Choosing the right travel luggage

It's the age old question – what's better, backpacks or wheels? I've been contemplating this one for years now. So I've been pretty determined to find some sort of answer.

I've used my fair share of different types of luggage in my travels. I've tried and tested luggage ranging from 80L to 45L, u-zips and top-loaders, 4-wheels and 2-wheels, cheap and no-so-cheap. You name it, I've probably tried it. And I have to say, there's no right or wrong answer. It actually depends on you and your trip.

Ah, I know, what a frustrating answer! But I've tried very hard to come up with a one-size-fits all, and it's not possible.

Honestly, backpacks win in so many ways. But, the one crucial thing about them is that they're uncomfortable. Depending on your body type, that is. I personally struggle with backpacks, even when adjusted according to my back, with very little weight. I've got a weak-ass back and core, so when I have to lift and lug 40L or more on my back, I can't get far.

So for me, wheeled luggage is my choice, but there are certain trips and destinations I will suffer a backache for luggage ease.

Backpack vs wheels: Pros and cons list

Wheels

+ Stairs can prove to be a hassle
+ Uneven ground can be difficult to roll over
+ In my opinion, you get more space for the same size
+ Surprisingly loud to use

Backpack

+ Hands-free
+ Stairs are easy to manoeuvre
+ Using the interior space effectively can be more difficult
+ Not as easy to keep packed tidily

 

Choosing the right luggage to suit your needs:

Small is best

No matter what type of luggage you go with, stick with a small size and pack wisely. I recommend never going above 50L. Even if you have wheeled luggage, chances are you're going to have to lift it, and lift it often. I promise you don't need more than 40 or 50L anyway! You can still look chic and stylish on a minimal wardrobe.

Personal restrictions

As I mentioned before, I've always had back issues. Since I can remember I've been tall for my age and from that, I've developed a pretty serious hunch back. I also work in front of a computer screen for more than 12 hours a day which does some real damage to my neck and back. So when I use a backpack, the word 'struggle' is an understatement. That said, I know people who have great core strength and can easily carry large packs on their backs – feeling envious. Figure out what your body is capable of, and go with it.

Choose according to your trip

Will you find yourself walking long distances or through uneven ground? Will you be somewhere wet, dusty or have to squeeze into over filled train carriages? Consider where you're going, what you'll be doing with your luggage and what would make your life easier.

Don't bother with a top-loading backpack

It's actually difficult to find backpacks that zip closed. Top loaders, like this, are for keeping your stuff dry when hiking. They aren't really secure because there's no zip system, it's all pull ties and clips. I'd recommend going for a zip system so you can safely lock your luggage. This isn't completely necessary but it is reassuring when travelling.

My recommendations?

I have two bags that I've trialled multiple times now and I'm crazy happy with. They're both made using quality materials, designed really well, making them durable and long-lasting. Surprisingly these two bags have a 15L difference, but I find they fit a similar amount.

And I have to say, this is not a sponsored post, I just want to share with you all my top picks after years of testing multiple bags.

One Planet 55L backpack

They actually don't sell my backpack anymore, it's been upgraded so I can only imagine it's even better! I had been searching for the perfect backpack for years before I came across this one. It's basically a shell – no unnecessary dangles or pockets – and super durable that's been crafted and made really well. It's a great backpack in its most basic form, high quality and surprisingly comfortable.

You can purchase from the online store.

Antler 40L hardcase

Boy is this suitcase a looker! I love that it's not black, so on the odd occasion when I check it in, I can spot it from a mile away on the conveyer belt. And yes, it's carry on size! You do have to be careful, it fits way more than you expect so you can go over on weight when using it as a carry on. But I think this is actually a bonus giving me the option to check it in or carry it on. It's essentially two bags in one!

You can purchase it for a very good price from Bag World.


Do you have any luggage tips you'd like to share? Or any questions?