Random News

My Travel Bags

Travel Bags I Use

My travel bags are something I have never thought about writing about until someone I met recently asked me what kind of bags that I use when I travel.

I thought about it and yes, there are several things that I must take with me on my trips, therefore, here is an article about 'Travel Bags'.

My Travel Bags

When I first started to travel many years ago, it was very basic as back then there were no gadgets or anything complicated to bring along, unlike these days. A bag, shoes, toiletries, clothes and a bulky camera. That was how simple back in the day.

Nowadays, just the thought of wires alone can drive me up the wall. There are camera wires, phone wires, battery pack wires, laptop wires, speaker wires and most important, that international charger! That alone can fill a quarter of my bag so you can imagine how tedious packing a bag can be these days. 

Alright, let us get to the good stuff. These days, my travels are pretty quick and easy. I hardly travel above 7 days in a single trip as my workload here back in Kuala Lumpur piles up whenever a trip comes up.

So, my travel gear is more for the casual traveller and not the round-the-world (RTW) traveller or backpacker. Maybe Flashpackers can be included in this.

My Travel Luggage Bag

In my possession, I have some travel bags ranging from suitcases right to the overnight bags. In total, I personally own about 6 travel bags in various sizes. But my ultimate favourite is the medium 24" aluminium wheeled Calpak bag as you can see in the picture above.

This very convenient bag is the first choice for my trips between 3-7 days as the inside is spacious while the bag overall is lightweight and sturdy. It has been taking a good beating at many airports around the world and still appears on the luggage conveyor belt looking good. 

7 day trip with this bag? No problems, the trick is in the art of rolling your clothes as this saves heaps of space. The best part about using this bag is wheeling it around. As I no longer belong to the under-40 travellers, carrying your bag is totally out of the question.

With this bag, I simply roll it on all four wheels around the airports, tarmacs, hotel corridors and just about anywhere possible. Life for me became so simple after using this kind of travel bags. The material is very tough, therefore I do not worry about damage.

But at some airports, luggage is thrown about and I have personally seen with my own eyes how some airlines handle baggage. 

My Dive Bag

I have even used this aluminium bag as my 'dive bag' where all my dive equipment can easily fit inside. Yes, my OxyCheq BCD, Aqualung Regulator, Dive Mask, O'Neill Wetsuit and my scuba fins together with my general stuff goes in without any problem.

So, my tip is to invest in a good, tough and lightweight bag like this and forget those canvas-style cheap 'polo' bags.

The Cons - So far, I have experienced nothing negative about these bags. They seem to be perfect for all kinds of travel I have encountered. Maybe I hear stories of a wheel breaking an so on, but better to buy a good quality one compared to those cheap promotional ones.

My Travel Backpacks

Another important part of my travels is my backpack. Though I have used many types over the years, I have now settled for three.

That's right, three backpacks which I constantly have headaches on which to take. So, depending on my assignment or trip, I will weigh in the pros and cons before choosing which ones.

Travel Backpack #1 

Vanguard Up-Rise 48 is something I have dreamed off for many years. Finally buying it for about RM500 here in Kuala Lumpur, it was the ultimate travel and work backpack for me.

Every electronic item I owned could easily fit into this backpack with no issue. Even cables and charges were comfortably slotted in the many compartments of the bag.

The best part - My 15" laptop has a slip in zip slot at the side-back. Now, my friends, THIS is a functional backpack. 

It also comes with a custom backpack raincoat while you can also strap a tripod to the side. The Vanguard Up-Rise 48 also has a side mount access for just taking out the things you need quickly.

Compartments inside the bag are movable with Velcro fastening which I customize to fit my lenses and other equipment. Anyway, I travel with only two additional lenses and a portable video camcorder, so everything sits inside perfectly. 

The cons - So far, I cannot find anything wrong with this bag. Probably if it was fully waterproof, that would be great! Size-wise, yes, a little on the bulky side but hey, all those electronic goodies in one backpack!

Travel Backpack #2

Ikea Family Upptäcka 2-Piece Backpack - When I saw this recently at our local Ikea Store in Malaysia, I thought to my self, Wow! A spacious backpack that can be split into two portions and yet store a 15" laptop. How about that? Now, this totally messed me up.

I kept walking around the store thinking how convenient this bag would be during my travels and ended up going back to the bag section and purchasing the Ikea Family Upptäcka. It only cost me about RM140 as I thought why not, since my last bag cost me three times more.

So, using the Upptäcka for my first trip to Beijing in Oct 2012, I was totally impressed with the two-section part. I could fit everything I owned in except for the laptop charger which went into my general travel bag.

When I got to the destination, I would unzip the two portions and take the smaller portion out for my general walkabouts. This was awesome! Instead of carrying everything in one bag, I could split them now.

Usually, when I go for morning walkabouts, I only need my camera, extra battery, my zoom lens and camcorder. All of that can fit into the smaller section of the Ikea Family bag. And since I got this bag, it has been my favourite travel backpack. 

The cons - Not your professional camera bag so lenses go in normally. The bag is bulky when attached together therefore moving around in narrow areas can pose a slight problem.

Oh, never walk into a glass souvenir shop with this backpack on as you are bound to knock something over.

Travel Backpack #3

Timberland Whitebluff 30 litre backpacks

So, the third backpack is something for my 'other' trips. Others meaning, when I go for my Eco-adventure trips like hiking, walking, water-rafting, bird watching and so on, this is where my Timberland Whitebluff 30 litre backpack comes in handy.

What I do is usually I pack this bag into my main luggage and when I reach the destination, I will change to the Timberland Bag as it is lightweight and practical. Items that are needed go in perfectly while there is a hook attachment in the bag where you can bring it out to hang items.

I also find the Timberland Whitebluff convenient for quick city walks as it is big enough to slot in several things. Especially when you go shopping for minor things. But overall, this backpack is a must-bring on any of my trips.

The cons - I wish it had more padding so I could throw in my electrical equipment but anyway, this is more suitable as an outdoor backpack. I would recommend this.  

Various travel pouches

My Travel Pouch
Sorry, but I never use those but I think I should start using one, especially those inner neck pouches when travelling.

I spoke to some seasoned travellers and they recommend using one especially when visiting high traffic areas. I guess that will be my next purchase when I see something that suits my style.


I am sure many of you reading this would have had good and bad experiences with travel bags, where some breaking or even damaged during your trips.

If you like to add a comment, please do so below and I hope you will find that perfect travel bag for all your journeys.


Henry Lee said...

Great tips david... i personally prefer to carry all my luggages on board so i had to travel light most of the time. It's already the third time the airport staff actually spoilt the handle of my luggage bags and sometimes it's soaking wet. What's the point paying to check in our luggage bags but in return we get wet stuff and spend more money to buy a new luggage bag right?

Malaysia Asia said...

Good points and experience Henry. Yes, some budget airlines, your luggage is not a priority so best be careful on that. Thanks for your feedback.