flying with backpacks

11:00 a.m. on August 9, 2006 (EDT)

I'm going off to Paris for 9 months. I plan on doing a lot of travelling and am going to get a internal frame pack. I'm going to use this as an excuse to get one that I can go on actual backpacking trips with. Does anybody know of a good (very cheap) way of protecting a pack so that it can be checked while flying? I once heard of someone using a seed bag (?). I need something that I'll be able to fit back into my pack (I'm pretty sure I'm going to get an Osprey Atmos 50). Any ideas?

5:23 a.m. on August 10, 2006 (EDT)
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Duffel bags are the best IMHO but they can get pricey and that appears to be outside your criteria. Maybe try a mil surplus store for one of the big green ones.

Be careful about how much weight you load into the bag. Check your airlines website for the weight limits on checked bags and once you find it, print it. Check it again just prior to your flight since the limits appear to be changing again. Also check for restricted items such as stoves and empty fuel bottles (depends on the airline). Pepper spray is usually banned as well any other flammables. Print that page too.

Take the printed web pages with you to the airport for ref so you can guide a misinformed tix agent on their own rules.


6:07 a.m. on August 10, 2006 (EDT)

You can put it in an overbag and that protects your backpack well but it's a complete pain in the arse from then on when you're trying to catch buses/trains and having to strap it on the outside or stuff it down the inside of your pack. A good way to go is to fly with the pack as is and just cinch everything down and clip it together, especially the shoulder straps which baggage handlers seem to grab by one strap and rip off. If you want you can join straps together with cable ties and with some packs you can do the same to close up external pockets. If you're careful you can do the same with the drawstring top of the pack.

Have fun in France!

6:09 a.m. on August 10, 2006 (EDT)

Oh yeah, another idea...a lot airlines actually supply big heavy duty plastic bags that you can put your pack in and throw out (or use if you want) at the other end. Just ask the airline.

1:37 p.m. on August 15, 2006 (EDT)
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6,010 forum posts

adam g's advice is the best way to go. I have travelled with backpacks (including climbing gear) extensively, and have found the large duffel that takes your pack to be the most satisfactory. This protects your pack from the straps hooking on the airline conveyor belts and from damage from the baggage gorillas (doesn't protect from rifling, though - use TSA locks on the duffle zippers for that). Eagle Creek, OR, and Outdoor Products make large cordura duffels that will take various sizes of packs. It is well worth the cost of these to get quality products to protect your pack. If I have several thousand dollars worth of boots, high altitude clothing, sleeping bag, tent, rope, ice ax, crampons, etc, $50-$100 for a duffel is cheap insurance. These duffels will fold small enough to fit inside your pack (or tucked under the top lid).

For some trips, I have been using roll-around duffels from Eagle Creek. Last summer when my wife and I were shooting photos of the Big Furry Guys in Katmai NP in Alaska and the winter before that for my climbs on the Mexican volcanoes, we used Eagle Creek roll-arounds for dealing with the airports and even in town. In that case, I had places to stash the roll-arounds while on the mountain or in the back country (friendly B&Bs).

4:03 p.m. on September 3, 2006 (EDT)
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6 forum posts

My pack made it to Australia, on some domestic flights, checked on multi-day train rides, over the trails, and home again to Chicago about 20lbs too overpacked. I did this by synching all the straps as short as they could be, buckling the waistbelt, and throwing it in a see-through airline-provided heavy-duty garbage bag. And it's not really a top quality pack in terms of tear-resistence. I felt a little nervous of the way it would be returned to me, but my confidence increased with each safe landing. I don't think you need to spend any extra money on a duffel bag, backpackers all over the world get by with the airline's bags.

June 24, 2018
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