what size suitcase holds 40 pounds?

Old Feb 11th, 2014, 02:55 PM
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what size suitcase holds 40 pounds?

Going on a trip that has a 40 pound checked bag limit. What size suitcase should I estimate for this? I realize that weight depends on what you put in the bag, but I don't know where to start as far as size.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 03:20 PM
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Just because that is the limit does not mean that you have to pack to hit that amount!

A typical rolling carryon bag (21-22") may weigh 4-10 pounds. I can pack one anywhere from 20 pounds to about 45 depending on what I've got in it. A 24-26" bag (the next size up roller bag, must be checked) tends to weigh a bit more and of course you can easily fit more into it. One of these packed reasonably (not crammed full of heavy items, just general vacation items) can easily be 40 pounds or more. You can get a 28-30" suitcase, but unless you are going on a very specialized trip or moving for a couple months you do not need one of those monsters.


Figure out what you need to pack before you figure out a bag size. How long are you going to be gone, how do you need to dress (a business trip or fancy cruise with dress clothes and multiple changes each day is totally different than a casual vacation), do you need any specialized gear? If you're going to be traveling by train a lot, a smaller bag is usually easier but not a requirement. A larger bag is easier to deal with if you're going to one place and staying for a week or two rather than changing locations every couple days. If you're in a situation where you need a lot of stuff but really want a smaller bag, then consider using space saver bags (aka big ziplocs). This allows you to put more items into a space, but it does let you run the risk of adding too much weight. These are perfect for bulky items like fluffy coats or ski pants.

I usually travel with a carryon size bag (roller or backpack depending on the trip) and then expand it a couple inches once I get where I'm going so I have a bit more space for during the trip. The bag gets checked on the way home and I carry any fragile items with me.

Gather an idea of what stuff you want to take and put it all in a laundry basket. Weigh yourself with and without the basket and it probably weighs less than you might think.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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Oh my, what a question. Cart........horse

Buying a bag for travel 101:

Nosy, lay out everything you think you NEED to take and then stuff it all into a large plastic garbage bag. Next, weight yourself on your bathroom scale and then weigh yourself a second time while holding the bag in your arms in front of your chest. The difference in weight is the weight of your 'stuff'.

Assuming that is under 40lbs., the next thing to do is tie/tape the garbage bag of stuff to compress it down. Now measure the size of that bag. Length x width x height = Volume. Now that you know the volume you need to buy you can go shopping.

In the store, tell someone you need an X Cu in./Litres volume bag for travel. They should ask HOW you plan to travel. That means, from plane to taxi to hotel and stay vs. from plane to bus/train, walk a half mile to a hotel/hostel, stay a few days and move on, etc.

How you will travel results in different needs in what you carry your stuff in. It could be a backpack, a travel pack, or a wheeled suitcase. Each suits a different type of travel best. Once you and the store clerk have determined what type of bag best suits your needs, you are ready to look at some in the size you need.

Since you know the weight of your stuff, you can figure out how heavy the bag itself can be and still be under your weight limit of 40 pounds.

In all of this, bear in mind that weight (lack of) relates to comfort. The less weight you need to schlepp around the better. That includes both the stuff and the weight of the bag itself.

I NEVER travel with 40lbs. I'm not happy with even 25lbs if I can avoid it and vast majority of the time I travel with around 15 lbs. total including the weight of my bag.

You probably won't get down to that without a lot of travel experience but it doesn't mean you can't make a start. Asking what size bag can hold 40 lbs. is not the way to start.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 02:19 PM
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My 24" roller (IT brand weighs 4 lbs) when packed weighs in at 25 lbs typically.

It's tricky to answer your question because an empty suitcase can weigh anywhere from 3 lbs to 10+ lbs.

I think a 26" roller fully packed would be right about at the 35-40 lbs. mark you asked about.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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25 lbs. to go for a week to Puerta Vallarta suze? What are you packing, weights for lifting?
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 03:41 PM
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back off dullsex. what's wrong with you?
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 03:42 PM
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how do you know I'm only going for a week? how do you know I only go to Puerto Vallarta (note correct spelling).
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 06:37 PM
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Your question about what size will be 40 lbs. is difficult.

I only travel with a 22" carry on and a small backpack. And many experienced travelers have learned to pack to where they can travel indefinitely in a carry on.

There are travel packing lists on the internet to use as a guideline.

I once had my suitcase disappear in the airline system, and I swore off ever checking luggage again.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 06:54 PM
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How long's the trip? What kind of climate? Any specialized activities that need equipment? Those can be your guidelines.

I still say a 26" suitcase is what most people would use as a standard checked bag size and assuming you are going on an organized tour.
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Old Feb 13th, 2014, 03:03 AM
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If it's going to be that heavy you need wheels on it. But there's going to be times it has to be lifted up and carried, even if it's only for a few minutes. Can you do that? Or will you have someone to help?

Going on public transport with such a heavy bag would be a really bad idea, especially since it's likely to be large in size, too. Lifting forty pounds up over your head into an overhead rack on a train would not be fun. Getting it down again in a hurry, without dropping it on someone's head...

Even if you rent a car you're still going to have to lift the bag in to and out of it.

Will your hotels have people willing to carry bags up to the rooms? In cheaper places you have to do it yourself. Offering to pay for help may work, but not if there's no one available or the person behind the check-in desk is physically incapable of helping.
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Old Feb 13th, 2014, 07:07 AM
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The question is also unanswerable because it depends on WHAT you pack. Based on suze's answer I suspect she takes a lot of clothes. They usually don't weigh much. Books weigh heavy. Toiletries and pharma weigh more than you expect. Electronics are seldom as light as you hope - although electronics and pharma should be in a carryon anyway.

In the dim and distant past I may have traveled with a 26 in on business - although it might have been 24 in - but it has been a long time since I took more than a 22 in, which is all I can lift.
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Old Feb 13th, 2014, 08:39 AM
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I was assuming this is part of an organized tour group, because of the way the 40 lbs. limit was stated in the OP.

One 25 lbs. suitcase is hardly over-packing by most people's standards.
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Old Feb 13th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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The 40 lb limit could equally be an airline limit. If the OP is traveling internationally that could actually be high for cheap flights in Europe.
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Old Feb 13th, 2014, 08:35 PM
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I have an Eddie Bauer rolling duffel bag with a hard bottom section. I recently took it on a 3-week trip to Australia and had to pack clothes for a couple of different climates: hot and cold/rainy.

The most my duffel weighed was about 35 or 36 pounds. I think my husband's soft-sided suitcase was 24 inches and always weighed more than 40 lbs.
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Old Feb 14th, 2014, 07:25 AM
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Luggage size 101:

First, FORGET whether a suitcase if 22, 24, 26, 29 inches. Those are standard luggage size terms that tell you NOTHING.

A '26 inch' suitcase can in fact be bigger than a '29 inch' suitcase. Read here: http://londonluggage.com/luggage_size.htm

VOLUME is the measure you need to know about in order to know what SIZE bag you need to get. When you know the volume required for the stuff you need to take, you then know what size bag you need.

IGNORE any sales clerk that says, 'this is a 26 inch etc. and tell them you want to know the VOLUME of the bag eiter in cu. inches or litres, whichever you are used to measuring in. If you know you need 3500 cu. in for your stuff then you want to know if a bag is smaller or larger than that, not whether it is 26" on one dimension or not.

When choosing a bag to carry your stuff in, you need to consider several other factors as welll as volume. None of which are answered by your average luggage store clerk saying, 'here is a 26 inch and here is a 28 inch.'

If you want to go carry-on only, you need to know ALL THREE dimensions of the suitcase. Read here for typical airline requirements: http://wikitravel.org/en/Airline_baggage You only need to be over on one dimension for your bag to be refused for carry-on.

The dimensions for carry-on differ by airline as does weight for both carry-on and checked baggage. They can differ considerably which means you need to check for each airline you intend to fly with.

IF you wanted to be able to fly carry-on only on the majority of airlines, you need to be using a bag of less than 35L and with a total weight including the bag itself of 7kg/15 lbs. or less. That will get you on the MAJORITY of airlines as carry-on but not 100%.

To meet the majority of checked baggage requirements your bag needs to weigh 20kg/44 lbs. or less. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baggage_allowance

Most people pack too much stuff. That's a simple fact but the topic of another discussion which is in fact the discussion the OP should have asked about first before asking about what size bag to buy.

What to pack determines what size bag you need.
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Old Feb 16th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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My parents were truly world travelers, and they traveled extensively into their 80's. Unfortunately, my mother never learned to travel lightly. Hauling around a big bag is truly a burden.

Many world travelers use 22" carry on bags with wheels. If you pack carefully, you could travel for 6 months (or indefinitely) in such a bag.

After seeing what my father went through, our family rules are that everyone carries their own bags and 22" bags are the max allowable size.

And everyone can do it--for well under 20 kilos.
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Old Feb 16th, 2014, 07:23 PM
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I came thru airports this past weekend and watched as people were checking their bags for size/weight (in thinking of this thread).

The ones that weighed in the 45-50 lbs range were approx. 28-32" in size. 40 lbs ones were around 26-28" (as I had suggested earlier).

We can blab on about this all you want, but the (one and only) question asked has a very simple answer.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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LOL, a simple answer for simple minds. I agree suze.

Of course that assumes the person asking knows the right question to ask. Kinda like someone asking for directions to the edge of a cliff. You can give the simple answer or you can ask why they are asking such a question.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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Suze wrote: "the (one and only) question asked has a very simple answer."

I think it also depends a lot on what you are packing in the bag. You can have two bags that weigh exactly the same when empty. Then you fill one with clothes and one with books. The result will not weigh the same.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 11:51 AM
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That's me, simple-minded.
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