The Bag

29 Mar

The Mister and I will be heading to Europe in spring of 2012.  That’s a long time from now, isn’t it?  But I am one excited lady and I’ve been slowly driving my fella crazy with all the details.  I like to keep from sending him off the deep end when I can so I’m starting a new blog devoted entirely to what I anticipate will be the trip of a lifetime, namely mine.  In future posts I promise to go on and on about where we’re going, why we’re going and The Mister but this post is about The Bag.

I did a bunch of research on what bag to bring with me.  I’m loathe to check a bag and since we’re trying to stay kind of low to the ground a giant wheeled bag would just slow me down. 

The first thing I wanted to find was a bag without wheels.  No wheels?  “But it makes traveling so dang easy!”, you say.  I hear you.  I have a wonderful bag with wheels already that I’ve used for many a business trip.  But this ain’t no business trip.  We’ll be in and out of trains, boats and buses.  We’ll be climbing up stairs and down cobble stone roads.  Wheels are great for airport to airport traveling but this is not that kind of party.

Another thing about wheels that wouldn’t work for this trip is the amount of space they take up and weight they add to a bag.  Since we’re going to be gone for over three weeks (!!!!) I need to have a bunch of stuff with me but fit it in to the smallest space possible.  Losing the wheels gives me more room and that makes me all warm and gooey inside.

And since I’m not going to be wheeling this guy through the streets of Paris (!!!!), I’d better have some other way to carry the sucker.  So I started looking for bags that could be carried like normal luggage, over the shoulder and most importantly, like a backpack.  Rick Steves, my personal travel guru, makes a wonderful bag that does just this.  And I wanted it and I thought about it.  And then thought about it some more and then continued thinking.

My hesitation was that I thought I might want something just a smidge smaller.  Yes, really.  The airlines love to force people to check their bags if there isn’t enough room in the overhead bins or if their weight restrictions magicly change or if it’s an alternate Thursday in April.  I figured that the smaller I went the less likely I’d be to trust my stuff to a “tosser”, as we all know from Fight Club, is a baggage handler.  And when I use the word “trust” in relation to checked baggage it’s only because it’s easy to spell not because I mean it one tiny bit, thank you very much.

The Bag (Patagonia MLC in Narwhal Grey)

So, where were we?  Ah, yes.  We wanted no wheels, multiple ways to carry and small.  But awesome.  Did I forget that part?  The bag must not suck or we’re going to go down a whole different street where my face melts off.  I also wish that I was one of the lucky folk who need a bag that is going to last for years through multiple big trips across different parts of the country but it’s more than likely that this bag will go to Europe, then to Bismarck and maybe a Las Vegas weekend with The Mister or to Graceland to see the Jungle Room.  I don’t need to spend the dough to insure that my bag will last until the stars go cold.

Does such a bag exist, you are asking yourself?  Well, I don’t know but I found one that I think will be spot on.  It is the Patagonia MLC (Maximum Legal Carry-On).  Now the MLC standards are defined as 45″ in allowed dimensions, usually in a boxy form.  So if your bag is 20″ x 15″ x 10″, you add those numbers together and you’re good.  Here’s a link to a site that lists the major carriers and what they say is okay now.  Notice that some of those limits are smaller than others?  Yeah, I did too.  So if I could go smaller than Rick’s bag that measures up to 44″ that’d be good.  The Patagonia MLC does that and it’s construction is pretty flexible in allowing me to shove it into tight spaces,  frantically, while others watch with concern.  I dig that.  And they offered this bag in Narwhal Grey.  Done and Done.

I got this very bag in the mail today and made sure to pop it on my back and parade around the house.  The kids loved it (our pets, but that’s for another post).  It has enough pockets to keep things organized but not enough that I’ll put something in one and then immediately forget where that thing is.  I have a purse that does that and I’ve stopped using the pockets in protest and just carrying everything in my hands.  Or something like that.

You can read plenty about picking a great bag for those of us who like to travel light at  I’ve read this guy’s site from top to bottom.  I’d say that he is the Martha Stewart of how to travel with only a carry-on but I don’t want to make him sound so persnickety.  He’s maybe Rachel Ray with less “yumm-o!”.


One Response to “The Bag”

  1. Steely Danielle 2011/06/04 at 09:08 #

    Narwhal Grey! You had me at “hello”.

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