Duffle bag for in-country flying

May 14th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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Duffle bag for in-country flying

Am looking at buying either the Medium (11x23x11) or large (13x30x13) LL Bean duffle bag for use on the seven day in-county flying part of our safari. I will also use a backpack for carrying photographic gear etc. Would appreciate any comments as to possible size limits on in-county aircraft or recommendations as to what might be best to consider for this part of our trip.....thanks, Bob
BYoung4u2 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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I think weight has more to do with it than size. I use the medium duffel but others use the large duffel. I also bring a backpack. avoid wheels and metal/plastic handles.
matnikstym is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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I've used a 15x15x30 duffle when flying in Kenya and Tanzania. I don't think there's a specific size limit and they're more concerned with weight.
Patty is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Me too! 30" bag. But it's the weight with which you have to concern yourself.
sandi is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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I use an Eddie Bauer 30" duffle bag while traveling in Africa as well. The bag itself is under 3 lbs. and has no wheels, just sof-sided. Makes it easy to squeeze into smaller planes.

Just finished doing a test packing for trip to SA leaving in a few days ... amazing only 17 lbs of stuff so far. Was amazed at how many clothes and other items I was able to pack. The bag is not full by any means and have met the weight limit for inter Africa travel without any problems.

I am carrying a small backpack for prescription meds, tickets, small amount of toiletries for plane, reading material and will use same backpack for game drives to carry those items that I might need for day like: gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant, tissues, etc.

We often use this same duffle bag when traveling on road trips in US in our small sports cars which have limited trunk space. You learn to be efficient in packing items that you only NEED to take.

- Granny Joan
GrannyJoan is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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Matnikstyn,Patty,Sandi and GJ...Thanks so much for your comments. Have decided to go with the bigger bag and just be sure I stay under the weight limits....by the way how often is the backpack weighed along with the duffle bag on the in-country flights? Bob
BYoung4u2 is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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Bob, I've never had my backpack weighed, don't know why as it's often heavier than the duffel.
matnikstym is offline  
May 20th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Matnikstym...I have heard that from several Fedorites...has anyone else experienced the same? I guess it might just be the luck of the draw or is it most common not to weigh the backpack?
BYoung4u2 is offline  
May 20th, 2007, 02:38 PM
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So we are leaving in a week and I just finished putting in the clothers. Would we be better off eaching taking 2 smaller duffles rather than one large one stuffed full?

Also we are going to Cape Town first for 4 days. What type of clothes do I need for there. We will be sightseeing and doing the usual stuff. Dinner yes but not gourmet dining.
spiegelcjs is offline  
May 20th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Smart casual for Cape Town.
zimdonna is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 12:23 AM
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spiegelcjs, did you see my REI addresses in that other thread for you? (evil wheels). I don't recall your exact itinerary but we had two duffles last time. As we went back and forth to JNB, we left one bag there to follow the weight restrictions of certain countries. When we finished in SA, we were allowed to bring both bags.

Cape Town was generally more casual than LA. Even the gourmet restaurants were casual.
Clematis1 is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 05:08 AM
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Whew, the third thread on duffels in a week. And, the attack on wheels continues ("evil wheels"?). In all the responses, I have yet to see that anyone was denied being able to put their soft-sided duffle with wheels on even the smallest of airplanes. Or, being told in advance that he/she could not do it. We never had a problem in xfers among 4 camps in Zambia. But we did not leave the question to chance in advance as we contacted both our TA and camp managers who would be meeting us at the a/p's/strips.

So, aside from the weight penalty (no more than 1.5 pound extra if you shop around, and I'll trade the weight penalty to my shoulders any day, or do without), what's the deal with the virulent bias against wheels? I just don't get it. Could it be that it's a natural psychological defense of a purchase commitment already made, rationalizing the misery of carrying all your belonging on your shoulders?

Cuz, having been a multi-decade veteran of carrying non-wheeled bags through a/p's, my back and shoulders are so very thankful of finding relief in my current travels. Our cheapo 28-inch Walmart duffels that survived nicely in nearly 3 weeks in Zambia flying among 4 camps weigh barely 4 pounds, and I've never, over the years, have had a wheel or handle break. And, at the worst, if something does break, you're no worse off than if you didn't have wheels in the first place. And, never a question in Zambia of putting the wheeled duffles on intra-camp flights. Ruth is an avid runner, and I am a cyclist, so we are in very good shape, and could have shlepped unwheeled duffels through a/p's if we had to. But, why in the world would we?

For the kind of $$$ any safari costs, I would be reconsidering my TA and camps, if they could not definitively answer the wheel question.

So, carry on, but me, I'm gonna continue to roll, without a worry--or pain.



steeliejim is offline  
Jun 4th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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Anyone considering wheels on duffle bags would be advised to search for the other threads ("wheels" and "evil" brings up one, just "wheels" will bring up another). If you have only been to Zambia, then you're not experienced with flights in other countries like Botswana, SA, Tanzania, etc. like Sandi, Eben, Michael etc.who advise against wheels. I am not an expert but I've traveled different African countries and I have seen a woman be forced to leave a bag behind because it would not fit. If you google you will also see reference to some travel stories in various newspapers advising not to take wheeled luggage.
Clematis1 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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You seem to be mixing two subjects, clemantis, max dimensions, vs. wheels. Yes, if the bag is too big, it won't fit into the compartment on small planes, and Jasher (Julian) just commented on another thread seeing someone having to leave a bag behind because it was too big. But nowhere have I seen a blanket prohibition on wheels in any of the countries popular for safari travel, and I have looked(If you have a specific reference I would love to see it).

While I do value the inputs of other more experienced safari-goers, as has been pointed out many times, we should use those inputs as a starting point and verify for ourselves. I still think it is really silly to be carrying your bags if your wheeled bag will fit through the cargo door, and meets the weight limitations. But, if others want to continue to do so, go right ahead, but it's a choice, not a requirement.

Here is a good website on the subject, as well as answering other safari questions.


It lists the max luggage restrictions for a number of African airlines.

Here's what it said about luggage for charters.

"Luggage On Charter Flights

As is noted above there are strict weight restrictions on any itinerary including light aircraft (charter) transfers for the following reasons:
The aircraft are designed with a maximum bodyweight and luggage weight allowance.
Many of the airfields used on safari are over 3000 feet above sea level and are located in the tropics, and therefore the permissible aircraft carrying capacity is reduced.
The aircraft have physical space restrictions. Therefore, the following considerations must be noted for these types of fly-in safaris:
Only soft bags (no hard suitcases can be transported as they physically cannot fit into the aircraft) will be accepted. This includes camera equipment and hand luggage.
The maximum dimensions of the soft bags are as follows: 81cm (32 inches) long x 36cm (14 inches) wide. Please keep in mind that the baggage compartments on the light aircraft are only 25cm (10 inches) high, so the pilots must have the ability to manipulate the bag into the compartment.
Passengers weighing 220 lbs or more, or two guests traveling together whose combined weight is 390 lbs or more, must please advise us in advance as an extra seat must be allocated for safety purposes (at an additional charge). These luggage restrictions may seem onerous but please bear in mind the following:

"Most safari camps / lodges and hotels provide basic toilet amenities
Laundry can be done on a daily basis (and many camps provide this service free of charge but hotels do charge a nominal fee)
On a wildlife safari, casual clothing is the order of the day."

BTW, my cheapo Walmart duffle is 13 3/4 inches wide. That's the only "hard" dimension, and I plan to use it, or one like it, with no worries, in all those other wonderful countries I plan to visit.


So, if a bag with wheels
steeliejim is offline  
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