For a travel writer who’s on the road (or in the air or on a boat) at least 50% of the time, my packing situation was pretty pathetic. I had tried all combinations of packing with systems of my own design, including of a duffel bag with choice of infernally short double handles, or a too-long clip-on neck-breaking shoulder strap, a hard-shell rolling suitcase whose wheels would get stuck turning around and tip over, and any number of backpack and purse situations that would get twisted, tangled, or caught in my hair.
I was that person who arrived breathless at the gate, digging down to the bottom of my bag for my phone or boarding pass, arriving at my seat trying to hoist an unwieldy bag into the overhead bin and landing with a disheveled plop to sit down.
If only I had known I didn’t have to travel that way.
What Makes Good Luggage?
When I got the Gear Warrior Convertible Carry On, it was a total game changer. The large bottom bag is the size of a small suitcase (Read: It fits in the overhead bin and can be considered a carry-on bag.) and has wheels and a retractable pull handle, but it also has backpack straps that tuck inside and can be zipped away. The bottom bag is large enough to pack a week’s worth of essentials.
The top bag, essentially like the Packable Daypack, fits like a turtle shell on top of the larger bag and is strapped on so the two cling together. When the top pack is detached, it’s a backpack that’s the size of a personal item. The bottom bag is large enough to accommodate a week’s worth of essentials, while the top pack can fit my toiletries, laptop, and water bottle—and it has zippered or clipped pockets for items like my passport, keys, phone, and debit card that I want easy access to but need to keep secure while I’m en route (and until I can stash them in a safe or put them in a safe place like the Stash Neck Pouch).
3 Tips to Choose the Right Luggage
1. Choose Luggage with a Complete Packing System: Instead of picking and choosing luggage in a variety of styles, look to companies that offer convertible luggage systems that all fit together—this is a huge part of creating a streamlined system for yourself that’s convenient when you’re rushing through airports and exploring forgeign lands.
2. Pick Durable Fabrics and Materials: From being tossed around by baggage handlers to bumping and thumping over the cobblestone streets of Europe, you need luggage with heavy treaded wheels, study handles, and durable materials that will last for a lifetime. Even better? If your bag has durable fabrics also made from recycled materials.
3. Select a Luggage Style that Fits Your Travel Style: Convertible bags are perfect for many travelers because they combine the best of wheeled luggage with the best of a backpack, so you can adapt to many situations. That said, a duffel is right for many travel situations as well, as are small carry-on bags ideal for under-the-seat travel. It’s all about matching your travel style to a good luggage system: Here’s how to choose a style of travel bag.
While I’m home between trips, I’m spending my time sorting through my gear, making sure everything is in good repair (Eagle Creek has a fantastic No Matter What Warranty™ that fixes luggage instead of seeing it end up in a landfill). Now that I’ve chosen the right luggage for all of my future travels, I’m upgrading my packing game to include Pack It cubes, watching super informative videos on what to pack for any situation, how to be an efficient packer, and reviewing my carry-on essentials.
As a recovering sloppy packer, there’s never been a better time to upgrade my luggage and become a better packer and better traveler. Eagle Creek’s commitment to sustainability makes me feel like ‘m making a difference, and there’s no feeling like breezing through security and onto the jet bridge organized, calm, and ready to go.
Gear Warrior Wheeled Duffel Carry On
Stash Neck Pouch
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
Fit More Into Your Suitcase By Packing With a Plan
The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist
TSA Carry On Rules: What Can You Bring On A Plane?