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The Few, the Proud, the Carry-on Only Safari-goers: How Did You Do It?

The Few, the Proud, the Carry-on Only Safari-goers: How Did You Do It?

Jul 6th, 2010, 07:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,580
As a follow-up, I did end up doing carry-on only. It was hard only because I went without wheels and my back got a bit sore. I could have made it with a wheelie, I just got paranoid last minute. This was the bag I used:


Okay, so not the best-looking piece of luggage ever, but I got a lot of stuff in there. I even packed my binos and the backpack I used for gorilla trekking inside. I wore my hiking shoes, fleece, rain jacket and sturdiest pants on the plane (the luggage was not the only "not the best-looking" thing wandering about my vicinity). I also carried a small messenger bag with my compact DSLR, extra lens, back-up camera, wallet, glasses, sunglasses, meds and passport. My one-quart bag of liquids I put in the top pocket of that crazy ebag. Other shoes were a pair of Tom's soft oxfords that fold up very small and some flip flops.

Once in Kenya and Rwanda I expanded to the backpack I had packed.

If I can do it anyone can. Good luck all!
Leely2 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2010, 09:08 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
Congrats, Leely, on the carry-on accomplishment, especially getting the backpack into the bag! Did you fly on BA?

We leave a week from today, assuming my marriage lasts that long after all the stress that our carry-on plan has caused. (limited liquids and books, no Scrabble, too-large borrowed binoculars, etc.) We briefly considered your ebag because it would have worked for both AA and BA, but we also were underwhelmed by the style and not sure how we would deal with the convertible aspect because we're also bringing daypacks. Both ebags and Rick Steves need design therapy, especially Mr. Steves, who should know better after all the time he spends in Europe.

My office is now full of tiny duffels I've ordered that barely seem large enough to be gym bags. So we've switched gears and found lightweight wheeled soft bags that should work for BA. (We got upgraded to first on AA, so they should be more lenient.) I'll post the link if we do indeed end up using them.

More in my trip report...please stop me if it ends up being all about luggage.
crosscheck is online now  
Jul 7th, 2010, 03:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 278
Crosscheck - I want to know what your using. I'm in the process of luggage shopping now. We only have a little over a week so we are considering the mediem sized Expedition duffel (non wheeleed) and a "packable" back pack also by Eddie Bauer but it's in-store only so I can't include a link. They are both very light.

long2travel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 11:45 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
As of this moment, there is a strong likelihood that we will be using the Sol Tracer, assuming they fit into the BA sizer (Yes, Mr. Crosscheck is bound for LAX one more time to see if they fit):


Also on sale for $20 less at luggage.com, but takes longer to arrive


It is 22x15x10 including the wheels, and actually more attractive than it looks in the photo.

If the Sol Tracer fails the BA test, we will probably use non-wheeled duffels (possibly this cool one: 21x14x11 http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/c...loseout/117535), but I'm not crazy about that idea because we have a lot of walking to do with the T3-T5 change at Heathrow (and I'm opposed to those portable carts).

I love your medium Eddie Bauer expedition, but I don't think it will work for BA.
crosscheck is online now  
Jul 7th, 2010, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 278
Crosscheck - OMG, you leave in a week! I would be in such a panic. Still clothing, camera and binocular shopping. Still deciding about insurance and wardrobe. I can't imagine factoring in gorilla trekking garb. Forget luggage and packing. The Sol Tracer looks good. I love wheels. I'm not sure I'd be willing to part with the extra few pounds though. Good luck cramming it into the BA sizer.
long2travel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 05:46 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
Ridiculous turn of events: Mr. Crosscheck and I just went to the airport to test the Sol Tracer in the BA sizer. He waited outside while I ran into the Bradley terminal with the duffel. It fit into the sizer without issue....but then got stuck! At first I blamed my poor baggage handling skills, but it took FIVE people to get it out - a BA rep, a passenger and three security guys. They finally had to turn the sizer on its side and push the duffel out from the bottom. In spite of the incident, the BA agent approved the Sol, but we're concerned that they won't be as lenient at Heathrow, so we're still considering non-wheeled duffels.

BTW, the Sol weighs only 4 pounds. I don't think weight will be that much of an issue for us, except for books. (I have a feeling we'll be ordering kindles at the last moment.) We were lucky that we didn't have to purchase binocs - people lent us Nikons and Steiners, which seem fine. As far as the camera, we already own the Canon G10, which was amazing in the Galapagos although we're not stellar photographers. We also ordered the Panasonic FZ35. It arrived today and it looks as if we'll all fight over it.

We're not seeing gorillas on this trip. Not sure I could cope with the additional wardrobe requirements.

long2travel - are you flying on ba with your eddie bauer duffels?
crosscheck is online now  
Jul 7th, 2010, 07:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 278
Crosscheck- I'm sorry your bag got stuck, and for laughing out loud while reading it, but I have to tell you that your luggage posts are really quite entertaining. We are using Continental, EgyptAir (spending a few days in Cairo prior to safari), and Brussels (on return). I know this is a carry-on only thread but EgyptAir's carry-on weight limit is 8kg (17 lbs) so carry-on is out for us. Imagine trying to meet a 17 lb. limit! Anyway, early on in my research I read something about using an oversized duffel as it was "squish-able" into the airport carry on sizer so maybe the bag I'm looking at would work for you?. The duffel I mentioned can't weigh much more than a pound but I know the lack of wheels is a major consideration.

Good choice on the camera, it got rated pretty highly at dpreview's "super zoom" review. Everyone likes a god zoom. I'm still comparing them. I wish I had binocs to borrow. We actually bought on a good pair of Leupold's 8x42 from another member's recommendation and in addition, bought 2 pair of quite cheap store brand, 8x40's, that looked surprisingly good in the store to me. The cheap ones were $29 each so you can't go wrong with that. I compared them to a $160 Pentax pair and they weren't too far off. I do have yet to compare them with the Leupold's so we'll see how that goes.

I have so many questions about your packing that the forum may be bored with. I know you're short on time but if you feel like writing offline please write to chrssc at gmail dot com.
long2travel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 11:16 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
long2, Lucky you - no carry-on! I do appreciate the invitation to contact you privately and I will take you up on it tomorrow. I fear I am boring everyone I know with this subject...even discussed it at length during a business lunch today.

I am proud to report that we partially resolved our luggage crisis this evening by actually packing - a first for us this far in advance. We decided the wheeled duffels were causing too much anxiety, and we managed to get everything for the boys and Mr. C into three 22" non-rolling duffles.

We still need one bag - I will purchase a squishable medium-sized Eddie Bauer or Eagle Creek tomorrow, and if I feel the need for additional cubic inches, I still have time to order Leely's ebag (even though I insulted its aesthetics). We are going to suck it up and bring lightweight trolleys (found at BB&B) despite the dork factor. And we get to send the Sols back, along with a mesh packing cube system I ordered from Sierra Trading Post.
crosscheck is online now  
Jul 9th, 2010, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 278
You must be really busy with less than a week to go. Write when you can. I'll probably have even more questions when you get back... Macushla, the weather, packing, how the kids liked it, etc..

I'm about to go to the mall to check out backpacks at Eddie Bauer and EMS. I can't get happy with an appropriate size backpack for a carry on for the plane as well as a camera bag while on game drives.

Are you going to do a detailed packing list like LyndaS did? I think I'll be working off that one.
long2travel is offline  
Jul 9th, 2010, 11:03 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
Yes, I suddenly became really busy with my "real" job. I did rush out to REI last night to purchase the Eagle Creek 24" duffel, hoping that the folks at BA won't notice the extra two inches - and also just ordered a Kindle, which friends say will change my life.

Wasn't planning on a detailed list, but I can do one for you once we leave from one of the lounges. Lynda's seemed overwhelming to me, but I will take a peek at it. We already own a lot of safari-ish stuff from past trips, but I did buy a few new tees for everyone in taupe/fatigue/sage/mushroom, plus a khaki safari jacket for me from LL Bean, which I've been wearing around here and works really well with jeans. My friend who went last year said down jackets are a must, but instead we're each bringing a cashmere, fleece, gortex and silk long underwear top (plus a hoodie or sweatshirt-type fleece.) This is probably getting very boring, so I will email you now.
crosscheck is online now  

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