This is the first thing to pick.

Things to factor:

  1. How long are you going for?
  2. What will you be doing?

Choice range: backpack, a duffel bag, a wheely version of either, the standard wheely suitcase, and a non-wheely suitcase.


I have used the Regatta Blackfell II 25 Litre Backpack With Hydration Storage Pocket Blue Lime Zest (pictured to the side) as a day bag when I walked the Santiago De Compostella Camino, wondered around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and as a cabin bag when I went traveling around South East Asia.

how to pack like a pro

You want to be looking for a backpack that offers:

  • Good quality material
  • Padded shoulder straps for added comfort
  • Cushioned air mesh
  • Hip straps that help take the weight off your shoulder
  • Few pockets or compartments
  • Preferably opens like a suitcase as opposed to opening only from the top
  • Waterproof or with a waterproof cover


25 liters are good for short-distance hiking trips or as a day bag

40-60 liters would be ideal for 10-14 day trips – you can get them with detachable day bags.

Duffel bag:

Go for a foldable one, especially if you are picking it as your cabin luggage or wanting to use it as a day bag at your destination.

Here’s one that I have used before on a city break.

This is also a good option for an overnight/weekend stay.

If you’re on a short business trip go for this one. It keeps the suit or a dress wrinkle-free, a compartment for shoes, and multiple small compartments to keep things tidy and organized.

A big bouns for backpacks and duffel bags is that you can fit them under the seat in front of you on a flight so you have to worry about the overhead compartment being full or not fitting your luggage.

You can get both backpacks and duffel bags in a wheely version. While it seems like a good idea to add wheels on such bags especially when you have neck/back problems. I find that the frame and wheels take too much of the bag capacity and add unnecessary weight. If you’re keen on a wheely bag my advice is to go for the standard wheely luggage.

Standard cabin and hold luggage:

Wheely or no wheely? That is the question – LOL not really.

I believe the drive has been pretty much toward the wheeled bags over the last few years. It seems universal to have traded the space and weight the wheels add on for our own comfort.

The better question to pose is do you want to pick the 2 wheels or 4 wheels on your bag?

how to pack like a pro

Pros of 4 wheels:

(when made well) will be easy to move with and cause less strain on your shoulders (provided the surface you are moving it on is smooth)

Cons of 4 wheels:

the weight and the size of the frame for the four wheels. which is only a small price to pay I suppose depending on your trip. 

A personal all-time favorite, and trust me I have used quite a few bags, is IT the world’s lightest luggage Exuberance range, two-wheel, wide frame handle suitcases. It is so light and sturdy, you won’t believe it until you try it.

I’ve used the cabin size, the medium, and the large more times than I can remember. I LOVE them.

They have two external pockets and four internal pockets. Only two wheels which means more space and less weight, weigh 1.4Kg, 2.1Kg, and 2.28Kg respectively. They don’t expand but its soft exterior allows for a little slack when (if) overpacking – but that’s not going to happen because we are learning how not to overpack here 😉

how to pack like a pro

I did contemplate buying the IT luggage Pro-lite for the sake of the four wheels but decided not to due to:

  • the heavier weight (3.2Kg)
  • the trip I was buying it for involved not many smooth surfaces so I’ll end up dragging it the same I would for the two-wheel.

It is still a very decent option to buy.

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