Jet Set $cholar: The Perfect Travel Bags for Urban and Amazonian Travel

As a scholar I travel regularly… one week I may be in DC reviewing a grant, the next at a conference presenting a paper.  If I’m not at a conference I’m trying to get a cheap flight out of the country.  With so many trips under my belt I have started to appreciate high quality travel gear.  In my travels, domestic and international, business and pleasure, urban and super rural (like amazonian rural) two bags stand out because they are rugged and sized perfectly for cary on luggage (and who the heck wants to pay baggage fees).

The Patagonia MLC Wheelie (Black) and the Black Hole Duffel 90L, also by Patagonia. I know you may be thinking that Patagonia is expensive (which it is), but the gear is well worth the cost.  It has a lifetime warranty and can take a beating.

The first bag I recommend is the Patagonia MLC Wheelie (Black).  This is my go to bag for a short weekend trip, especially if my trip is international.  Its hard to see from this photo, but the bag has a main compartment, a wet or dry padded compartment, and two pickets (a hidden one and a front one).  The handle telescopes to tall and short positions, the wheels are durable and smooth, and the bag is rugged and perfect for high paced travel.  For the few times that I have to run to catch a flight I can take out two backpack straps and wear the pack jet-pack style. The bag costs $230, an expensive bag by any measure, but if you travel frequently and want a lifetime warranty, this is the bag for you.

I don’t own the the Black Hole Duffel 90L, but after getting a close up look at it from a fellow traveler I’m likely to get it before the summer.  At $125, the duffel is extremely affordable.  The bag is a no frills waterproof and cavernous bag that also makes good company if you want a durable bag (I know someone that uses this when they go to the Amazon!).  The bag comes with two internal mesh bags and several small zippered pockets and both handles and backpack straps.  This is a solid bag and one that makes a good compliment to the MLC mentioned above.

I’ll keep reviewing my travel tips and gear as we get close to the spring and summer travel season.  Keep your bags packed and see you on the next flight!

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