The Eternal Debate: Backpack or Rolling case
Our recent trip to Korea offered us an interesting chance to compare our new style of travel. As an avid backpacker and outdoorsman, I find myself an eternal patron of using durable and high quality rucksacks to travel. I’m what the travel world has lovingly dubbed, “a backpacker.” Tawny however has just entered into a new world of class and distinction… she had betrayed me more deeply than she’ll ever know. She has adopted a “rolly case.”
For the last 11 years, I’ve traveled the world with the same Gregory Reality backpack. It’s still in excellent condition. Well, structurally. After thousands of miles around the world and hundreds upon hundreds of miles through Alpine wilderness, it’s started to fade a little. I realized that it might be time to update my gear. After looking for a high grade bag I finally settled on a Karrimor 45L. Luckily it arrived in time to head out to Korea.
This all happened at the same time that Tawny gave me the most shocking news of my life… she wanted a rolling bag. You know what I’m talking about, one of those bullet proof, long handled, wheel-studded bags that people drag behind them at airports. The kind that you see whats-her-face from Sex and the City carrying through the desert, and laugh. (BTdubss, her bag is totes adorbs.) Tawny had become “that girl.” She wanted to travel Korea with a rolly bag in tow. Leaving me to use the most practical travel bag for exploration.
Well, so I thought. After one month in Korea, with hills, stairs, escalators, trains, planes, and automobiles here is my (un)biased review of the Karrimor 45L and the Uber-Cute Cal Something-or-other rolly bag.
IN THE FIELD
When you’re talking about heading from the plane to the baggage claim or from the car to the hotel, it’s really a toss up. Tawny’s rolling bag was very easy to maneuver around the airport. The solid and smooth floor of Seoul International and SeaTac were both perfect for her. The only place she got hung-up was on escalators. However, the long handle allowed her to hang, like a billion (appx), hand bags and doodads on her bag. Thus freeing her hands to smack me when I made snide comments about her bag.
On the other hand, my backpack/rucksack allowed me full use of my arms to hold doors open for her and carry the coffee caddy through the airport. The real difference was when we left for the open streets of Seoul. All rough terrain or hills (of which there are many in Seoul) and the Karrimor took a commanding lead. I especially love this bag since it has more padding than a feather bed in the South. I must have been packing about 55lbs of gear through Korea and it still felt comfortable. This is the benefit of a waist strap. Thus keeping all the weight on my hips.
– WINNER: KARRIMOR –
IN THE ROOM
I’ll give credit where credit is due. The Karrimor backpack was super easy to load and unload. It’s got a distinct zipper section on the bottom to keep items separate from the main compartment and there are side sections and a separate top pack. All of this pales in comparison to Tawny’s walk-in closet of a bag. She not only fit as much gear (if not more) into her bag, but she managed to keep it all in separate pockets. While it took her some creative yoga moves to fit it all back in when we moved, it was still amazing to see her unfold the bag open and display all her gear effortlessly.
– WINNER: ROLLY BAG –
In conclusion, both bags offer a lot to the avid traveler. When I walk into a hotel I feel like a squatter, where as Tawny looks like a distinguished patron. On the flip side though, hills are now her worst nightmare. I, on the other hand, can eat them up like bon bons.