Get to the point, lady: If you only care about what bag I bought and don't want to hear my thought process (Whatever, it's your life. But you are missing out :P) see my post about the winner here.
I'm leaving for a 3-4 month adventure that will cover a lot of territory and a few climates. Sounds like I should have the biggest checked luggage ever right? Nope. I'm terrified of all the horror stories of lost baggage, long lines to check a bag, and sneaky fees. I'm only packing a carry-on. Here was my bag selection criteria:
- Must be able to roll and must convert to a backpack.
- Must be super light. Anything over 8 pounds is a no-go.
- Must unzip all the way around the pockets. No top loading.
- Must have 2 separate main compartments (I like to separate clothes from shoes, even if everything is in packing cubes).
- Must be under 22" to accommodate airlines with smaller bag policies.
I thought this list was pretty broad until I did some research of what is currently available. As it turns out, most roller backpacks are either specifically made for school/business travel or are huge and heavy. Lame. After doing a ton of research and reading what felt like a million reviews, I narrowed down to the following bags:
Eagle Creek Switchback International Carry-On- This looks like a really nice bag if you need/want a matching day-pack. I have a day-pack that I love, so that was not a huge selling point for me. You know what else was not a selling point? The $349 price tag! I was not able to find this bag for sale in person, so it's possible that I would have fallen in love with it price tag be dammed. Looks like we will never know because I bought a different bag.
Racini Nylon Waterproof Rolling Backpack- Most of the Amazon reviewers seem to be using this bag for school, which means it must be pretty durable. And at $90 it is the cheapest of the bags I looked at. The reason it didn't win is because the outer pocket does not look big enough for shoes. Sorry Racini, you came so close!
High Sierra AT7 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack- This bag is 22" and in person it looks huge! It also starts at 8 pounds. That's just too heavy as a starting point, especially when I'm planning to stuff lots of heavy clothes into it. On the plus side, it is currently on sale for $132. That's more than half off the original price!
Osprey 18 Wheeled Luggage- Lots of online reviewers swear by the Osprey brand. I didn't get to see the 18" bag in person but I did get to see the 22". It had the same problem as the High Sierra bag it that it was way too big and way too heavy. Also the Osprey's wheelbase is curved to fit snug around the hips, which means it would be digging into my muffin top. Frankly, I don't need that kind of negativity from my luggage.
And the winner is.....
None of the above. I chose the Epic Travelgear Explorer. This bag was not even on my radar. It has no online reviews!!! However, I came across this bag in a store (shoutout to Traveler's Depot) in person and was impressed with the specs. If you want to read about the specifics, please checkout my initial review here.
Wrap it up already!
What I learned after all of this research is sometimes you just have to go with your gut and pick the thing that makes the most sense for you. I could have purchased the most well reviewed bag on the market, but that bag would have been too big and heavy for me. Do you have a bag that you love that was a total surprise? Do you have the Epic bag and want to share your experience? I would love to hear from you in the comments!