I’m going to tell you the truth.
Backpacks aren’t for everyone.
And while we love them here on Her Packing List, they are meant for specific types of travelers and specific types of trips. If you’re a business traveler, you don’t want your nice suits getting wrinkled in your bag. If minimalism isn’t your thing, carrying your belongings on your back might not be a great idea. But fret not, travelers, there are options for you.
Carry On Luggage
Your basic carry-on suitcase is an item every traveler should own, even backpackers. There will be some occasions when a backpack is not the appropriate item to carry your belongings. Make sure your suitcase has sturdy zippers and handles. And if you must choose a black suitcase, at least pick a luggage tag that will make it easier to differentiate!
Larissa of The Blonde Gypsy explains why she travels with a suitcase rather than a backpack.
“I’ve never owned a backpack mostly because I hate the idea of carrying something heavy on my shoulders while traveling and would much rather drag something on wheels. Have never found it to be more inconvenient or less practical – they have always fit the same spaces, sometimes even better (on trains, buses, hostel lockers, etc). I chose my current suitcase because it is small enough to carry-on but still fits a lot if I want to load it up to be checked in (20 inches) and oh trust, I can fit over 20 kilos. My most important requirement that this suitcase has is spinner wheels because it enables you to either push it in front/on the side of you or roll from behind.”
Sometimes you want to have your cake and eat it too, in which case a wheeled backpack may suit your needs. You can roll it in the same way a suitcase allows, but it can fold flat to fit under your bunk bed. You can also cover up the wheels, open the straps and carry it like a normal backpack.
Giulia Detours Cimarosti of Travel Reportage found a wheeled backpack that she hauled through Turkey and Egypt. “I recently got a Caribee Fast Track 75L. It’s a convertible trolley to backpack, and has a detachable daypack too. Perfect in every situation!”
*Features: detachable daypack, internal waterproof toiletries pouch, separate zippered shoe compartment
>> The Caribee Fast Track 75 on Amazon
I’ve also heard great things about the Osprey Ozone 22. They make my favorite brand of backpacks, so I’m sure their wheeled backpack is equally impressive. It comes with plenty of pockets and a handle if you need to carry it like a duffel.
*Weight: 4lbs 7oz / 2.02 kg
*Features: panel loading with rear panel access, side compression straps, possible carry-on size
If you’re only traveling for short periods of time, a duffel bag can be a quick and easy item to throw your clothing into. They also fold up easily, so you don’t have to worry about finding a place to store it.
Eagle Creek makes a basic duffel in many colors. The No Matter What Flashpoint duffel comes packaged in a case that’s easy to throw into your suitcase if you plan on bringing back a lot of souvenirs! It comes in multiple sizes and a rolling variety.
*Size: S (30.3L), M (59L), L (110L), XL (133L)
*Weight: 1lb 9oz / 0.71kg up to 2lbs 12oz / 1.25kg
*Features: made with abrasion-resistant, water repellant, Bi-Tech™ fabric; external compression; lockable zippers; comes with packable stuff sack
Instead of a cloth-based carry-on suitcase, many companies produce hard plastic suitcases, which are less prone to getting dirty and can take more of a beating.
Beth of Beers and Beans loves her Hartmann PC4, which has spinner wheels that you can pull in any direction, not to mention a classy, sleek design.
*Features: 360 degree wheels, locking telescoping handle, 10 year warranty
>> Read the review over on Beers and Beans
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures packs in this Romero Britto-designed colorful suitcase, which makes it easy to differentiate at the airport. It also has a hard shell to protect your belongings.
*Features: 360 degree spinner wheels, push-button telescoping aluminum handle, built-in TSA lock, hardside construction