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Backpacks/ suitcases - very silly questions

Travel Forums Travel Gear Backpacks/ suitcases - very silly questions

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1. Posted by NinaGD (Budding Member 34 posts) 9y

Apologies in advance for the stupid question...

My friend and I (girls) are thinking about going on a RTW trip (we've only just started planning) and it just occurred to me that we would rather not carry a heavy backpack if we can avoid it. Especially my friend as she's got quite a small frame. So, would it be a real pain to have a suitcase instead?

2. Posted by StaceyG (Inactive 250 posts) 9y

Hi, I left with a backpack and now Ive got rid of it for a suitcase instead. One of the reasons is because after a few months - having crammed in more and more stuff, it was getting way to heavy for me (im on the little side too) and the only way I could get it on was if someone helped me, or if I put it on a chair or something first and then eased myself into it! To be honest, I have never been walking for miles with a backpack on anyway, only to get from hostel to station/airport/bus etc, so its up to you but loads of girlys I've met have opted for the suitcase and it works for me!

3. Posted by NinaGD (Budding Member 34 posts) 9y

Brilliant then! Thanks a lot for replying Stacey. :) Hope you're having a fab trip!

4. Posted by hels82 (Full Member 96 posts) 9y

I opted for a holdall on wheels-a similar size to a backpack (I was worried I wouldnt get a suitcase into hostel lockers). Like you i have a fairly small frame and a few years ago tried to take a backpack around america-i managed all of 3 days before swapping to a suitcase as I couldnt manage the backpack! Getting it on and off was a nightmare!

5. Posted by NinaGD (Budding Member 34 posts) 9y

That sounds like a greay idea Hels! Should be easier to carry than a suitcase anyway. May I ask which one you got? Is it branded? Thanks a lot!:)

6. Posted by Moonmonkey (Budding Member 52 posts) 9y

Hi all - sorry for crashing this girlie thread lol

I'm not sure if it's of any use to anyone but I bought a Berghaus Jalan backpack. This offers the best of both worlds as it's a great backpack with detachable day pack and all the features you would expect but it also has wheels so you can drag it along if you like. You can acces the main compartment just like a holdall or suitcase so you don't have to delve in through a tiny opening at the top to find what you're after.

Happy packing ;)

7. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y

You can take what you like, and bascically, what is best for you. There is no "right" soloution, beyond what you are most comfortable with. Obviously, you can't take a suitcase on treks as easily as a rucksack.

Also, bear in mind that you will need to be able to carry it periodically as well. Simple things like stairs, and on to buses if nothing else. Also, some parts of the world physically aren't the greatest for wheeling suitcases along - Many Eastern European cities, to take one basic example, are based on cobble stones and lots of narrow hilly alleys for which suitcases aren't fun. If you are going to be in places in the rainy season, you might be dragging your bags through water/mud... More exotic places where you may be staying in jungles or on beaches could also be slightly problematic for wheeling bags.

8. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 9y

I dont recommend a suitcase with wheels,they get many times damedged on the first flight.
Better take a soft canvas bag.
Look at the zippers,the best are YKK plastic,metal sliders will "freez" in places where is a lot of salt like beaches.
It looks good and cool if a bag has a lot of this different compartments but they are useless if the zippers dont work anymoore,because the sliders are "frozen"dont move anymore.
The Handels or straps should go around the bag compleat NOTonly be at the top of the bag,because the weight is to much if the strap is short.
Belief me,I see every day at my shop this problem,broken bags/siutcases,broken zippers,brand new,many time not possible to repair them properly.

9. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

I used to have a suitcase and got rid off it for a backpack.

Well, that is not really true to be honest. Ten years ago I got a backpack on wheels, one which I could wheel around for most of the time, but when the need arose (stairs, cobble stone streets, muddy unpaved road) I could lift it up on my shoulders and carry it. I was very very sad when the zippers broke after 2 rough years on the road and my mum (in a fit to prevent me from more travelling) threw it away.

I have been looking for something similar ever since. The EagleCreek Switchback and Crossroads packs looks nice, but so far the price is off-putting. (

For the time being, I use a wheely suitcase for city trips and a backpack for rougher places. I have a Deuter ACT 35+10 SL, a very small backpack most would only use for daytrips. But I used it for a three-week trip through Iran and Turkey and while it was a bit stuffed, I was very satisfied because never carried more than 12 kgs with me.

If you are that small as you write and if you intend to travel in hot climate only, I think that something similar like the Deuter could work for you. The key is not to pack too much. When you are going for a year, no bag seems large enough to pack all the clothes you need. In the store you start reaching for larger and larger bags, nevermind that you will never be able to carry them fully loaded.

IMO it makes the most sense to have three or four changes of clothing at maximum and keep washing them until they fall apart and then replace them. Also going from cold to warm just once climate helps, as you can throw away or ship home all the warm clothes and then stock up on bikinis, shorts and tops very cheap in SE Asia.

10. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

It would be a lot more inconvenient in a lot of places especially when you can't leave the stuff at your hostel/hotel if they don't have a left luggage section. Also when you stay at a hostel which has steps to enter or steps to the room well it would be very hard to drag a heavy suitcase up the stairs, but not too hard to take a backpack up.

Suit cases are for old ladies/old men or people who are rich enough to be travelling on cruise ships and doing rediculously expensive tours. Who can afford limo rides to town from the airport or taxis instead of getting buses and trains to town.

My friend (a woman) has a small frame as well, but she had a backpack that suit here frame and fit here nicely. As long as your friend doesn't have a dodgy back which hurts a lot, a small frame shouldn't be a thing to stop a young person carrying a backpack, just don't get a 75 litre pack which is very heavy if full. If she is stupid and packs a lot of un neccesary stuff like 4 or 5 pairs of shoes when a maximum of 3 could do (but I travelled for 7 months with 1 and flip flops), well then a pack might be too much, but packing conservatively shouldn't be too heavy.