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daveLok

Backpack as carry-on on flights

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I am flying to South America next week and am planning to take my Gregory Palisade (~5500 cu in) as a carry-on. Its padding + waist-belt (which is painful to detach IMO) make it pretty bulky. Plus it has yards of straps/cords/loops hanging of it. Heck, I’d be surprised if it makes through the x-ray machine without catching on something. Btw, I want to take it as a carry-on because:

a) There is no good way to secure/lock it as a check-in.

b) I don’t want to spend extra cash getting a duffel bag just for the backpack.

 

Anyone care to share any experiences with carrying bulky climbing backpacks as carry-on? Any problems with jamming it in overhead bins? Any raised eyebrows from flight-attendants, security?

 

Oh, and weight shouldn’t be an issue in my case, I doubt if I will exceed 25lbs. Most of my climbing equipment is going to be checked in.

 

Thanks

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Anyone care to share any experiences with carrying bulky climbing backpacks as carry-on?

 

Yes, what you want and what they allow are two different things.

 

Any problems with jamming it in overhead bins?

 

Never, because you are going to have to check it in.

 

Any raised eyebrows from flight-attendants, security?

 

Yes and then they are going to make you check your bag. If you argue then the hidden US Marshal will taser your ass.

 

 

by the way, old military surplus duffle bags are maybe $10.

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I have to agree with Griz. They will make you check it in. My experience in the last few years is that they have cracked down on oversized carry-on. And airline staffs appear to wait until you're at the gait for this confrontation - that way there's less time for you to argue. My carry on lately is a BD Speed 28 and a Lowe Alpine Summit Attack, both stuffed to the lid - the Lowe fits under seats, and the speed 28 fits in overhead bins without too much hassle.

 

If you ask, most airlines have heavy-duty clear plastic "trash" bags for items like your pack. Alaska certainly does, so you could always stop by their desk first and ask for one. Also, buckle all the buckles and tighten all the straps, then fold up and tape down the excess strap - that way there is a smaller chance of getting stuff caught.

 

And in addition to $10 military surplus duffels, you can by a cheap one f0r $10-20. If you leave your pack empty, you can fit more into the duffel than if you try to pack it filled.

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Go to your Airlines web site. They will list carry on sizes and weights. Be sure to check for the international flights. Some flights only allow 20lbs now.

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The largest bag I have carried on an international flight is a 35 liter pack. It barely fit in the overhead compartment. But the point is that they let me on the plane. Im going to Thailand in a couple of weeks and we are going to try to get a bag thats a little bit bigger on.

Point being - You might be able to get your bag on if its not filled up all the way and somehow you can compress it down to the size of a small-medium size suitcase.

Good luck.

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Thanks everyone.

 

Yes and then they are going to make you check your bag. If you argue then the hidden US Marshal will taser your ass.

 

by the way, old military surplus duffle bags are maybe $10.

 

It seems like you speak from past experience smile.gif

 

btw, does anyone know where i can get these military surplus duffel bags locally? It's too late to order them online.

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I agree with the other replies... there's a very high likelihood/almost certainty you'll have to check it at the airport. If that is the case, why not spend a few extra $ on a duffel (you're already paying for a big trip... this should be a drop in the bucket compared to that) and be prepared when you arrive at the airport. Otherwise, you arrive with your backpack, they tell you you have to check it and then you end up with an insufficient solution (i.e. a plastic bag or nothing at all). Neither is a good option when travelling in the developing world where it's easy to have your bags cut into by thieves . A plain duffel (U.S. army surplus works great) and a few TSA-certified locks will at least provide some measure of protection and save you the hassle at the airport and the worrying you'll do with an unprotected backpack.. hellno3d.gif

Edited by iluka

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The last three international flights I took (Argentina in 2000, Ecuador and Thailand in 2002) only let us have small bags that weighed under 12 pounds as carry-ons. Everything else had to be checked in. They have different rules for international flights, but if you want to know for sure what the rules are you should call the airline.

 

If you are worried about your bags being locked, I have not had any problems asking the TSA security officer to lock the bag with my padlock after they have inspected it. You hand them the lock, they close it and you can inspect that it is secure before they send it down the conveyor belt.

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The largest bag I have carried on an international flight is a 35 liter pack. It barely fit in the overhead compartment.

You can get bags up to ~44L or so that are airline carryon compliant. A bigger problem is the weight restriction of 7kg, which is rarely enforced ex-USA, but are often enforced ex-elsewhere (particularly Oz & NZ)

 

I haven't had good luck with locking checked bags in the US, so I wouldn't worry about it. Climbing equipment isn't high on thieves list, and TSA has trouble even with the TSA approved locks. Go to REI or the like and spend $20 on a cheap Outdoor Products duffel and don't worry. When you get to S. America if you are travelling domestically spend the $7 on shinkwrapping your backpack or $5 on a padlock.

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When you get to S. America pick up one of those huge, colorful plastic weave sacks that are ubiquitous down there. Keep it with you and stuff your pack in it whenever you travel by bus as well as use it when you return to the US. It will skillfully camouflage your expensive backpack from greedy thieves as well as protect it from road damage.

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Hmm, ok I guess I'll just jam the pack in a duffle bag and not worry about it. Thanks everyone rockband.gif.

 

Slightly off topic, I was planning to rent some of the gear (boots, ice axe, crampons) in Quito to save weight on the flight (since I was planning to take the pack as a carry-on). I am still thinking of doing it since it seems pretty cheap to rent gear there. My only concern is plastic boots, anyone know how easy/difficult it is to rent boots there?

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Fuck that. Bring your own shit. What are you taking down with you that weighs so much that you want to leave out essential climbing gear and take a chance on worn or outdated stuff that may or may not fit correctly?? Do you really want to be hustling around Quito trying to find shit that fits? If you got big feet you might as well forget about renting boots.

 

You don't need plastics either. I climbed both illinizas, cotopaxi and cayambe with makalus on and I am a long way sfrom being a hardman. If you are worried about cold feet bring supergaiters or overboots and some chemical warmers. You aren't camping out; you're staying in huts. Its not that different from climbing volcanoes in WA or OR.

 

If you are worried about lugging around excess gear when you aren't climbing, keep in mind that most hotels/hostels have space available for storage. We stayed in the same hostel every time we returned to Quito and they stored our gear for gratis. Safe and sound.

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I think RBW got lucky with the weather - I climb in Ecuador in a pair of Nepal Extremes, and I still get cold feet. And the last thousand feet on Chimbo is not the same as Rainier.

But ditto about the gear storage tip - he's right on. And if you have time to acclimitize and a little bit of extra cash, try staying at the Tambopaxi lodge at the foot of Cotopaxi. This lodge has incredible views of the mountain and surrounding alto playa, cool straw bale and brick contruction and is owned by a Swiss-Ecuadorian local. Its a great place to stay for a night or two to accimitize if you have the money and time.

Have an adventure!

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