I remain an outlier on many things, mostly because of my deranged nature. For luggage, ditto. On all my flights I figure 95% of fellow travelers are wielding the soft-side-roller-bags. I’ve still got me the 47 year old soft-duffel-bag. My prior-existence-ghost bought it for me from the Sears catalogue in 1969 and shipped it to my future self, Back to the Future style. It showed up on my doorstep one day about a decade ago with a short note saying, “Here you go,” written in blood red marker (at least I hope it was marker). The note also included various unwarranted written expletives and a big frowny face.
This bag is an awful shade of dark green, and as of about six months ago has a growing hole in the side of it. When the hole gets so big a pair of socks could ferociously escape my plan is to replace it. This bag has been kind to me. When that dark day comes, I’ll dispose of it in some kind of fitting ancient ritual involving fire, beer, and a worthy accelerant. That way, the bag’s spirit can live forever in Valhalla where a drunk thug will use it to hold his clubs and mead.
For its replacement, I won’t go with the roller bag though. I’ll still go get a fully soft-duffel-bag. Why?
1) I hate the way a roller bag constricts tight packing. The one roller bag I used for one or two trips could fit a pair of shoes, an outfit or two, and a toothpaste tube. That was it. By contrast, I can viciously cram 127 pounds of non-refined-coal into my soft bag if I so chose.
2) Poor maneuvering quality of roller bags. You could not imagine a more ridiculous design for moving forty pounds of cubic mass around a crowded airport. It’s easier to steer a canoe without an oar then turn a roller bag in traffic. I think the gross turning radius for your average rolling bag technically carries you directly through the nearby airport window and onto the tarmac. And the big baggage guy would just be standing there over your crippled frame, frowning, shaking his head, with his arms crossed.
3) Laziness. As best as I can figure, the primary advantage to using a roller bag is you can carry a lot of weight without having to hoist it upon your shoulders. In other unrelated news, 37% of American adults are chronically obese. I’ve never understood the acceptance to lose mobility, just so you can avoid throwing forty pounds on your back. Especially because people do this all the time. For example:
a) Hoist your five year old upon your shoulders through the airport.
b) Carry a bag of mulch from your car to the backyard, repeat twelve times.
c) Swipe a big bag of cat food from the till, running fast so you can get out the door before they notice your heinous crime.
d) Carry your laundry up and down the stairs, up and down the stairs, with a sock attrition rate of 17%.
e) When you were a little kid, you carried the equivalent ratio weight of forty pounds of books on your shoulders given your size at the time compared to today.
But now, all of a sudden we are incapable as a human race of carrying forty pounds for a 1/2 mile through the airport? Our future alien Overlords find this an appealing trait.
4) Carryon luggage. I’m just going to go ahead and say this (it’s okay if most of you or nearly all of you disagree), if I met the guy who invented the concept of overhead compartments, I’d punch him in the stomach repeatedly until I was physically restrained by a pack of elves. In order that the traveler may avoid an average of 11 minutes wait time upon arrival to said airport baggage claim area, the rest of us have to endure:
a) 17 extra minutes to departure time as people cram their trash into the overhead.
b) 23 extra minutes upon arrival time as people slowly and methodically retrieve their bags from the overhead.
c) Dummies trying to shove their bags into areas where a two year old would say, “won’t fit Daddi,” but they become aghast and angry at everyone when they keep trying to fit it, and it still doesn’t work.
d) Ultra-dummies who actually fight over bin space as if it were meat in a caveman world.
The only time I’ve used the overhead was when I did a whole four day trip using nothing but a small soft backpack. I had that thing so bulging there was nowhere else for it go. Otherwise, I have my small bag which goes underneath the seat, and the duffel gets checked. That’s it. Total inconvenience time towards fellow humans = less than zero.
I suppose you could make the argument that the airlines force folks’ hands due to the checked bag fee, and I kind of get that. But, I contend the overhead bin thing is not necessarily a checked bag fee fault. I mostly fly Southwest, which charges no fee, and yet I still see the same overhead bin insanity described above.
But hold on there, there’s more! Oh my, don’t you wish this post was over! Oh please, do kindly end this.
I have recently noticed, and this Post article confirms, the growing trend of hard-sided-roller-bags.
This is (apparently) to ensure the bags can take damage, you can stake your belligerent overhead bin claim like an Overlord, and a hard case allows introduction of technology. You heard me right, the tentacles of the tech world Giant Octopus aren’t content hooking up your toothbrush to the grid. Your luggage needs to get in on the action too. For whatever reason.
And so, for several hundred $ you can have luggage that contains USB ports, self-weight assessment, remote locks, does your laundry while stored within, possesses linked Wi-Fi options, location tracking, anti-squirrel defense net, battery charging, and the option to mind link with the nearest zoo animals.
Why does your luggage need to do your laundry? Bags exist to carry your stuff from one place to another. That’s it. Why is any of this technology needed in luggage? Except perhaps, as a means to separate $ from your wallet and deposit it into the account of a private equity firm.
Please do, please do join me. Return to your travel roots. Soft bags only. Fight the power, or whatever, I can’t think of a decent motto for my non-existent movement. Soft bags only. Just do it. Or else.