Going to Central & South America in a month for 3/4 months and then on to NZ and Oz. Have recently decided that the wheely rucksack is the best way for me to go as I'm pretty small (5ft) and not sure I could manage a large rucksack and have heard these are a good alternative to standard rucksack.
Just wondering if anybody has any recommendations on this topic ?? Currently looking at the Caribee Fast Track 75 but any advise would be greatly appreciated
Thanks in advance
What you need is something with robust wheels so they are not going to fall off when going over bumps with a lot of weight in your ruck sack. I have often thought a shopping trolley as often used by middle aged women is more robust and would be better than most ruck sacks and cases for carrying stuff.
I manage a three months plus holiday with a holdall with less than the 10 kg allowed by budget airlines as cabin luggage. I continually wash and wear, and don't take things I don't need.
75 liters is a big bag. Are you sure you need that much? Are you sure you can *carry* a bag that size?
Bear in mind that even with wheels, there will be times when you will have to carry your bag. Even cities have stairs. If you plan on seeing the countryside, there will be dirt roads, muddy roads, potholed roads, and rocky paths to wherever you will be staying the night. The world is not yet paved.
If you're never planning on venturing away from a city, then it's probably only stairs and the occasional bumpy road you have to worry about, so you might be okay. I imagine, though, that given your destinations you're going to want to see something outside of the cities. That means that you need to think about how well you can carry what you bring.
A hybrid wheely bag/backpack is heavier than either a regular wheeled suitcase or a regular backpack, because both the wheel chassis and the pack suspension system add weight. Furthermore, as is usual for hybrid things, they don't do nearly as good a job of being either a pack or a suitcase as a dedicated bag of either kind does.
Lots of people here champion traveling with much smaller bags than the one you're considering. I'm not *necessarily* one of them (although I think that in your case it might be a good idea): I use a 70 liter backpack. However, my backpack is a dedicated backpack with an excellent suspension system, which means that I just don't notice the weight at all. Personally, I'd rather carry 35 pounds in a good-fitting backpack than 10 pounds in a less well-designed piece of luggage, but that's just me. People differ in how they perceive weight. One thing's for sure, though: a bag that puts all the weight on your shoulders will never feel very good, no matter how light you pack it. The weight should always go on your hips. The hybrid bags that I've seen have not been very good at moving the weight there - they always seem to be hanging off people's shoulders. I don't think that I'd want to carry a 75-liter hybrid bag, and I'm 8 inches taller than you are and probably more used to carrying loads.
I would suggest that before you get too emotionally attached to the Caribee, go to a store which has one and try it on, in backpack mode, fully loaded with weight (good shops will often have bean bags you can use to simulate a loaded pack, or you can load it up with appropriate stuff from their shelves). Walk around in the store, with the loaded pack on your back for at least twenty minutes. Be sure to see how it feels bending down (as if you are reaching down to pick up something from the floor), and stepping up (if the store has stairs, trot up and down them a few times; if the store has no stairs but has chairs for shoe-fitting, kick off your shoes and step up and down off of a chair a few times, to simulate going up stairs or a steep hill). Try to find something to simulate using the wheels over less-than-ideal terrain as well, if you can - drag the pack up and down some stairs, for example.
After you've done all that, imagine this scenario: the place you planned on staying the night is all booked. Fortunately, you are told, there's a nearby hostel just two or three miles down that bumpy unpaved road that still has plenty of beds. A two mile walk down a road shouldn't take you more than an hour, so you'll have plenty of time to get there.
If imagining this scenario fills you with dread, you haven't yet found the right bag. Either you're planning on taking too much stuff, or the pack is not doing its job of making the load feel like part of your body when you have to carry it. If, on the other hand, your imagined response is "Okay, cool," then you've found your pack.
If you don't find the 75 liter bag comfortable to carry, you might want to consider either looking at full-scale backpacks with better-developed suspension systems, or scaling down to a much smaller hybrid. (Or both - a smaller dedicated pack.) You may well find something in the 35 to 55 liter range far more managable, and as a bonus, if you go small enough, you won't have to check baggage on your flights. If you are not camping out (carrying a tent, sleeping gear, & a stove) or dealing with very cold weather, you really don't need 75 liters of space. There's lots of great advice on this forum about how to pack lighter if you need some help figuring out how to do that.
Just wondering how you are planning on going to NZ from SA, as thats what I would like to do when I go. Im thinking maybe Santiago to Christchurch?