Travel Tips and Packing Lists

Buying Guide: Luggage, Travel Packs, Carry Ons and Duffel Bags

Lightweight carry ons and travel packs make for versatile travel options.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a trusted bag. At Eagle Creek, we believe one of the most important parts of that journey is packing smart and light. That's why we've been obsessed with making durable lightweight bags since the day we opened our doors. We know how hard it can be to squeeze everything you need into one piece of luggage. When you're cramming everything into that one piece of luggage, you need the bag itself to have plenty of pockets for organization and you also want it to have other smart travel features, like lockable zippers and beefy wheels. After all, we know the “joy” of sprinting from Gate A3 to Gate Q36 to make a connecting flight. Whether you're checking your bags or looking for the best lightweight carry on or travel pack, we've got the solution for you. We've created this handy buying guide to help you find the right type of luggage for your journey.

Whether you're a frequent jet setter or an occasional traveler, you don't want to get stuck with bulky, poor-quality bags that get in the way of your trip. Take the time to think about the needs of your trip, and choose your bags and packing organizers accordingly. Knowing what to expect – and how much you'll need to pack – will enable you to easily choose between different travel packs and individual features such as wheels, handles, sizes and organizational accessories. To ensure that you choose a travel bag that's a perfect fit for your needs, here are a few important things to consider.

  1. Length of journey. How long will you be traveling? For a weekend trip, you may be able to fit everything into a lightweight carry on or small duffel bag. For a longer adventure, you'll want to consider a piece of rolling luggage depending what type of gear you'll need to bring.
  2. Modes of transportation. Will you have multiple layovers or flights? Will your journey include train or bus rides? If you'll be on the go and moving between multiple types of transportation, you'll absolutely want a lightweight carry-on or wheeled backpack that's easy to handle and fits in overhead compartments of trains, planes and buses. 
  3. Type of travel. Will you be camping in remote locations or staying at a posh hotel? Depending on where and how you're traveling, the amount and type of gear you'll need may vary. A traveler on the go will be looking for the lightest travel pack possible, while those staying in a hotel or hostel will be able to more easily consider a piece of rolling luggage.
  4. Activities. What type of activities will you be doing and what do you need to pack in order to do these? If you'll be laying on a beach and plan on packing bathing suits and sarongs, your suitcase needs will likely be much different than someone who will be packing climbing gear and using multiple modes of transportation to get there.

There's a correct piece of luggage for every type of trip. Whether you're shopping for one piece or an entire collection, you can make your travel so much easier when you are well-equipped. So now that you know your travel needs, you're ready to choose the perfect travel bag. We've broken each type of bag down by category and recommended use.

 

Rolling luggage you can use as a lightweight carry on.

 

Lightweight Carry-ons


Recommended use: International travel, weekend trips, overnight stays or single-day business trips

Most people try to maximize their carry-on packing, fitting everything they can into the dimensions allowed by the airline. This is the way to go when traveling (if you can do it) because it's so nice to know your bag will be arriving at your destination with you. Eagle Creek's lightweight carry-ons offer all the features you love – retractable handles, durable wheels, multiple compartments for organization and more – but in compact sizes that are light, super easy to carry, and designed specifically to fit in the overhead bin (without cramming and slamming).

 

Duffel bags are great for using as a lightweight carry on.

 

Wheeled Duffel Bags and Rolling Luggage

Recommended use: Use duffels for adventure travel, international travel, or for weekend trips. Use rolling luggage for business travel, weekend trips, and well... most of the time.

The tried and true favorites of most seasoned travelers are rolling bags. Gone are the days of lugging a massive suitcase by a single handle. Now you have a variety of rolling luggage to choose from to carry your heavy belongings with ease. Make sure you're focused on quality when purchasing one of these handy travel mates as wheels can break and sometimes get stuck. A wheeled duffel bag is a great option if you need a lot of space - the large main compartment allows you to fit a ton of gear. But for those who'd like a little more organization in their luggage, a wheeled upright typically comes with more compartments (than a duffel) to separate your goods. You may also want to consider convertible luggage.

It's also a good idea to think about whether you want your rolling luggage to have the traditional two wheels or four. Many people enjoy having 4-wheeled luggage because the bag glides almost effortlessly by your side, easily rolling down the aisle of a plane. Four wheels also makes travel less strenuous because you're not putting a ton of weight on your wrist. Plus a 4-wheeled bag gives you a little more versatility - for example, if you're pulling your bag up a curb, simply tilt the bag back and pull it on two wheels. However, one thing to note about 4-wheeled luggage is if you are doing lots of travel by bus, and will need to store your bag in the upright position, you may want to opt for a 2 wheeler, because 4 wheeled bags can move around easily on buses in motion. 

 

 

Backpacks and Wheeled Backpacks

Recommended use: Day trips, adventure travel, multi-destination, and international travel

Rolling uprights are a great option for carrying lots of gear, but depending on where you're going, you may find it more comfortable and convenient to carry a travel backpack instead. If you want to merge the concept of travel backpack and rolling bag, consider a convertible backpack which converts from one into the other. The Switchback™ is Eagle Creek's award-winning wheeled backpack and comes with a zip-off backpack for day trip use. Whichever bag you decide to travel with, you may be surprised at how light today's packs are when you carry them on your back - instead of having to constant roll them behind you.

 

Convertible luggage that can be used as rolling luggage or as a backpack is convenient for travel.


Travel Packs

Recommended use: Business travel, day trips and adventure travel

A travel pack is a great alternative to traditional piece of luggage or suitcase. You may find that it offers versatility that many other bags don't. When packing for any kind of trip, remember that you don't always want to lug around a giant rolling upright behind you. Travel backpacks and duffel packs are great for folks that plan to be on the go alot and may face the challenge of cobblestone and dirt streets. Many times Eagle Creek conversion bags transform into backpacks for multi-carry options... but if you are just looking for a tried-and-true and newly innovative redesigned travel pack with a ton of smart travel features, check out our Deviate Packs. Read more on the ingenuity of a travel pack for your next adventure.