Checking luggage is for suckers. Suckers, and people who have an extra $50 to drop on luggage fees. Despite evidence to the contrary, I aim to stay out of the former category; I’m not part of the latter. Besides, even before airlines started charging for the “privilege,” I rarely needed to check bags.
Why? Because everything I could possibly need fits inside one $50 bag. It’s sturdy, it’s spacious, it’s simple. It’s the best carry-on bag I’ve found.
It’s the eBags Weekender eTech bag, which you should consider despite a name that feels very late-’90s dot-com. I’ve taken it all around the world*, and it’s served me equally well for overnight stays and ten-day treks. Is it as chic as my glossy Heys hardside suitcase? No. Is it the one I actually take everywhere? Absolutely. Here’s why:
It’s lightweight. There’s no good reason to have luggage that starts out heavy before you’ve even packed. Weighing in at just over three pounds, this bag is easy to haul. But because it’s made of cross-woven nylon, it’s incredibly sturdy. Win-win.
It’s the right size… You know those people who schlep an enormous suitcase onto a plane, and they hold up the boarding process because their bag is too large for the overhead bins? Nobody likes them. This bag is regulation-size, so there’s no reason to worry about whether it fits (and no excuse for being That Guy).
…yet it’s enormous. You’d be amazed by how much this bag holds. There are pockets on the front, zippered pouches inside each compartment, buckles to cinch the bag tight, and even a place to clip your keys. The interior orange lining makes little items stand out, so it’s easy to spot whatever you’re looking for. Sounds silly, but when you’re searching for bobby pins or USB drives, this sort of thing saves time — time that you could be using to have a kir or something.
It’s versatile. This bag has a handle and hooks for a strap, but oh-ho, looky here! You can pull out two hidden straps to create a backpack. Ostensibly, doing this could make you look like a college student, and you never know when a dashing young Sorbonne student might mistake you for one of his fellow étudiants. Stranger things have happened.
As for the drawbacks, there’s the obvious dork factor of walking around with a eBags label. Over-pack the bag, and you’ll deal with some back strain (but isn’t that the case with any luggage?). And obviously, if you’re packing fragile things like camera equipment, you need a hard-sided suitcase. For everyone else, though, this is all the bag you’ll need.
* Said bag has carried me through, among other things, a two-week journey from London (chilly) to Reykjavik (cold) to Paris (hot) in May. It really can hold everything.
Photo: JD Hancock