Luggage help from frequent travelers

Old Jun 17th, 2024, 09:32 AM
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Luggage help from frequent travelers

Hello all,
I am seeking the guidance of those who travel often on durable luggage. We donít seem to have too much luck. About five years ago, I purchased a Samsonite soft side and within a year I was having to drag it rather than roll it through the airport. My husband has had 2 Tumi cases over the last 20 years as he travels fairly frequently for work. He only takes them carryon.Theyíve proven to be fairly durable, but the telescoping handle stopped fully collapsing on his latest one a few months ago. We know we can send it to Tumi for repair, but he may never get around to it. It also leaves him luggageless for work trips. He is not hard on things and treats that Tumi like a vintage car.

About a year and a half ago we purchased a couple of inexpensive hard side Calpak suitcases and a Swiss gear for a trip to Spain. The smaller Calpakís handle has already stopped collapsing. It went carryon in Spain and has only been on half a dozen trips. I am so disappointed. It seems wasteful to continue to purchase new bags. Anyone have a style and brand that they love? I have recently been looking at Travelpro, Away and considering giving Samsonite another go. We donít want a luxury brand or price. Iíd love to keep it under $400 US apiece for a 24Ē checkin bag and 21Ē. (I think that works for all airlines.) carryon. Thoughts? Suggestions? I appreciate it?
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Old Jun 17th, 2024, 02:07 PM
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OK -- Over the years I've had everything from really dirt cheap softsides from Marshall's/Ross to expensive hardsides in the Tumi price range. I have every size from 18 inch to 30 inch -- not because I ever use the big boys -- I teach packing classes so (at least for the last 28 years when I converted to carry-on-only) the huge bags are 'show and tell' props showing what not to use.

All of this (besides explaining that I know my way around luggage just a bit) is to say I actually have not seen any actual difference in the reliability of telescoping handles, wheels, inside strapping, whatever between most cheapo bags and most high end ones. The posh brands do have great guarantees and will usually be able to repair any damage -- but you do pay for that in the higher initial cost plus the hassle of not having the bag while its being repaired. I've had no-name soft sides last for a decade and a Rimowa with a broken wheel on 2nd use (they fully repaired it but it took over a month). Honestly I think its the luck of the draw whether one gets a lemon or a gem.

I personally choose bags based on the type of interior and exterior organization, maybe even color over price/brand.
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Old Jun 17th, 2024, 02:26 PM
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what janis said.

Features I like
soft sided, not hard sided
four wheels, not just 2

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Old Jun 17th, 2024, 02:42 PM
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We've been using the same hardsided Samsonites for several years - both purchased at TJ Maxx or Marshalls for under $100 each. We always buy hardsided, and tend to choose bags with bigger wheels and have had pretty good luck with them. Our luggage tends to get abused...rolled across many cobblestones, loaded and unloaded onto many trains and buses, and dragged through much ice and snow (I wish someone would invent 4x4 luggage!).

We've replaced the wheels of both cases - got lucky finding some after market no-name wheels on Amazon that just happened to fit both of our suitcases. One of my wheels needed replacement because the rubber edging had worn down to the plastic. We replaced the wheels on the second suitcase only because my husband was lusting after my new wheels after seeing how well they performed.

I prefer Samsonite, but would never pay big bucks for it or any brand. Sadly, there's a lot of crap out there, regardless of brand or price.
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Old Jun 17th, 2024, 02:48 PM
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I started traveling for sometimes half the year in the 90s, bought Eagle Creek then, bought a smaller one to lighten up in the 00s, do check my bag so they haven’t been pampered by any stretch of the imagination. Both still look like new. My purse is an Eagle Creek that I use every day, it gets thrown in the washer occasionally, my camera bag another that got dragged all over the planet when I had gear. None ever failed me or got in the least worn-looking. Luggage, for me, shouldn’t require fussing over or given a second thought & that’s what these have done for me.

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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 01:53 AM
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I use an Osprey Farpoint 40 which has served me well for them last ten years for many extended trips around South America , Asia , Australia etc. I cant say I have treated it well, but it is stills good as new. What it doesn't have is wheels but Opsrey do offer models that do see https://www.osprey.com/travel/travel-backpacks

I think handles and wheels are always going to be the weak point of any luggage.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 03:29 AM
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Reading this I do feel better knowing that our struggle may not be unique.

MmwPdu- I don’t believe I’m familiar with Eagle Creek,but I’ll look them up.

janisj- I have a feeling that you are correct. We purchased a Delsey from TJ Maxx for my daughter several years ago and it’s still in pretty good shape , but she rarely uses it. Also, I had no idea you taught how to pack efficiently. Where do you teach? I’ve figured a few things out over the years, but as a serial over packer, I can always use a new tip.

I may have to give Osprey and Samsonite another look. Why is it that things never break in more convenient moments? My handle broke just as I was getting ready to board my flight. My husband saved the day by popping the suitcase open and jimmying something inside the lining that allowed me to collapse the handle. Clearly he has dealt with this before. The gate agent did wonder why I was half pushing half carrying my bag. Ah well, the adventures of traveling. Thank you all so much.




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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Cjar
. . . I had no idea you taught how to pack efficiently. Where do you teach? Iíve figured a few things out over the years, but as a serial over packer, I can always use a new tip. . . .
I'm phasing out doing them -- It was always only a 'hobby' but ended up doing 12-15 every year. I no longer promote them but will when contacted which still happens 3 or 4 times a year. I've done them all over northern California. Mostly in Sacramento and Placer counties but as far as Napa/St Helena/Santa Rosa and Lake Tahoe. Primarily in local libraries but also in 55+ communities like Del Webb's, professional orgs like the board of realtors and Parks & Recs and community colleges. The director of the county library board recently sent me a citation that claims that just within the library system I've done the program in front of more than 12,000 people over the years. I have no idea if that's accurate -- I quit counting years ago

One time the local youth symphony and its choir was doing a 7 night tour of Latvia/Estonia/Lithuania - one concert and one day of sight seeing in each capital. This would be a huge traveling party with the orchestra, the choir, assorted chaperones and parents totaling about 175+ in all. They were in a panic - because of all the musical instruments, the charter was limiting each person to one carry on and a small personal item. OK, that's fine, kids can travel light . . . except . . . each kid was taking a tuxedo/long gown + accouterments/dress shoes and regular jeans/casual clothes/Nikes. The head of the Symphony Board had a large house/huge gardens/pool, tennis court etc. So they had a massive BBQ - every traveler was asked to attend and in the end there were over 250 and I was the 'entertainment' - Standing out on the lighted tennis court wearing a lapel mic with everyone seated around me I demonstrated packing two carry ons -- one female with long gown. jeans, heels, gym shoes, electronics, lots of make up, hair product, etc (all in a quart baggie of course) and one male with tuxedo, dress shoes, jeans, and so on. Including how to pack them so everything would come out wrinkle free. That was maybe the most fun class I ever presented. The kids were great.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 01:58 PM
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I hope everyone can see this as there wasn't a "share" link on the page, the NYT Wirecutter article on tested carry-on luggage.

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/r...ry-on-luggage/

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Old Jun 19th, 2024, 02:09 PM
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Years ago I was seated at CDG and happened to watch the flight’s crew board — the majority of them were wheeling TravelPro cases. I found one at TJMaxx and it has served me well, although I realize a crew member’s needs may be different than the leisure traveler.
If I were shopping now, I’d look for lightweight and easy maneuverability - good luck in the hunt.
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Old Jun 19th, 2024, 06:23 PM
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With all due respect to janisj (we're lucky to benefit from her expertise!), I've never had a problem with TravelPro. And I travel HARD!
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Old Jun 19th, 2024, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kja
With all due respect to janisj (we're lucky to benefit from her expertise!), I've never had a problem with TravelPro. And I travel HARD!

Oh -- I don't think i 'dissed' Travel Pro. They are really good quality. I've had one TP 19 inch rollie bag for probably 20+ years. The main reason I don't use it anymore is due to the weight (6.5 lbs). I now aim for 5-ish lbs for my 21 inch roller bag.
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Old Jun 19th, 2024, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Oh -- I don't think i 'dissed' Travel Pro. They are really good quality.
I don't think you did either! I was responding to your observation (or my impression of it) that you don't think brand matters much.

Sorry for the confusion and thanks for clarifying!
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Old Jun 19th, 2024, 08:42 PM
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I guess I really meant that I've had upscale 'good' brands that didn't perform and cheapie ones that lasted for years.

I've never had a problem with the 2 or 3 Travel Pro's I've owned . . . except they are a bit heavy. I'm really short and lifting my carry on into the overheads on a jumbo -- every oz counts. My main problem though isn't lifting the bag (I pack light ) but it is actually just reaching the %$#*& button to open the overhead on a 777 or 747. I have to stand on the seat to reach them 😳

I am thrilled when boarding and see all the lockers standing open - pure joy LOL (someone else can close the sucker)
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Old Jun 20th, 2024, 06:45 PM
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My main concern is for the suitcase to be lightweigth empty. I do check the bag. One 25" or the 28" of IT brand are my two current favorites. I also have a no-name rolling duffle bag that works fine. I never spend much money on luggage so I don't mind if it needs replaced now and then. By the time a bag is looking ratty usually I'm ready for a new one anyway.

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Old Jun 23rd, 2024, 08:31 PM
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Janisj- if the advice you offer here is anything like your packing classes were, I am sure you made what sounds like thousands of trips better . If only I could figure out how to pack 3 weeks worth of clothing for 2 weeks of travel into a European sized carryon and still have room for all of the goodies I want to bring home, that would be amazing.

MmePerdu- I’m sure I must have read that article, as well as one from travel and leisure and good housekeeping , I think. Travelpro Platinum Elite seems to get mentioned a lot as well as some Samsonite and a few others. Sometimes Ithink the folks on this site are better judges of what can really stand up to the trials of exploring the world .

Another question- Are you all fans of packing cubes? I have never tried them but have been curious.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2024, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Cjar
Another question- Are you all fans of packing cubes? I have never tried them but have been curious.
Yes, long time big fan. Packing without them would seem primitive.

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Old Jun 24th, 2024, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Cjar
Janisj- if the advice you offer here is anything like your packing classes were, I am sure you made what sounds like thousands of trips better . If only I could figure out how to pack 3 weeks worth of clothing for 2 weeks of travel into a European sized carryon and still have room for all of the goodies I want to bring home, that would be amazing. . . .

Another question- Are you all fans of packing cubes? I have never tried them but have been curious.

First big roadblock to get over -- don't even think in terms of 2 weeks or 3 weeks. Pack for 4 or 5 days (throw in extra undies if you simply can't bring yourself to hand washing in the sink -- That is one thing I learned over years of teaching . . . about 25%-30% of people consider hand washing is too icky to think about. Would have never crossed my mind)

But with 2 or 3 'bottoms' whether pants or shorts or skirts or dresses and several tops of various sorts that all/mostly color coordinate you can easily end up with 20+ unique outfits. And none of those people will ever see you again so what if you do end up wearing the same outfit twice

Another help -- expanded rollaboards won't generally qualify for carry on. So definitely do not use the expansion zipper for the trip over. But if you do buy a bunch you can always expand it and check it for the trip home. A delayed bag going home isn't the tragedy it could be on the front end. I seldom have to do that because anything bigish I buy I have the merchant ship it home for me, but it is an option.

Re packing cube -- some swear by them and some swear at them But a lot of people do get benefit. I do demonstrate their use as an option in the class. However I personally don't use them when traveling. The actual material of one cube uses the same volume as an extra skirt or pair of shoes, or a couple of tops. Just depends on how you want to organize your bag.
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Old Jun 24th, 2024, 03:34 PM
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Handwashing is icky? The things I learn on Fodor's.


Last edited by Melnq8; Jun 24th, 2024 at 03:40 PM.
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Old Jun 24th, 2024, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8
Handwashing is icky? The things I learn on Fodor's.
Yep -- you'd be surprised at some of the 'quirks' people have.

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