside zippered compartments. These sort of things were sold everywhere at various prices - from Target Stores to expensive luggage shops. She found it a good compromise between standard suitcase and disorganization of stuffing everything in one compartment in a duffel. Also had both handles or detachable shoulder strap. Larger ones had wheels as well, but I am not sure they add anything.
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Sep 24th, 2003, 05:39 AM
  #14
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Thanks to all for the advice. I too was wondering if rolling duffels are acceptable. Also what about cameras and other fragile items (carry on type things) will they be stored safely on the plane? Held in our laps? How does that work?
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Sep 24th, 2003, 06:47 AM
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Jann, yes, the bags are black and true duffles, and I believe they were sent to me by Karell Travel in Coral Gables, FL, which handled my last trip arrangements with Wilderness Safaris. They have WS logo on the side. They were asily accepted on the small aircraft from Maun to the lodges. The airport at Maun actually will store things for you if they are not accepted on board. I will use the bags once again next year, when I go though Maun, once again relaying on WS for all arrangements.
 
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Sep 24th, 2003, 10:11 AM
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Sandi, we had the 30" duffels. We bought 1 for each of us in black and in blue (as we left the black ones in J'berg while in Botswana) for a total of 4 duffel bags. When you pack these full, you're at the weight limit. I even had some camera-stabilizing eqt. in mine. The weight limits are important because if you're in a 6 seater plane, every bit counts and it's for your safety that the weight is right. We had someone actually lift our bags to test them and we also had our carry-ons weighed at one airport . Duffels are really appropriate in the bush.

Bali, I never saw rolling duffels in the Delta. It isn't worth the precious weight to have wheels because everywhere there is someone who carries your bag. We were also told that we could have no more than 10 lb of cam. eqt in a camera bag that goes on your lap. Per Kavey's good suggestion we used small cheap "backpacks" that were more like teen's school bags - no metal, very light and small. We put our cameras in those (with some padding) and they also held binocs and handi-wipes, tissues when we went on game rides. Once the pilot wanted to put them underneath and we let him - with no problems. On a 6 seater, the pilot offered to put them in the tiny back portion behind the last seat to make us more comfortable. A tip for when you are coming home on your major carrier - if you've got a lot of souvenirs and gifts, pack them separately in paper shopping bags. It's easier to do the VAT for one thing if you haven't done it already. But then also when you board the plane, they don't count shopping bags as part of your carry-on. It's goofy, because you're carrying on the same amount whether you put them in one of those nylon "emergency-type" extra duffels but then that would count as an extra carry-on. Remember - duffels rule!
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Sep 24th, 2003, 12:51 PM
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The rolling duffels add about 6 lbs. Most sports stores carry the plain duffles. We each carried a back pack with camera equipment & pilot sat them inside the back section of plane. We actually took more camera equipment than clothes.Our Wilderness Camps did our laundry everyday so we only took 3 changes for 9 days.
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Sep 24th, 2003, 04:08 PM
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Clematis & Jann -

Thanks for the duffle info. Neither of my rolling duffles (26" & 28") weigh more than 3-4/lbs empty and they have served me well and have never been overweight (or even near weight limits) under general circumstances.

The question was more for the small planes (to the Delta or Sossosuvlei) and I do have a few soft-side duffles for that purpose, when the time comes. It's easy enough to pack one or two of these in the big rollie and then simply take what one needs for the time in either of those places.

Interesting comment re "shopping bags" instead of folding softside for souvenirs, though by the time I'm ready to go home, everything gets checked. Since I never buy anything breakable there's no worry there - don't want to deal with my bags till I get into my abode. The only thing I take on board is my backpack with my camera equipment. But will keep that bit of info stored in my grey matter.
 
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Sep 25th, 2003, 06:02 AM
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balitrav, Hope we haven't totally confused you but you get the idea that DUFFLES rule! Have a great trip. Let us hear from you when you return.
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Sep 25th, 2003, 06:27 AM
  #20
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Thank you all so much for the help. We now own new duffles and are happily working on filling them. We leave Sunday, and are very excited! I will write again when we return.
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