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#177556 - 06/03/13 02:48 PM Airplane Travel with Backpack
Infamous Offline
member

Registered: 02/12/08
Posts: 21
Loc: So Cal
Hello forum,

This place is fantastic and you are all are awesome. I've been on for a few years and lurk quite a bit, but don't post much.

I'm going to fly to a destination (Olympic Natl Park) for a backpacking trip this summer and I'm curious about your experiences in checking a pack as luggage, in terms of protecting the pack itself. I'm planning to remove the hipbelt and put it inside the pack, but still considering putting the whole thing in a large duffel to avoid webbing snags, etc. Any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help,
Mike



Edited by Infamous (06/03/13 03:41 PM)
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#177557 - 06/03/13 03:15 PM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: Infamous]
Average_Joe Offline
member

Registered: 05/26/13
Posts: 23
My pack has straps which go into pockets for travel, but that would not help with the gear I have strapped to the outside of it.

I'm liking your idea of putting it in a duffel bag!

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#177560 - 06/03/13 06:00 PM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: Average_Joe]
Infamous Offline
member

Registered: 02/12/08
Posts: 21
Loc: So Cal
Thanks Joe.

I'm just not sure how vulnerable a pack might be going through all of the baggage handling machinery. Hoping to hear others experiences with that...
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#177561 - 06/03/13 06:52 PM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: Infamous]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
I have traveled a lot with a backpack over the years, and traveling by air seems to be constantly changing with these sort of things. A couple of summers ago, I flew into Denver CO from San Diego, CA. I threw my backpack into a duffle bag that time and had no issues (or dangling straps on the bag). Last summer, three of us flew from San Diego to Milan, Italy. They had heavy duty plastic bins that each backpack loaded into. When we got to Milan, they were all in one piece. Same with the return trip. My advice is to call the carrier you are planning to use and see what they advise. That is how we found out about the bins for the trip to Italy.


Edited by skcreidc (06/03/13 06:53 PM)
Edit Reason: doh!

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#177563 - 06/03/13 07:06 PM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: skcreidc]
Infamous Offline
member

Registered: 02/12/08
Posts: 21
Loc: So Cal
^^ Good advice - thank you!
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#177573 - 06/04/13 08:47 AM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: Infamous]
dzierzak Offline
member

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 43
Loc: WV
My experiences in travelling between West Virginia and Philmont Scout Ranch (through Albuquerque and Colorado Springs)

10 trips with 24 people each trip (average) = 240 round trips.

Packs in duffel bags. Total damage 1 lost pack (subsequently found) and 1 slightly damaged duffel.

YMMV

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#177575 - 06/04/13 10:24 AM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: dzierzak]
Average_Joe Offline
member

Registered: 05/26/13
Posts: 23
Originally Posted By dzierzak
My experiences in travelling between West Virginia and Philmont Scout Ranch (through Albuquerque and Colorado Springs)

10 trips with 24 people each trip (average) = 240 round trips.

Packs in duffel bags. Total damage 1 lost pack (subsequently found) and 1 slightly damaged duffel.

YMMV

dzierzak, that is pretty conclusive. Would it be safe to guess the bulk of those were internal frame packs? I could see an external frame being at more risk.


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#177576 - 06/04/13 10:33 AM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: Infamous]
ndsol Offline
member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 678
Loc: Houston, Texas
Mike,

I always pack in a duffel and I have traveled by air with my pack every year for over a decade. Our scouts generally use an Osprey Airporter, which is cheap and light (especially given a 50lb weight limit on most airlines before really high baggage fees kick in).

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#177580 - 06/04/13 12:01 PM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: Average_Joe]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Good stuff, dzierzak. Nice record keeping.

Up until 2011, all my personal packs were external frame. OK, lets be clear about this...they were Kelty's produced and purchased in the period from 1966 to 1970. From 1969 on, I have flown over 30 trips (Canada, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Mexico, Central and South America, and the south pacific) with my Kelty external frame never once having it stored inside something else; it was marked tagged directly as luggage, loaded onto a plane via the usual methods and the worst that happened was an end cap got lost once and the ends of the frame were beat up. I still use this backpack, btw. This is a pretty tough pack though; I'm not sure or very familiar with other external frame designs. My ultralight backpack I am far more worried about and at a minimum will put it into another piece of luggage or duffel bag to keep it safe. But the Kelty's have more damage done to them from bears than from flying. A duffel bag would only up the protection with possibly the exception of the frame ends.

Times have changed though, so I would call the carrier and talk to them about it and keep a telecon record about it if you are really fastidious. The plastic bins were pretty clever as they stacked and protected the backpacks. More and more people are using backpacks again for travel so maybe this is part of a trend and the various providers are moving to accomodate.

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#177595 - 06/05/13 07:48 AM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: Average_Joe]
dzierzak Offline
member

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 43
Loc: WV
Yep, the majority were internals. We usually had 2-3 externals per trip. Oddly, the externals never had a problem. Everyone had some sort of duffel. We even had one kid use his dad's golf bag duffel. That ended up in the "odd luggage dept", it didn't show up on the belt with everything else - had to track it down.

The duffel thing and packing for the plane ride is part of our regular training for our Philmont treks - don't want to follow the "advice"? - don't go... wink

The whole "planning for group travel" is way different then travelling on your own...

Of course, YMMV!!!

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#177596 - 06/05/13 07:51 AM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: ndsol]
dzierzak Offline
member

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 43
Loc: WV
Even "surplus" military duffels work well. Of course, using an external frame pack poses certain "challenges" to getting everything in...

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#177601 - 06/05/13 12:07 PM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: dzierzak]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 680
I had the misfortune, after many flights just wrapping up the belts and straps as best possible, of a strap getting caught and jamming in the door as the luggage comes out onto the carousel. Not only did it get a bit of a beating, other luggage was jammed up and falling off behind it. I had to rip it free with lots of angry flyers looking on. Some airlines put them in plastic bags or in a large plastic tub, but I don't rely on that, anymore. Our packs now go in a bag we bought at EMS that is a lot like the Osprey Airporter. The Airporter is about half the price. I need another one, thanks for the link!!!!
My old Jansport D-5 exceeds the 62 inch rule unless I pack it very lightly. Since I'd have to pay extra , I stick with the internal frames.

Charlie


Edited by bluefish (06/05/13 12:12 PM)
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Charlie

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#177609 - 06/05/13 04:05 PM Re: Airplane Travel with Backpack [Re: bluefish]
Infamous Offline
member

Registered: 02/12/08
Posts: 21
Loc: So Cal
Thanks so much to all for the responses! This is very helpful and appreciated.

Bluefish, your example is exactly what I want to avoid!

I really like the cheap Osprey duffel option. That's a tough value to beat for this purpose.

Thanks again!
Mike
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