Friday March 8th, 2013
Here is an amazing review by Stan Ong on his running blog 9Run.ca who recently purchased and used his Rise Weekend Duffel bag for his trip:
|Hanging in the hotel closet with four days worth of clothes; you can see my Smaat Lolander running shoes on the side pocket (review forthcoming)|
|Closed up and ready to go complete with iPad and coffee beans on top. All it needs now is wheels and a handle.|
|Perfectly fits in the overhead compartment in economy|
Why am I reviewing a duffel bag on this blog? Read on...
I travel about once a month for 2 to 4 days at a time. Traveling frequently may sound like fun (and it is for the most part especially since I get to go to all these nice places) but it doesn't change the fact that it's quite stressful. For those of you who travel for business, you know that you need to do certain things: Pack lightly and smartly, bring a variety of clothes for multiple occasions, and learn as many shortcuts as you can to ensure that you can get on and off the plane with the least amount of hassle possible.
I've pretty much perfected the packing and the getting in and out of the plane (9 minutes is my record from exiting the plane itself, getting through customs, and onto the curb to wait for my ride...Pearson Airport in Toronto Terminal 1). Despite that, I always strive to look for areas of improvement. This duffel bag is one of those improvements.
I currently use a regular Samsonite roller soft case when travelling. It's big enough to hold all the clothes I need and small enough that I can take it on the airplane without getting the evil eye from other passengers. As noted in the comments section, this bag (24 x 15 x 12) does surpass the listed dimensions for airlines (most at 22 x 14 x 9 but some are quite generous like Alaska Air @24.17.10). I'e seen people carry on far bigger bags…at least this one fits in the overhead with much ease.
For every trip, I always need to bring a variety of clothes: business wear for the office, casual wear for afterwards and, of course, the all-important running gear. My Samsonite holds all the clothes I need and more but only if I very carefully pack everything. This means that the socks get stuffed inside the shoes, ties have to be carefully tucked in, all shirts rolled up and arranged along the bottom and pants and jackets neatly placed on top of everything before zipping and sealing.
This technique, while effective in squeezing as many items as possible into one bag also makes it equally ineffective when you need to get to something that is sitting at the bottom of the pile, which if Murphy's law is to be taken into account will be the piece that you need to get to first. This results in taking everything out and then neatly piling them in again afterwards.
Now bring in these two brothers (from Barrie I believe) who thought about this problem and basically fixed it. They first appeared in Dragon's den and I knew I needed to get one as soon as I saw it. I waited for a bit of time to see some early reviews and was hoping that they would release a new version with wheels but my patience ran out.
Basically, it's a duffel bag with built-in shelves. What happens is you hang the thing and pack all the gear you need. The clothes are neatly laid out as if you're putting them away in your dresser. When you finish stuffing the bag, unhang it and the shelves collapse inside the bag ensuring that all the clothes stay in the same position as you have arranged them.
When you get to your destination, open the bag and rehang and the shelves expand to reveal your neatly-folded shirts and pants. The best thing is you don't have to pull every item out anymore. Just choose what you need since each piece of clothing can be accessed at any time.
There are pockets on the side and front as well. One of the side pockets is big enough to fit my running shoes! I use the front pocket for paperwork (passport, work permit, etc) and the other side pocket for toiletries.
Dirty clothes? Those go the very bottom of the bag under the lowest shelf. Laptop and another pair of shoes? Those can fit on the very top of the bag after the shelves have been collapsed. This also allows easy access to your laptop when going through the security area.
As I mentioned, the only thing that would make the perfect bag is if it had wheels and a telescopic handle. Duffel bags aren't the easiest things to lug around the airport.
It's not the cheapest bag available but for someone like me who needs to bring a wide variety of clothes even on short trips, it's exactly what I need to make my life just a bit more manageable.