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  1. #1
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    Help me choose a bag for 15 days in Europe? (Long post)

    Hi all! Would you help me choose a bag? I will be taking a 15-day trip to London and Helsinki this summer. I could use luggage I already have, but I'd like something a little bit different from any of the bags I have yet (and of course this could be an excuse to buy another TB bag!)

    Primarily under consideration:
    • Medium Road Duffle. I like the looks of the Aeronaut but the 30 seems too small (based on comparison with bags I already have) and I think the 45 would be too big. 36 liters seems like it might be just right. My main hesitation here is the lack of backpack straps--would I be able to rig up backpack straps attached to the lash strap attachment points?
    • Brain Bag. This is under consideration since I discovered that it's the same 36-liter capacity; I like that it already has backpack straps and I like the optional waist belt. The compression straps seem useful too. It would be harder to use as checked luggage since I couldn't tuck the straps in, and I don't know if the internal divisions would make it easier or harder to use. Would it work well as my primary luggage item for a trip like this? I don't think I would ever use it as a school or work bag, my regular carry is less than 20 liters.


    Also under consideration:
    • Rolling luggage. I own rolling Briggs & Riley Transcend bags in 19" (29.5 liters) and expandable 22" (37.9 liters, though I'm not sure if that's the expanded volume or not). I like them and I love the warranty, but I also really like the idea of wearing a backpack instead of dragging something on wheels. The 19" is definitely too small for me for this trip, but it was just the right size for a recent 7-day trip where I did laundry halfway through the week. (For me, that was packing lighter than usual.)
    • Tri-Star. I have one and it's really neat, but I don't think it's big enough for me for this trip. I like the division, but OTOH I have found that I can't fit quite as much in it as the capacity measurement would make me think--it holds almost exactly the same amount as the 19" B&R.
    • Aeronaut 45. You might convince me that it isn't too big after all, given what I'd need/want to pack for this trip.
    • Something else, either TB or other. What would you suggest?


    Other relevant information:
    • It's important to me that the bag be comfortable to wear or carry. Good backpack straps and a sternum strap help a lot with that.
    • We'll stay in one spot for the first 8 nights and I expect to have access to do laundry throughout that time; I don't think I'll have laundry access the rest of the trip, which will be 6 nights in one hotel and 1 night in another.
    • I'm neither a super light nor a super heavy packer, but most of my clothing isn't geared toward travel so it doesn't pack as small as some.
    • We will mostly be visiting museums and doing other touristy things, walking and taking transit while we're there.
    • I'm not wedded to the idea of one-bag travel, I just want my luggage to be reasonably convenient to schlep around. Similarly, I'm not opposed to checking a bag.
    • I use a CPAP, so that usually adds an additional bag. I'm considering tucking its pieces into my main bag instead of carrying a separate CPAP bag, as long as I don't end up checking the main bag. That will mean less room for clothes etc in that bag.
    • I've looked at the checked and carry-on baggage allowance for my London-Helsinki flight and it's actually slightly more generous than my US-London flight. It does have a smaller allowed size for the personal item, though.
    • I will take a second, smaller bag as my personal item for things I'll want to use during the flight. Possibly my Maker's Bag (it will fit the size guideline if I underpack it) or a Co-Pilot or Pilot. My personal item is usually pretty stuffed, between my bulky noise-cancelling headphones, a knitting project, iPad, a book or two, etc. The NFTD looks cute and this would have been a fun excuse to get one, but it's actually too big to be my personal item for the London-Helsinki flight!


    I am also curious what you all do about transporting fragile souvenirs. Do you just not buy any, or do you ship them instead of carrying them, or how do you handle that? For example, I might buy a teacup in London. (I bought a beautiful teacup in Thailand several years ago and somehow managed to get it home in one piece.) I'm actually thinking about picking up a Rimowa aluminum suitcase while I'm in London, since they're much cheaper there than in the US. (I know, in many ways it's the antithesis of a TB bag aside from quality! But I like the protection it would give to the items inside.)

    To sum up: what bag do you recommend as my main bag for this trip? do you have any comments regarding a personal item? and how do you keep fragile souvenirs safe?

    Thank you for any suggestions you have!
    Last edited by aedifica; 03-04-2017 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Fix typo

  2. #2
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    Did I delete the post when I tried to fix a typo? Argh. If I did delete it I'll re-post in the morning, I still have the draft I typed in another program (but don't want to edit it on my phone).

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    @millefolia

    As a fairly new (less than 6 posts) member at the time of your posting this thread, your post requires a moderator to approve before posting. A moderator approved your original post but the post went back into moderation (ie disappeared) when you edited it due to the above rule. I have re-approved the post. You should be fine now (ie. no longer need a moderator to approve your posts) as I believe you have passed the "initial" new member period.

    One comment on the Tri-Star - It is 33 litres in volume - ie. mid way in volume comparison to your B&R roller. It would make sense that it would hold the same or very similar amount. Due to the design of the bag, flat items work best in the bag so, there may be some further limitations of what it would hold compared to the completely open roller bag.

    One question about your CPAP - is it a travel sized version?

    If not too personal, what build / frame / height are you? - e.g. I am wide shouldered, wider (in general ) and 5'11". It might help determine fit.

    Cheers!
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  4. #4
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    Most airlines, if you alert them ahead of time, will let you take the CPAP in its own bag as an additional carry on item. (Think of it as a third item.) However, only the CPAP and its related accessories can be in this bag. Anything else and one will have to be checked.

    Besides dimensions, think about total weight of everything you need to carry before deciding on a bag.

    Regarding what you said about laundry, if you are not willing to do laundry, and you are not petite, then trying to carry a weeks worth of clothes, other items, and CPAP setup is quite a bit.

    And now you are also talking about buying another suitcase while in London. Shipping will cost more than the suitcase. I recently shipped a two pound box from the UK to the U.S. and it was just under $60. Before that, I had accumulated a lot of paperwork that needed to go back to the U.S. with me. It was cheaper to pick up a cheap, larger suitcase, put my carry on bag and the extra papers inside, and check it for my flight home than to ship the papers back by themselves.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  5. #5
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    @tpnl

    Thanks! I'm glad that's all that had happened to the post. :-)

    I knew the Tri-Star and 19" roller bag were very close to the same volume, but I was surprised that I could fit so nearly exactly the same amount. I think the other four liters ended up in unusable space in the corners and between items. I may be able to get some of that space back as I learn to make better use of the Tri-Star's organization.

    The CPAP I use for travel is smaller than my regular CPAP, but bigger than a Transcend or a Z1. It comes apart into two pieces that are each about 4" x 6" x 7". On my last trip I discovered that its travel case fits perfectly in a SSB, and the SSB's padded handles made it much more comfortable to carry that way. When I bought this CPAP a few years ago I must have considered a smaller one and decided against it, but I don't remember why. I like the idea of a much smaller CPAP for travel, but I find it harder to justify a third CPAP than to justify multiple suitcases.

    I'm 5'5" and on the plump end of average sized. I most often wear women's large. (I have clothes that fit me in XS, M, L, XL, and 2X, but clothing sizes are a rant for another day.)
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  6. #6
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    @ Frank II

    I've never had trouble carrying my CPAP on, it's just a nuisance to have a third bag to carry--that's why I want to start fitting it into either my main bag or my personal item. Thanks for making sure I knew it's allowed! Also, my London-Helsinki flight will only allow my CPAP as a free additional carry-on if I need to use it during the flight. (They'd let me check it for free, but I was told never ever to put my CPAP in checked luggage, and I've abided by that so far.)

    Regarding laundry, I can wash underwear in the sink of course but I don't think it would work well for the rest of my clothes. I'll let that thought roll around for a while, though; I might decide it would work. You think I'd need something as big as the A45 after all if I can't do laundry during that last week? I will think about weight too, thanks for pointing out that I need to consider weight.

    If I do buy another suitcase, it would primarily be for the sake of protecting fragile items--both any souvenirs from this trip, and future trips. Shipping will almost definitely not cost more than an aluminum suitcase! They are spendy, but strong. I'm conflicted between the flexibility of movement I'd get with just taking TB bags I can carry on my back, vs the flexibility to purchase fragile things I'd get with the aluminum suitcase. I need to figure out which is more important to me. Any comments that might help me make up my mind on that issue too are welcome; that's why I asked what others here do about fragile souvenirs.
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  7. #7
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    What an exciting trip! I'm jealous. Would your CPAP and the rest of your luggage fit in the A45? It seems that if that bag feels too big, but you're looking for a way to carry the CPAP, maybe you can combine the two "problems." And then you're free to choose your personal item based on what would work best for your in-flight needs - maybe the co-pilot if you're worried about overpacking the Makers'? Will your personal item double as daily carry while sightseeing?

    As for fragile items, I typically ask the shop to wrap as if they are mailing, and then put that in my personal item or carryon, or a shop bag. A teacup shouldn't take up too much room? I've also definitely shipped souvenirs (as well as overpacked items) ahead.


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  8. #8
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    @ Ditmo, I hadn't thought about asking the shop to pack it as if they were mailing--thanks! I like that idea. I have always just tried to pad things with socks etc, which doesn't always work well.

    I have a Co-Pilot arriving Thursday (hence my current signature line), along with a Pilot and a Cadet for comparison; I'm replacing a mini messenger bag and a briefcase, so I expect to keep the Co-Pilot and one of the other two, but I don't know til I see them. But to answer your actual question, yes, I plan to use the personal item as a daily carry for sightseeing. I like the MB with a SE suspended inside it by shortened keystraps similar to what Frank II suggested in this OBOW post (safer against pickpockets, still has plenty of room for a sweater etc) and I'm interested to check out the CP with sightseeing in mind too.

    It does sound like I should be looking more at the A45, then, between having a week without laundry and wanting to fit my CPAP into another bag. I'm looking at its colors, and I'd have a hard time deciding between Aubergine/Island, Nordic Halcyon/UV, and Black Halcyon/Island! I like both fabrics, so that doesn't help narrow it down. That's a separate problem, though.

    I am so looking forward to this trip! I'm going with my sweetie, my sister, and her husband. I was in London for a few days two years ago and I kept texting my sister about everything I saw, so I'm happy I get to go there with her. And of course I like our respective guys, too. :-)
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  9. #9
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    Awesome! I don't think you can go wrong with the Makers (bonus having the SE as a PLO if necessary!) or Co-Pilot for sightseeing. Let us how how it went!


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  10. #10
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    Just thought I'd add some hopefully helpful thoughts!

    First, since you had mentioned an a30 but considered it too small: my wife and I did a 16 day trip last year to Europe with multiple locations. I used an S19 and an a30; she used an a30 and a small purse. I certainly think you have to pack light with that setup, but boy was it liberating. In your case, I'd think about what you want to carry and consider the a45 or maybe an a30 and you could make those extra liters up in the carryon?? I'm sure you'll hear it all over this site, but using my a30 is just wonderful. Living out of the bag and changing locations every couple of nights was a joy. The road duffle is sounding good to me (though I don't own one) as the 36L might be a good balance, because the a45 is so big.

    My second bit is about souvenirs: in that same trip, we packed a collapsable Eagle Creek tote/backpack that folds up really small and when needed can be opened and filled. It was surprisingly sturdy and had a zipper on the top. My wife used that as a carry-on on the way back for our more fragile items and additional souvenirs. We also brought back multiple bottles in a checked a30 surrounded by clothes

  11. #11
    Forum Member fredlet's Avatar
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    Help me choose a bag for 15 days in Europe? (Long post)

    If you have a regular cpap (philips restronics) you can fit it and your mask etc in a lunchbag as a separate carry item. I got one of those "medical item inside" luggage tags for it.
    I use this: Kipling Kichirou, Black, One Size https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008S0NY5M..._OyLVybZQDY9Z5

    Or just my Synapse 25 with a transcend cpap and my stuff.


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  12. #12
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    I LOVE my medium road duffle. It's just the right size. Also, the lash straps let you add something else to the bag, like a jacket. And I hate backpack straps. The D36 carries two different ways with a shoulder strap. I have an absolute shoulder strap for it. You would not be comfortable turning it into a backpack. If you want a backpack go for the A45, or A30 and another bag like the Pilot.

  13. #13
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    @ Fredlet: I do have a carry bag that came with the CPAP, it's just a nuisance to have a third item to carry (main bag, personal item, CPAP) so I'd like to fit the CPAP into one of the other two bags and have one less thing to carry.

    @ BWeaves: The D36 does sound like just the right size! But I like backpack straps, and I can't see carrying that much weight on one shoulder (even with an Absolute Strap). Thanks for the confirmation that I wouldn't be able to convert it to a backpack.

    After the replies above, I am almost convinced to get a ballistic A45. Everyone says the ballistic holds its shape well even underpacked, and I can have a personal goal of underpacking enough to be able to put my personal item in it and have even less to carry! And if I don't quite reach that goal, it's still only two bags (A45 and personal item) and not three.
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  14. #14
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    You mentioned that most of your clothing is not geared towards travel. I think fixing that would be one quick solution as you would then need to pack less clothes and can wash them as you go- easily. Clothing from Ex Officio, Tilley's, REI, etc.

    I also have to schlep around a CPAP. This has sort of forced me to learn to pack very light. An international trip seems to exaggerate the need for packing light and taking as few bags as possible. It is much easier to get by with packing heavy in the states in my experience.

    I have a B&R Baseline International roller and it stays home on 90% of my trips. I only take it if I absolutely have to. It is really only convenient in an airport and walking down long hotel hallways.

    I think your TS with a Daylight backpack (filled with your CPAP and in-flight items) may work providing you get more travel friendly clothing or confirm at your 8 day stay that there are good laundry services. Either way then you don't have to bring as much clothing. You then also have a nice day bag when visiting museums, etc. Alternatively, you could get an A45 and pack-in an empty a daylight backpack in Halcyon and then have 1 bag. This ,though, might possibly get you at risk of exceeding carry on requirements.

    For fragile purchases I would recommend shipping them home. This gives you peace of mind and less trouble and hassle and they could also then be possibly insured against breakage during transit. The amount of pain when schlepping too much luggage and the amount of pleasure when packing smart and lite can be one of the largest factors in how you remember your trip after it is over.

    PS; this is coming from a big guy who lifts weights. Duffles are cool but they don't have backpack straps. In EU you will really appreciate backpack straps as you will be walking with your luggage a lot. You don't want your bags to be a burden. If you want to buy something new I suggest the A45. Using existing luggage the TS. But, I think with either you would appreciate adding a day bag.
    Last edited by 1holegrouper; 03-07-2017 at 08:45 AM. Reason: PS
    Previous owned: A45 ballistic, NFTD
    Own:A45 Black Halcyon, A30 black ballistic, WF black ballistic, DLBC black Halcyon, DLBP original black dyneema, various packing cubes

  15. #15
    Forum Member fredlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millefolia View Post
    @ Fredlet: I do have a carry bag that came with the CPAP, it's just a nuisance to have a third item to carry (main bag, personal item, CPAP) so I'd like to fit the CPAP into one of the other two bags and have one less thing to carry.

    After the replies above, I am almost convinced to get a ballistic A45. Everyone says the ballistic holds its shape well even underpacked, and I can have a personal goal of underpacking enough to be able to put my personal item in it and have even less to carry! And if I don't quite reach that goal, it's still only two bags (A45 and personal item) and not three.
    If you and I are about the same size I think you'd prefer the A30. I have the A30, the side kick and my cpap in the lunch bag (which you can flatten in the A30 and then carry it by its handle or with the shoulder strap when you want to use the space formerly for cpap for souvenirs.) still minimal to carry.
    I know those cpap bags they give you, they are HUGE and unwieldy.



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