A Suitcase, Duffel Bag or Backpack…oh my!

With the daunting task of hotel accommodations behind me my attention as turned to the matter of packing.  I consider myself an experienced traveler, I’ve been many places in the US and a few trips overseas.  I have always travelled with a rolling suitcase…usually carry on size; having worked at the airport this was priority for stand by employee travel.  The wheels on my current roller bag, after many years & miles, have given up on me and so the search for new luggage commences. Should I. go hard sided luggage or stay with soft sided luggage, what about a rolling duffel bag? As I was mulling these ideas over and casually mentioning them to my hubby he indicated that we should consider backpacks.  My first reaction was not favorable….I mean were not going into the wilderness and setting up camp somewhere; or are we?

After some persuasive comments from my hubby and more research I’ve really come around to the backpack idea.  For starters, we’ll be relying on public transportation and good old-fashioned foot power to get around.  Logistically it will be much easier and comfortable putting our “stuff” on our backs than trying to pull them behind us, up stairs, into small spaces, running to catch flights, trains, buses etc. Secondly, it will force us to pack mindfully and creatively.  More than once I’ve packed for a trip with way too many clothes and shoes, more than half of which I never ended up wearing.  I’ve never backpacked before but my husband, who has backpacked on the AT more than once, assures me that everything we could possibly need for our entire 2 weeks can fit into a backpack. Packing is something like part science & part art! LOL

So now my time is being spent checking out different types, sizes and functions of backpacks.  REI has a nice page on their website that goes into detail about packs, fitting, external frames, internal frames etc. I’ve found one pack on their site that I’m keeping on the short list.  It’s called the Women’s Co-Op Grand Tour 80 Travel Pack and it has received pretty good reviews.  What I like about the pack is that it comes with a detachable day pack, which will be perfect for exploring around the towns & museums as well as when we go on our day hikes.  It also comes with a rain & travel guard, to protect the bag from the elements while wearing outside as well as during the baggage handling process when we check our bags with the airline. This pack is front loading, so all of the contents can be accessed easily without having to unload the whole pack from the top.

This is the only pack I’ve researched so I need to do some more comparisons before settling on one.  I will have to research some other blogs and YouTube video reviews to see what type of packs others have used successfully.

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