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Luggage

Cupertino...
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Luggage

I am returning to visit Quetzaltenango after 25 years away. (Followed by a visit to Tikal.) We used to carry our stuff in backpacking-type backpacks...old ones that we could throw around and not worry about (with everything inside sealed in zip-lock bags).

We would snicker at tourists with the "modern" rolling suitcases. But now, that's all I have! We're travelling in-country by bus. Old backpacks are hard to come by nowadays. What do you recommend? My son will probably take a duffle bag, but that single-strap is hard on my old neck. We'll be there only 7 days. :(

10 replies to this topic
Bethesda, MD
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1. Re: Luggage

You might be surprised by how things have wheels these days, and the age of those using them. I've even seen a few backpacks outfitted with them. Sorry I can't tell you where you might find one. An amazon search will probably turn up something.

Madison, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Luggage

I was just at REI to buy a school backpack. I was blown away by (and sorely tempted) some of the types of traveling backpacks you can buy.

If you have an REI or similar store nearby, that's where you should go first, to get an idea of prices and types of luggage available. Like DC mentions, you'd be surprised what has wheels these days.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Luggage

For just a week one can easily get by with a standard roll-aboard suitcase and small daypack. On the low-cost busses, it's best to keep your bags in sight.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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4. Re: Luggage

Unless this is the last time you'll be traveling to some place cool that has cobblestones, limited sidewalks, and stairs (where wheels are a nuisance), I'd invest in a well-reviewed, carry-on sized travel pack. It's a nice advantage to have straps that tuck away so they can be checked on the way home without being shredded by the airport conveyor belts and there are a ton of options. Some come with clip or zip on day packs; I find that to be of limited advantage but some like it. Here are 2 examples we have that I can personally vouch for, tried and true:

https:/…osprey-farpoint-40-travel-pack

https:/…osprey-porter-46-travel-pack

https:/…rei-co-op-vagabond-tour-40-pack

The 1st 2 are easy, lightweight, durable options. That last one has a better suspension system and a great sale price if you act fast. With any backpack you'd want to try it with weight in the store and be fitted by someone who knows what they're doing or at least order it online in time to hike around with it (with weight in it) with time to return it if it isn't great. Ebags has some inexpensive options, too; I've traveled with relatives who own and enjoy those but they're not great if you actually spend much time with them on your back (no waist strap and you need to pack carefully because you feel the contents against your back.

https://www.ebags.com/search/u/weekender

Happy trails!

Cupertino...
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37 posts
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5. Re: Luggage

Thanks, Hopefulest! Great deals at REI right now!

I guess my question was vague- I don't want to look like a dumb tourist, more like an experienced one. Do most gringos use packs vs. suitcases? Or are suitcases now pretty common? I hate to buy a pack just for this trip - my wife is "letting" my son and I go alone, but he's going off to college and, as wifey won't even go camping any more, I'm not sure I'll ever use one again! On the other hand, if the tradition is the same now as in the '90's, I'd rather buy a backpack than be caught dead with a wheeled suitcase. Oh, how we laughed at those people!

Bethesda, MD
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6. Re: Luggage

My friends and I often sit out at the cafe in San Pedro just above the dock. We may pass judgment on new arrivals, but it's usually about how inappropriately people are dressed, not about their luggage! Do what works best for you and don't worry about it.

Edited: 30 June 2017, 02:01
Madison, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Luggage

You're a tourist. You're going to stand out no matter what you do.

On our last trip to Guate we dragged along a big ol' crappy suitcase (for me and hubby) and a cheap duffel bag (for kids' clothes and stuff), and small backpacks.

However, aforementioned crappy suitcase's wheels did give out during our journey, so I'll have to shell out for a nicer pack.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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8. Re: Luggage

In the context of a whole trip, the $90 for a nice travel pack would be worth it ifor just this trip alone imho. It's not the sort to use on days-long hikes anyway; I think you'd find you'll use it for weekends away and - if you're lucky - future trips with your son. A wheelie suitcase would be irritating to me every step of the way. Just my 2 quetzales' worth...

To Craig - I've done that with you, sitting there on the corner! For me (in addition to attire) it's the SIZE of the packs. What can those scantily-clothed backpackers possibly need that fills a 75 liter pack? :-)

Bethesda, MD
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9. Re: Luggage

lol! That's a very good point. Maybe they bring heavier clothes for Xela and volcano hikes?

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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10. Re: Luggage

Usually hiking boots are tied to the outside and layers for warmth take up very little space. I'm thinking it must be a pile of shoes or sufficient clothes be gone a month and not wash anything. :-)

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