Best carry on wheeled backpack you've never heard of

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Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Best carry on wheeled backpack you've never heard of
3

Granite Gear , a small Minnesota company that makes all sorts of rugged and innovative products, is mostly known in hiking and military circles. As you may know from my other posts, I travel extensively and over the years I have used as many carry on bags as I have used hiking/photo packs.

While stuck in airport delays a couple years ago I had a pleasant conversation with a guy who flies over 200K miles a year. He was raving about his carry on, a bag I had never seen. It was a Granite Gear Trailster Wheeled Backpack, and since we had plenty of time he showed me all the bag's features. I immediately bought one and I can now say without reservation that the Granite Gear Trailster is the best and most versatile carry on I have ever used:
- about 40 liters (roughly the maximum capacity for most carry on requirements, except smaller planes and some low-budget airlines)
- hideaway shoulder straps that are better designed than those of most photo packs
- sternum strap (I added a simple webbed waist strap for those rare occasions when it is needed)
- two high-quality wheels (no silly 4 "swivel" wheels that are fragile and make you loose up to 8 liters of capacity!)
- top-notch handle and fabric materials (as good as its predecessor, an Eagle Creek that cost me 3 times as much)
- excellent zippers that will take a lock in high-risk areas (you can also make a simple knot with the clever little zipper pull extensions, this alone makes rip-and-run much more difficult for a thief)
- comfortable top handle and excellent compression side straps (can be used as additional lash points)
- side stretch pockets perfect for a bottle (I bring an empty hydration flask and refill past security, at those neat filtered water fountains that can be found now at many airports), a compact camera, a tripod, an umbrella, etc.
- a GREAT, no-nonsense overall design with one large compartment where I drop my "portable ICU " a LowePro Nova 2 with my main photo equipment, plus my toiletry kit and a few clothes in case my checked luggage gets lost or delayed, a soft-side pocket that will take a large laptop, a long pocket where I put my business files, the soft-liner pocket for my sun glasses, and the front pocket for all the small items
- I also use the large pocket that covers the shoulder straps for magazines or extra business documents
- my Trailster looks and works like new after 2 years of use

Granite Gear does practically zero advertising but some pics and reviews can be found here ):
https://www.ebags.com/product/granite-gear/trailster-wheeled-backpack/283778

Note that there are 4 color schemes available (I have the black)
https://www.granitegear.com/trailster.html

They make a slightly smaller model called the Haulsted but the Trailster is only 20" tall and by using the compression straps I was able to make it bag go through all airports check-ins without sizing issues.

This bag is 72 bucks at moosejaw, shamazon, etc. right now, or $30 less than I paid, an absolute steal IMHO.

Anyhow, I highly recommend the Granite Gear Trailster. I hope this post helps fellow photographers who fly a lot. Questions are welcome.

calson Forum Pro • Posts: 10,019
Re: Best carry on wheeled backpack you've never heard of
2

Why have a backpack that is heavier and more awkward to use for the sake of integrated trolly with wheels? I use a Samsonite folding trolly that cost me less than $30 and I use it to haul a 35 lb backpack through the airports and the rest of the time it is in a closet or my hotel room and completely out of the way.

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OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Best carry on wheeled backpack you've never heard of

calson wrote:

Why have a backpack that is heavier and more awkward to use for the sake of integrated trolly with wheels? I use a Samsonite folding trolly that cost me less than $30 and I use it to haul a 35 lb backpack through the airports and the rest of the time it is in a closet or my hotel room and completely out of the way.

Which backpack brand/model is that?

HRC2016 Senior Member • Posts: 5,230
Well
3

If it has wheels you're not carrying it.

I wish airlines would require all luggage with wheels be checked.

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OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Well

HRC2016 wrote:

If it has wheels you're not carrying it.

LOL

I wish airlines would require all luggage with wheels be checked.

Agreed (unless the pack has shoulder straps and is carried on and off board as such), this would make especially getting off the plane much quicker for everybody.

OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Best carry on wheeled backpack you've never heard of
1

Another reason why this carry-on is such a great tool:

On a recent flight and out of the blue, they decided to actually enforce regulations and required that we all place our carry-on in their measuring boxes right at the counter. My Traislter was fully packed and I could tell it was too thick, so while in the line I simply transferred a bunch of items to my trusty multi-pocket vest (including one body and a couple lenses), cinched the side compression straps and boom, I was done.

As I was leaving the check-in area I heard some yelling and I stopped to watch an angry guy whose bag did not fit the box. He was all red-faced and he started actually screaming at the poor gal that she had no right, that there was a small fortune of photo gear inside his bag, that he was CERTAIN the bag fit regulations because Think Tank, the manufacturer even called that model Airport Security, etc.

Anyhow, the check-in supervisor probably called that in because within a couple of minutes the guy was surrounded by heavily-armed airport cops. That calmed in right down and I thought to myself, "well, now THAT is Airport Security" and then had a good inside giggle.

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