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#264430 - 10/17/13 03:38 AM Air travel: need bag recommendations
Bingley Offline

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1397
Back to one of our favorite topics: bags!

When I travel, I generally have a few things that can't be taken through the TSA checkpoint: a knife, for example, and the kit. I used to just check everything except for my laptop and some personal items. That means paying at least $50 extra each trip, but I thought it was worth having my gear with me in an unfamiliar place.

On this last trip, a trip I took for work, the airline misplaced my luggage, and I ended up without my work clothes (suit, shoes, tie, etc.). It was seriously inconvenient. So now I'm thinking I need another bag when I do air travel. That makes three bags: the checked bag with my gear, the carry on bag with my work clothes, and the laptop bag.

What bags do you recommend? It needs to be small enough to be a carry on. It needs to carry a suit without wrinkling it. I need to be able to lug it around with two additional bags -- in other words, something convenient.

#264433 - 10/17/13 08:39 AM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: Bingley]
Ian Offline

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 198
Loc: Scotland
When travelling I use an add on saddlebag over my everyday briefcase. Best of both worlds. Easy to pack, easy to store onboard, one handle. See the link below for ideas.

Briefcase Saddlebags

Edited by Ian (10/17/13 08:43 AM)

#264435 - 10/17/13 12:11 PM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: Bingley]
Montanero Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1492
Loc: North Carolina
I have a tri-fold garment bag that I use when my work requires suits. Mine is Eagle Creek, but I do not think they make it any more. There are others out there on the market. The tri-fold is small enough for a carry on but can take good care of your suits. Mine will hold two suits, ties, shirts, and even shoes. I have not really looked at the other models as mine is still working well after 14 years.

#264448 - 10/17/13 05:32 PM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: Bingley]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 830
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
I have yet to find a single carry-on bag that carries all the vital stuff I need and that will fit all of the various and changing airline carry on size restrictions. I find I have to have several bags in varying sizes for different sets of rules.

On my last trip to Europe, due to the final failure of my favorite carry on bag just before the flight, I ended up using a standard gym type bag like this:

And it worked so well, it is now my go to choice.
Good points:
1) relatively cheap (cheaper than "dedicated" luggage).
2) light
3) shoulder strap (removable)
4) various sizes available to meet airline regs.
5) dual zippers that meet to close bag allow a small lock to keep prying hands out.
6) no internal or hard frame, so its "stuffable" and can conform better to odd space left in the overhead compartment.

I also have one of the traditional style folding garment bags, but don't use it anymore as its to big to meet any of the carry on regulations on the airlines that I use.

On a slightly different topic, during my trip I noticed that laptops and pads got a lot of attention from the TSA, who ignored smartphones and 7" style tablets. . .both of which I carried and went through the checkpoints and x-ray without a second glance.
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

#264452 - 10/17/13 10:51 PM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: bws48]
chaosmagnet Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3135
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: bws48
On a slightly different topic, during my trip I noticed that laptops and pads got a lot of attention from the TSA, who ignored smartphones and 7" style tablets. . .both of which I carried and went through the checkpoints and x-ray without a second glance.

Current regulations require that laptops be removed from your carryon and placed alone in a tray for the X-ray machine, excepting only certain specific laptop bags that are designed for in-bag TSA compliance. I've gone through security with my iPad in my bag at least 50 times without any noticeable additional scrutiny.

#264453 - 10/17/13 11:31 PM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: Bingley]
yee Offline

Registered: 12/10/11
Posts: 169
When I am not planning to check in any baggage, I like the Kelty Redwing. It is pretty much the largest backpack that can be used as a carryon and still has a proper waistbelt. (not stuffed to the gills and ALL side pockets empty)

For checked in luggage, I like the Northface Basecamp Duffel. The medium is a good carryon (not stuffed to the gills). The large is a good checked-in (not stuffed to the gills). I prefer colors that are dead bang BRIGHT and UGLY since that makes them easier to see on the luggage carousel. These duffel bags have shoulder straps for short portages and are bomb-proof. For wheels, I use a separate luggage carriers. Wheels are a major source of failure and takes up a lot of space in regular luggage.

Conway Yee

#264454 - 10/17/13 11:33 PM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: Bingley]
ducktapeguy Offline

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 358
Almost any bag would work, but I would look for "Maximum Legal Carryon" type bags which are specifically designed for this requirement. They range from $30 - $300+, depending on the quality and features you want. I personally like the convertible backpacks, but if this is strictly for business travel, then a rolling luggage would probably work better for you. If your laptop bag is designed for travel, a lot of them will slip on top of the handles of the roller so you don't have to manage two separate bags. I would think if you're checking a bag with the majority of your stuff, you should be able to get by with just one small carry-on bag. Most carryon bags have separate compartments for laptop to make it easier when going through security. I would strongly recommend not trying to juggle 3 bags through an airport, the less you carry the happier you'll be.

A couple of the more popular carry on bags that I've been looking at (note most are backpack/shoulder bag style) in order of price

Eagle Creek Morphus (Actually 2 bags in one, can be a rolling carryon and a backpack). I think it's kinda heavy for a bag, but an interesting concept.
Tom Bihn Tri-star (or the Aeronaut, but not as suit friendly)
Red Oxx Sky train
Patagonia MLC
E-bags TLS Motherlode Weekender (or the more basic Etech weekender 2.0)
Campmor Essential carryon (extremely cheap, but very light)

I've gone through a few other, but I always come back to the Campmor bag. It's a basic bag, no frills, but about 1/2 the weight of the others. I've probably put over 100K miles on it with no issue. You need to pack it more carefully since there is no shape to the bag, but adding some foam sheets helped a lot. It's a very highly regarded bag with the one bag crowd, and the reason I know it must be good is because my wife liked it so much she took it for herself, that's why I'm shopping for a new bag.

#264461 - 10/18/13 03:14 AM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: Bingley]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
I'm almost embarrassed to recommend a simple Ogio Sport duffel bag, it was a gift from my department in 1992 but probably would retail for $50-75 today. Mine is a 20 year old duffel that has survived easily over 1 million air travel miles in that time. I generally travel casual but its carried a single suit usually and can handle two suits if necessary. I meet everyone from government bureaucrats to sultans, so occasionally I will shy away from the duffel and carry on a suit carrier too.

Suits in a duffel - you have to know how to pack your suit, but I'll take the Pepsi challenge with my department VP any trip on whose suit looks fresher when we come out for a meeting.

Ogio has changed styles since my vintage 1990 bag, but every zipper and every seam has held up marvelously on personal and business travel. It has a reasonable shoulder strap that I seldom use but keep in a side pocket. Never met an overhead I can't put it in and generally it fits under every seat when required to do so. Expands enough to bring home gifts for my kids, and generally I'll chuck non-privileged collateral I collect on the road into the duffel rather than have it spill out into my laptop bag (which is a Tom Bihn, equally good and recommended). I love the duffel best when I travel light, socks underwear and a change of shirts and pants, then it really shines. My wife tends to snag the duffel now when we go out on vacation somewhere.


Edited by Lono (10/18/13 03:15 AM)

#264464 - 10/18/13 04:04 AM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: Bingley]
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
There are two kinds of bags:

Carry-on and Lost.

I only check bags if there's really no other option - and yes, that means I travel without a knife. Well sort of. More on that later.

I have tried every permutation of bag there is and I've come to the conclusion that the best way to carry a suit is to wear it onto the plane. Put your "not work" clothes in the bag. Arrive dressed for work.

Forget trifolds and all that. Just wear it. Steam it in your hotel when you get there and wear the same suit every day - that's what they are for.

As far as the carry-on bags, I am never buying a roll-aboard again, because I bought the last piece of roll-on luggage I'll ever need:


It was $340. Outrageous? All you need to do is have 3 cheaper bags fail over your lifetime and you'll spend more.

I also have a soft leather shoulder briefcase, it's perfect. My wife got it for me. With those two, I can go anywhere, for an indefinite period of time (just do some laundry now and then).

Oh and the knife? I have a very well-travelled item that I found in home depot that does everything a knife does. But it's not a knife. And I put it in plain sight at the TSA checkpoints. Over and over and over again. That's all I'm sayin' here.

#264465 - 10/18/13 04:11 AM Re: Air travel: need bag recommendations [Re: Bingley]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6897
Loc: southern Cal
For the last several years, my carryon has been a light, versatile backpack - Lowe "Alpine Attack" (how macho is that?) Not at all suited for packing suits, but I am generally flying to go dig for pots or bones, so no problem. I supplement it with a many pocketed vest, fully crammed with travel essentials and goodies.
Geezer in Chief

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