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Why I Travel With the L.L.Bean Rolling Duffle

L.L.Bean rolling duffle review

The following L.L.Bean rolling duffle review has been submitted by Leah Buckman.

Hi, I’m Leah. At the tender age of 13 the travel bug bit me and I haven’t ever recovered. I’ve traveled to destinations on five continents and am itching to put my feet on the last two (South America and Antarctica). I currently live on the island of Oahu in tropical Hawaii, where I work in the hospitality industry. Since I most often travel with nonprofit organizations and am usually interacting with children or needing to keep within a dress code, I don’t pack like a tourist. (On my own time, I pack a lot lighter and usually in a backpack.) As a volunteer, I tend to bring those “just in case” kind of items, as well as supplies necessary to the trip.

For these trips, I’ve found the perfect bag: the L.L.Bean Quickload Upright Rolling Duffle ($179 US).

>> Check it out on the L.L.Bean website.

Why L.L.Bean?

I have a lot of experience with L.L.Bean products, and my favorite thing about the company is their lifetime guarantee. When choosing luggage, I went with this company because of that guarantee, knowing that if I took the bag on a trip (or ten) and didn’t like the way it performed, I could return it, no questions asked. I also knew if the bag didn’t hold up in any way (unlikely, given the rigorous testing of all L.L.Bean bags) I could have it repaired or return it without any hassle.

Why a Rolling Duffle?

leah and LLBean rolling duffleHaving traveled with every bag style from military duffle to hiking backpack to traditional, old-fashioned suitcase, I picked this hybrid style, hoping it would be the best of all worlds. It hasn’t disappointed! The wheels are great, as is the wide opening and soft construction. It weighs just under 8 lbs (3.5kg) which is really light for its size. I initially bought the bag to take to Kenya for a two-year term in the Peace Corps, so I purchased two of the extra large size. (There’s also a medium size option, which would be a shorter trip or a more minimalist packer.) The bag comes in a variety of colors, and while it may not be the most polished look, it definitely stands out on a luggage carousel!

The bag has been perfect for my move to Hawaii and most recently for a five week stay in Thailand. It’s been durable and easy to maneuver through airports, city streets, and African soil. As a bonus, it does double duty once at my destination. With the packing cubes, it’s easy to stay organized throughout my trip and keep all my belongings in the same place. The U-shaped opening makes it easy to see everything in the bag and get to the item I want without digging around for it. I’ve found myself using the bag during my trip like a drawer or chest, in lieu of an actual dresser. It’s a great size for storing under a bed and rolling out as needed.

My favorite thing about this bag is that, it’s almost impossible to pack it overweight. It provides the perfect quantity to weight ratio. Most airlines limit each bag to 50lbs (23kgs), so filling the bag to capacity, I’ve gotten to that limit, but never over. The bag is very easy to pull, even fully stuffed. (It also has a handle at the top and two straps that Velcro together across the body to assist with lifting/carrying.)

My least favorite thing about this bag is its tendency to tip over when standing upright. I’ve never had anything damaged because of it tipping, but it’s a little bit of a nuisance to have to find a place to prop it up or deal with picking it back up every time it tips. (Ideally I would prefer it to have four spinner wheels rather than two roller wheels.) However, I’ve finally found a solution to this by using packing cubes and putting a little more thought into how I arrange what’s inside the bag. Keeping heavier items toward the back/bottom eliminates the issue and the bag stands up beautifully on its own.

To give you an idea what this bag holds, here’s what went into it on my recent five week volunteer trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Everything to be packed.
Everything I will pack, ready to go into the bag.

Inside her L.L.Bean rolling duffle

Pic 1: Small cube
2 sports bras
Running tights
Running shorts
Workout tank
Workout tee
Bikini
Rash guard top
2 small quick-dry towels

Pic 2: Medium cube
Raincoat in stuff sack
Cardigan
Long sleeve blouse
3 tank tops
6 tees
Pj shorts/tank

Pic 3: Large cube
4 skirts
2 dresses
Jeans
Long shorts
Undies/bras in organizer
Flip flops

Pic 4: Extras
Running shoes (with a pair of socks stuffed in each shoe)
Walking shoes
Flashlight
Adaptor
Deck of cards
Tin w/ battery charger/ batteries
First aid kit
Toiletries
Tote bag
Water bottle
Sunscreen
Jewelry pouch

Inside the L.L.Bean rolling duffle

Pic 5: The bag easily fits everything in the main section. There are two side pockets, but for this trip, security was an issue and I didn’t want to risk losing things in the outside pockets to anyone’s sticky fingers. (I used a TSA approved combination lock on the two zippers to the main compartment to secure my bag.)

Pic 6: If I were on a road trip, or not worried about anyone digging in my bag, I would take advantage of the organization the side pocket offer and pack this way. (One pair of shoes in the right side pocket; cards, jewelry pouch, flashlight, adaptor, and sewing kit in the left.)

Pic 7: My final step is to help everything stay in place with a bandana across the top, then buckling the internal straps in an “X” over the bandana.

Pic 8: The finished product, with my tote bag tucked into the top outside pocket. I like having an extra bag on the slight chance I’m overweight when I check it, in which case I can pull out a cube, stick it in the tote, and call it my “personal item” to carry-on.

Packed up and ready to roll!
Packed up and ready to roll!

I wholeheartedly recommend this bag as a great travel companion, especially for the not-so-light packer or a long trip. It has been a faithful companion to me over many continents and countless great adventures.

About the Author: Leah is a single girl on the cusp of 30, active, curious, and never settled. She grew up in rural Upstate New York, but has called Hawaii home for almost seven years. Coffee is her favorite souvenir from anyplace she travels, whether it’s across the dateline or just to a new city.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Kristen says

    I too am a big fan of L.L. Bean products and have taken my Adventure Rolling Duffle on past vacations to the Outer Banks, NC and California.

    It was especially helpful on the 10-day California trip as my family and I flew into San Diego then drove up the coast to L.A., Yosemite, Napa Valley, and finally San Francisco, staying 2-3 days in each place respectively. The duffle unzips into one main compartment, so it allowed me to easily access what I needed that day, while leaving everything else packed and ready to go for the next stop.

    Since it was a duffle, I wasn’t limited to the “standard suitcase rectangle” either and could fit everything in with no problem and room to spare. It was great for the trip home since I could easily fit my bottles of wine from Napa! 😉 The duffle also comes with two adjustable straps that can be tightened to keep everything in place, and additional handles to help with carrying.The pull handle and wheels are very sturdy and the shoulder strap comes in handy when I have to carry it up stairs. I did experience the tipping issue the first time I used it, but like Leah mentioned, once I rearranged and put heavier items on the bottom end, I had no other problems. Overall, it’s really easy to pull and very durable.

    I’m looking forward to using the duffle again for a family trip to Ireland in the Spring, and trying out the useful packing tips from your site!

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