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Good light bag for short trips: Updated six months later
on June 25, 2013
I got this two days before heading out for a five day visit to northern Arizona and southern Utah; I brought the bag along during the long car ride, on four plane trips, and two hotels. It was convenient, light weight, easy to access and roll, and easily fit in the overhead compartment of the small commuter plane from Phoenix to Flagstaff. In fact, they were pulling other roll-away bags to check in at the gate, but didn't give mine a second look. Interestingly, it kept things cool in the trunk when I stopped at various desert spots to take photos or stopped for a meal.
One thing that was a bit dicey was the pull out handle; in my rush to close it when boarding the first plane I pushed down and clipped my little finger by mistake. That was my inattention, but I thought it would be a firmer push than it was. On the other hand, it balanced nicely and even "stood up" beside me as I waited for my flights; I think that's more how you pack than anything.
For this trip I packed five short sleeve shirts, one t-shirt, one pair of long pants, underwear and socks, toiletries in a baggie as required by TSA, four CDs, a folder with maps and brochures, a hat, a stand alone GPS device and cords, and my Kindle reader; it all fit easily and without cramming. The smaller top opening was less useful as things would fall out of it unless the bag was laid flat; I only put my everyday essentials in there (suntan lotion, map, etc.). Lots of room!
I take several short trips a year and I will update this after a few more trips to let you know how well it stands up.
December, 2013 update
I have now used this bag on seven trips since this initial one, for a total of 10 flight legs. The bag continues to hold up well, has never had to be checked in at the gate, and has even survived my overstuffing it on one trip and feeling the weight as I lugged it from one end of the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport to the other in 20 minutes during my run for a connection. The bag also survived well after being moved by a flight attendant to another section of the plane and jammed between two inflexible rollaways (grrr); but everything worked great when it was freed.