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  1. #1
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    Dec 2010
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    Empire Builder as a suitcase?

    Does anyone have experience using an Empire Builder as a suitcase? I keep thinking it would be the perfect travel bag for me. I tend to pack fairly lightl and put everything in a variety of packing cubes or pouches, and don't travel with a laptop. It looks like the center compartment would hold my clothes, toiletries and a pair of shoes if needed, and the back slip pocket would be perfect for a magazine or two, while the front pockets would hold my kindle, camera, phone, snack, etc. I like how the Empire Builder stands upright, and the main zipper opens wide, yet holds everything inside. Does anyone know if a water bottle will fit in the front open slip pocket?

    I'd love to hear from owners of the Empire Builder. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I've used my EB as a dual use laptop and overnight bag. It's big enough to fit a single change of business casual clothing and the essentials in a 3-1-1 bag. Removing the laptop, I'd say it could work for a three, maybe four day trip depending on how disciplined you are. One change of shoes max, though.

    The attached photos show a pair of size 11 running shoes fit vertically or horizontally, and a 0.6 litre Sigg bottle fits in the front pocket (quick cameraphone snaps, excuse the quality).

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    There is a weight penalty using an EB as a suitcase though - the walls and floor are padded significantly. So, at a push I'd say yes, but there are better travel bags in Tom Bihn's range with similar capacity. The Western Flyer, for instance.
    Enlightened traveller since 2009

  3. #3
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    Dec 2010
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    Very helpful photos lotuseater! I've certainly been looking at the Western Flyer as an option, too.

  4. #4
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgrls View Post
    Very helpful photos lotuseater! I've certainly been looking at the Western Flyer as an option, too.
    I am new to the WF and I must say, it's worth every penny. It's a great size for several days worth of clothes and shoes. It is easy to carry and also stash away while traveling or when I arrive. I wear ladies's 7.5M US, 38 Euro shoes and I can easily fit 2 pair plus additional items into one of the divided front compartments. For how you describe you are planning to travel, the WF would be a great candidate.
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  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator
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    I've got to weigh in on the Western Flyer side. The WF makes an excellent travel bag, and can work as a briefcase as well. I don't own the Empire Builder (I have a Zephyr) but I echo lotuseater's points about the padding and weight. The WF (especially the new ones) can also accommodate a water bottle in an exterior pocket.


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