Top positive review
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How I packed for 2 weeks for myself and 2 small children in a carry-on bag.
on March 18, 2015
I ordered two of these bags for a family trip last summer. We went on a two week trip to France to visit friends. I love efficiency packing, and the challenge of packing for a 2 week trip in only carry on bags is actually my idea of a good time. Using packing cubes, I was able to do that without an issue. Had the weather been remotely normal for August in France, I would have been golden...but unseasonably cool temps and lots of rain necessitated purchasing a few more items of warmer clothing for myself and the kids than what you see pictured in the original pack (see photos). I was able to fit the clothing I purchased there in the bag, so the bag would have accommodated the full requirement of clothing, it was only my initial packing that was inadequate, not the bag itself.
MISSION: EFFICIENCY ACCOMPLISHED
I packed a single bag for myself and our two children (ages 3 and 1). The second bag was my husband's. Mens clothing always takes up more space, so he needed an entire bag for himself. I've attached photos of the contents of the bags, as well as how it fits on me. I'm 5'7" with a small frame. I didn't take a photo of my son's clothing before I put it in the cube, but it was comparable to my daughter's kit and also fit in one small packing cube. I was able to pack 4 small cubes (2 for me and 1 for each child), 3 mesh pencil cases packed with underwear and swimsuits, toiletries and makeup, laundry supplies, a hair towel, 3 pairs of shoes, an extra scarf, belt, travel hair dryer, journal, and travel documents. I also folded a tote bag into the backpack, and I used this as a go-to bag on the long flight. Diapering supplies, snacks, and blankets were kept in the storage compartment of a Kelty child-carrier pack. Since that pack had to be stored overhead, I pulled out my tote bag, took a few supplies from the Kelty pack, and moved them into them into the tote, which fit nicely under the airline seat with easy access to these immediate supplies. When on the move, we were able to remain hands free.
The versatility of carry options allowed us flexibility as to how we carried the bags and our children. I cannot tell you the peace of mind that came with truly having everything I might have needed in the cabin with us. Comfort-wise, this bag is not as comfortable as a true backpacking backpack, but I don't think its reasonable to expect that and to have the flexibility this bag provides as a piece of true luggage. It's a trade off, and well worth it. Having hands free on a long trip was a godsend, and the lack of retractable handle-associated hardware really frees up a lot of space inside the bag, in comparison to a roll-aboard style carry-on. Imagine navigating international airports with two little ones and the associated toileting/diapering/eating...handsfree is a must.
I've also used this bag and filled it up for just myself for 4 day trips to weddings. In those instances, the focus is less on efficiency and more on having everything I need for different events/activities/+more beauty supplies than I use in my everyday wear. From reading other reviews, it seems that the company backs its prodcut to the hilt. I am confident these will get a lot of use in our household, and be durable enough to see our kids through their first "grown up" trip across the pond, years down the road.