TRAVEL GEAR THAT WORKS – Bags & Luggage
Every time I head out on a new journey it seems I debate a bit about what gear I should take with me. Each trip and destination is a bit different so I always adjust my gear accordingly. Still, it seems that there are certain items that always join me on my journeys. Why? They work for me and my style of travel. The start of the year seemed like a good time to share an article with my list of regular travel gear. But even though I try to travel light, the list of my travel gear is a bit lengthy. For that reason I have broken the list down into several different content areas. So this is the first of several articles on my favorite travel gear – this one on Bags & Luggage.
Travel Bags & Luggage That Work
Shoulder / Day Bag –
The Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Plus
I’ve had this shoulder bag for about a year now and it has traveled with me throughout the U.S. Southwest, Spain, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I’ve previously reviewed this bag in detail so check out these two links – Travelon Shoulder Bag and Travel Bag Review.
Why I Travel With This Bag – This bag is a great size for me and it has a very clean line / classic “look”, which makes it work well for the gentleman traveler. has expandable and adjustable features making it very versatile. I use one expandable side pocket for a water bottle ( always necessary in many countries where I travel ) and the other pocket for a small strobe (flash) for my Nikon cameras. Inside there is a padded pocket for my iPad, and a mesh pocket where I store my iPhone, earbuds, lightning cord, and SD card reader “dongle” for my iPad. There’s also plenty of room for a backup battery, my small Lumix camera, passport, wallet, small flashlight and other sundry stuff I might need for a day in the city or an easy day trip to the countryside. The bag has great anti-theft features and, by the way, it works great as my “personal item” bag on airlines, holding all the stuff I might need in flight such as my noise-canceling earphones allowing me to use my larger carry on bag for other items. The bag is part of the large inventory of travel related gear by Travelon (Travelonbags.com). The Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Plus Shoulder Bag is available many places including Amazon.
High Sierra Access Backpack
I travel with lots of camera and tech gear. And when my travels require flying I am not about to check this gear as checked baggage. I need a good carry on. Additionally I tote my own luggage so having a hands free carry on is a bonus. I find that a backpack works best for me. It’s great for getting to and from my travel destinations as well as for carrying gear for day trips and outings. My backpack is extremely important to my travels and I need one which is strong, lightweight, and versatile. I’ve previously reviewed this backpack ( Travel / Photo Backpack ) and I continue to use and enjoy it.
Why I Travel With This Bag – I have used the High Sierra Access Backpack for years. There are many, many backpacks available but this one works for me. I load it up with lots of camera gear, my rain gear, tech supplies, batteries – well you get the picture. The pack is versatile, has lots of separate and padded compartments and pockets, and is expandable with adjustment straps. And the company is great to work with as well. After several years of use one of the main straps on my first pack began to fail. High Sierra replaced the pack with no problem – impressive support. That was in 2011. I’ve been using the replacement steadily since then!
The Access Backpack is by High Sierra and is available on Amazon.
Small Carry On Size Bag-
VentureSafe EXP45 Anti-Theft 45L Carry-On Backpack
There are times when I want to travel very light and fast. No checked luggage. That means I need a small and easily portable bag – a bag which works as a carry on. I found a bag made by PacSafe which is perfect for these situations – the VentureSafe EXP45 Anti-Theft Carry-On Backpack.
Why I Travel With This Bag – This bag is small, light weight and has many great features for the traveler. The size works as a carry on for almost all airlines (I’ve had no problems whatsoever). There are backpack straps on the bag which make for easy carry but they can be stowed internally when in transit. As the name implies, the bag incorporates many anti-theft features.
I lived out of this bag for a month while photographing in Myanmar. It was a bit snug for everything I wanted to take but I managed. PacSafe also makes a slightly larger 55 Liter version of this bag, which in hindsight might have worked better – although being larger, it does not meet carry on size requirements. For a more detailed review check out my previous article – PacSafe Carry On Review. ( Point of clarification – The review covers the PacSafe 45L GII, the bag I have which is last years model of the current VentureSafe EXP45 pictured above.
The VentureSafe EXP45 Anti-Theft 45L Carry-On Backpack is available at Amazon.
Large / Checked Luggage Bag –
TLS Mother Lode Junior 25″ Wheeled Duffel
For extended travel I find I need a bit more space than I can find in a carry on sized bag. For these journeys I turn to my Mother Lode Junior by eBags. For clarification I should note that I have an earlier version of this bag which continues to serve me well. The current updated version pictured above has additional features, refinements and improvements.
Why I Travel With This Bag – First of all this bag is obviously larger than my carry on and can hold the additional items I need for extended travel. Beyond that, I really love how versatile this bag is. It is extremely well designed, giving the traveler a variety of ways to configure and access contents with adjustable “shelves” as well as access to various areas without the need to open the entire bag. It is sturdy and has held up very well on my travels through Peru, Spain, China, India and Southeast Asia. With it’s mid-range size it is easy to handle (having wheels as well as various handles and grips for vertical or horizontal lifting), and is compact enough that it will roll down the aisle of most trains and buses.
The TLS Mother Lode Junior 25″ Wheeled Duffel is available on Amazon.
I own and use all of the items mentioned above. I hope you found this information useful. And I should mention that if you are interested in these or any other items – any purchases made by clicking through the links above will help support this website – but at no additional or extra cost to you. Sort of a “Win / Win.”
Stay tuned for future TRAVEL GEAR THAT WORKS articles covering areas such as Clothing, Footwear, Camera Gear, and Tech.
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