Has anyone used a wheeled duffel bag? Opinions??

Old May 19th, 2009, 07:08 AM
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Has anyone used a wheeled duffel bag? Opinions??

I may be going to Italy this summer and will potentially be taking trains between cities. I've been thinking about getting a wheeled duffel bag instead of having to haul my big suitcase around. The ones with the drop bottom appeal to me as they seem to provide a bit more structure and protection for your belongings. I've seen mixed reviews. Does anyone have any experience with them? How well do they hold up to airline baggage mis-handlers? Are the inexpensive ones adequate or should I spend a little more on it? Any recommendations?
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Old May 19th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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We used one for our last trip to Rwanda and Kenya since travel on small planes only allowed for soft sided bags. We bought them at Wal-mart for around $50 and it held up really well and I would use it again. Just take off any removable straps or handles that you can and put them inside the bag that way they won't catch on any belts when they're being loaded/unloaded.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 10:24 AM
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Have you considered a carryon-size rollaboard? Last year I bought one that is 19", and I use public transport extensively (buses, metro, trains etc) and have hauled it through many, many pebblestoned streets. I have already taken it on 7 trips (4 domestic and 3 European), and it still looks almost like new.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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Like yk, I use a small rollerboard and it's made many trips through Europe. Regardless of what type of bag you choose, remember to pack light. Train stations usually have LOTS of steep steps and it can be difficult. the lighter, the better!
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Old May 19th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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I have been using rolling duffels now for about 6 years. I have a 29 incher and a 27 incher. I have used both of them, at different times, and love them both. I am 65, not in the best of shape and have managed them in train stations and rolling across cobblestones.

I use ziplock bags inside to organize and an airline has not yet ruined anything inside including perfume bottles.

You start out lighter w/ a duffel bag...my big one weights just over 6 lbs.....and my 20 inch suitcase weighs double that!

But packing light is always important.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 07:24 PM
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There are definitely lightweight rollaboards out there that don't weigh 10-12 lbs empty. My 19" is under 8 lb when empty. It is not the lightest model but I find it acceptable as it's sturdy. When my 19" is fully packed, that's about 20-22 lbs, which is as much as I'm willing to carry with me.

I'm petite and only 5'2" and I travel solo a lot. With a 19" weighing 20 lbs, I can comfortably lift it overhead by myself, or carry it up 80 steps without blinking an eye (which I just did in Vienna last month when we stayed at an apt rental where the elevator is out of service).

If you do a search here for the Heys X case, they are even lighter - though probably not sturdy enough for my taste.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 04:22 PM
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For train travel in Europe I think a 22" or 24" rolling suitcase (square shaped) works best. It's also easier to pack & unpack. Mine weigh ~7 lbs empty.

I like a rolling duffle bag for a beach vacation, like when I go to Mexico or Hawaii, and will be unpacking only once and staying in the same hotel. They are great for that. But I would never use one for train travel in Europe (it is too 'floppy', clothes shift around, and it's a bit difficult to get stuff out without unpacking the entire bag).
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Old May 20th, 2009, 04:24 PM
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Leanna, If you have a 20 inch suitcase that weighs more than 12 pounds... well you need new luggage
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Old May 20th, 2009, 06:48 PM
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Suze....too true. And that is why I bought my duffels and use them. They are new to me and Im happy!!

Also my duffels unzip all the way around so I can get into them like a regular suitcase...and I have not found a shifting problem.

Hey it matters not.....the thing that matters is we pack and we go!!!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 05:10 AM
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If you are getting a bag with wheels, the bigger the wheels the better. If you have to drag it across cobble-stones for any distance, you WILL destroy those silly little one-inch wheels!

Roger Bruton

http://www.fermedecandeloup.fr
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Old May 21st, 2009, 06:59 AM
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I do not know your age and physical status, but suggest: Kay and I are 67...she is a good walker and I am so-so. We traveled for 7 weeks from Beijing..Mongolia...Siberia..Croatia..etc. ending up in Belgium..by train, bus, ship, foot, pedicab, etc. Our suggestion is the LL Bean wheeled carry-on..semi-solid..designed for "2-3 days" and a SMALL backpack. Our rule is take only what you can carry while running to catch a train. One set of dressy stuff that can be handwashed and the rest "travel gear". LESS luggage and MORE money. Bon Chance..jack
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Old May 21st, 2009, 07:01 AM
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I purchased a wheeled duffle at the club store from Washington It came in handy for a 2 week trip to China and a recnet 14 day cruise in Europe with a few extra days in Europe. yes, the drop bottom is great. You can rely on it for some protection (I packed things tightly on the bottom). I've never had anything break in my luggage.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:24 AM
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I love wheeled duffle bags. We are frequent travelers by plane and started using wheeled duffle bags many years ago when my husband, 2 daughters and I found out that the typical american suitcases don't fit into the trunks of small european rental cars. Four duffle bags fit much easier into a car trunk than a typical suitcase. My family has been using the Sportsman's Extra-Large Drop Bottom Rolling Gear bag from LLBean and love them. It holds one weeks worth of clothes, shoes and toiletries and still can be packed weighing under 50 pounds. It is very durable and has held up better than any suitcase I have ever owned. I am guessing that ours are about 15 years old and still looking great. They can also be monogramed and come in different colors. We chose the green because its easy to spot on the conveyer belt, have you ever noticed how many people have black bags? My suggestion for your trip to Italy by train is to pack as light as possible and buy a smaller version of the duffle bag and take a backpack with you. My teenage daughters and myself have trouble packing lightly, thats why we use the extra-large version but if you can pack light, you will have less trouble going up and down stairways and less trouble moving through crowds with a smaller version of the duffle bag plus you won't have to worry about going over the 50 pound weight limit. Airlines are real strict about heavy bags and make you pay a large fee if it goes over 50 pounds. We also travel with a little item that weighs our suitcase before we get to the airport. You can find them just about any place that sells travel items. I will never buy a typical suitcase again and whenever I stand at a conveyer belt, I always wonder why people still use those old style heavy suitcases. We just love traveling with wheeled duffle bags. Have a great trip and hope this comment helps!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Even for a duffle bag, 27 or 29 inches is WAY too huge for me personally. 24 inches is the largest size I own, in any suitcase shape

I weigh my packed bag before leaving home (on the bathroom scale) and make sure it is less than 25 lbs. total.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:41 AM
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I have made a dozen trips to Europe with a Hartmann wheeled duffle--and it's still looking great! It's perfect for a one or two-week trip--and it has a drop bottom that zips 3/4 of the way around for easy access. I just roll up my clothes (all on vinyl-coated wire hangers, in plastic drycleaner bags) into an apparel roulade, and put it in the top. The bottom is for shoes, toiletries, books, umbrella and electronic chargers, etcetera. The Hartmann bags aren't cheap, although I found mine on sale--and now that they're owned by Samsonite, you might find one in a Samsonite outlet store or online. The top of the Hartmann duffle is more structured than most soft duffles--so it won't crush your clothes. It's my all time favorite piece of luggage for longer travel adventures. And also important, it doesn't look "too rich" or tempting to travel thieves. Both parts of the duffle can be locked--get the TSA locks and you'll be all set!
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 11:39 AM
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The only reason I didn't like rolling duffel bags is when I would reach a lot of stairs at undergrounds/metros and the wheels kind of hurt or got in the way/made the bag heavier. Sometimes though, the ones with the big stroller-like, chunky wheels were pretty good. I'd have to look up the brand, but when those small wheels break, they're just annoying!

Maybe it's the Swedish cultural influence, but I always like to buy high-quality and I'll put the money in it if I have to. If you're wanting to look for a good deal in regards to a particular brand of bag, I'd suggest posting a request at www.eswarm.com so you can get a good price on it.

Hardcases are sometimes a good idea. One hardcase and a softcase. Preferably a hardcase that's smaller (for more important items), and a softcase that's bigger (for clothes and whatnot). There are good hardcase backpacks you can find in many European countries, particularly in countries with mountainous areas or an extensive outdoor culture, at their athletic stores (for example, Stadium in Sweden). Likewise, a Dick's Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, or Big 5 stores would probably carry good ones, too.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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I have an extra long back pack I used while doing Euro bus it was much easier than a suitcase.
I used a wheeled duffle when I moved to Italy but that was for a summers worth of clothes.
REMEMBER pack what you need for a week no matter how long you stay.Take a pareo they are great as a cover a skirt if you need to go into a church and a beach blanket. They dry overnight so you can wash it when needed. Also a washcloth can be used as a towel to take off the wet then your skin air dries quickly.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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I bought a terrific Briggs & Riley large rolling duffle bag with telescopic handle that had a 2-3" zipper compartment on the bottom for shoes, books etc. It was a nightmare getting it on and off trains, the metro and up stairs in train stations and B&Bs, hotels without elevators etc. It was too bulky and too heavy. I overpacked and never used a quarter of the items I schlepped around for three weeks in France, Belgium & the Netherlands. Never again. When I returned I immediately bought a Delsey Helium 19" (Delsey's lighter weight)rolling carry-ons (U.S. airline carry-on requirements that is) and never looked back. I have used the 19" for multiple trips to Europe since and have never regretted it.
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Old Aug 17th, 2010, 02:17 PM
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I use rolling beach duffel bag that I found on www.sunnystuff.com. Simply put, it's awesome. It's big, durable, and rolls great on the sand. Sand passes through it and I can wash everything in it (bag included) under the beach shower. Well worth the investment! It even packs up small to fit in our suitcase. We take it everywhere.

Here's the link: http://sunnystuff.com/shop/beach-bag...uffel-bag.html
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Old Aug 17th, 2010, 03:53 PM
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But this person is taking trains around Italy, not going on a beach vacation!
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