Use a Backpack for your Carryon Luggage by:Mike Cole
Using a backpack for your carryon luggage has many advantages. Airlines typically allow you to carry on one piece of luggage, so you want to make sure that what you carry on has the most available storage space and allows you to carry what you want. A backpack meets these needs.
To get the most of your backpack that you are using for carryon luggage, it is important to choose the right backpack for the job. The backpack must be small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of the airplane, so an external framed backpack is out of the question. Instead, choose a backpack with an internal frame or no frame at all.
The style of backpack that you use for a carryon is very much dependent on how you plan to use your luggage. Many people that will only be gone for a few days choose to carry on everything they want, to avoid the hassle of checking luggage. Others use their carryon bag as a place to carry only what they believe they will want on the flight.
Here are some things to look for when selecting a backpack that will be your sole piece of luggage:
- A generous sized body. The main area of the backpack should be large enough to pack clothes as well as toiletries and other items you will need for your trip. Some backpacks, even those that are large, are broken down into small compartments. This makes it impossible to pack them as full as you may need.
- Sturdy zippers. A backpack that has zippers on either end of the main body allows for more expansion than one that only zips in one direction. The zippers should be rugged and sewn into the backpack with heavy thread. A flimsy zipper won't last long if you have your backpack packed to capacity.
- Several small outside pouches. You don't want to have to root through an entire weekends worth of clothes to access your mp3 player or a book while you are on the plane. Make sure that there are ample areas to store items you will want to have access to during the flight.
If you are planning to use your carryon bag only for items that you will need on the flight, you may want a different type of backpack. Some items to look for in this type of backpack include:
- A divided body. This allows you to organize your belongings so that you know exactly where everything is. This is a particularly good idea if you are traveling with children. By dividing up your belongings, you can instantly grab a snack, a sweatshirt or a book. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to unload your entire carryon bag, on your lap, squeezed beside a stranger.
- Outside pockets. These are great for a water bottle, a rolled up magazine or some other item that you want quick access to.
When shopping for a backpack, whether for your only piece of luggage or for use only as a carryon, keep these things in mind:
- The backpack should be comfortable. One of the main advantages of a backpack is that it provides you with a hands free way of carrying your belongings. It is not enough to put it on your back while it is empty and assume that it fits. Instead, fill it with some weight and walk around with it on. Try it out at home, packed with some clothing, or just stick a bag of pet food inside to test it out.
Once you have weight in the bag, put it over both shoulders and walk around the house. Go up and down stairs, lean over, squat down and generally move in every direction. It may be necessary to adjust the shoulder straps of the backpack to get the optimum fit, but you should be comfortable once everything is adjusted. If you have to continually pull on the straps, slide them away from your neck, or otherwise adjust them, the backpack doesn't fit properly.
- The backpack should be a certain size. The backpack should be large enough for what you want it to carry. If you try to stuff more into your backpack than it is designed to carry, the zippers will pop and your backpack will be worthless. Nothing is more frustrating than this happening at the airport. If you cannot zip the backpack shut easily while it is fully packed, you should either pare down what you are taking or invest in a larger backpack.
Using a backpack allows you to have a hands free way to navigate through airports. A little time before you head out on your trip can save you from huge headaches later on in your travels.
About the author
Mike Cole is a freelance writer who writes about camping and outdoor products such as backpacks http://www.overstock.com/Luggage-Bags/Backpacks/700/cat.html