Wheeled duffle options

Old Mar 6th, 2017, 09:57 AM
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Wheeled duffle options

I'm taking a tour (something I haven't done in a while, mostly have traveled independently) to South America in November. The four-week itinerary includes everything from tropical jungle to mountains to cities, so I'm anticipating wanting to pack a little heavier than I would if I were traveling on my own, and I'm planning to check a bag (something I usually don't do). The tour operator recommends "heavy nylon fabric, wrap-around handles, built-in wheels, and a heavy-duty lockable zipper. Please do not bring a rigid (plastic shell) suitcase."

I've done a lot of searching on line and I'm considering these options:

- eBags TLS Mother Lode Junior 25" Wheeled Duffel (http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/m...ductid=1325227)

- eBags TLS 25" Expandable Upright (http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/t...uctid=10186876)

- Travelpro T-Pro BOLD 25" Expandable Rollaboard (http://www.ebags.com/product/travelp...uctid=10124515)

Anyone with recommendations about these or other similar bags you think I should consider?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 02:29 PM
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My only question is do you really think you need a 25 inch suitcase? I would be inclined to go with a smaller rolling suitcase ( 22 inch), and a duffle or backpack that meets the local airlines carry-on standards. I prefer to keep at least a change of clothing and my electronics in my carryon. I wonder why they don't want you to bring a hard shell case. I prefer those for checked luggage, myself.
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Old Mar 8th, 2017, 11:23 PM
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I bet it's for their own convenience. Duffles are a lot easier to sling into the belly of buses. Pack LIGHTER than you normally would. I have a small duffle backpack from north face that I really like. I'd skip the wheels. The structure adds weight and you'll be tempted to overpack. It sounds like an adventure tour, and I don't know why you'd pack heavier- I bet you'll still be responsible for schlepping your bag around.
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Old Mar 9th, 2017, 09:05 AM
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I like an actual duffle bag shape. For the trip you describe I think at least a 25" is the right choice size.

https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/9154...3916-pprrright
Not necessarily that bag because the weight is a little heavy and the size a little too small, but that's the shape I like, duffle bag with a U-shaped top opening for easy packing.
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Old Mar 9th, 2017, 09:09 AM
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I think all three of the ones you linked are too heavy (weight empty) at 9 to 12 lbs.

I also wouldn't pay $200 for a suitcase.

Do you have a TJ Maxx, Marshall, or similar you can go to?
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Old Mar 10th, 2017, 08:41 AM
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I've always purchased cheap luggage. In my experience, the edges might fray a bit but they have been good for at least two roundtrips to Asia with at least one stopover each way. The last trip I took I had two plane changes each way and my duffle bags made it back pretty much intact. I used a Coleman wheeled duffle bag that is sold by Walmart. At about $30, I don't get too upset about any damage it might sustain. No broken zippers or straps and the wheels and telescoping handles always worked.
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Old Mar 10th, 2017, 09:16 PM
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After having soft sided luggage damaged by the airlines (or airport handlers), I went to polycarbonate clamshell style . Also has the advantage of keeping out rain , dust and resists crushing.I like having at least one spinner bag. So far it hasn't been cut or lost a wheel, but I bought a good one,yes, at Marshalls.

Duffles are annoying for regular luggage in a long trip, it is hard to keep them organized, they work for overnights or overflow, not main luggage when you are always moving.

Get something you can keep organized and I would not bring a large bag. Are there places where you will be able to have laundry done overnight?
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 07:14 AM
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"Please do not bring a rigid (plastic shell) suitcase."
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 07:52 AM
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Use what suits you and the type of use it will get. For example, while wheels might suit the average tourist moving only between airport, taxi, hotel etc. or walking it down a paved street, they are useless on dirt streets or cobbled streets or when you are going to encounter a lot of stairs etc.

Bear in mind that anything that adds weight means less comfort for you when you do have to pick it up off the ground. So if you anticipate actually having to 'carry' it much, make the weight of whatever you choose your number one criteria. I personally would never use any kind of bag that weighs more than 3 lbs. empty.

To get relevant suggestions for any particular type of bag, you would need to say more about just how you expect it to be used as per above.

A side note on clamshell vs. zipper bags. Clamshells have one major advantage. They are harder to steal from. Watch this video to see how silly it is for anyone (your tour company) to suggest that a, " a heavy-duty lockable zipper" implies any kind of security for your stuff.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JvmAktLvFg

Kinda makes you realize how easy it would be for someone to put some illegal items in your bag, not just steal what you put in it! Don't yah just love the risks of travel!
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 08:09 AM
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" I wonder why they don't want you to bring a hard shell case. I prefer those for checked luggage, myself."
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 02:05 PM
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I spent a month in Ecuador - from Amazon, to Andes, to Galapagos Islands with a 'just inside regulation' carry on and a medium purse. I had a very light Eddie Bauer back pack for day use, that was inside my luggage. I will admit, I had to either wear my ankle height trekking boots or put them on the outside of my bag as there was no room inside it.
I got the MEI voyageur bag. 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Now this is too big for Canadian flights, but I can cut down the 2 metal braces to still be compliant.
It doesn't have wheels, but it converts to a back pack and has a very supportive hip strap to make carrying easy. I am pushing 60 now and I can still carry it.The straps zip away and it just looks like a soft suitcase. Have also taken it to Africa for safaris and volunteering.
It isn't cheap, but is very well made. It does get dirty when checked, or put onto the boats to get to Amazon, but if you choose a grey, pewter, or mid range colour it washes off. No wear shows on the fabrics.
Soft sides just makes packing the vehicle easier.
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 01:20 PM
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Thank you for all the responses!

I bought the eBags TLS Mother Lode Junior 25" Wheeled Duffel, and at 90 liters I think it's too big, plus it's heavy, so I think I'm going to return it. And I'm going to look for something smaller.

It's hard to find a wheeled duffel around 60 to 70 liters without spending a lot. I agree with those who don't want to spend a lot on luggage, but there are 12 (yes 12!) different flights on this trip, and the last thing I want is to find my clothes scattered all over baggage claim. Durability is key. I've found some lower-priced and appropriately-sized duffels at Ross and Marshall's and TJ Maxx and Target for a lower price, but I worry about how they'll hold up.

I agree I'd prefer to use clamshell-style luggage, but I assume this is not wanted because it's hard to squish it into luggage compartments in vans and buses.

I look forward to checking out some of your suggestions, and if you have others, I'd love to hear about them.

Thanks again!
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 05:22 PM
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I wouldn't expect luggage at Marshall's etc to not hold up for one trip, if they work otherwise for size and weight. Very often they are just last season's styles in name brands.

REI has this 22 inch wheeled duffle at $169.

I think I bought one of this type in a larger size and returned it after I used it just because I don't like the duffle layout where there is one big compartment that you have to load from the top.

They are good about taking things back.
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 05:22 PM
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Sorry I forgot the link

https://www.rei.com/product/878303/r...eled-duffel-22
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Old Mar 18th, 2017, 06:21 AM
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60, 70 and 90 litre bags! You gotta be kidding.

What aren't you planning to pack? That list has to be shorter than what you are planning to pack!

What kind of tour in S. America is it you are going on? Can you provide a link to the tour company's site and a description of the tour?

You say, 'jungles, mountains, cities. Are you going to have to pick up this bag and carry it yourself at all for say farther than 50 feet? Do you have any idea what your bag will weigh when packed?

It's the jungles and mountains part that makes me wonder just what kind of travel you will be doing in terms of having to carry your bag yourself.

Two very popular bags that people use for longer term travel where they will encounter various means of travel other than just airport, taxi or bus to hotel and city streets, are the Osprey Porter 46 and Osprey Farpoint 40. People take these bags on year long, round the world, trips.

Neither has wheels which only add weight to your bag. Weight is the travellers number one enemy when it comes to choosing and packing a bag. If you are only doing airport, taxi, hotel, city streets, then wheels are not a disadvantage but if you are going to have to pick your bag up and carry it, they are a major disadvantage.

Size also matters. There is a universal law of the cosmos which says that the bigger the bag, the more 'stuff' you decide to pack in it. Who wouldah thought! More 'stuff' means more weight and more weight means less comfort when you have to pick it up off the ground.

If you are planning to pack ball gowns and 8 pair of shoes, then you're never gonna be a lightweight traveller. That's up to you to decide but I would like to suggest that you give it some conscious thought before deciding and not just assume you need a big bag for travelling.

Here is a video of a woman packing for a 5 week trip and using a 40-45 litre bag.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNN0LoVJ5So

Most people make the mistake of first picking a bag and then deciding what to pack in it. I would suggest a better way to decide what bag to buy is by: 1. Start by setting yourself a weight limit you are willing to pick up and carry. 2. Determine what you will pack that will keep you under that weight limit. 3. Bundle it all up in a large plastic bag and tape it up tightly into a roughly rectangular cube form. Measure it and THAT is the size bag you need.
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Old Mar 18th, 2017, 11:14 AM
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This might be a time to throw in another suggestion that helps people pack more appropriately...

Well in advance of the trip, pack the bag fully as you plan to take it, then go out in your own city/town and move around with it, take it on and off public transportation, in and out of taxis, etc. Walk a mile with it. See how it feels.
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Old Mar 18th, 2017, 12:42 PM
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For 4 weeks, a 25" would be optimal. I bought a very lightwt Travelpro hardshell spinner for a month trip to France that worked out great. But for a previous trip to Spain, my husband and I had large wheeled duffels that ended up being close to 50# and because they werent spinners, might have made my left arm 2" longer with all the pulling to/fro train stations! However, it opened up like a Pullman, with each half secured and separated. Open-from-the-top duffels are very inconvenient. These were inexpensive and very sturdy, High Sierra brand. Another very lightweight line to consider is Lipault.
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Old Mar 18th, 2017, 03:18 PM
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I was at TJ Maxx yesterday an there had a selection of 22 inch fabric wheelies weighing in around 6lb. They were all name brands in the $60 to $70 range. I'd go try one and see if that, plus a legal carryon will get you thru. There seems to be a lack of 23 or 24 inch bags, with the downsizing of free carryons.


I don't know if Dogeared has every been to South America but one gets to the Andes by bus and to the jungle by plane and launch. No need for backpacks if on a tour. The bus will be stopping in front of your hotel. You may have to carry your bag upstairs by yourself if they are using 3 star hotels. Stairs are more common than elevators. Pack light and use laundry services.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 07:09 AM
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"For 4 weeks, a 25" would be optimal"

In what way optimal? I travel for considerably longer than that with a 22 inch roller (two wheels, checked for flights) and a day pack. And I do a lot of train travel.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 07:26 AM
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Mlgb, I have been to every continent except Antarctica. I do not consider a 6lb bag as light. I have travelled using nearly every form of transportation known to man. None of that has anything to do with what kind of bag I choose to use on any given trip.

You seem to think that everyone going to S. America travels by bus, plane and launch and that 'the bus will be stopping in front of your hotel'. Really? How do you know that? I've actually found that it is quite rare for a bus to stop in front of your hotel unless it is a tour bus. You are making assumptions about the OP's trip for which there is no evidence. The OP has not returned to answer the question as to how they will be travelling. It may be that the OP will be travelling in a way that makes a wheeled bag OK. It may be that it will be a disadvantage.

Take a look at this tour company's suggestions on type of bag. Also note the weights they mention for various parts of their tours/treks. ie. their Amazon list and Peru list.
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ca/per...1247/tripnotes

While you will see that they start out saying, "Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although a small to medium suitcase with wheels is ok too.", interpret that for yourself. What they are really saying is a backpack is better but we don't want to lose any bookings from people who want to bring a wheeled suitcase. So we'll include it and let them suffer for it after they've paid us.

Note on their Amazon specific list they end with, "Luggage is hand-carried at various stages in the trip for long distance. We strongly recommend you limit your weight to 15 kilos (32 pounds per piece)." How does that work with a wheeled suitcase? Do you think those 'long distances' are on paved streets in the Amazon?

I would be interested in hearing what you think 'packing light' actually means in terms of a specific weight you would consider to be light. I consider anything under 7kg/15 lbs. to be light; up to 11kg/25 lbs. to be average and anything over that to be heavy.

There are many people who travel for as much as a year or more and start out with as little as 5kg/11 lbs. total weight and that includes the weight of the bag itself. You suggest a 22 inch bag plus a 'legal carry-on' as well. That I can guarantee you will end up nowhere near 'lightweight'. Most people who think they are travelling light, never define what 'light' means.

Note on the linked site for their Peru Trek, you are limited to 5kg. What they don't say is that even if people pack exactly what they list, they will not manage to stay below 5kg.

You should also learn what the difference is between a travelpack and a backpack. One is designed for a mix of travel means while the other is designed specifically for backpacking in the great outdoors. Here is a simple explanation.
http://blog.tortugabackpacks.com/hiking-backpacks/

The Osprey bags I mentioned earlier are travel packs, which are probably the best type of bag for travel in S. America if you are going to have to do any carrying of your bag for any length of time on your trip.
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