|Subject: Wheeled Backpacks and Packing Light|
On previous trips to Europe, my wife and I have used wheeled bags for six weeks one time and non-wheeled backpacks for five weeks the other. The wheeled bags were what I call first generation, with small wheels. These worked fine on smooth surfaces. They had carrying handles on the end but lacked handles on the side. This was a great disadvantage for wife in that she is only 5' 2 and had a difficult time carrying the bag when we were unable to wheel them. For the next trip, we bought new convertible backpacks, Eagle brand, with handles on both the side and the end, the ability to attach a strap for over the shoulder carrying, and stowable shoulder straps and waist belt for backpacking. These were great. My wife's was sized a tad shorter, so it fit her better than than the one I got. After five weeks with these packs, we were wishing they had had some wheels on them though. We are now in the early planning stage for another trip to Europe. Both being sixty now, my wife has said her that backpacking days are over, especially since this trip is for two and half to three months. We purchases some new wheeled bags, making sure that they had both side and end handles and the roller blade style wheels. This last Saturday, we took the bags to a cobbler to have D rings added to them so that we can use a shoulder strap when needed occasionally. We're hoping that these bags will serve us well for many years to come.
Now a question about packing light. My wife can always pack much lighter than I can. This is partially due to the fact that she is smaller than me, hence my clothes are larger and heavier. Also I carry the cameras, film, and associated bits and pieces. She is always trying to impress upon me the need to pack lighter. If I were pack as light as her, I'd be down to one change of clothes. How do the males on the list deal with this?
Ole Gunderson Los Olivos, California