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I Has a Question

In 2006, my friends tbons and awl got married at Disney. I attended, but to get down there with everything I needed for several days in the Magic Kingdom, I used my big suitcase, which I checked in Atlanta at the AirTran desk. It was a cool deal. The Disney resort hotel picked up my luggage at the airport and had it waiting for me in my room when I arrived.


Someone (AirTran or Disney, I don't care which, but it was one of them) literally destroyed my luggage.

I don't use the word 'destroyed' figuratively, here. I use the term literally. As in, "They gouged a hole in my luggage with what appeared to be the tine-y . . . thing . . . part of a forklift." As in, "The zipper literally would not hold the thing closed." As in, "There were enough scuff marks on top of all the other damage that it looked as if someone dragged it all the way from Orlando airport to Disney."

As in, I threw it out because it was no longer a "case," which would imply "able to hold things." It was at that point a Holey Canvas Non-Bag of Unable To Hold Things.

But I digress. And not that I'm still bitter.

So I was forced to buy new luggage to get home. At Disney. So not only did it have a mouse head on it, it was massively overpriced. But it was the only thing they had on short notice that was anywhere near the size I needed, without having to leave Disney Resort. And it was ginormous. Quite a big bigger than any other suitcase I own. But all they had was tiny, itty-bitty things, or bags able to hold an adult human body. (Not that I ever tried.)

You may have noticed that I'm using the past tense. There's a reason.

When my friends and I attended Dragon*Con over the Labor Day weekend, we stayed at the Hilton Atlanta, one of the host hotels. We do this because it's just easier, frankly. And because of that, I dragged out my largest luggage so I could fit my pillow and clothes and other stuff in there.

But when I picked up the luggage off the floor of my closet, I heard a crack. And when I hefted it up onto my bed, I heard other cracks. When I opened it, I noticed pieces of plastic inside.

What basically happened is that the hard, flexible plastic that lines the canvas structure of the suitcase had degraded to the point that with the slightest pressure, it will break. You can dig a fingernail into it. Completely useless. I've used it maybe three times. Once to get back from Disney, once to Las Vegas, and now to Dragon*Con.

So that's several hundred dollars I'm out that I might as well have flushed down the toilet. There is literally no chance of getting money back from Disney for a purchase from six years ago. So don't bother suggesting that.

So I need a new Big Suitcase™. And by "suitcase," I don't necessarily mean it has to be a Big Square Rigid Box™.

Let's say that I'm going somewhere for, let's say a week. Let's say, in fact — for the sake of argument, you understand — that I'm going to spend that week in a place — let's arbitrarily say Martha's Vineyard — in . . . let's say October. When the weather is — I'm told — a bit "uncertain."

Let's further say that I was told I should bring long sleeves, short sleeves, short pants, long pants, a coat, a jacket, sweaters . . . and anything else that might accommodate any weather from "The Sahara in August" to "Reykjavik in February." (I might be slightly exaggerating, but to me, that's basically what it sounded like. October weather in Martha's Vineyard sounds like a faulty holodeck to me.)

So I need a new Big Suitcase™ to hold roughly . . . all of that. Plus underwear and socks, toiletries, my pillow (I have to have my own pillow), and possibly some food stuffs (we were told that food on the island is inordinately expensive and hard to get to unless we have transportation, and not open 24 hours regardless, so if we were to plan accordingly and bring certain non-perishable essentials, it would be smart).

For approximately seven days.

How big a Big Suitcase™ would I theoretically need? I've browsed pretty much every site on the Internet that has luggage for sale, just checking what's out there. I don't translate cubic footage to 'how much crap can fit in that space' very well. So I'm looking for help from my hivemind (that would be you, collectively).

I also want something that isn't going to disintegrate immediately, so whatever I buy will probably need to be very durable.

Got any suggestions? Keeping in mind that this highly theoretical and entirely real trip is the first weekend in October through the second?

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  


( 20 hisses — Hiss at me! )
Sep. 16th, 2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
The weather in Western Pennsylvania in August is also like unto a faulty holodeck. When I travel to Pennsic, I bring two bins of this size, which contains two weeks worth of clothes and my pillows, but not my cloak (several square yards of wool equivalent to the Reykjavik problem). So I'd suggest something in the 30+ gallon range.
Sep. 16th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
Wow! I bought an "American" brand rolling suitcase that I love, in a back alley in Honolulu, when my own duffel bag turned out to be too small for all the stuff I bought for people back home. I paid ten dollars. The thing is amazing. It's been all over the place with me, and I'm mean to it, dragging it up and down stairs, fully loaded, with other bags strapped to it. In fact, it's the bag I took to Chicago for Worldcon. And it's big enough that I can fit inside it. and someone could zip me into it, no problems. It'd be uncomfortable, but I could do it.

Oh, it's here: http://www.target.com/p/us-traveler-rio-luggage-set-royal-blue-2-pc/-/A-12046478 Just the larger, rolling bag is what I have.

ETA: on closer exam, that's a new, less sturdy looking version of mine. I googled "American" rolling suitcase, and that's what it led me to. Mine's red and black and is pretty sturdy, and says American all over it.

Edited at 2012-09-16 10:15 pm (UTC)
Sep. 16th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
We just road tested this bag and love it!
Steve needed a good bag for business trips. We stopped at L.L. Bean and spent far too much time kicking the tires on all the luggage on the floor. We finally decided on this one:


* It's L.L.Bean, which has the best, most consistent customer service you could ever hope to find. Plus, they have a satisfaction guarantee that they stand behind.
* Durable nylon outer.
* A very handy "drop bottom", which basically means you can unzip it to give more room in the duffel area.
* An incredible feature where you can unzip and open the bottom area, so you can lay your pants in flat, zip it back up, and arrive at your destination with a minimum of rumpledness.

How much will it fit? Steve packed for a week-long business trip (long pants, T-shirt and outer shirt, underwear, and socks for each day, plus a couple sets of traveling clothes, plus business and casual shoes, plus toiletries) and had room left over. We probably could have also fit my stuff in there, too.

The extra-large version is 62 linear inches, which is exactly the maximum allowed by USAir for a checked bag without encountering additional fees.

We are probably getting a second one (for me).

Can I also suggest mailing your foodstuffs to yourself at the place you'll be staying? I've done that before, and it's so nice not to have to worry about it getting handled by airline people.
Sep. 17th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
Don't forget that the food we need to bring is breakfast and lunch and snack type food. And some of us will have a car. When do you arrive?

As for luggage brands....we've had good luck with Dakota and Vitronix. But they are a few years old now, so I always worry that "things aren't made like they used to be" as a problem with recommendations.
Sep. 17th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
I'll arrive in the early evening of Saturday the 6th. I'm not sure whether I'll arrive at the closer or farther ferry station. It all depends on when the bus delivers me to Woods Hole.
Sep. 17th, 2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
I'll be taking the 5 pm Ferry on the 6th. That's when my car is being transported at least. So if you're there about then, maybe we'll run into each other. I plan to be in town early to meet a friend (and make sure I'm not late for the ferry since with a car you have to have a reservation.)
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 17th, 2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
I don't know how I managed to get selected for the "special" treatment at Orlando, but I hope I'm done with that for a while.
Sep. 17th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
I won't get to Woods Hole until around 6 pm, actually, so I'll see you on the island. :)
Sep. 17th, 2012 01:49 am (UTC)
On the LL Bean tip, I have an older version of http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/63917?feat=rolling%20duffel-SR0&page=rolling-adventure-duffle-extra-large, and it worked well when I used it. If I checked bags ever, I might take it more often. Though I should use it when we drive to cons, it's quite useful.

As far as dealing with the cold part, you can wear a sweater/cardigan/sweatshirt more than once over different shirts, so you don't need multiple sweaters, unless you want different weights of sweater. (And LL Bean has a lot of great clothes for layering & travel packing, actually...)
Sep. 17th, 2012 03:29 am (UTC)
The rolling duffel is what I checked on the same business trip I mentioned above. :)
Sep. 17th, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC)
They're not the same, though. Mine doesn't have the drop bottom yours does.
Sep. 17th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
Yours and mine are the same, I think. My husband's has the drop bottom.
Sep. 17th, 2012 04:57 pm (UTC)
Ah! I only saw the one link to the drop bottom duffel, so I thought you'd used two of those.

I do my best to never check bags, especially since you have to pay for it now, so I use a backpack that's as big as my torso.
Sep. 17th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
and if you're flying don't forget that there are TSA regulations on bag measurements and weights so if you buy a bag that is too big you get in trouble, or if you have a bag that's too heavy you pay e$tra! funfun.

I got my last suitcase at Ross and it was scraped up on its first trip, our cruise to Alaska, but other than being ugly it's fine. It was like $60 and I won't cry if I have to get another one.

We got a blue hard sided one at goodwill for $3, which the airline or hte cruise line proceeded to lose and never find again, but it was durable, anyway. :/
Sep. 17th, 2012 04:02 am (UTC)
I see you've got a couple of other friends touting the good old' rolling duffel. I have the Eddie Bauer version. I've had mine for 12 years and it has been to Ireland (for a 6 week adventure in which I traversed the isle solo by car, bus, and rail, as well as by ferry as I also popped over to Merrie Olde England for a bit), England on another trip, Florida, Texas, and many a camping trip. The only blemish was incurred on the very first trip when a 'helpful' cabbie dragged it from the wrong end and scraped a leather patch on one end. The current iteration seems to be this: http://m.eddiebauer.com/catalog/product.jsp?ensembleId=40217&&categoryId=214&categoryName=LUGGAGE--DUFFELS&pCategoryId=5&pCategoryName=BAGS--GEAR&gpCategoryId=1&gpCategoryName=EB&catPath=~~categoryId=214~~categoryName=LUGGAGE--DUFFELS~~pCategoryId=5~~pCategoryName=BAGS--GEAR~~gpCategoryId=1~~gpCategoryName=EB&viewAll=n&pg=1
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:33 am (UTC)
i got my big suitcase in chinatown...canvas duck sides, on a metal plastic frame. 40 dollars. happy with it.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 17th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
eBags is certainly one of the ones I'm trolling. :)
Sep. 17th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
I am probably the wrong person to ask, since I go away for up to a month with just a carry-on. But when I need to take a lot (e.g. taking camping gear), I use a medium Eagle Creek duffle bag. I think the larger of their duffles would do well for you. Their bags are very well made and sturdy.

I also know a couple of people who have the large L.L. Bean rolling duffles and love them. I've moved house with less stuff than those hold.
( 20 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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