Friday, December 27, 2019

Carryon Backpack for Travel

Caribee Sky-Master
Carry On Bag
For a recent trip to Singapore and Indonesia, I purchased a Caribee Sky-Master 40L Carry On Bag, which worked very well. I had booked some budget airline flights, which did not include checked baggage. My old wheeled bag was heavy, and took up a considerable part of the carry-on allowance. So I looked for a light bag, carry-on size, which also had backpack straps. 

There is a bewildering rage of carry-on bags. I wanted one which did not have wheels, or a frame, to save weight, and  looked more like a bag, than a backpack. Also I wanted one which opened up flat, and ideally, had compartments. With many backpacks you have to stuff clothes in through a narrow opening in the top.

First  I purchased a Cotton On Foldable Cabin Bag. This zipps down the middle and opes to reveal two zipped mesh compartments, making it easy to pack. It weighs very little, however it had no backpack straps (just a shoulder strap). Also it is made entirely of fabric, so does not retain its shape, making it more difficult to carry.

Shorty before my trip I purchased the Caribee Sky-Master. Like the Cotton On bag, this zips open and has two mesh covered compartments. One compartment is slightly larger and has compression straps. It also has backpack straps, and a foam plastic back-plate which keeps it in shape. The backpack straps can be concealed in a zippered compartment, and are very comfortable in use. There is a carry handle on one end and on the side, allowing it to be carried as a small suitcase. There is an outer zippered compartment for small items, but I found that I tended to open it too far and they fell out.

While luggage sellers make much of conforming to airline carry-on bag restrictions, when I cam to pack my bag I found that weight, was the limiting factor. My first flight, from Sydney to Singapore, had a limit of 10 kg, which I was able to meet, but the second flight, to Yogyakarta, was limited to 7kg. If you fill a carry-on size bag it is very difficult to get it under 7 kg. At this stage of my travel, my bag had increased to 12 kg, so I purchased extra checked luggage allowance. By the time of my third flight, the bag had got to 20 kg (with all the shopping, and fortunately I had checked baggage with the last ticket. 

In the dining car
Even if you do not carry your bag on the aircraft, a carry-on size bag has advantages, in terms of freedom of movement. I was easily able to meet the Yogyakarta to Jakarta Train limit of 20 kg. Also one relatively small bag is much easier to get on and off ground transport, such as a Yogyakarta local bus. The extreme test of this was on a commuter train at rush hour in Jakarta.

ps: Caribee might consider making this bag simpler and lighter. The backpack straps could be made removable (as the shoulder strap is). There would then be no need for a zipped compartment on the back to hold the straps. The smaller compartment on the front could be given a lip, so items don't fall out when it is opened, or this could be omitted (this would make security much easier, as the bag with then have just one zip).

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