After Hundreds of Thousands of Miles, We Finally Replaced Our 25 Year Old Rolling Duffel Bags!

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a close up of a wheel

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We purchased these amazing bags at Sam’s Club back in April 1999. They have traveled everywhere with us hauling everything we needed for all of our cruises, ski and SCUBA adventures, and even moving the household contents of my mom’s apartment from Sweden to Indiana over several trips!

a sewing kit on a bed

No luggage can avoid mistreatment from airlines, or taxi services or cruise lines and these bags suffered much over all of these miles. We always travel with an enhanced sewing kit as well as duct tape and the result of all of those repairs (lots of effort, pain, blood, and OUCHes!) was the bags continued to be usable and lasted until now. The more recent damage is more than can be fixed with needle and thread. Perhaps they got dropped from the belly of the aircraft as we once witnessed while waiting for a flight. The structural components are now failing, however, so it’s time for new bags.

a boat on a rocky shore

We have known this day was coming for some time, so we have been doing research to find replacements that might be up to the task. Some of the terrain we cover in our travels includes cobblestones and even gravel/dirt paths to get to my family’s summer home in Sweden. We knew any replacement would have to be large enough to fit our crazy items and durable enough to last more than a few trips.

We’ve had bags damaged by the TSA as well as the airline and most times we just didn’t bother to report the damage, until now. After about 5 years of use we were once told by a Delta agent that we would have to sign the release that the damage to the bags was not caused by Delta on that trip. We informed her that the damage had been caused entirely by Delta on previous trips, but signed the release in order to get the bags checked. We considered the warranty coverage on the replacement bags we selected, and we paid for them with our American Express Hilton card to get further warranty protection.

a grey duffel bag with black straps

So here is what we have settled on to replace our “vintage” bags. The price point is reasonable and the bags have several of the features we loved on the old bags. Some of the important bits for us is definitely the roller blade style wheels and they must be wide set enough to make the bag stable when it is pulled.

a close-up of a black suitcase

The split section interior is something new, but seems like a great improvement over having everything “swimming” in one large interior space. We liked the end pockets in the old bags for things like shoes and books, but they tend to crowd the interior space if over filled so just having one will be an improvement we think. We also seriously considered this Gonex bag, but the price and features seemed better on the High Sierra bag. We had also hoped for a brighter, more visible color like red rather than the all too common black. We have found that colorful luggage straps help us to differentiate our bag from all the other similar looking ones.

a group of luggage bags

It is sad to say good bye to these so durable and trusted bags that through all of the repairs and travels together feel like an old favorite pair of jeans. We will keep you posted how the new bags work out! – René

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Amazing that your bags lasted 25 years. These days my hard shell checked luggage is lucky to survive 2 years and my soft shell carryon bags are lucky to last 5 years.

  2. Shout out for Rick Steves brand luggage. My two wheeler lasted 18 years, until one of the wheels finally fell apart. The bag itself was in perfect condition. I went with the 4 wheeler this time around. Both bags under $200.

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