Rick Steves Carry-On Bag

Old Feb 25th, 2006, 04:27 AM
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Rick Steves Carry-On Bag

Sorry, I posted this on the general interest forum and no response. Has anyone traveled / purchased the Rick Steves 21 inch carry-on / backpack? We are looking for a bag about this size to take to Europe. His sales pitch is good but what is the real quality? How much can it really hold? Looks like a good bag and value for the $. Thoughts? Thanks!
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 04:38 AM
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I bought one a few years ago. It is made of sturdy fabric and has lots of pockets. The backpack straps can be tucked into a back pocket and you can pick it up by a handle on the long side or the short side (at least on my bag), and also you can attach a shoulder strap. It has no hard form so you can stuff a lot into it.
It isn't really a structured backpack and may not be comfortable for a person of small stature, and can be heavy since you can stuff a lot into it.
I have mostly used it for weekend/local trips - I find that I don't care for design with no framework as articles tend to slide out/around after you've laid it down and unzipped to pull things out.
My husband took it on one trip to Europe and I used my 21" rollie. Even he tired of carrying it thru the airports and train stations, and ended up stacking it on top of my rollie. I took it once on a flight to Texas and it was too heavy for me after a while(5"4&quot.
We have taken one train trip (3 countries) using backpacks (not this one, more traditional style) and I think I would go back to my rollie for future trips, b/c we always stuffed bags into a train locker for walkarounds, and a rollie would fit in those, too.
I think a backpack is good if you are trainhopping and have no hard plans or hotel reservations, and might have to carry your stuff with you as you explore towns and find lodging.
Our travel is more structured - we take trains and go directly to a reserved hotel. I think the rollie is more comfortable for this type of travel, where you only have the bag for short transit periods.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Thanks for the info. I appreciate it! I would use the bag to mainly get my stuff to our destination. I have a small sling bag that I use for day trips / walking around a city. We currently have large luggage that we don't want to lug to Europe. Rick's bag seems like a small bag that packes a good punch for the $. Maybe one for my wife and one for myself? I'm curious to hear from others who have bought his bag. Does anyone have a good bag / manufacture suggestion that is 21-22 inches (carry-on size), good quality & around $100-$120? I know you can research samsonite etc. but I bought by sling bag after a lot of positive reviews on the sling bag that I bought. I love my sling bag so I'm hoping that one manufacture / style of bag rises to the top when I get responses. Thanks!
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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We bought the brand Eagle Creek some years back and have never regretted it. Dont' recall the size except that it has a detachable 'day pack'.

We use these two bags for our 2 week long trips to Europe. The larger bag has a waist strap for when it gets too heavy and my husband wants the extra support and weight lifted from one area. The smaller bag is 'mine' for my clothes and we still have room leftover.

We've yet to use the day pack as a daily bag as I have another more secure bag that has our maps, notes, books, camera and journal.

We thus never check luggage eliminating this step in the arrival process in either country. We do get questions from US customs about the rest of our luggage.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 06:09 AM
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My Mother and Father inlaw bought a bunch of Rick Steves stuff since they live about 40 minutes from his store in Edmonds, WA. When we went to Paris together in September, I saw their bags and they are very nice and they both liked them.

DH and I bought High Sierra bags at the Colorado Baggage store for about $100 each, and they are similar to the Rick Steves bag, only with a zip-away day bag, and less pockets. Personally, I don't need a million pockets to stay organized...I prefer zip-loc bags where I can see what's inside.

The bags we bought had the rollers and a combination backpack feature. I used the backpack exactly once -- as it didn't have any good support for my back. I'd rather put something on wheels and bump over cobblestones than carry it on my back. It has handles on top and on the side so you can carry it both from the top or like a regular suitcase. We've been to Europe twice with them now and really like them.

We pack ala Rick Steves (I use his list) and do laundry on the run, so we can pack light. It really is amazing how much you can take in a small bag if you organize your stuff.

Happy Travels

Jules
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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Whatever pack or bag you end up buying, Rick Steves' packing cubes are great to keep your things organized. The three-cube set fits perfectly in 21- or 22-inch luggage.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 06:39 AM
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We bought the backpack bags from Rick Steves 4 years ago for a trip to Paris and have used them on every trip (at least twice a year to somewhere and every weekend in the summer to go to the lake) and they are still in great shape. I like that they have not only shoulder support but also hip straps so that if you need to walk a bit the weight isn't all on your shoulders. The hip straps also fold into the bag if you want to have it more as a suitcase.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 07:05 AM
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Great information! I really appreciate it!
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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Not the backpack bag but I bought the roller suitcase which I love! 4 trips to Paris, stretched to the max with souvenirs upon return and it still looks & works great. Very sturdy.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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My girlfriend uses one and likes it. It is small though. You need to be ready to adopt the true packing light philosophy to make it work.

Myself I prefer a 22-24" rolling suitcase. You can find good ones at discount stores for around $50 (Marshalls, TJ Maxx, JC Pennys).
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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Just be aware that if you plan to try to use this bag as a carry-on for a trip to Europe it may not be allowed by the airline.While the dimensions of the bag may be ok,the weight limits will be hard to meet.For example the max weight for a carry-on on Virgin Atlantic is only 13 pounds.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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My DW and I have the Rick Steves bags (the his & hers sizes). The reason we have them is that they are absolutely the lightest bags we could find. We actually got to see them before purchasing, and that helped our decision. They are of good construction. We only do carry-on, and the lighter the bag the better.

It is true, though, check the airline weight restrictions.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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British Air has that same strict 13 lb. carry on limit.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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My bag doesn't have the hip strap, so maybe that would help with the weight distribution a bit. But I still didn't like unzipping the bag all the way around and having my stuff slide out the sides. With the rollie bag, I can lay it down, unzip it and rummage to my heart's content and everything stays in.

I haven't traveled anywhere that a rollie bag couldn't go just as well or better than a backpack. We each have one and we carry them on and store in the overhead. We each use a small-med backpack for the in-flight stuff and put that under the seat (my 'purse' is stuffed down into the backpack, so we maintain the "2 carryon items" limit).
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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I saw a selection of Rick Steve's bags at a AAA store, if you wanted to check them out before buying.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 12:07 PM
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I am the proud owner of a Rick Steves rolling bag. The quality is excellent, especially for the price. There are other great quality bags such as Land's End and LLBean but they are more expensive.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 03:09 PM
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Again, I say thank you! We went shopping this afternoon and looked at Eagle Creek, Samsonite, Tumi etc. Rick Steves looks like the best value for the $. Thanks for your help.
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Old Feb 26th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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Has anyone come up with a carryon that is also good enough to use as a backpack for a week's trekking

Or should I stick to my 10yr old Karrimor climbers pack (Kilimanjaro, Toukbal, Tour de Mt Blanc, Anti Atlas)
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Old Feb 26th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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I have used a Rick Steves 21 inch carry-on backpack / backpack on my last dozen or so trips to Europe.

We travel light and have not checked luggage since 1997 when our checked suitcase did not make the transfer from Gatwick to Heathrow. Arrrggghhh!

This is the only bag I take to Europe whether it be for one or two-plus weeks.

Lately, we have been flying with Air France, which has a 12 kg (26.4 lbs) weight limit for carry-ons. The Rick Steves bag only weighs 2 lbs 14.5 oz, and I have had no problem meeting the weight limit.

The bag is well constructed of quality Cordura, and is very durable. Although there is no framework, I don't mind since it will squeeze into the smaller overhead bins on commmuter flights (e.g., from Paris to Seville).

Overall, I am very pleased with this bag.

Woody
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Old Feb 26th, 2006, 09:40 AM
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For a day pack, we use the Rick Steves Civita bag. It's so light it weighs next to nothing, but it is very very sturdy and the zippers are terrific. We have bought several of them, but still not enough. Everyone in the family fights over who's going to get these lightweight gems. It's got several zippered pockets as wellas outside waterbottle mesh pockets. We go for the basic black, very discreet. Room enough to carry everything for a weekend trip.
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