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Traveling Light – Can’t Always Be ‘on a Roll’

By Suzana Mar10,2022

Traveling Light – Can’t Always Be ‘on a Roll’

Yes, rolling carry on luggage makes travel easier and ‘shlepping’ one’s belongings around a little less of a chore. Hard as it is to believe, though, there are times when rolling is not the way to go. Backpacking is!

Sometimes luggage on wheels is simply a hindrance. When you’re hiking, for example. Can’t you just see yourself traipsing through the woods, dragging your rolling carry on luggage behind? Or how about climbing the nearest mountain with your luggage bouncing along beside you? Even in quite civilized regions like European cities, it’s often easier to backpack your belongings than having them dance every which way along the cobblestones.  On such occasions the answer is backpack. You may ask, why not simply use a rolling backpack?

There actually may be situations where that is the perfect solution. However, if you see yourself trekking more than half of the time, you are probably better off without the wheels altogether. Not only do the wheels and the contraptions that secure them add considerably to the weight of the luggage, they may also not feel all that comfortable on your back. A backpack without wheels also weighs less and allows for more content in your backpack.

Look for a backpack with ergonomically curved and padded straps, a breathable back panel and full side access pocket.  You should also expect several outside pockets for important documents or electronic gadgets, which may need to be removed at check points.

Rick Steves, who believes in always traveling light, prefers his Convertible Carry On backpack/suitcase with zip-away shoulder straps.  Undoubtedly, Rick Steves has also observed other travelers attempting to roll their luggage under less than ideal circumstances, i.e. unpaved roadways, cobbled streets, going up and down stairs and into trains and subways. Wheeled bags are wonderful on tiled airport floors, but even in airports you can encounter circumstances that make it easier to backpack your belongings.

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Weight, of course, is more of an issue, when you carry your luggage on your back. If you plan on doing that for long stretches, it’s actually advisable to give your fully packed bag a test run. You don’t really know how heavy it is, until you carry it around for an hours or longer, not only window shopping, but climbing stairs as well. Nothing teaches you the value of traveling light, or the non-value of certain stuff, as quickly as carrying all your belongings on your back for a while.

Of course, backpacks are not just used for travel.  Children learn to live with backpacks quite early in life.  In the past there were very few wheeled backpacks.  KIds carried them on their backs, or they dragged them behind through the mud.  Even today the non-wheeled backpack predominates, but there are rolling ones on the market as well.

Since most children nowadays ride the school bus to a schools too far from home for lunch breaks, there must be room in their backpacks for packed lunches, that is, if the children don’t want to carry a separate lunch box.

One such backpack is the Jansport Hex Backpack. It contains an insulated area for keeping food and drinks cold. This makes it a great multi purpose backpack for students.

Should your student have a too heavy book load, the Jansport Classic Big Student Backpack may be the answer. It also comes with inner pockets for pens, phone, calculator, small notebook etc. The straps are thick, wide and harder than previous Jansport packs. This makes them comfortable for bigger sized students, not so much for smaller ones.

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And, yes, there is also a student bag with wheels.  The JanSport Classic SuperBreak Wheeled Backpack might be a good alternative for anyone who needs to roll rather than carry.

By Suzana

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