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Best carry-on travel backpack/softsided suitcase?

aragon765

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I am looking for a carry-on size travel backpack, enough to pack the essentials, but small enough to lug around. Not doing any serious backpacking, but want something a little easier to carry from train to hotel than a standard hard-sided wheeled suitcase.

Options I have considered:

Tom Bihn Aeronaut:
Great reviews, made in America, but pricey.

Red Oxx Sky Train
Also great reviews, but may be too small?

MEC Roller Bag
Cheaper, but may not fit as carry-on, and heavy.... nice that it has removable day pack, though

Has anyone used bags like this for (or similar) and has any recommendations/comments?

Thanks!
 

Xericx

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I have the Briggs and Riley 235x which is discontinued but you can still find in some retailers. I really liked it, came through nicely for a 10 day trip to Europe, only used one bag and even brought my macbook with me. Fit in all the sizers rather easily.
Here's a "shoot-out" review for a few of the softsided suitcases. http://www.1bag1world.com/blog/2009/...-shootout.html the backpacks are good if you're doing a lot of walking though. I kind of wish mine had the straps...Briggs and Riley does make one with backpack straps but I believe it has slightly less capacity. http://www.briggs-riley.com/category...-Cabin-Bag_224 that might be it.
 

em36

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The MLC is very large. I bought one of these for my dad in the mid-nineties. It is the max space of a carryon, without ANY shape, hence does not work well as a pack.

Edit: If you want a good pack that would hold enough clothes, and fit in overhead bin, look at an alpinist day/overnight pack. Dana Designs (no longer around) or the like made stuff for ski day trips, works swell and has the volume you're looking for.
 

DMcG

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Originally Posted by Xericx
I have the Briggs and Riley 235x which is discontinued but you can still find in some retailers. I really liked it, came through nicely for a 10 day trip to Europe, only used one bag and even brought my macbook with me. Fit in all the sizers rather easily.

I have that bag too and its great. Not as easy to carry around as a true back pack but the shoulder strap does work really well.
 

roderickpike

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+1 for Briggs & Riley. The 235x Suiter Tote was one of their most popular products. Unfortunately they don't make it any more and it might be difficult to find a store that still has one in stock. But the other Briggs & Riley cabin bag Xericx has suggested is a great option as well. It is very close in size to the Suiter Tote and can also be worn as a backpack. Besides, it carries their unbeatable lifetime warranty (http://www.briggs-riley.com/simple-a...time-warranty/)
 

countdemoney

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Tumi made one similar to the 23x5 but in napa leather. Best damn luggage I have owned in my life. Also discontinued.

I will have mine copied by a custom leather manufacturer when that sad day comes to retire it.
 

michealj

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First, exclude all wheeled bags/backpacks.
The additional hardware used in rolling luggage takes up valuable packing space and also makes the bag heavier. This means you'll have a harder time keeping it under the carry-on size and weight limits which vary amongst airlines

From my research the best carry on backpacks currently available are (in no particular order):

  • Rick Steves Convertible Carry On

  • eBags Weekender Convertible

  • Lowe Alpine TT Carry-On 40

  • High Sierra Passport Travel Pack

  • Briggs & Riley Baseline 20 Convertible Travel Tote
 

aragon765

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Originally Posted by michealj
First, exclude all wheeled bags/backpacks.
The additional hardware used in rolling luggage takes up valuable packing space and also makes the bag heavier. This means you'll have a harder time keeping it under the carry-on size and weight limits which vary amongst airlines

From my research the best carry on backpacks currently available are (in no particular order):

  • Rick Steves Convertible Carry On

  • eBags Weekender Convertible

  • Lowe Alpine TT Carry-On 40

  • High Sierra Passport Travel Pack

  • Briggs & Riley Baseline 20 Convertible Travel Tote

This is actually good advice for a somewhat
my looking poast... I bought that exact Lowe Alpine bag, and it was perfect - big enough for everything I needed, and easy to pack full and still stay under the 10kg carry-on limit. Backpack straps for the occasional jaunt (not a hiking or day-long pack), and quality fabric and hardware which seems very durable. My only caveat is that the bag is quite casual looking, so it was a bit out of place at the nicer places we stayed, but that is a very minor issue, and nothing to do with the bag. Also very well priced at +/- $100 (cdn).

I would recommend the Lowe Alpine bag to anyone.
 

Ambulance Chaser

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I've used the Osprey Porter 46 as my only bag, and have been able to carry it on to all North American flights so far. If I'm planning on taking any formal wear, that means that I'll be wearing the jacket while traveling, since I wouldn't want to cram it into the bag with the other items. If you want to pack your suit or blazer, you may want a different system. In case the bag is ever rejected as a carry-on, I pack an ultralight nylon daypack so I can always have my essentials with me on the airplane. (Consider what you can get by with if that's all you have, as well as what could be the most help in an emergency.) There are many ultralight packs on the market that double as stuffsacks. The Porter 46 has semi-rigid foam sides, which help maintain the bag's shape when it's not full or when the contents have irregular shapes. This in turn helps with comfort when carrying the bag, and in packing/unpacking/finding items quickly. The downside is that the bag may not be as crammable as completely unstructured bags -- it may require a bit of a shove to fit it into bins and other small spaces; but it's not so stiff that it won't respond to a good push. Slash pockets on the Porter 46 are another comprimise. They give the bag a clean profile (you might say snag-free) and help keep the weight close to your back for bettery carrying comfort. Patch pockets such as seen on many rectangular bags and most military styles would have been a more bulky option, but might have provided somewhat better quick access to small items. Which do you prefer? All in all, I find the Porter's construction durable and the design logical. The handles and straps are very comfortable. Compression straps are very adjustable and well thought-out. Add a couple of lightweight mesh 'cubes' for organizing clothing, and a few ziplocs to keep other loose items together, and you have a lightweight, easy-access system. If you pack with efficiency in mind, holding to one colour scheme and a few multi-use essentials (e.g., cashmere or merino sweater!), you can leave a lot of weight in duplicate clothing at home. I also forego packs with wheels; I want my carry-on light enough to be carried anywhere. A light pack not only gives me comfort, it enables me to adapt on the spur of the moment, catch connections others would miss, and opt for adventurous side trips others would be too encumbered to consider. More reviews: http://www.dailyhiker.com/gear/osprey-porter-46/
 

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