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May 1, 2018

The Best Suitcases for Every Kind of Birthright Israel Traveler

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Before you really start packing, think about what all of your stuff goes in. Spend a minute to make sure you have the right bag for your Birthright Israel trip. You have the unique challenge of packing for 10 action-packed days in a bag that you’ll haul every 1-3 days. This bag also has to go up and down stairs, on and off buses, and across some unpaved areas. This is especially important if you’re going on an adventure trip! Learn more about the Birthright trip options in our ultimate guide, and be ready to pack for the right experience.

Our advice: Pack light.

We here at BirthrightGuru are advocates for lightweight packing in an easy-to-carry bag that goes onto the plane. If you’re wondering if you can fit everything you need into something this small, stop wondering. You can. Think about the freedom you’ll feel from a rolling bag and how easy to move around. Don’t forget: the less you pack, the less you have to unpack and repack at each stop!.

We take some inspiration from “real” minimalist packers who only travel with one hiking backpack and one daypack. But we prefer luggage designed for travel rather than actual backpacking. Breeze through airports, up and down steps, and baggage claim while your less-prepared bus-mates hold their breath for their bag and then drag their wheeled luggage through the sand!

The Best Bag for Birthright

The Eagle Creek Gear Hauler is a go-everywhere, do-everything, backpack that’s perfect for Birthright Israel trips

Our favorite bag is the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler. It’s a backpack that’s optimized for exactly this kind of travel. You’ll be able to fit everything you need in an easy-to-access bag and comfortably carry it through any terrain. The design of the bottom is a great feature: It’s a single piece of waterproof fabric, so you can put it down in anything — mud, dust, puddles, you name it — and the bag will protect your gear. Plus, it’s easy to wipe down. It also serves to keep the zippers facing your back, so your bag is protected from prying hands while you’re on a crowded bus or train. And once you pop those zippers open, you’ll have full access to the inside of the bag for simple packing.
The Gear Hauler also has a small front pocket with a laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, and small mesh compartment. The bottom has another small external pouch that is perfect for shoes or dirty clothes.

Eagle Creek Gear Hauler

Adventure Upgrade: The Outbreaker Travel Backpack is the bag you actually want to carry on your trip

Another favorite is the upstart company Tortuga’s Outbreaker Travel Backpack. This is a nice upgrade if you are planning on doing more walking with your bag, on Birthright or beyond. Features like the padded waist strap make this travel backpack even easier to carry. The design makes it still easy to pack and access.

This crew also makes some awesome travel gear beyond suitcases, including the best packable backpack on the market!

Tortuga Travel Pack

The best Birthright bag for minimalist travelers — who still want wheels

We get it, wheeled bags are awesome. And we have a great compromise for you.

Another favorite bag is the Osprey Sojourn (22” 45L) adventure rolling bag. It’s a compromise because it brings wheels into the picture without sacrificing great features of performance luggage, including hideaway backpack straps! This gives you the option of rolling when it makes sense and then busting out the straps when needed.

The carry-on approved bag has a large main compartment with a huge opening, smaller zippered compartment, durable wheels, and cinch-straps. The external straps are useful to get that last extra inch of bulk into the bag or to clip on a travel pillow or jacket. Don’t forget: one secret for minimalist packing is to wear or otherwise keep the biggest stuff out of the bag!).

Osprey Sojourn 45

There’s nothing wrong with a classic black spinner bag.

We also know that there are some folks who still fit the minimalist traveler profile but want a more typical carry-on bag. The Wirecutter does incredible research on tons of products, including luggage, and for a spinner bag they recommend the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 — we trust them on this one (but have less experience with this than the more adventure-focused bags).

This is still a great pick because you can carry it onboard and it won’t be too hard to grab it by a handle to lift for loading and unloading, or the occasional stairs (maybe you’re rethinking that you might actually want a backpack?!). In the end, any bag of this style or similar will work, so if you already have something this size you want to use or want to grab a cheap bag from Amazon, such as this hard-sided spinner from Amazon Basics for <$50, or a discount store), your trip won’t suffer.

Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 Carry-On Expandable Rollaboard Suiter Suitcase, 22-in., Black

The bag for “I need a NEW outfit for every activity and LOVE to bring home huge souvenirs” traveler

The Rugged Osprey Sojourn Bag Will Fit *All* of your Gear and is pretty easy to haul around

We caution against it, but know that there is a time and a place for a larger bag. And if it’s your style, Birthright Israel trips might be one of those places. A bigger bag is harder to move no matter what you choose, but you can still choose wisely and make it a bit easier. We also recommend the larger version of the Osprey Sojourn bag, which forgoes the backpack straps but still comes with a super-durable build, strong wheels, and great handles. In general, we recommend a rolling duffel rather than a typical rolling bag here because of the amount of time you’ll be grabbing a handle to carry it or pull it off a bus.

Pro tip: Especially if you’re bringing a suitcase this large, weigh your bag before you got to the airport to make sure you’re it’s allowed on your airline and that you’re not going to incur any extra charges — which you will have to pay!

Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Luggage, 28-Inch/80-Liter
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Birthright Israel Packing Guide

May 3, 2018 0
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