Luggage for safari

Dec 19th, 2017, 02:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,359
Luggage for safari

As some of you know from my other posts, DH and I are going to Tanzania in August for two weeks, on a 10 day safari and then three nights on Zanzibar. I have the plane tickets (business class on Turkish Airlines--thank you United miles) and have put down the 30% deposit on the land portion. We will have one internal flight, from an airfield in the northern Serengeti to Zanzibar. I have been informed that we are limited to 33 pounds each, including carry-on. I have never learned the art of packing light and I'm somewhat freaked out by this. The luggage must be completely soft sided. My safari consultant said, think duffel bag. I do not own a duffel bag and both DH and I need to buy them. Recommendations?
laurieco is offline  
Dec 19th, 2017, 04:26 PM
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I responded in the lounge, laurieco, but one thing I’d add is that I took a true duffel with me on my first safari and couldn’t find anything when I needed to. Even with packing cubes, with dim light in the tents early morning or at night, I was always having to dump it out to find what I was looking for. With the Lipault 20” that I switched to, it opens wide and flat like normal suitcases do, which makes it simpler to find anything. You’ll also want to bring a headlamp or other flashlight/torch that can help you find things when lights aren’t bright enough.
amyb is offline  
Dec 19th, 2017, 06:11 PM
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Have you ever taken 33 pounds of stuff on a 2 week trip? That’s a lot! Even with my husband’s 17 pounds of camera gear, he comes in well under 33 pounds and he always has enough. He’s 6’4” so his clothes are heavier than most.

A duffel bag with 33 pounds will be very difficult to schlep around. Keep in mind the lodges do laundry so you can take much less. I take one of these when I only take wheel-less luggage. In my carry on duffel or backpack. Since I stay in locations for three days most of the time, I unpack my stuff - most lodges will have drawers to use.

Oops - sorry that’s so long!

You will need to pack lighter than normal. Even when I visit cities and do safari I do carry on only (in coach!). It’s realky not that hard. No hairdryer, very little makeup needed. No boots, just 2 pairs of shoes (including the one you wear) plus a pair of sandals (almost weightless) for Zanzibar. I take one pair of lightweight Skechers and a pair of lightweight trail shoes for bush walks. I pack enough clothes for 4 days and have my laundry done (or do it myself and hang - it dries quickly and only takes a few minutes) every three days.

I just can’t imagine what one would pack that’s over 33 pounds for just 2 weeks. Maybe buy a medium sized duffel bag that’s easier to carry - and too small to overpack.

Have fun!
christabir is offline  
Dec 20th, 2017, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Aug 2016
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They recommended we wear khaki colored clothes. One pair shorts, one pair lightweight pants(hiking ones are great) one sundress. Three tops. A scarf to change things a bit or use to protect from dust underwear. Hat for sun protection. Medications ( being a nurse I take lots of meds for possible issues). Running shoes, sandals. Bathing suit and coverup . Minimal toiletries. Camera gear. I took way more than needed and minded lugging it. It will be a trio of a lifetime. Mine sure was.
hurrygirl is offline  
Dec 20th, 2017, 05:49 AM
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We bought rolling duffels at TJ Maxx.
Laundry services in the tented camp were cheap, so we used them about halfway through the safari.
abram is offline  
Dec 20th, 2017, 07:24 AM
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I ditto the poster above who doesn't like traditional duffels which are one large compartment. I took this, without the wheels which come off. I left them at home.

Along with my daypack (holding camera, binoculars, iPad, etc.) I was under the 15 kg limit, but just barely. We were going gorilla trekking, so I had some rain gear and extras that you don't need on safari, so it would be fine for Tanzania only.

One thing to note, my first trip was in July and it was quite cold at times, especially at the crater, so don't overdo hot weather clothes, making sure you have fleece, jacket, sweater or something like that. And a scarf. Of course, to keep weight down, you can wear the fleece/jacket on the plane, and put things in your pockets.

Have a great time.
traveler318 is offline  
Dec 20th, 2017, 08:05 PM
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I've used the original "Motherlode" bag for yrs. This is a new, improved (and on sale) version. Have used it on two safari trips, including full flights on Safarilink where soft sided luggage was requested/required.

Good point above by traveler318 re cold mornings! The jeeps will likely have blankets and/or ponchos for you, but bring your own, which you may need on the plane in any case. And don't worry much about the khaki color. When you see the Masai in their bright garb, you'll know why I say that.

Every place I've stayed in E Africa has soap flakes or detergent so you can do hand washing, or, as said above, many have laundry service.

Being a nurse too, I "get" your urge to bring loads of meds, which you hope you won't need. There are many online information sites about packing light and staying organized. You can do it!!!
CaliNurse is offline  
Dec 27th, 2017, 02:30 PM
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we were considering a duffle but listened to amyb and we bought the lipault bags and are very happy we did.
plambers is offline  
Jan 1st, 2018, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Thanks for re-asking. I made a safari luggage purchase based off the old thread from 2006 on soft-sided luggage.

I found a really cool duffle bag you might check out. I'm pretty sure the medium is fine as a checked bag. I like it because it is the same design as a rolling suitcase where there is a split in the middle and each side can be packed and zipped in (clamshell-like plus top entry as opposed to only top entry).

It also has backpack straps you can attach if you like to carry it that way and is water resistant. I got 50% off in a Thanksgiving sale so you could wait for a sale. [The Tracto Duffel from InCase]

I tried the L size and think it would be too easy to over-pack weight-wise. Incase had another cool backpack/soft suitcase that was almost personal item-size appropriate. I wish I knew a line that focused on well designed personal-item size bags for international flights.
They all seem a few inches too long or wide. I hope this one I posted works well - it looked like a good idea to me. Any suggestions welcome.
slynns123 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2018, 02:01 PM
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slynns123, that is an interesting bag.

I am totally confused. All I know is, it has to be carry on size. I was told by my safari outfitter that size does not matter, only weight and it must be soft sided, but we have less than a 2 hour layover in Istanbul, and if the luggage does not make it to Kilimanjaro with us, we will not see it again until Zanzibar. I'm not willing to take that chance.
laurieco is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2018, 06:55 PM
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Laurie, I agree with those who say "NO" to duffles unless your back and arms are particularly strong. Stick with a 20-21 inch wheeled bag (mine has two wheels). One side will be flat, the other softer with pockets to pack extra stuff. I've never had a problem with approval by airlines with a bag like that, at any point, or with any airline from large to bush planes.
CaliNurse is offline  
Jan 13th, 2018, 01:49 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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We bought an inexpensive duffel at Sierra Trading Post online 5 years ago when we went on our first safari and will be using it again for our second one in May. Most camps do laundry. You don't need much. Not sure what your weather will be like in August but one thing that I loved having was a pair of gloves - I got them at the dollar store. They were great for early morning drives. Have fun!
achay is offline  
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