ok . . .so the answer is . . . . . . with less than three weeks to go, and since it will be suitcase friendly in the main . . . . . . . I have decided to go with what I know and therefore take a risk and not go along with the majority view . . .if I regret within days though I will let you all know, so you can say "told you so"!!!!
I am going through the same dilemma. I am heading off to Oz in January and even though I have a trusty backpack, my friend who has just returned from Oz after 8 months used a Dakine Split Pack with wheels. It is the dog bollocks!! It stores so much, plus has loads of compartments, which I am sucker for. Now I am in a bind and don't know what to do!
Check out this link for a Dakine wheel pack with detachable shoulder strap.
I have travelled both forms...and I would say the backpack would win hands down. I travelled for 3 months in Oz and NZ with a pack (Mountainsmith Shavano - internal frame, ) The weight was never a problem - and I am 5'2" (157 cm) and I weigh 108 lbs (49kg). We travelled by foot, plane, trains, buses, trams, etc. Don't be discouraged!
On the other hand, I travelled for 2 weeks in England and Scotland, travelling mainly by car...the wheeled luggage was quite a pain. Remember: A lot of hostels are in older buildings...we stayed at one in York, and we were on the 3rd floor - no elevator. Easy with a pack...annoying with a suitcase.
Hope that helps!
. . . what about wheeled backpacks? Anyone tried them out? Are they the best of both worlds or do they just try and fail?
Have previously travelled with a backpack and also made shorter trips with wheeled cases - I agree about the issues with uneven surfaces but I think it'd be a releif sometimes to get the pack off your back!
I'm thinking about a decent flat opening pack with back straps, side strap and wheelie handle. Anyone got any suggestions?
Hi . .. I began this thread ages ago, before I started my trip . . . .and although I did update on how it was going with my suitacse . . .I thought I would add a little bit more. In a developed country, suitcase on wheel is the way to go . . .you hardly walk anywhere with your luggage, and even if you do it is on pavements, grass, roads or sand and the suitacse just flies along on this surfaces.
Plus when you hop on and off buses/trains, far easier to sit down or to pick up your luggage from the luggage van or boot . . .watching those of you with the packpacks so many of you look as though you are struggling (mainly in part I think to bad packing of the pack or purchase of a cheap pack and therefore poor design!)
Anyhow unless you are going somehere where there are very few tarmac roads, or you plan to hike with your luggage . .. small suitcases on wheels are the way to go!! Mine is only slightly larger than cabin baggage, very light and is working just fine!
Hope this is helpful to those of you still deciding what to do . . .
Nice to see you back Becky. Hope your trip is going well.
They make back packs with wheels and detachable day packs... I have one & find it useful in all situations.
Sorry to open this debate again, but there is another option available! I have travelled with many different forms of luggage & backpacks and have found that a holdall with wheels was the perfect compromise. My current bag is a Samsonite that has a built in trolley handle so that it is easy to wheel and doesn't put any strain on your back. This makes it easy to wheel across nearly all surfaces and you can balance your daypack on top of the bag itself. I made the mistake of using one without a trolley once and regretted it the whole trip (I thought that I was going to end up with a permanent stoop!).
If you are staying in a place for a while, a wheeled holdall will fold flat for easy storage and if you are faced with a hike to the top floor, you can throw the bag over your shoulder.
Another thing to look out for is to make sure that the trolley system zips away into its own compartment so that it doesn't get damaged by the baggage handlers. Also go for a bag with a D opening zip because they are far easier to pack and if you need to get something from the bottom of the bag, the access is easier.
Check out this one, it does exactly what is says on the tin!!!
My votes for the Backpack. I won't even comment on my distain for the roller-bags, but many a stubbed toe the world over might have something to say...
The last post made me LOL . . my vote is still for carry on sized suitcase with wheels though, . .at least going over the toes is easier than a fullwhack in the face as that backpack turns round!!!