Wheeled Backpack Winner
I recently solicited advice on wheeled backpacks. For long trips I use a medium-large size REI backpack, going on nine years old. Wearing it for extended periods or lifting it repeatedly has started to take a toll. Plus I use a Timbuk2 messenger bag, so when I’m schlepping them both on my shoulders I look like a sherpa starting out for the Himalayas. I wanted a wheeled backpack to take the ease off my back in airports, train stations, and the like - yet carry it easily in cities, short hikes, or places where rolling a suitcase isn’t convenient.
I checked out the Switchback at Colorado Baggage, but found it too big. However they make a smaller version called the “Twist.” I found the Twist 22 and 25 at REI later that evening. The Twist 22 fit my price, size, and style. REI had more of a selection than I expected, so I compared it against a few others: I was wowed at the Swiss Army E-Motion 360, which straight out of a James Bond movie was a razor sharp red and contained a slick detachable man purse inside – but the $300 plus price was more than I wanted to spend. I justified it by saying “I’ll look TOO nice and don’t want to draw attention to myself on the road.” So that was out. REI manufactures a unit called the “Stratocruise,” for $189, but it’s heavier than the Twist, and not quite as stylish. (I had a bland REI backpack for years, so want a little color and style.)
Being a fan of Timbuk2 I also checked out the Timbuk2 “Checkpoint,” in person. (This is actually a regular roller suitcase, not a backpack.) This was much heavier than expected, and although more pliable than a suitcase it doesn’t collapse as much as I wanted. Important seeing as how I’m always in boarding group “4″ with limited overhead space. I didn’t see this being as flexible as I wanted. That retails for around $260.
One selling point of the Eagle Creek line was the “backpack,” portion of the bag. Some “wheeled backpacks,” have stowable clumsy shoulder straps, which technically fits the title of “wheeled backpack,” but when I tried them on they felt boxy and uncomfortable. The Twist 22′s straps are wide and padded, and have waist straps for even weight distribution. (Pictured left)
REI’s price for the Eagle Creek “Twist 22″ was $240. I found it online at LuggageBase.com for the same price, with a 35% Eagle Creek discount, and they were including a free “Pack It” folder. (I’m not really sure what this is for.) But wait there was more! They are having a free shipping special, so my total cost was $203. My apologies to the REI store and city of Denver for not funding our local tax base, but 60 bucks saved is important.
Hopefully this will this to serve me well for years to come, from Breckenridge to Buenos Aires. The good news is I’ll have a chance to dirty it up in Florida next month, so it won’t look too fancy and new when tooling around Argentina this fall.
A note on LuggageBase. There are hundreds of sites online that will sell you luggage. It’s quite overwhelming. Luggage Base’s website doesn’t look fancy, and I had never heard of them. The “new customer” form was not loading completely, so I called the 800 number on the home page and spoke with someone first ring, without holding or being transferred. The rep verified the minor site problem on her end, requested I try back in an hour, and when I did it worked perfectly. Knowing someone is available in an actual office rockets their reputation forward in my opinion. They also have a physical store in Nipomo California. That’s just north of Santa Maria, which is north of Santa Barbara if you’re planning a trip to the Michael Jackson Neverland Ranch Memorial Gardens. LuggageBase.com shipped this product same day, (I’ll receive Tuesday,) and they also offers free returns, so if this doesn’t work out I’m not stuck. Five stars to LuggageBase.
If this post/reviews have been helpful in your quest for wheeled backpack feel free to let me know!
Original post: Wheeled Backpacks