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  1. #1
    explody pup
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    luggage/backpack suggestions

    So I trashed my cheapo suitcase on my last trip. I'm basically looking to replace it. Instead of getting another suitcase, I'd like to get a nice, large hiking backpack since there really isn't room in my apartment to store a suitcase plus I plan on doing some backpacking over the summer.

    Does anyone have any suggestions of what I should be looking for? Recommended brands? I don't really need anything complicated. Most likely internal frame since I want it somewhat compact since I'll be travelling with it. Longest trip I'll take will be a week - this would include clothes for that week, steel toe boots, hard hat, toiletries. Obviously cost is always an issue. I dunno if I can really justify dropping $400+ on a pack.

    Any reason I should avoid using a backpack for travel luggage?

    I'm going to the outdoors store during lunch to see what they have. I have to get something today or tomorrow since I'm flying out Saturday. Hooray procastination!

  2. #2
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    I do pretty much 100% of my corporate travel with an internal frame backpacking bag. Mine isn't in production any more, it's an older version of the Asymmetric line from Vaude. I also use this bag for shorter backpacking trips and it works very well. It's pretty small (probably 4500 cu. in. or so?) so not appropriate for long treks in the mountains. Though for week-long treks at client sites it's perfect. If you want something you can hike with for a week, you should look closer to 6000 or 7000 cu. in.

    My suggestion would be to just let the store employees fit you because of the short notice. At the least, they should have a dummy load (bricks in towels) you can put in different bags to try them out with some weight.

    For packing through an airport, you want a bag without a lot of snags - my Vaude is super-plain on the outside without tons of pockets, bags, nets, straps, etc hanging all over the place. If you get a bag with tons of that stuff, try to get one where it's removeable. I strip the few accessories off my bag when I'm travelling with it for work, and clip the waist belt backwards around the bottom of the bag to keep it from hanging loose. The idea is to keep your bag from getting snagged on luggage handling equipment (which has never happened to me, after probably 100+ airplane trips with this thing.)

    For hiking use, the way the bag supports the load against your body is pretty important. Bear with me if you know some of this stuff already. . .

    First off, they should measure your torso to get an idea of your frame size. Don't let them guess based on your height, the bag doesn't care how long your legs are. If you've got curvy hips (no jokes! please!) try on some womens-specific models - they usually have waist belts formed at more of an angle.

    You want the straps and belts adjusted so you are using your hips to carry the load, and your shoulders to support/position it. You DON'T want your back/shoulders actually carrying weight. This is something you'll have to decide on with a bag loaded up and on your back, judging by angles and measurements can be misleading.

    What stores/brands do you have available? Before the Vaude, I had several EMS brand bags. They were all great. I had a Mountainsmith bag once too, but those are pricey and probably extreme for what you want. You definitely don't need to spend a lot to get a decent bag - more like $100 - $200 rather than $400+. Heck, I got my Vaude on clearance at an EMS store - it was originally a $180 bag, I paid $38 for it. (there's a story there, though. . . )
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  3. #3
    59'er Mariner Fan's Avatar
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    Too bad you need it so soon. I got a complete Samsonite suitcase set on ebags.com. Great prices.

  4. #4
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    EP,
    Arc'teryx makes great, simple, water proof, packs. I haven't priced them recently though.
    In my travel experience, unless you are actually carrying the pack on your back a lot, the harness gets in the way. Catches on things getting it in and out of trunks and such, a backpack falls over easily, etc.
    For travel, to me, nothings beats a good duffle bag. Splurge a little and get one that is of quality. Good zippers and seams are worth the money. Also invest in some stuff sacks for smaller things. They can keep a bag organized better than anything.

    Luck,

    --A

  5. #5
    explody pup
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    Off the top of my head, I know we have a Backwoods, a Sun & Ski, and a Bass Pro Shop. The Sun & Ski is really close to work, so I'll probably be trying there during lunch. The Backwoods is also somewhat close (and in a shopping center where I can get a 1/3lb sausage chili bacon cheese burger!) and would probably give me much better direction than the 18 year old stoners working at Sun & Ski.

  6. #6
    explody pup
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    Allen, a coworker has offered to bring her wheeled duffle bag for me to check out tomorrow. From what she was saying, it sounds like it might be too small for this trip but I might end up getting a bigger one. That would solve the space problem I have in my apartment.

  7. #7
    explody pup
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    SaabFan, do you do anything special to make sure the straps and pads don't get hung up on the baggage equipment at the airport?

  8. #8
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by explody pup
    SaabFan, do you do anything special to make sure the straps and pads don't get hung up on the baggage equipment at the airport?
    Not beyond what I mentioned - wrapping the waist belt back around the pack and clipping it shut, plus removing extra junk (compression straps that aren't being used, etc.) I used to worry about not being able to easily lock the bag, but thanks to TSA, bag locking isn't an option any more in airports.

    Personally, I *totally* hate wheeled baggage. Just seems like a hassle in crowded places, to me. The only "conventional" luggage I own is a suitcase I bought a few years ago to go on a cruise. Haven't touched it since. I like the backpacking bag idea because, like you mentioned, it's multipurpose. It compresses down pretty small, I've even commuted with it on my bike.

    I've never been in any of the chains you mentioned so I dunno what they carry. Like Allen said though, look for reinforcement and other durability-enhancing features - backstitching, etc.
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  9. #9
    explody pup
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    Found a Marmot T4000 for around $160. Looks like they usually go for $200. It's the large, 4400 cubic inches. Haven't bought it yet. Didn't get a chance to weight test it but they did measure my torso and the pack felt good when I had it on. Stitching looked okay. Not as good as the higher end models, but looked strong nonetheless. Looks like I might have a winner.
    Last edited by explody pup; 02-22-07 at 12:06 PM.

  10. #10
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    I have some friends with Marmots who are happy. Seriously though, if they have anything heavy in the store, try it on with some weight in it vs. the next closest bag. The way the straps sit down on your body under weight can be much different than with the pack unloaded.

    The big question, though: Harbor/Metal or Lichen/Metal?
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  11. #11
    explody pup
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    I'll ask them if they have any weight I can put in there when I go back after work.

    Lichen, all the way. Harbor is a girl color.

  12. #12
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    Good point! I miss on those obvious cues sometimes. (This coming from a guy who's said Vaude pack has a stripe of bright purple across it.)
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  13. #13
    explody pup
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    That's okay. Purple is the color of royalty. And, besides, it really compliments your eyes.

  14. #14
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Purple attracts bears. Proven fact.
    Are you a registered member? Why not? Click here to register. It's free and only takes 27 seconds! Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  15. #15
    explody pup
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    That's not surprising, purple looks good with brown.

  16. #16
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr
    Purple attracts bears. Proven fact.
    Lupines attract Dennis Moore. Proven fact.
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  17. #17
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by explody pup
    That's not surprising, purple looks good with brown.
    Yeah but out east here, we just get the little black bears.
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  18. #18
    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ efrobert's Avatar
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    For Backpacking I have a Gregory Lassen, and a Granite Gear Nimbus. I wouldn't take them on a plane though, all the straps are sure to get cought and torn on something. I travel a lot, and have had ski bags and golf travel bags destroyed because a strap or something got cought on a belt.
    Go to Walmart and get a cheap suitcase. Get a backpack for hiking and keep it in the suitcase to store it.

  19. #19
    explody pup
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    Quote Originally Posted by efrobert
    Go to Walmart and get a cheap suitcase. Get a backpack for hiking and keep it in the suitcase to store it.
    That's another option I'm considering. But I figure I would still be spending around $90 for a suitcase that'll **** the bed in 2 or 3 years like my old one (with less than 10 trips). Or spend a little more and get something that's higher quality and can be used for other purposes in addition to business travel. I am a little concerned about damage during luggage handling, but there are steps I can take to reduce the chances of it happening. Plus I can always send it in for repair.

    Anyway. Just trying to justify it to myself. I begin to pucker up at any purchase over $70.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by explody pup
    Found a Marmot T4000 for around $160. Looks like they usually go for $200. It's the large, 4400 cubic inches. Haven't bought it yet. Didn't get a chance to weight test it but they did measure my torso and the pack felt good when I had it on. Stitching looked okay. Not as good as the higher end models, but looked strong nonetheless. Looks like I might have a winner.
    that looks like the former dana desgins terraplane- a solid solid design that's proven itself over hundreds of thousands of backpacking miles (marmot bought dana designs) the dana terraplane used to be the backpack of choice..but things change

    buying a backpack is kinda like buying a bike- there's 10,001 designs/configuartions out there, and soon you realize, in both cases, bikes and backpacks, more=better.

    the marmot you linked is a good choice.

    i travel with a backpacka to. one thing that is a good idea- buy a cheap nylon duffle that the backpack will fit inside- you can probably get a cheap one for ~$20, or get one of those army duffels. stuff the backpack in it, then you don't have to worry about anything getting caught or broked by the airlines.. jsut pop the backpack out of the duffel, and stuff the duffel in a pocket and your good to go in under 30 secs

    i could write more.. if you want me to.

  21. #21
    explody pup
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden graham
    i could write more.. if you want me to.
    Please do.

    I like the idea of stuffing the pack in a large, plain duffel bag for transit. Just a matter of finding one.

  22. #22
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    every camping/outdoor store that i've been to has a selections of cheap, basic nylon duffels like this:
    http://www.outdoorproducts.com/proddetail.aspx?sku=211- walmart or the like probably has duffels like this.

    probably about $20-30 to get one that fits your backpack. or get one of those army duffels like this. local army surplus stores will have em.

    http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/st...productId=9461

    the cheap duffels are superdurable, and are so that some arline handler doesn't grab one of the straps and rip it off your pack, or so that a buckle doesn't get crushed or broked, or straps caught, etc. I've flown with my pack in a duffel and without, no problems either way- but the potential risk for breaking something on the pack while traveling isn't worth it.

    fitting a pack is kinda like fitting a bike- one size does not fit all. make sure that you get a guy that seems to know what he's doing when fitting you. it's best to loosen all the straps on a pack, put it on while loaded, and adjust the straps while it's on you so its comfortable. make sure the pack seems secure on your back and doesn't swing around or shift or anything. you also have to make sure the pack is packed well so things don't shift around in the pack and throw off the balance.
    compression straps on the backpack help secure the load if it isn't stuffed completely full.

    try on a bunch of different packs, all of them loaded with at least 40 pounds in them..yadda yadda.

    all of this isn't really that important if your just traveling, but if you go backpacking you really want something that fits you, and is comfortable.

    ok- this all seems really compilcated but it really isn't.

    maybe more laters if i remember to.

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