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Travel Luggage Guide

Whatever your adventure, there's a bag for you... By Cotswold Outdoor
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Travel comes in all shapes and forms, you might be off for a short city break, trekking in the Himalayas, or round the world in 80 days. Whatever your adventure, there’s a bag to suit you so we’ve created a guide to help you choose.

NOTE: Each airline has different size limitations so check with your airline for specifics. There’s a wide variety of bags to fit allowances from day sacks to wheeled bags. If you’re going with carry on then remember to check carriage restrictions as well as weight.

Duffle Bags

If you’re not planning on travelling far on foot then a duffle bag is worth considering. These bags are increasingly seen on baggage carousels because they’re as tough as bags come and are unfussy, favouring simplicity over straps and features. The durable outer material is perfect for the rigours of travel being water and abrasion resistant and they have shoulder straps and grab handles for easy lugging around. Whether you’re off for an overnight trip, or for a month, there’s a size to suit your needs (they range from 30 to 120 litres) and are available in all the colours of the rainbow, making it easy to pick your bag out amongst others which can be a big help with security and speed in transit.

Duffle bags features

1. Lockable kissing zips and a tough outer material to deter opportunistic thieves.

 

2. Shoulder straps and grab handles for multiple carrying options.

 

3. Huge variety of colours and sizes available.

Tip

Some Duffles are also available with wheels if you want to save your shoulders but you must be confident that terrain will be smooth for wheeling, otherwise a rucksack may be more suitable.

Wheeled Luggage

Travelling with all your worldly belongings can be physically tiring so wheeled luggage helps to take the strain off your muscles and joints. A wheeled bag doesn’t have to mean a big cumbersome behemoth only suitable for moving from taxi to hotel lobby. For check in wheeled baggage there are even rucksack hybrids that can be wheeled or carried on your back, so when you find yourself with a rugged dirt track between you and your accommodation, you can retract the handle and use a rucksack harness to get you where you want to be.

1. Retractable Handle, sturdy and tough wheels allow wheeling over multiple terrains.

2. Zips open all the way round so you can pack and unpack easily.

3. Some available with rucksacks straps for carrying comfortably over short distances where the terrain is too rough.

Tip

Remember: Wheeled luggage can allow you to carry more as well as being convenient to pack but it’s worth remembering that a frame, wheels and handles all add weight to a bag which can eat into sometimes restrictive airline baggage weight allowances.

Rucksacks

Clearly carrying all you need for several weeks or months of travel is going to require a bag that is comfortable to carry, accessible and durable (even against those destructive baggage carousels), so where do you start? A feature here and a feature there can make all the difference to your travel experience.

A hiking rucksack is a good all rounder, they’re tough, they’re made to carry hefty weights for extended periods of time and they’re equally at home in a hotel lobby, a hostel or in the porch of a tent on the trail. But, even these all purpose mules have a refined sibling with a few extra features for the traveller. Here’s some useful features that are commonly found in a travel rucksack.

1. Grab handles and shoulder straps make the lugging process a lot easier in airports.

2. Small daypack attached to use on day excursions or for cabin baggage.

3. Zip away harness straps to protect during transit.

Tip

When you’re travelling to a new location daily you’ll have to unpack and repack your bag often so you’re going to want to make this as painless as possible. Traditional top loading hiking sacks can be more challenging to pack so a good travelling rucksack will zip open fully allowing you to pack it more like a suitcase. A few extra dividers and sections inside will also help separate shoes, wet gear and dirty washing.

Tip

Travel rucksacks are also better equipped for security. Look out for extra hidden security pockets, lockable kissing zips, and tough outer materials that cannot be cut easily. As many people travel with expensive technology items it’s also worth looking for padded sleeves for tablets and laptops.

Whether you choose a hiking rucksack or a travel rucksack, getting the fit right is essential so have a look at our Rucksack Fitting Guide or visit one of our stores for expert advice.

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Daysacks

If you’re looking to fly through past the baggage carousels and get straight into your adventure then you’ll need to pack smart. Perhaps the the most versatile option if you’re taking a carry on bag is a daysack as whatever comes your way you’ll be able to sling it on your back and carry on exploring. Much the same as with big rucksacks you’ll want to make sure it fits correctly and is comfortable to carry when fully loaded.

daysacks_large

1. Comfortable padded shoulder straps for long days travelling.

 

2. Zipped security pockets to protect your belongings.

 

3. Lots of options for organising all your gear – you’ll be living out of this bag!

Tip

Remember: If you’re carrying luggage onboard then remember to check your airline’s size and weight baggage restrictions.It’s best to avoid daysacks with frames in for carry on as they can be bulky.

Accessories

Once you’ve picked your bag for your adventures there’s a few accessories to help you along your way so take a look at these time saving, stress easing add-ons for travel bags.

Packing solutions

Packing, repacking and unpacking – travellers do a lot of this. A few packing cells really help to keep your stuff organised and neat. They come in all shapes and sizes, whether you want you keep your shirts folded neatly, protect your tablet or separate your shoes, there’s a solution to help make life on the road simple.

Security

Interlocking zips allow you to padlock your bag to deter opportunistic thieves. If you go for a combination lock you won’t lose the keys, and if it’s a TSA lock then airport authorities can open it without destroying it.

 

Dry Bags

 

If you’re travelling somewhere adventurous and your bag might get wet then dry bags can give you peace of mind that whatever happens your possessions will remain dry. Varying sizes can help with packing and separation.

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Rucksack Accessories

If you’re using a rucksack to travel and you’re going to be chucking it on and off carousels, on top of trucks or strapping it to a mule cart then it’s a good idea to get some extra protection and stop straps getting caught and damaged. A simple cover holdall will prolong the life of your rucksack and add another layer of security with lockable zips.

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