6 Pieces of Luggage to Make Travel Life Easier
Every traveler knows all too well the dread of packing, which is often an unnecessary hassle. The pure excitement of the thought of travel is enough to trump the packing process for many others. You may be used to lumping all of your belongings into a pile and chucking everything in your backpack but there are easier and more efficient ways to bring your life with you on the road.
When investing in luggage and travel gear, always remember to buy pieces of luggage that are specific to your lifestyle and suit your needs. If you’re not going hiking in the Himalayas you don’t need a giant hiking backpack, and if you’re only taking photos with your phone you certainly won’t need a camera bag.
Buy what’s best for you – whether you’re looking for a great carry-on, a backpack to take around the world, something that with keep your goods dry, or something that keeps everything organized. Check out the list below to satisfy the luggage needs you may have never known you had.
The Perfect Daypack
It might seem like a given, but daypacks are often overlooked and their importance ignored. If you’re like me and do a lot of walking and exploring cities, you’ll need to invest in a good daypack, and there are many things to consider before making a purchase. If you’ll be using the bag mostly for urban exploration and small hikes, the best size to look for is 20L (15 to 25 is fine). It has to be comfortable or at least it should be as it’s going to be on your back a lot of the time.
Look for a pack that has back support and maybe even a little suspension system (not as necessary compared with larger backpacks), a water bottle holder, a handle, and lockable zippers. Additionally, find a bag that’s waterproof or water resistant, and one that has organizational compartments inside, such as a laptop pocket. I personally love minimalistic 15-20L day bags that serve as great carry-ons. Front-opening is better than top-opening, but it depends what you use it for and how often you need to access goods, but it generally isn’t too big of a deal seeing as you’re not digging through 50L of goods. Consider something like the Deuter 20L Speed Lite.
Packing for any trip can be a daunting task. I have often asked myself where certain items belong in my backpack and in which order they should be packed. I’ve carefully rolled up all my clothing, separated goods and put them in ziplock bags, only to later arrive at the hostel and rip everything apart. If you’re on the go every other day, like many busy long-term travelers are, it’s sometimes easier, not to mention quicker, to pack your bag by shoving everything you see into it. However, there is a simple solution: packing cubes.
These little cubes have been a life-changer for many seasoned travelers. You might still want to roll up your clothing to maximize space, but now you’ll have even more of it. The cubes allow you to easily compartmentalize your belongings into different cubes, making everything much more accessible. Cubes come in a variety of different sizes, while most of them are rectangular and narrow in shape. If you want more than one, think about getting a multi-pack of different shapes. The cubs are simple but yet have revolutionized packing – who would have thought? However, if you’re like me, everything in the bag is getting yanked back out at the next stop anyway. Bagail’s 4-set with a laundry bag is one of the best selling packing cubes.
If we could only go back in time and transfer all our goods into a dry bag that time it started unexpectedly raining, or when that hour-long boat tour turned out to be wetter than advertised, or when you wanted to protect your belongings while whitewater rafting. Dry bags are most commonly used by people traveling over water or participating in outdoor adventure sports – white water rafting, kayaking, canyoning, canoeing, snowboarding, or any other outdoor activity where there’s a chance of getting wet.
They’re also great if your backpack isn’t waterproof – chuck it all in the dry sack and you’re good to go. Honestly, they can pretty much be used for anything – from a pillow to a laundry bag. Whatever you need it for, consider purchasing the TOMSHOO 20L Outdoor Waterproof Dry Bag.
Obviously, you’re not going to invest in a camera bag if you’re not a photographer. But, if you are a photographer, you’ll probably want to carry something that allows you to easily access your camera gear. If you’re in a region of the world where it might not a good idea to be flaunting expensive photography equipment, there are some great bags that don’t label you as a well-off foreigner. Photography is an addiction, one where you can’t help but buy gadget after gadget, and soon enough you can’t fit it all in your tiny holster case or shoulder bag.
Most camera companies make high-quality backpacks for the modern photographer. The backpacks are mostly all front- or side-opening, with numerous compartments for your camera, lens, and all the other gear you’re carrying, which makes for easy access. Consider buying a camera bag that looks like any other normal backpack, such as the LowePro Tahoe BP 150 for its simple, lightweight design.
If you’re carrying even your diving basics, including your own mask, snorkel, and fins, you’ll
want to invest in a durable dive bag – something much larger than a basic 20L day bag. Though you may have a larger backpack for other goods and clothing, you’ll likely want to invest in a separate dive bag. What exactly makes a dive bag a dive bag? Well, if there’s dive gear in the bag it’s a dive bag. However, there are many speciality bags made specifically for divers and for carrying diving gear.
If you don’t have a dive bag, some divers use Rubbermaid totes or wheeled duffle bags, which are less than ideal. Simple dive bags start at around $20.00 and go upwards to $700.00, with many respectable bags sitting around the $200 – $300.00 range. Features to look for in a reputable dive bag are a salt-water resistant zipper, storage compartments for smaller items, robust wheels (if you want a roller), lightweight but heavy-duty material, backpack compatibility, a size of around 60L, and something with the right dimensions for your gear. Consider looking into the Cressi Moby High Volume Scuba Diving Bag, which has side pockets for fins.
Are you the type of traveler who packs a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss and is good to go, or are you more the type that brings the whole pharmacy and then some? Regardless, you’ll need a bag to keep your toiletries in and to separate them from the rest of your belongings. Important features to look for are multiple internal and external pockets in order to separate goods, a bag that you can hang for easy access, and a bag that’s lightweight and compact.
Osprey has the UltraLight Roll Organizer which is great for any type of traveler. It’s functional, practical, and compact. For something a bit smaller, consider the Sea to Summit Traveling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag, which comes with a small plastic mirror.
Other pieces of luggage you may want to invest in – depending on what part of the world you’re visiting, what you’ll be doing there, are how long you’re staying – include money belts for the extra cautious, roller suitcases for those who like simplicity, and fanny packs for those who want easy access.