With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, packing for a trip can feel overwhelming, even if you’re planning a fun getaway or a reunion with family and friends. I travel quite frequently and over the years I have refined my packing skills with the help of a few exemplary organizational aids and well-designed luggage. Eagle Creek has always been a personal favorite of mine among luggage brands for their innovative products. I have used and loved their Pack-It System for over eight years now and more recently have come to love their luggage as well, including the Hovercraft collection (which has been superseded by the current Travel Gateway collection). The Hovercraft 25 and 28 upright bags have served me and my husband well in our travels. Let’s just say I’m an Eagle Creek fan. As you can imagine, I was very excited when Eagle Creek reached out to me recently and asked if I’d like to be a part of their Blogger Gear program. They sent me a few products I was interested in trying, including two of their new Gear Warrior bags and a couple of packing organizers I’ve been eyeing. I used all of this new gear on our trip to Disney World in early November when I ran in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and then again most recently for a holiday getaway to New York City. I immediately fell in love with my Gear Warriors and wanted to share my thoughts on them and my new organizers with you.
The Gear Warrior bags are part of the Outdoor Gear collection, which is designed for “Rugged Versatility” and Eagle Creek markets mainly for activity-based travel. I don’t believe you have to be traveling to Peru for an “activity-based” adventure to enjoy this luggage! I have both the 32 and 36 Gear Warriors. While I am not much of an adventure seeker traveller, I do find that these bags are extremely versatile. The Gear Warrior Wheeled Duffle 32 measures 15.5″ wide x 32″ long x 12″ deep and weighs in at 8 pounds 7 ounces. The Gear Warrior Wheeled Duffle 36 (pictured) measures 15.5″ wide x 36″ long x 12″ deep and weighs 8 pounds 14 ounces. Both bags are constructed out of a combination of 420D Helix Ripstop, 420D Helix Oxford, and 1000D Helix Ballistic, which are high quality, performance nylons. Each model has a reinforced base and bottom to provide structure and security. The rugged yet lightweight nylon material allows for flexibility in packing. They are basically half suitcase, half duffle. I love that they stand on their own (which the other wheeled duffles we own by L.L. Bean do not) and has handles on every side for easy maneuvering. The telescoping handle slide in and out with ease and tuck away behind a zippered compartment. Two interior compression straps keep your packed items secure and two exterior heavy duty straps ensure your bag is all in one piece during your travels. There are two roomy exterior pockets, including one that acts as a “laundry chute,” which I have used as such while we are vacationing. These are high quality, innovative, and unique bags that are flexible and versatile for all sorts of travel. I really like that they are long but more narrow in terms of width and depth. I find that my packing organizers, both Eagle Creek brand and others, fit extremely well in this design. I also have found in packing them that I have not once clocked in at above 48 pounds, even with the 36″ packed to the brim with heavy shoes and toiletries. Yes, these are pricey bags, costing $310 for the 36″ and $285 for the 32,” but they are built to last, and as I’ve mentioned a half dozen times already, oh so versatile.
As I mentioned earlier, I have used and loved the Eagle Creek Pack-It System for years. The Pack-It cubes, half cubes, and quarter cubes have been my go-to packing organizers for everything from clothes, accessories, and shoes to electronics, souvenirs, and all sorts of miscellaneous items. I was excited to try out a few of the items from Eagle Creek’s new Pack-It Specter collection, which takes the same functional design of their standard Pack-It line using a new, durable, water-resistant fabric that is apparently is the same kind used to make lightweight tents. I use the Pack-It Specter Folder 18 to keep my husband’s dress shirts and slacks neatly folded and wrinkle-free during our travels. The Pack-It Specter Folder 15 is the perfect size for my silk and fine jersey blouses. I love how each Pack-It Folder comes with a lightweight and handy folding board with the instructions on how to properly fold your clothes to fit printed right inside. The Pack-It Folders keep our nice clothes separate from the other items in our bag and crease free. I also received the Pack-It Specter Cube Set, which includes one full size cube, one half cube, and one quarter cubes all in the specter material. I use the quarter cube to keep my running GPS watch, heart rate strap, and charger together and am able to fit two sets of running clothes easily into the half cube. Both of these pouches fit perfectly along with my running shoes and stretch strap into my new small Pack-It Mud Box. I also used this to keep all of my race gear together in my carryon when we traveled to Disney World for the race. It is the perfect size to keep all of my running gear together and separate from the other contents of my luggage.
I thought I would also share my current favorite toiletry and cosmetic bags here since I discuss them in the coordinating video to this post (see below). I am still using and loving my Kate Spade Large Natalie (#1) for my main toiletry case, which I shared in my post on Travel Toiletries from February 2013. I use the Vera Bradley Straighten Up and Curl (#2) to keep my curling iron safely stashed. Don uses the Eagle Creek Pack-It Quick Trip (#3 – on sale now!) for his toiletries. I always pack my Sigma Mrs. Bunny Travel Kit (#4) for high quality makeup brushes while traveling. I love the little cup they come with, which not only keeps the brushes protected during travel, but acts as brush holders once I reach my destination. I just bought the Orla Kiely Sweet Pea Double Train Case (#5) from Target to use for my makeup. So far I like it! I have used the Vera Bradley Small Cosmetic Case (#6) for many purposes over the years. Lately for travel I use one to stow my Clarisonic Mia face brush and charger and another to corral all of my pre-bedtime necessities such as vitamins and moisturizers. I just pop this case in the bedside table drawer at my hotel upon arrival for use throughout the trip. All of these cases serve their purposes well and fit like a glove into my Gear Warriors!
Photo sources for the above images can be found with the provided links.
It was a bit ambitious of me to try to fit all of our holiday travel “gear” into one bag for our recent long weekend stay in New York City, but I knew if I could manage it that the Eagle Creek Gear Warrior 36 would be my best bet. As usual, I packed in two layers, placing smaller cases and shoes on the bottom between the rungs of the telescoping handle with our larger toiletry cases and Pack-It folders and cubes packed with our clothing on top. It all fit and weighed in just under 48 pounds (within the 50 pound luggage limit)! I had enough room to pack my coat into one of the exterior pockets as well, which is something I like to do sometimes when traveling during the winter so I don’t have to take my coat on the plane with me if I feel I don’t need it. The bag and organizers made packing and unpacking for our holiday weekend a breeze. I find that even a seemingly unimportant thing such as organized luggage makes a huge difference in my travel experience. Being an organized traveler is especially beneficial to me during the holidays when I feel more strapped for time.
If you’d like a closer look at the Gear Warrior and all of my packing organizers, including how I packed for our Holiday Weekend in NYC, I recommend checking out my coordinating video:
I hope this video and post provided you with some ideas for a more organized travel experience. Wishing all of you safe and happy travels this holiday season! 🙂
* I participated in Eagle Creek’s Blogger Gear Program this fall, for which they sent me the 32 and 26 Gear Warrior bags, Pack-It Specter products, and Mud Box. I did not promise or guarantee a review or mention in exchange for these items. As a general rule, I only share items I genuinely use and love. All other items shown were purchased by me. This post contains some affiliate links. All opinions are my own. *