Skip

How To Travel With Just One Bag.
October 4, 2007 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Tired of waiting an hour for your luggage? Can't fit all your gear into a tiny suitcase? Struggling to find the perfect carry-on? OneBag can help.
posted by brain_drain (34 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Reminds me of this. But really, people need a website to tell them how to pack lightly? Seems like a joke.
posted by billysumday at 7:27 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Linking Policy
The OneBag Web site believes that the Internet is designed to be hyperlinked and, as such, I give you permission to link to the home page, or any other page within the OneBag site.

posted by Poolio at 7:34 AM on October 4, 2007


Phew!
posted by brain_drain at 7:37 AM on October 4, 2007


As much as I hate the man, the Rick Steves Convertible Carry On is a great bag for "one bag" travel. Backpack straps beat wheels any day, and you can fit a ton of clothes (especially if you are using compression sacks) in this bag before you need to expand it. Unexpanded, it easily fits in the overhead luggage bin. My wife and I went to Hawaii for two weeks with two of these bags, and it saved our ass since we had to make a last-minute plane switch in LA.
posted by bobot at 7:46 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


My problem isn't packing into one bag, it's that you can't have liquids in your carry on... I'm not going to buy a set of new shampoo/conditioner/hair products every time I travel.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:49 AM on October 4, 2007


And if you have a medical condition that requires that you bring some sort of equipment when you travel, well... no one-bag packing for you, sucker!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:50 AM on October 4, 2007


Even for a 2 month trip I'm a one bag traveler, and I've met many a 2-4 bag traveler who just can't fathom it. Packing lightly is simply against every instinct some people have. So yeah, a website might actually help them... if they want help. Many really don't. They like knowing that they've packed everything they own and are prepared. Even if it's just for the weekend, they want EVERYTHING with them, it's comforting for them.

On the other hand, I learned early on that if I pack it I have to be prepared to carry it by myself at some point. That right there was the lesson of a lifetime. I don't need a hairdryer, I don't need ten pairs of pants, I don't need to wear different shoes every day. If I forget something, I can always buy it. No big deal. But if my back gets hurt from trying to lug my junk around, that's gonna suck.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:51 AM on October 4, 2007


I love this site - It's so completely out of touch with the people it purports to help - frequent travellers.

Listen, backpacks don't work very well over suit jackets, and you can't keep a dress shirt unwrinkled in a duffel bag. Sensitive electronic equipment needs more protection than a simple layer of unpadded cordura, and - lazy USian that I am - who the hell wants to carry 30 lbs of luggage from B-3 to B-52 in Denver twice in a single day? (I've done it!) Single-side straps will kill your back over the long-term.

It's all well and good to travel like a hippie when you're doing it on a budget, but people who really do travel a lot - and I'm talking about the 1,400,000 SkyMiles sales exec here, not the soccer mom who flies twice yearly to Nice - cannot get by with the idiotic anti-wheels, etc "purity" maintained by OneBag.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:55 AM on October 4, 2007


"My problem isn't packing into one bag, it's that you can't have liquids in your carry on... I'm not going to buy a set of new shampoo/conditioner/hair products every time I travel."

I just bought some cheap 2.5 oz bottles from an outdoors store or a lab supply catalog. Fill them from the bottles you're already using at home and go. For a long trip, just buy toiletries once you get there. Maybe you don't actually need as many toiletries as you thought- I often just buy soap and toothpaste on the other side of the flight and call it a day. Some of the places I've been, that's made me cleaner than the locals...
posted by bobot at 7:56 AM on October 4, 2007


I know there will be lots of jokes made about this, but what I've seen of it so far is quite good. And yes, I think people do need someone to tell them how to pack lightly. The number of people I see struggling with luggage when they are clearly on holiday (not moving/not bearing gifts visiting family/not shooting a film) indicates that yes, a great many people over-pack.

I was born with a serious case of wanderlust and have burned through 4 passports since turning 18. I graduated from backpacker-status about 15 years ago and am now regarded as a sort of packing-guru to my friends and family...(seriously, some of them actually ask me to help them pack their bags...I make them sit there, so we're not breaking any regulations!)...and yet I still found some extremely useful information just a few pages in.

Hell, I may even share the link with the aforementioned friend and family so they can pack their own damn bags.
posted by squasha at 7:58 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


By the way... FWIW, this is the best luggage investment I've ever made (mine's green, but it's the same thing). You can break it down into two backpacks that are within carryon limits, and when you put it together it's a rolling suitcase. It's SO sturdy and fits a lot. That thing went off-roading with me throughout Egypt & Turkey and barely got a a scratch. I was so impressed.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:59 AM on October 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Sensitive electronic equipment needs more protection than a simple layer of unpadded cordura"

That's why I bought a laptop sleeve, so I can pack my laptop in whatever is handy, rather than needing a specialized bag.
posted by bobot at 8:01 AM on October 4, 2007


And yes, business travelers have a different situation. But to be honest I do know quite a few one-bag business travelers. Especially men, since their work wardrobes don't need to be quite as varied as women's so if they want to they can often get by with a few good suits.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:04 AM on October 4, 2007


Even for a 2 month trip I'm a one bag traveler

Me too, though if I was going somewhere for two months, I'd need to take my Globetrotter rather than just a small carry on, I suppose. Expensive, but worth every penny. I've had mine for nearly twenty years now, and every time I use it, I'm glad that I spent the extra money, rather than buying a cheaper, more inferior suitcase.

A wise person told me that the only sensible way to travel is to take twice as much money as you think you'll need, and half as much luggage, and it's a maxim that's served me extremely well. However, being a man and therefore being denied access to the pleasure of purses and handbags, I have to make do with a luggage fetish, so if you've got favourites, people, then please post 'em.

Also, while I'm at it: I've seen somebody carrying a messenger bag with the flight code for Rotterdam airport -- RTM -- printed in big letters. I don't suppose anyone has any idea where I might get one of these things? Preferably an online source? I've googled often, to no avail.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:10 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love this site - It's so completely out of touch with the people it purports to help - frequent travellers.
I spend about a week a month, on average, popping around the country doing consulting. Some months it's double that. I know that's not quite the super-sales-exec living-in-the-Admirals-lounge lifestyle, but the advice on the site mirrors the stuff I've been doing since getting this job. God knows I'd have gone mad if I'd tried to pack heavy: I haven't checked luggage in a decade, and man, am I ever loving it.
posted by verb at 8:12 AM on October 4, 2007


Oh, the anti-wheels thing is easily ignored. Of course you need wheels. Packing a small bag well (in other words, condensed) often means it's as weighty as a larger bag.

It occurs to me that the bags upon which I've grown so dependent may not be as common in the states as they are here in Japan. They look like a cross between this and a sleek boston bag. A quick release shoulder strap gets me through the places I can't/don't want to roll. The handle opens up in a manner that they're narrow enough for the skinniest prop plane aisles, too. Look professional enough to go with the suit jacket, too.
posted by squasha at 8:12 AM on October 4, 2007


The wheels thing really depends on where you are going. If you and your bag are only going from the cab to the plane to the cab to the hotel, then wheels are great. The problem is that most bags with wheels have really shitty handles, because the bag makes assumes you'll never need them.

I prefer backpack straps, because I use my bag for leisure travel and wheels don't work on dirt roads, or cobblestone streets, or even bumpy sidewalks.

The best of both worlds would be a bag with wheels *and* backpack straps, designed in such a way that the wheels don't dig into the small of your back when you are using straps. Haven't found that one.
posted by bobot at 8:15 AM on October 4, 2007


The problem is that most bags with wheels have really shitty handles, because the bag makes assumes you'll never need them.

And the wheels on the type of bag in the picture you link to, bobot, are often too close together, causing a lack of stability as the bag tips, first to the left, then to the right.

The only place that I've ever found them to be remotely useful is within airports themselves. If you've got to actually walk anywhere on the street, the damn things are actually a hindrance. They add an excessive amount of weight to the bag, cut down on the available space, and are mostly not useable.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:21 AM on October 4, 2007


The EagleCreek handles are really good. And they have luggage with both the wheels and backpacks straps...might be just what you're looking for, bobot.
posted by squasha at 8:21 AM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I'm talking about the bag squasha links to, not bobot.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:22 AM on October 4, 2007


I've never experienced those issues with the Eagle Creek rolling backpack I linked to, myself. I lurve it.
/commercial

posted by miss lynnster at 8:37 AM on October 4, 2007


I travel about once a month for business using the onebag system. I even use his recommended Air Boss bag, which has held up really well for 4 years of use. The Air Boss does have a cushioned compartment in the middle that works really well for laptops and the like. It's better than my regular laptop bag, in fact.

The only "trick" to going with one bag is to realize that you'll have to wash something after 3-4 days. If you can get over that mental hurdle, you can travel with a single bag easily. Hotel laundry can be expensive, but you can wash a lot, delicates, socks, etc.. in the hotel sink.

I've tried his clothing bundling system a few times, but I don't find it to be any less or more wrinkling than other methods. For shirts, I get the drycleaner to fold them and just pack them that way. For the suit, the only secret is a good wool fabric and a minimum of sharp folds.

I've done multi-week extended stays and back-to-back trips this way and never had a problem with it.
posted by bonehead at 8:44 AM on October 4, 2007


My inlaws travel frequently around the world and never check bags. Of course, they're totally content to wear that travel clothing that you can rinse out and hang to dry and in the morning it's wrinkle-free and just as cute (for a shapeless sack of microfiber) as it was the day before.

Not for me, no thank you.
posted by padraigin at 8:47 AM on October 4, 2007


Huh. Great site, often mentioned here, but surprisingly never got front-page lurv on its own.
posted by mkultra at 8:53 AM on October 4, 2007


I've never experienced those issues with the Eagle Creek rolling backpack

And I've only ever had good experiences with Eagle Creek luggage myself, I have to say. I've got a messenger bag/briefcase thing that I've owned for more a good twenty years too, and although it's starting to look a little shabby now, it was a bag I overused on a daily basis for most of those twenty years. If I could replace it tomorrow, I'd do so without a moments hesitation, but their modern equivalents all look a little garish to my eye.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:07 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


padraigin, the only wrinkle free stuff I use is underwear. I love Patagonia's capeline synthetic silk boxers. They last forever and they feel great to wear. They also wash very easily.
posted by bonehead at 9:21 AM on October 4, 2007


I used to exclusively travel with only one carry on in the days before 9/11. I hated dealing with baggage claim, so I chose not to.

Now with not being able to take my razor or lighter (from when I smoked), liquids without some silly plastic bag nonsense, or whatever else I might need, I threw in the towel. I still pack the same, but I check it and bring a book because I don't need the hassle.

I still hate baggage claim.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:33 AM on October 4, 2007


a bag with wheels *and* backpack straps, designed in such a way that the wheels don't dig into the small of your back when you are using straps.

Mine is a Berghaus Mule 100, which is fantastic in a ridiculously large way. The main problem is that it's not really designed to be carried any distance by the backpack straps, so it will kill your back if it's got anything heavy in (or, of course, ridiculously large amounts of non-heavy things). Improvising some sort of waist strap would probably help, too. And the end strap doesn't extend, so it might be a bit awkward for a tall person to wheel around.
posted by Lebannen at 9:56 AM on October 4, 2007


How about no bag.

When my old man was in the service he would essentially bring the clothes on his back, a coat, a paperback, and his wallet. When he got to where he was going he bought what he needed and mailed all of it back home.

I've tried it. If your going someplace relatively civilized it works.
posted by tkchrist at 9:56 AM on October 4, 2007


The Tom Bihn Aeronaut bag + the Absolute Shoulder Strap is fantastic.

http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/500/TB0906
posted by Sassenach at 10:12 AM on October 4, 2007


I love the OneBag site! I used it almost faithfully when packing for a month-long trip in Asia in June. I even went as far to order the elusive MEI Voyageur bag by phone! That is a GREAT travel bag, just the right size, semi-respectable looking, and versatile.

Some of the airline weight restrictions were a surprise, unfortunately. I could definitely have been more stringent about not stuffing my bag with souvenirs as I went along. I got around the liquids rule by getting solid equivalents wherever possible. The only liquids (in <100ml bottles) I brought were sunscreen, contact lens solution, and hand sanitizer.

The key rule for me was to just bring just 2 or 3 outfits, and wash as you go along. Lightweight, versatile clothes were an initial investment. Sounds extreme, but when I saw even the round-the-world hippies lugging 3x what I had, it was worth it.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 10:14 AM on October 4, 2007


The new, lower allowable bag weights are a good argument against wheelie and hardshell bags, in particular. Last year my boss went out and splurged on a beautiful matched set of semi-soft shell luggage: wheels like on rollerblades, great handles, etc.... On his first trip, however, he discovered that the bag alone was more than a third, almost half of the new weight limits. I think he took them back the same day he returned from the trip.
posted by bonehead at 10:43 AM on October 4, 2007


I can still fit everything into a backpack or carry-on, but since several of my everyday art supplies are now dangerous implements, I'd have to check something anyway. So I carry on a purse and save my back.

Wish more people did. I'd rather hang out in the nice, spacious baggage claim than wait in the back of a plane while everyone in front of me unstuffs their enormous rolly-duffel-contraptions from the overhead bins.
posted by pernoctalian at 12:40 PM on October 4, 2007


PeterMcDermott, Bagaboo will make you the messenger back you were asking about.
posted by furtive at 5:16 PM on October 4, 2007


« Older Crackbook   |   A Toy Factory in China. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post