Choosing a travel bag is an important choice. Choosing the wrong one can leave you frustrated and fuming in an airport.
So what do you need to consider when you pick a travel bag? What factors actually matter?
We break it down for you. Here's what you need to consider when you're shopping for your perfect travel bag.
Size Really Does Matter
One of the biggest and most important factors when it comes to picking out the right travel bag is its size. This is especially vital if you're traveling via plane.
Your bag's size will decide whether you can take it as a carry-on, or if you have to check your bag.
Typically, carry on bags have to be smaller than 22” x 14” x 9”. This makes sure your bag - and everyone else's - can fit into the overhead bin.
But maybe you're not traveling by plane. Maybe you're hauling gear to a trade show and you need a lot more capacity. Then you need a bigger bag.
The important thing to consider is why you need this bag, and how you plan to travel with it. That will help you decide the size of the bag you need.
How Will You Get Your Bag From Place to Place?
How are you going to get your bag from place to place? Where do you need to take it?
Most bags (including ours) come with travel wheels. This makes it easier to navigate around an airport.
The thing you need to consider is whether you want two wheels or four wheels. Four wheels offer more mobility. You can swivel them, push them, pull them, turn them sideways, and they still roll.
But they tend to roll away, especially if you're standing on a slope.
But if your gear bag only has two wheels, you have to pull it. They can't turn sideways. So it's harder to navigate them in smaller spaces (like airplane walkways.) But, they won't roll away on you.
They also get along better in city streets, or dirt roads. They more easily navigate curbs and other obstacles than their four-wheeled counterparts.
If you're looking at a bag with two wheels look at the other carrying options the bag contains.
Does it have a duffel strap or a top handle? A good bag should have at least two decent handholds to help you maneuver your bag. This makes it easier when you're moving your bag around.
A Travel Bag is An Investment - Make it Last
A travel bag is a big investment - one you want to make last. So when you're looking at bags, make sure they're durable.
Does the material feel cheap? Are the zippers high quality? Do the wheels feel flimsy, loose, or weak?
Make sure the bag is water-resistant. This keeps your contents safe if it starts to rain, or your bag falls in a puddle or sits on something wet.
Are you going for a soft side travel bag or a hard one? Each has its pros and cons, and different levels of durability.
Soft bags typically have more give, so you might be able to squeeze in one more thing. You can shove them into smaller spaces and make them fit. But they also have more weak points and aren't always as durable.
Hard cases, on the other hand, have more structure, so they can better protect your valuables. But they're also easy to scuff.
Check reviews and ask your friends and family for their opinions on different brands.
Some Bags Have Cool Special Features
Some bags come with extra features. Consider options like laptop cases, water bottle holders, locks, or anti-theft protections.
Maybe you need a more versatile bag. Some bags come with built-in day packs, or shelves to help you stay organized.
If there are special features in a bag that are important to you, make note of that. Try to find a bag in your budget that has that feature.
Compartments Keep You Organized
Also, consider the compartments that come with your bag. Is there enough for what you need? A properly compartmentalized bag helps you stay organized.
And again, the bag you choose, and the amount of compartments you need depends on what you'll use the bag for.
But typically, you should get a bag with several compartment sizes. This makes it easier to find smaller items in smaller pockets. Plus you still have plenty of room for your bigger gear.
Design Makes a Statement - So Speak Up
Finally, pay attention to your bag's design. You don't want something that looks like everyone else's. This is a recipe for losing your bag at a baggage claim.
You're a strong, self-sufficient cowboy with western routes. Why not get a bag that says that matches the rest of your attire?
The point is, a unique design will help you keep track of your luggage, and help you make a statement with it too.
These Tips Will Help You Find the Right Travel Bag For Your Needs
The most important things when picking a bag are size, mobility, and durability. Everything else is a perk.
So when you're looking for your travel bag, understand what you're going to use it for. Then make sure the bag you choose is durable, is the right size, and you can get it from place to place.
Ready to get a travel bag that speaks to you? Check out our western gear bags here.