September 10, 2013

Excess Baggage II

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987),  Paramount Pictures

If you followed my trip to Shanghai last December you might remember one of my biggest issues was that I had the wrong sort of luggage. Well I have new plan. I have ditched the trusty North Face XL Base Camp duffel bag and replaced it with a hard-sided suitcase. Now that I know the resupply points better, I don’t need to carry any rations until I reach Moscow, so thats another bag gone too.

I visited my local luggage Mecca the other day and must have spent about an hour looking at different suitcases. I think the man in the shop thought I had a luggage fetish, and perhaps I do. My problem was that all the suitcases that looked about the right size outside didn’t seem big enough inside.. and then I thought of “Del Griffith” and smiled. I did used to own a trunk a long time ago..

Suitcase, Tardis and emergency toboggan, all rolled into one!

I have settled on a Samsonite Inova Spinner (81cm) model that has four wheels and is in an upright configuration. It looks like it is made of aluminium but its actually made of some clever polymer and weighs just 5kg. I know it looks massive, but at least its portable and it will fit into the large size left luggage locker found in European railway stations (90cmx60cmx40cm). The main advantage of the duffle was that it fitted under the seat on many sleeper trains. This one won’t and I will have to be more inventive with where I put it. But on the upside its easy to push along narrow corridors and will be more secure. I also have a simple combination wire lock to attach it luggage racks or if it has to go into a corridor.

That’s probably enough on luggage for now, but if you are a potential Trans-Sib adventurer, its worth making sure you don’t do what I did last time and find yourself with a 40kg duffel on your back climbing stairs with bags in both hands. Wheels are the future!

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