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Empire Builder as a suitcase?

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    Empire Builder as a suitcase?

    Does anyone have experience using an Empire Builder as a suitcase? I keep thinking it would be the perfect travel bag for me. I tend to pack fairly lightl and put everything in a variety of packing cubes or pouches, and don't travel with a laptop. It looks like the center compartment would hold my clothes, toiletries and a pair of shoes if needed, and the back slip pocket would be perfect for a magazine or two, while the front pockets would hold my kindle, camera, phone, snack, etc. I like how the Empire Builder stands upright, and the main zipper opens wide, yet holds everything inside. Does anyone know if a water bottle will fit in the front open slip pocket?

    I'd love to hear from owners of the Empire Builder. Any thoughts?

    I've used my EB as a dual use laptop and overnight bag. It's big enough to fit a single change of business casual clothing and the essentials in a 3-1-1 bag. Removing the laptop, I'd say it could work for a three, maybe four day trip depending on how disciplined you are. One change of shoes max, though.

    The attached photos show a pair of size 11 running shoes fit vertically or horizontally, and a 0.6 litre Sigg bottle fits in the front pocket (quick cameraphone snaps, excuse the quality).

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    There is a weight penalty using an EB as a suitcase though - the walls and floor are padded significantly. So, at a push I'd say yes, but there are better travel bags in Tom Bihn's range with similar capacity. The Western Flyer, for instance.
    Enlightened traveller since 2009


      Very helpful photos lotuseater! I've certainly been looking at the Western Flyer as an option, too.


        Originally posted by dgrls View Post
        Very helpful photos lotuseater! I've certainly been looking at the Western Flyer as an option, too.
        I am new to the WF and I must say, it's worth every penny. It's a great size for several days worth of clothes and shoes. It is easy to carry and also stash away while traveling or when I arrive. I wear ladies's 7.5M US, 38 Euro shoes and I can easily fit 2 pair plus additional items into one of the divided front compartments. For how you describe you are planning to travel, the WF would be a great candidate.
        I really, really like TB Bags!


          I've got to weigh in on the Western Flyer side. The WF makes an excellent travel bag, and can work as a briefcase as well. I don't own the Empire Builder (I have a Zephyr) but I echo lotuseater's points about the padding and weight. The WF (especially the new ones) can also accommodate a water bottle in an exterior pocket.