We’ve been trying to decide which luggage we will take away with us.
The Samsonite bags are quite large (one is small enough to fit inside the other, but both are expandable), while Leanne’s backpack is relatively small. We can probably fit close to 30kg in the large Samsonite bag, around 25kg in the smaller one, 20kg in my backpack and 15kg in Leanne’s. I think we ended up travelling with something like 70kg all up, but coming back was substantially more since we bought a lot of books while over there – which added a lot of weight (and a hefty excess baggage allowance on the domestic flights).
We also took my roll-on bag for camera gear and laptop, plus my PacSafe backpack for other gear. Leanne only took a small day-pack, since she would be carrying Andres on the way home and so I had to make sure I could carry anything else we wanted to take as carry-on.
After a recent weekend away, I discovered that one of the roller-blade wheels on my roll-on had de-laminated, thus rendering the bag largely useless – although I guess it would be okay if you were prepared to carry it … which I wouldn’t if it had all my camera gear and laptop in it!!
So I’ve been looking for a replacement bag. All of the roll-on bags these days are soft-sided and easily crushed. They are much lighter than my current bag, which would be handy, but the lack of structure made be nervous about protecting the gear inside.
I’ve never really liked any of the camera bags on the market – so was getting a little concerned about being able to find a replacement. I did call a luggage repair shop, but they said it might be difficult to repair my 12 year old roll-on bag, since the manufacturer changed ownership a few years back and the designs changed completely. I resigned myself to having to chuck the bag, so I put it down in the shed until the next council cleanup day.
I did find the LowePro Pro Runner x350 AW rolling camera backpack and decided to buy one, but discovered that nobody in Australia has stock and the distributor has been waiting for new stock since the middle of 2011!
I couldn’t find anything else decent on the market, so I was getting a bit worried that I would need to buy one of the new roll-on bags instead.
Now that we are packing for 4 people, we thought it might be necessary to take one or both of our old PakLite bags that I bought before my first ever trip overseas in January 2000. We’ve been using them for storage on top of one of the cupboards and they haven’t been used as luggage in around 7 years or so. The smaller bag had some damage to it, with some of the metal ringing around the front of the bag protruding from the plastic piping – making it a bit hazardous and liable to get caught on things when being transported.
In desperation, I decided to take both bags in to a luggage repair shop last Friday to see what they could do – expecting that they would easily be able to fix the piping on the PakLite luggage, while also expecting that they wouldn’t be able to fix the wheel on the roll-on.
This morning, I got a call from the repair shop explaining that the roll-on bag was fixed, but the metal on the larger bag was too badly out-of-alignment and could not be repaired.
So I was pleasantly surprised and went to pick the bags up … $50 and my roll-on works fine again (at least well enough for this trip), and the other bag will go back to being storage on top of the cupboard.
My roll-on is not ideal as a camera/laptop bag, but it worked well enough last time, so I’m happy to use it again for this trip.
We’ll look at taking the other larger old PakLite bag instead of the one which couldn’t be repaired – it is more of a duffel-bag style (with a solid base and wheels), so can take a lot of gear if required.
Now we’ll just have to decide whether we need both Samsonite bags, both OnePlanet backpacks, plus the old PakLite duffel, or some combination of those. I think we’ll need to do some test-packing to work that out.