- Suitcase-ing – backpacking with a suitcase
- Backpacking – travelling with a backpack, usually on a low budget
Conclusion? Those who backpack with suitcases are probably travelling with budget suitcases.
I would like to have travelled with a backpack and, after my first trip (December 2006-February 2007), I decided to buy one. It was beautiful – sturdy with cushioning on the back and a strap for my hips. Unfortunately my eyes were bigger than my strength, and it’s so big that I can’t actually carry it when it’s full (well, not if I want to stand up straight). It’s a bit impractical.
As I packed, the lining (attached to the suitcase by a zip) pulled away from the suitcase frame.
When I left Paris, I discovered that the case rocked from one wheel to the other as it rolled.
Three weeks into my trip, I realised that the corners of the plastic frame of the case had started to crack. From then on I watched them crumbling before my eyes, piece after piece of loose plastic presenting itself every time I opened the case. I began to think that this was not the best €20 I’d spent to date.
Four weeks into my trip, the Marc Mallory logo popped off. Don’t ask me how. I was looking at the departures board at Lisbon airport and heard a little “ping!” I turned around and my suitcase’s badge of honour was on the ground.
It was time for an intervention.
Six weeks into my trip, I used packing tape to reinforce all of the corners.
Freshly returned to Europe from the US and approaching week eight, today I discovered that the damage had spread – the tape was holding together dislocated fragments of plastic that flexed back and forth when I poked them, and white fractures squiggled across the grey plastic from under the tape.
I slotted a new loose piece into a gap, and attacked the suitcase with the packing tape, mummifying its insides.
16 days to go – will it last?