When I told Zombie that I had about 15 Kilos check-in luggage allowance for my trip to the Philippines, he almost choked on his drink, trying hard not too chortle too much.
“Good luck with that!!”
I’m a woman of many contradictions. I may be an adrenalin junkie and jump off certain cliffs but I hyperventilate at the thought of not having packed an essential comfort item.
Alright, hyperventilate may be a bit of an exagerration but I just don’t get to sit still when I know I’ve missed something. So, yes I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m not a light packer.
Last month, I flew to the Philippines for a very fun and adventure packed trip. I knew that the trip would be filled with physical challenges, but the challenge that I came head-to-head with the most was to keep my luggage under or just a little over 15kg.
Since 2013, my packing life has been changed drastically when I discovered packing cubes. And though they did help me to not overpack, I always used them with large sized suitcases.
To help me face this packing challenge, I decided to take with me the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 28.
And boy, did it surprise the bejeezus out of me (and Zombie), that it made me SEEM like a light packer 😉
This bag is available in 20, 25, 28, 32, and 36 inches long variety. I went right for the middle size (28 inch) as this seemed to be the perfect size for a 2-week trip for me. Too large to carry-on, but very compact and just right to check-in.
Now before we get to the fun part (packing), let’s get to the numbers that matter first.
Capacity – 4100 cu in / 67 L (when expanded 4450 cu in/ 73 L)
Weight – 3.1 kg / 6 lbs 14oz
Dimensions – 15 X 28 X 10 in / 38 X 71 X 25 cm
What this bag went through on this trip:
2 X 10-hour international flights (Sydney- Manila return)
5 X domestic flights in the Philippines
2 X domestic flights in Australia
1 X train ride
2 X boat rides
Several bus and van rides
Rough road pulling
How did it fare?
The Eagle Creek Load Warrior performed wonderfully. Sure it had scratches on its wheels and stand after the trip, but that is to be expected after all the travelling I’d done. But it did hold up pretty well. The zippers are very sturdy, the wheels are made for rough roads (and not just smooth airport floor surfaces).
Let’s have a closer look at this, shall we?
These photos show how the bag exactly looked like after the trip.
From the side, you can see that the Load Warrior 28 has an expandable main compartment. (When this is used, it adds 15% more packing space.)
I also loved that it has multiple grab handles. This means that I can pick this bag up however angle it may appear on the conveyor belt at the airport. This feature proved really handy, especially when you’re travelling by yourself.
The wheels are really sturdy, especially as I’d dragged this bag on rough roads, street roads and even sand.
I liked that it has both interior and exterior compression straps. This really helps in keeping things inside the bag in place and organised. The exterior straps helped in keeping the size to a minimum and also maintained the bag’s balance.
The Laundry Chute
A great feature of this bag is the laundry chute in the front cover/flap. This is a zipped chute that goes deep. It’s used to store used and dirty clothes, a great idea to keep separate from the interior of the bag.
I still used a separate laundry / dirty clothes bag for this chute (not included in the bag) because I liked to just open the chute and grab the entire laundry bag for washing.
Stowable Equipment Keeper
There’s this nifty little feature that’s stowed inside the luggage handle compartment. It has a fancy name (Stowable Equipment Keeper), but it pretty much doubles as a bottle opener, and as something to hang extra objects outside the bag.
The Packing Cube Technique!
Now, I have to also credit the success of my packing challenge to the packing cubes. As I said, these little cubes really drastically changed my packing life since 2013. And it proved to be really useful on this trip, when I had limited space and weight allowance.
So I do have a stash of packing cubes that are over 2 years old but they hold up really well.
Without further adieu, allow me to show you how I used them packing cubes with the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 28
So 1 Bag, 1 Packing envelope, 1 toiletry bag, 1 makeup bag and 9 packing cubes.
The main concept of packing bags is compartmentalisation. Every personal item and clothing group has it’s own packing bag.
Toiletries – This is the bag that weighed the heaviest for me. I used a Samsonite toiletry bag which worked well with the packing cubes. You need every cube / bag to hold its shape. Because using packing cubes can be like playing tetris inside your luggage space. The more the cubes / squares fit, the better.
Pants – When I took this photo, 3 other pants were in the wash so I actually packed 4 pants, rolled together inside 1 packing cube.
Tops/Shirts – I forgot to put that I included pajamas in this cube as well. This cube is for those low-maintenance tops that can afford to be wrinkled.
Formal Shirts/Dresses (Packing Envelope)- This packing envelope was a revelation! It’s my first time to use it on this trip. It’s for those kinds of clothing that need a little more TLC. (silk tops, dresses, etc). It includes a folding board folding/stacking instructions so that your clothes won’t require ironing. This envelope was also great for storing dresses.
Sandals/Going Out Shoes and Sneakers/Outdoor Shoes – Packing cubes come in different varieties. There’s one made specifically for shoes. One bag is for a pair of footwear, but I find that I can fit two in one if it’s the sandal variety. I brought two shoe packing cubes in this trip. The first one I used for my ‘going out’ sandal wear. The other bag was for sneakers and another open-toe outdoor /sporty sandal.
Bikinis/Swimwear – this also included kaftans and anything related to the beach / swimming.
Underwear – the more the merrier! Ok kidding, I always bring extra.
Workout clothes / socks – so you won’t have an excuse not to get moving!
Laundry Bag – I brought a separate one and placed it in the laundry chute part of the bag.
Chargers/Cables – a definite ‘must-be-placed-in-a-separate-bag’ item. Id hate to spend my travel time untangling and looking for cables!
Makeup Bag – for this trip, I was really minimal and used a small case. I normally would travel with two of that makeup case!
Now, here’s how I actually packed those cubes inside the bag:
Step 1: Find the heaviest packing cube / bag.
Whenever I travel, the heaviest piece of bag / packing cube is always the toiletry bag. I need my paraphernalia with me. I will do a separate post soon of what I pack in my toiletry bag , but for now, allow me to say that the heaviest piece of item should be placed at the bottom of the Load Warrior bag.
So this will only work if the heaviest cube/bag DOES NOT contains fragile and breakable items. Sure my toiletries bag contains liquids but that toiletry bag is in itself very sturdy and made with very firm (unbendable) padding, so it worked very well.
The reason why I placed the heaviest at the base of the bag: this will help maintain the bag’s balance and “posture”. It’s all about weight distribution for ease of carrying the bag around.
Step 2: Find the next 2 heaviest / largest cubes
The next 2 heaviest / largest cubes in this group are the cubes for pants and the ‘low-maintenance shirts’ and pajamas. Now, we have our first layer of packing cubes which is comprised of the heaviest / largest items.
Step 3: Medium sized cubes go next!
For the second layer, I packed on the medium sized cubes – the ones containing workout gear, underwear and swimwear. The idea is to have everything as level and as even as possible.
Step 4: Shoes and uneven shaped containers
Ok, they may not be lighter than the second layer made out of medium cubes. But the idea here is to place irregularly shaped cubes / containers last. This is so you can maximise the space in the bag. Steps 1-3 was done to ensure that no space in the bag is left unused. If we put the shoes in first, then there will be lots of gaping holes/spaces.
At this stage, I also placed the charger and makeup bag, which can be slotted in the small crevices in between cubes.
I then made use of the internal compression belt. Using this ensures that the cubes remain steady.
Step 5: Packing Envelope on Top
The beauty of the packing envelope, apart from keeping your ‘high maintenance clothing’ wrinkle-free, is that it is sturdy, and because it also comes with a folding square / guide, it maintains a perfect rectangular shape.
Now this goes on the top layer in order to help keep the overall shape of the bag. This also helps in zipping up the bag.
Step 6: Zip Up and Use the compression strap
After you’ve zipped the bag close, use the external compression strap and firmly clasp it close. This helps maintain the bag’s balance and posture. Most of all, when you need to use the extra allowance zip of the bag, it really helps in reducing the bag’s size.
I like to think of it as a belt that helps the bag ‘hold it in’.
And there you go! What do you know, I had exactly 15 kilos of things on the way to the Philippines.
And because one MUST do a bit of shopping in the Philippines, the bag weighed just a little over 17 kilos, which didn’t cause any trouble for the airline 🙂
The Eagle Creek Load Warrior and the packing cube system really made my life so easy! I would best describe the bag as perfect for those who do like to go on adventure trips, but are not quite backpackers.
And the thing I find great is that even though I packed just 15 kg of clothes and things, nothing was sacrificed, I still managed to pack how I would normally pack in 2 weeks even if the luggage allowance was higher. (The only thing I left behind was a second makeup bag which I managed to do without).
And because I’m so happy to have found this revolutionary system in packing, I’m sharing the love, y’all!
Eagle Creek has been very kind to supply me with a new set of Eagle Creek Load Warrior and a packing envelope to give away to a reader!
I’m giving away 1 Eagle Creek Load Warrior 28 along with 1 Eagle Creek Packing Envelope:
To enter, just comment below and tell me,
Are you a light or heavy packer? Where will you take the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 28?
This is open to Australian residents only.
Only one winner will be randomly drawn. This winner will receive both the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 28 and the packing envelope.
Winner will be randomly chosen, and will be notified via email.
Entries close Sunday 6th of September 23:59 AEST
Disclosure: I was given 2 sets of the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 28 and Packing Envelope by Eagle Creek. One set is for the purpose of a review, of which I've stated above all my personal opinions, and the other set is for a giveaway.