I have been looking for a decent replacement for my Rick Steves convertible. My requirements:
- carry on size in its unexpanable state, something around 9x14x22
- around a 2-3" expansion zipper
- backpack straps and waist belt that hide inside
I bought the RS bag about 3-4 years ago,m I started patching the worn spots about 2-3 years ago and now two of the zippers are starting to fail. I love the way it functions but need something more durable, the bag goes on a 2-3 week trip twice a year with transportatin being anything to include motorcycles, boats, trains, buses, etc. I have a separate tote for under my feet on the plane that holds by laptop, reading material, and other "keep at hand" items. I want expandable for bringing home all of my shopping loot. I travel light and do carryon on the way out, then expand the bag for all of my purchases and check the bag on the way home. I carry breakables on the plane.
I have ruled out another RS bag (not durable) and the eBags Motherlode; the eBag is smaller than the RS bag even though their website says it is larger - they lie! So I looked at: Red Oxx Sky Train, MEI Silver Streak, Tom Bihn Aeronaut and TriStar. The only bag expandable is the Silver streak but I have no desire for the daypack. Are there any other bags out there that meet my needs? Any suggestions?
Well, the Aeronaut matches everything but the expandable. I've had mine for a bit more than four years, it's been cross country multiple times, to Europe and all over the east coast and still looks brand new. I can pack it full for two weeks and yet I still find room for what I buy along the way. I also toss a large shop bag in the backpack strap compartment and use that as a carryon if I buy way too much and need to check my Aeronaut.
I've worn it as a backpack for a two mile hike, and while it's not as great as a hiking pack, if it's under 40 pounds it's comfortable enough.
The answer is no. Land's End used to make an expandable but they discontinued the bag.
I'm not surprised the Rick Steves bag didn't last. They changed design and material years ago from the original and it went downhill.
I owned both the RS Convertible and the Ebags Motherlode TLS. They were basically the same size. How do you know it is smaller if you don't own one?
Why must you have an expandable? Why not just buy a good quality main bag and get a second bag that can be packed but filled for your return. In an expandable state the back will have to be checked anyway. So, this way one bag is checked and you can keep valuables with you.
Thank you for responding. I think I'll end up going with the Silver Streak since I can order it without the daypack - basically an expandable voyageur. I like carrying one bag (plus my tote), it's hard to haul two packed bags through airports, on buses, etc. plus I don't have to worry about paying extra baggage fees - something that is going up all of the time. Besides, I've gotten spoiled by the single bag. It's been suggested by several people during my search to just pack a separate duffel for a 2nd bag on the return. I'm curious how those people haul all of that luggage around, why haul around a 2nd bag when everything fits in my expanable bag?!. If I buy a lot of wine or some rugs I'll buy locally some cheap luggage with wheels, but that is only when I need to.
I did buy the Motherlode, it went back.
I'll respond on the second bag for the trip home..
Because I'm heading home, it isn't all that much to schlep. The Aeronaut gets checked and I end up with my Imago or Swift and my large shop bag, so I'm not carrying much more than I would be with the Aeronaut. Of course, the Aeronaut goes on my back, so I have two bags on my shoulders, but it isn't bad. I only have to do that in the airports. When I pick up my Aeronaut, I toss it on my back and go to the car. I've never found it difficult to haul around the Aeronaut, Imago and large shop bag all together. One goes on my back, one goes across my body and one goes on my shoulder.