Recently I’ve been quite interested by some of the “carry on bags” available. Why you might ask. Well, the whole luggage-via-plane thing is kinda getting on my nerves. In particular, I don’t think that my current setup is working that well.

I’m using the Burton Wheelie Locker, and, by accident, I’ve got the 188cm  variety. If you’ve read my previous review you’ll know that I have reservations about the practicality of this bag. On my recent trip to Morzine the locker weighed in at 31.9kg on the way out. That’s pretty heavy; not only to lug around but it’s also close the airline’s limit for a single piece of luggage.

So, on the way back I decided that I was going to off-load some of the weight to my carry-on allowance – and stash it in the ruck sack. With this approach I dropped the weight to a safer 26.5kg. On the down side my little ruck sack was bursting at the seems.

So, when a shiny new Burton Wheelie Flight Deck caught my attention in Snow & Rock I started thinking…

Are they going to fit?
They look kinda big; are they too big to carry on?

  • The Burton Wheelie Flight Deck: 57.15cm x 34.29cm x 25.4cm, 50L capacity
  • The Dakine Over Under: 55 x 37 x 23cm, 46L capacity

Do they qualify as carry-on bags? Both Burton and Dakine quote “legal carry on size for most airlines”. Hmm. The two airlines that I’ve used the most are British Airways and Easyjet.

  • BA baggage: Air travellers departing from a UK airport can now carry onboard ONE bag no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm
  • Easyjet baggage: Each passenger is usually permitted one standard piece of hand baggage to maximum dimensions of 55x40x20cm

So, by the numbers neither bag is allowed with Easyjet, and only the Over Under will pass with BA. That’s all I’ve got to go on though as I don’t have any experience with how strict the airlines actually are…

What do you need all of that space for?
Well, this is what originally attracted me to the idea. I carry a laptop, my camera, my video camera, an mp3 player, a book, magazine and a few other things with me in my hand luggage. It’s totally full and everything is stacked on top of the previous thing. The extra space is great if you’ve got a lot of items you don’t want to be thrown around with the rest of the cases.

In addition, these carry on bags are well designed, with good, seperate compartments, meaning you can organise your stuff properly. I think the Burton bag even comes with a cool little laptop case. Also, the additional space can be used to move some of your gear out of your board bag – if you need to. In my case, this would help me distribute the weight more evenly…

Are they worth the price?
The prices seem quite high in comparison to the other “split” bag designs. For example the Dakine Over Under is the same price as their Split Roller 90. I suppose they do offer good flexibility: maximum storage from a bag you can carry on, especially with the Over Under, which can expand to become a bag you check in (under instead of over). But what about &pound per L capacity? I’m still not sure about the price.

Overall, is it worth it?
I’m not sure, I’d probably say no, especially if you’re starting from scratch. There are three down-sides to a travelling snowboarder that jump out at me:

  • They’re just a little bit too big. I don’t know what the airline allowances are like in America, but I reckon it’s a stretch to think you’re going to get away with these bags, everytime, unchallenged
  • You lose the advantage of not checking your bag in, because you’ve still got to wait for your snowboard
  • I still think a regular board bag plus regular split bag design is a better option. This setup is much more balanced when it comes to weight distribution, making it easier for you and it’s a closer match to airline baggage allowances

However, if like me you went for a one bag solution and you’re finding that 30+kg is a problem, maybe a bag like this will help you spread the load. It also remains a good option if you’ve got a lot of delicate items you don’t want down in the hold.

Get hooked up. If you’re in the USA, or close by, The House does some amazing bags (and other gear).

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