We are done backpacking…

rolling bags 5

26 Jan We are done backpacking…

I’m sick of it!

I’m just done!


Look at us the first day of our trip, so naive, backs not sore, not sick of carrying our life on our backs yet.

We have been tweaking our packs since the day we left. We’ve had two major overhauls attempting to alleviate the pain of travel days, but both have been expensive fails. Each got a little better than the last, but it has been getting to the point where travel days were becoming painful, literally!

So we traded in our backpacks

Rolling bag 2 Rolling bag 1

Go ahead judge

There is defiantly a thing in the backpacking community and you don’t want to be consider a tourist and not a backpacker. And true backpackers don’t have wheels. I too was pretty dead set against having wheels on my pack before we left. But that was then, and there is a lot of shit I didn’t know before we stepped on the plane our first day, this was one of them.

Maybe it was coincidence, but maybe not, just as we were going to buy our rolling bags in Bangkok we over heard a conversation behind us. It was a group of young backpackers talking with a new member of their traveling group. The conversation went something to the effect “you are a backpacker right? You’re not one of those suitcasers, are you?” To which Hannah and I both looked at each other and chuckled to ourselves.

rolling bags 5

In the first 6 months of our trip I can remember only a handful of times when having a backpack vs a rolling pack came in handy, the rest of the time it was just a pain in the neck… and the back, and the shoulders.

So am I going to loose all my backpacking cred? I honestly don’t care. It’s kind of some macho BS anyways, I am not 19 anymore and 50 pounds (23kgs) on my back for a long time just kinda sucks. If anyone really wants to push the issue I am on a 2 year trip, not a 2 month holiday.

rolling bag 3rolling bag 4

If I have to I can still pullout my straps and backpack-it!

**UPDATE Sept 23 2014** Both of the above bags which were purchased in Bangkok both lived their lives and were falling apart while in Africa, let’s just say they were being held by duct tape…So we have traded in the cheap wheelie bag’s pictured above for the wheel deal Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Luggage (28-Inch/80 Liter, Steel Blue). This backpack is the mac daddy of wheeled backpacks. We first got this bag in June 2014 and am more than happy 3 months later.

Our carry-on bag which hold’s the computers, hard drives, spare clothes, etc is now in the North Face Overhaul. You will notice this bag doesn’t have wheels but that’s ok as it fits better in the overhead bins and we have decided to get a dedicated camera bag as we have expanded our camera gear. Adam now carries

  • Jeff @ Go Travelzing
    Posted at 19:34h, 26 January Reply

    If I was carrying around 50 pounds on my back I would have switched long ago. I draw the line at 25 and even that is pushing it. Who cares what anyone else thinks as long as you are happy with your choice.
    Jeff @ Go Travelzing recently posted..Cruising the Route 66 Car Show in Flagstaff ArizonaMy Profile

    • Hannah
      Posted at 20:10h, 26 January Reply

      When we left, we each had a bag. Hannah was at 35lbs and Adam at 43lbs. We then went down to 1 backpack and carry-on, thats when Adam got more weight….We shouldn’t care!
      Hannah recently posted..Five day lease on paradise: Koh Lipe, ThailandMy Profile

  • Karisa
    Posted at 22:43h, 26 January Reply


    I backpacked through Thailand, Laos and Myanmar and that was it. It’s just not for me and I couldn’t keep it organized at all. Ugh , I just hated dealing with it so for my longer trip I bought a small wheeling carry- on bag and it made my life sooo much easier! :)
    Karisa recently posted..Moving Home & Freaking OutMy Profile

    • Hannah
      Posted at 20:45h, 27 January Reply

      Yeah another wheelie!!! It makes our lives SOO much easier.
      Hannah recently posted..6 Month RecapMy Profile

  • Stef
    Posted at 01:29h, 27 January Reply

    I also switched when I was travelling for only 7 months, I still kept my backpack as hand luggage as it wasn’t too big. but I just couldn’t stand it anymore to carry everything on my back. It hurts and not good for a back at all. So I can totally understand you guys. In my opinion everyone can decide for themselves what’s the most comfortable. I didn’t really see many advantages of a pack. only if you have to get up some stairs but therefore you have the “I wander around for one hour to find my hostel” situations which are far worse I think…
    Stef recently posted..Getting a different view of the city: Foto-Ruta Santiago de ChileMy Profile

    • Hannah
      Posted at 20:51h, 27 January Reply

      We have a little day pack, but the big backpacks had to go an we needed the wheels. When we have to wonder around for hostels, if we can I go to a restaurants/cafe and sit with all the luggage while adam goes looking.
      Hannah recently posted..What does it cost to travel to Fiji for 15 days?My Profile

  • Phoebe (Short Road to Happy)
    Posted at 05:10h, 27 January Reply

    Haha no judgment here. Keep on keepin on. Do what makes you (and your back) happy!
    Phoebe (Short Road to Happy) recently posted..We did it!My Profile

  • Jamie
    Posted at 15:20h, 27 January Reply

    I don’t think anyone will blame you. I’m much more happy to “lug a suitcase up a flight of stairs” than to carry a backpack a mile through a city. Let alone take everything out of it to find something at the bottom as I”m the least organize repacker on the planet.
    Jamie recently posted..Hockey and a Concert in the California Sun – LA Kings v Anaheim Ducks Stadium SeriesMy Profile

  • Anastasia Sofia
    Posted at 18:07h, 27 January Reply

    Good on ya, guys! Month after month of lugging a backpack round, for, seemingly, not much reason, has left me wondering if I should do the same!
    Anastasia Sofia recently posted..Diving in Lake Ohrid: A Blast of Macedonia’s PastMy Profile

  • Maddie
    Posted at 07:59h, 28 January Reply

    We took rolling packs that had straps in case you needed them and they were the best things ever! Screw the backpack snobs, you can have a laugh when they’re moaning about their backs aching.
    Maddie recently posted..An update on life and our 2014 plansMy Profile

  • Lew
    Posted at 17:23h, 30 January Reply

    I couldn’t agree more! And I agree with Jeff, you’re the one travelling for you’re own experiences, not to be judged by someone else on how you’re transporting your belongings 😉

    I’m looking to buy a new hybrid. Is the orange one the Victorianox? I was looking at one too. Would love to hear how you both feel about your new purchases after you’ve been lugging them about.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 19:29h, 01 February Reply

      Our new backpacks are crappy rollers, as they are cheap knock offs from the streets of Bangkok! We will get the real deal rolling backpacks when we head home. When are you looking at buying a new one?
      Hannah recently posted..Destination Investigation: Langkawi, MalaysiaMy Profile

  • Rashaad
    Posted at 07:54h, 31 January Reply

    I might be in the minority but I miss my backpack. Actually, I went to France recently for six days (I’m spending a year in England) and I bought my suitcase, which was fine. Except one of the four wheels is broken and another is almost broken. In France, there are no left luggage lockers in the major train stations, so I had to lug that heavy thing around relatively often. Not fun. I miss my backpack.

    I have a trusty red backpack in the U.S. but I decided not to bring it (Long story). Traveling around France would’ve been a lot more enjoyable with my backpack.
    Rashaad recently posted..CambridgeMy Profile

    • Hannah
      Posted at 19:21h, 01 February Reply

      Dont get me wrong, there are times that we have and will have them again where we will miss our backpack. But for us overall, the wheels made sense.

      When we head to Europe, you think backpack the best? We will be mainly taking trains/bus/renting cars. Thanks for you input!
      Hannah recently posted..Destination Investigation: Kep, CambodiaMy Profile

      • Rashaad
        Posted at 16:25h, 02 February Reply

        About whether backpack is best for you, that depends on how long you’re staying in Europe. I was in France for six days so ideally, I would have used my backpack. But I didn’t bring my backpack with me to England (where I’m doing my masters) because my suitcase was already ridiculously full.

        If you’re taking trains and buses, I would recommend backpacking. I’ve done it numerous times. When I was in France recently, it was a hassle having to lug around a suitcase with broken wheels. But make your decision based on what’s more comfortable for you.
        Rashaad recently posted..CambridgeMy Profile

  • Micamyx|Senyorita
    Posted at 11:09h, 09 February Reply

    It’s completely understandable. Ditching the backpack and embracing the wheels doesn’t make you less of a traveler (only the minority are making a big deal out of it). I used to carry heavy backpacks too, but it made my back problem worse. Do what makes you happy and comfy 😉
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Memories of London: Food, Music and LoveMy Profile

    • Hannah
      Posted at 05:56h, 11 February Reply

      I am FULLY embracing the wheels! Hope your days of backpacking haven’t done too much of a number on your back. Those sacks get really heavy really fast!
      Hannah recently posted..Month 7 Recap of our RTW My Profile

  • Mzuri @ Amani Afrika
    Posted at 13:21h, 25 February Reply

    Great choice I reckon. Those wheels look pretty concealed anyway. Your backs are more important than other people’s judgment. And those backpacks with wheels let you choose to backpack-it or wheel-it – perfect!
    Mzuri @ Amani Afrika recently posted..Fifteen Things You Should Consider Packing for Your Kilimanjaro ClimbMy Profile

    • Hannah
      Posted at 00:33h, 27 February Reply

      Thanks for the support, and positive wheels comments :-) we have worn them twice but mainly wheeling it around now.

  • NZ Muse
    Posted at 17:23h, 27 February Reply

    No judging on the weight, just amazed you managed with that amount! Even my 10-15 kgs got heavy very very fast.
    NZ Muse recently posted..Three Thing Thursday: Tips for a one-way US road tripMy Profile

  • Chris Appleford
    Posted at 08:48h, 11 April Reply

    I have a backpack with wheels for two very good reasons:

    1. It just makes life easier, why carry a pack when you can drag it around on wheels, and

    2. When you’ve got a 2 year old kid who either needs carrying or hand holding, it’s great to have a pack on wheels!

    That’s it, pretty simple for me. Welcome to the wheeled pack club!
    Chris Appleford recently posted..Don’t let the killjoys kill your travel buzzMy Profile

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    Posted at 04:08h, 16 April Reply

    I have pretty much always been a suitcase girl so you can imagine my horror when the first time I had to use a back pack was on honeymoon! Long story but suffice to say despite my initial worries, as someone who has always been used to a stiff suitcase, for a little while it felt liberating to just throw everything into a back pack and not worry about how creased everything got……I’ve reverted back to suitcase now though 😀
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted..Locking down your love in Salzburg, AustriaMy Profile

    • Adam
      Posted at 04:03h, 26 February Reply

      I have no complaint about backpack if it was a 2-3 week trip, but for long term travel it doesn’t make sense for us. Congrats on honeymoon with a backpack, thats how we did ours!
      Adam recently posted..5 of Our Favorite Foods from Around the WorldMy Profile

  • Dale
    Posted at 01:42h, 20 April Reply

    For a second there you had me worried, thinking that you were packing it in!

    I’m no snob, you pick whatever makes you comfortable. In my opinion, I only have to move my bag very rarely so why not be comfortable whilst I’m doing it.

  • Adrian of Adrian's Travel Tales
    Posted at 00:52h, 01 October Reply

    I’m a new convert! I am getting so sore from my backpack as well! Hmm.. MOM! CHRISTMAS LIST ITEM! :)
    Adrian of Adrian’s Travel Tales recently posted..How Much Do You Spend in a Month of Traveling? Monthly Wrap UpMy Profile

    • Adam
      Posted at 04:01h, 26 February Reply

      Did you get the wheels for Christmas? After carrying a backpack for awhile you realize it isn’t necessary! Welcome to the wheelies Adrian.
      Adam recently posted..To return to a normal life… or not…My Profile

  • Chris
    Posted at 10:02h, 17 October Reply

    I’m all about minimalist packing and traveling light, in fact im a few months into a 6 month trip with wheeled carry on only and it’s great! Currently on Giili T though and the roads are a little bumpy for my wheels, at least they have horse and carts though!
    Chris recently posted..Guilin ChinaMy Profile

  • Monika
    Posted at 04:09h, 23 February Reply

    I just hate labeling. What is wrong with people anyway? What is wrong with being a tourist? I work full time and travel as much as I am able too, this is my passion and I love doing it, but I love my back too much and bag on wheels is so much better! I am done with packing too much stuff, now it is so much easier just to stick few essential into your hand luggage and forget about carrying much for traveling. I can understand that traveling long term is completely different and you do need to carry more stuff (all the electronics are practically your hand baggage), but choose whatever is making you comfortable, do not take backpack just because you suppose to. People are truly narrow minded sometimes.
    Monika recently posted..Meeting el gigante – Sagrada FamiliaMy Profile

    • Adam
      Posted at 04:05h, 26 February Reply

      Thank you for getting it! We each have backpack carry on’s but our main bag is wheeled…and we are yet to actually wear it (23kg). I too hate labels!
      Adam recently posted..3 days in MarrakechMy Profile

  • Katrina the Two Week Traveler
    Posted at 10:16h, 28 April Reply

    I tried to backpack when I went to Asia last year but it was so heavy I couldn’t do it, I had to switch to my rolling suitcase. I don’t know how people can carry so much on their backs for so long!
    Katrina the Two Week Traveler recently posted..Lion Encounter in Zimbabwe-Is It Ethical and Should I Go?My Profile

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