A friend once said to me that ‘to travel is to visit yourself far away’, what he failed to mention was how difficult it is get all the bits and pieces of yourself together in a way that makes the visit enjoyable. Over the years I have tried many different methods to organise the mess that is a traveller’s luggage. Carrying around multiple bags is truly like carrying around a whole lot of unnecessary ‘baggage’ whereas going backpacker style, lugging a giant backpack around, is painful and tiring.
The problem with baggage
My girlfriend is an avid traveller. She’s good at it too; she knows how to make her money stretch, she’s great at bartering in foreign countries, she is unfazed by hawkers and panhandlers and she doesn’t try to see everything in a short space of time. The one difficulty of traveling that she’s never resolved is her luggage. It’s a point of dispute when we travel together. We argue over how much is necessary to take and how to pack it. Especially when hopping from location to location packing and repacking your stuff can get tedious. While there are much worse problems in life than this, it is an annoyance that can ruin an otherwise great trip away.
Due to my limitations as a human being, I don’t always feel able to take this issue in my stride. I have often thought, ‘You should be more understanding about this. If Nelson Mandela can make it through years in prison and come out smiling then surely you can bear this with levity and grace?’ Despite the sanity and reasonableness of this thought, I usually find myself surrendering to the reality of my temperament; ‘I am not cool with this.’
A travelers dream
My girlfriend, knowing my obsession with his music, bought us tickets to see Bruce Springsteen across country. Thus, another travel day loomed large on our horizon and due to an unfortunate incident with an exploding bottle of Pinot Noir, I was on the hunt for a new travel bag for our adventure. Now I am usually a ‘go into the shop’ sort of buyer when it comes to things like travel bags, but this time I did something different; I looked online and stumbled across a range of products by Rise Gear that seemed as though they offered a novel solution to the traveller’s dilemma.
On the outside they look like your normal bag but once unzipped they open up to reveal a small wardrobe with individual compartments for different items. They were exactly what I had always wished existed. I saw the potential at once; this could mean the end of ‘travel fighting’ with my girlfriend. Oh happy days…
The wardrobe in a bag
Not being one to do things by halves, I bought one each of the three bags that Rise Gear makes (the three versions, Weekender, Jumper, Roller). The smallest costing $99 and the largest $199.
Aesthetically pleasing? You bet.
The fold up and down system works beautifully, you can store pretty much anything in them and they aren’t heavy like a lot of travel bags are. You simply unzip the bag, expand and hang it and enjoy the time you would otherwise waste with arranging the hotel room closet.
The largest Rise Gear model has wheels and a handle so if you’re a regular traveler you can roll your luggage easily from place to place.
The best thing about this product for me was the childlike joy my girlfriend exhibited when I presented her with one before our trip to see The Boss. Watching her pull out the compartments and fill them with her selection of ‘necessary’ clothes and items was like watching a child on Christmas morning, wide eyed and ecstatic, opening their presents. As I gazed upon this beautiful scene of consumer contentment I wondered, ‘which model would Springsteen choose?’
Rise Gear Bags were featured on Dragons Den. Not having to unpack and re-pack when changing locations is a huge advantage. No more apocalyptic hotel room mess or spending precious vacation time on organizing luggage.
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