Category Archives: Duffel Bags

One person’s African Safari adventure tale

Renee Silverman, vice president of marketing at Irv’s Luggage, recently took a trip to Africa. She is joining us today to discuss her trip and share some things she learned during her trip.

  1. So, Renee you were recently in Africa. What countries did you go to and how did you pick your destinations?

My daughter was volunteering as a nurse in Uganda, so that determined the start point IMG_1457of our trip. From there, it was easy to get to neighboring Tanzania, which was where we would spend the majority of our time in Africa. We hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro and went on safari in the Serengeti. From there we went to Rwanda, just to the west of Tanzania, to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. With so much time spent traveling to these destinations, on board comfort was imperative. I couldn’t have made it without a neck pillow, which conveniently attached to my backpack and made the journey much more comfortable.

  1. What was the favorite part of your trip?

All of it! If I had to choose 1 thing, I would say seeing the mountain gorillas up close and personal was my favorite.

  1. Working at a luggage store, you get to pick what bags you wanted to take. How did you decide what luggage to use?

Knowing ahead of time that we would be flying on small inter-country flights as well as large overseas carriers, helped me decide which bags would accommodate a variety of flights with different baggage requirements. The smaller planes we would be flying had stricter baggage sizes and weights due to the size of the planes, so we planned on packing to accommodate the strictest requirements. This meant traveling with a smaller checked bag than I might ordinarily have taken. Since the smaller planes would only allow a maximum weight of 40 lbs, that was what we used as our overall weight guideline for packing for the trip. I chose to bring a lightweight High Sierra drop bottom duffel that would allow me to separate my items, but which had a lot of packing space. In general, a duffel bag is a great option over a large suitcase when traveling far and needing to pack a lot. In addition, I knew that I would need a backpack for the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb as well as the jungle climb to see the gorillas, so my carry on personal bag was a Granite Gear hiking backpack that I could use for those treks.

  1. What was your packing strategy and did you learn anything about packing during your trip?

I used a lot of packing cubes and compression bags in my luggage that I would highly recommend to every traveler. The packing cubes not only save on space in your luggage, but they help keep your belongings organized and make it easy to move when you are traveling from place to place. Everything I packed went into a packing cube. The compression bags are important if you need to pack bulky items that take up space. In our case, we had to pack lightweight down jackets, sweaters and other cold weather gear for the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. After the climb, we would not need those items, so they were packed back into the compression bags and took up very little space in our luggage.

  1. Did you bring any souvenirs home from your trip?

MZQJ4638Yes! We purposely brought large duffels and packed light so that we had room for extras. It’s so important to plan ahead for buying souvenirs or the trip home could be a nightmare. Another great idea is to bring along an extra foldable tote or duffel to bring your souvenirs home in.

  1. What was the favorite item or items you took with you?

The backpack was the best and most important item we brought. Being hands free in airports and when boarding planes is a huge benefit. That said, be sure that your important documents are secured in the interior of your backpack and not easily accessible from the outside for security reasons. Invest in an RFID passport case to protect your passport and credit cards while traveling.

  1. If you go back to Africa again what item or items would you take with you? Did you take anything with you that you didn’t need?

We really didn’t end up bringing anything superfluous. We needed and used everything we brought. Researching your destinations beforehand really helps when it comes to packing correctly for a long trip. Many websites offer packing lists for specific destinations that can serve as guidelines for what to pack.

  1. Do you have any warm memories of the people you met during your trip? Can you tell us a little about that?

We have incredible memories of people that we met in every country! We made a pointIMG_2059 of talking to local people as often as we could so that we could really understand the cultures better. When traveling, local people expect tourists to ask a lot of questions, which we did. There was nothing we felt we couldn’t ask, and we learned more through these conversations than any amount of reading could provide.

  1. What type of outfits did you take with you and what would you take now knowing what you know?

It is important when traveling abroad, to research not only the weather of a particular destination, but the cultural norms of the countries you are visiting. We strive to dress in a way that is respectful to the cultures as well as comfortable for us. Layering options are key; we always had long sleeved layers we could add or take away. Also, plan for rain depending on where you are going. Rain slickers roll up small and take up little space in your luggage, but could save you if you encounter wet, rainy conditions.

  1. What memories did you take home from you?

So many memories; from the children in Uganda to Mt. Kilimanjaro to lions feeding on wildebeest in the wild and gorillas playing in the jungle! I highly recommend bringing a journal to record your daily activities, or setting up a WordPress blog before you go. We think we could never forget such memorable experiences, but the details inevitably fade with time. Recording the details in the moment is time well spent when taking a special trip.

  1. Renee, do you have any trips planned for the future and/or where would you like to go?

Yes! Our next destination is the Emerald Isle – Ireland! We plan to rent a car and spend 7 days driving through Ireland on a trip that we create. We hope to see the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, kiss the Blarney Stone, see the bustle of Dublin and the extraordinary countryside of Connemara.

Thank you so much Renee Silverman for joining us. No matter where you are going Irv’s Luggage will be there for you with all your travel needs.

 

New Airline Weight Limits

Just when travelers were getting used to dealing with 50 pound weight limits on their luggage, some airlines have , once again, changed the rules.. In the United States, Spirit and Allegiant Airlines now have a limit of 40 pounds on bags that are checked-in. Overseas, many airlines, such as Ryanair, have a 44 pound limit on their checked bags. Dealing with these limits can be a hassle, but new lighter-weight luggage makes it manageable. Here are a few suggestions of super lightweight luggage.

Roncato Venice 2.0 28″ Expandable ML Spinner

Many of the best brands for lightweight luggage are from Europe, and the Italianroncato venice company Roncato has been specializing in making some of the lightest strongest cases since the 1940’s. This line was recently updated with duo-caster wheels for additional stability as well as a more streamlined look. The best news is that they still kept this case at only 6.1 pounds.

Antler Titus DLX Hybrid Large Expandable Spinner

Titus+DLX+Hybrid+Large+Expandable+Spinner+-+BlackThe Antler Titus has been a huge seller for this British based company, and it has finally arrived in the states. The best feature of this case is that the 32’’ case weighs only 5.7 pounds. This is a great option for people who need to pack items that are bulky. What makes this case unique is the hybrid design that combines the benefits of a hard and soft case. Antler uses polypropylene for the top of bottom of the case for extra durability. This suitcase even has a built-in TSA lock.

TravelPro Maxlite 4 26″ Expandable Rollaboard

American based Travelpro has been making the Maxlite line for several years and theyMaxlite+4+26++Expandable+Rollaboard continue to be one of our top sellers. What makes this case unique is the rollerboard design which uses larger sturdier wheels then most spinner bags. This makes this case perfect for use on uneven terrain, such as cobblestone streets. This suitcase is a great value for the infrequent travelers.

High Sierra Winslow 28″ Wheeled Drop Bottom Duffel

For those who prefer wheeled duffels, there is High Sierra’s Winslow line of duffels. At 7.7 pounds, this is one of the lightest duffels on the market. Duffels are great for value travelers because when not in use they can fold up and be stored in small areas.. Those who like to divide up their packing will also appreciate the drop bottom design. At $107.99, this is the least expensive of all the products we have looked at so far.Winslow+28++Wheeled+Drop+Bottom+Duffel

These are just a few examples of lightweight luggage that Irv’s Luggage carries. As airlines continue to play the weight game, manufacturers are always adjusting their product options. Check out our lightweight luggage section of our website or stop by one of our stores, and we can always help you find the right case that you can use for any trip.

 

OUR FAVORITE NEW ITEM: KENNETH COLE LEATHER DUFFELS

At Irv’s Luggage, we see all sorts of new travel items so not much excites us anymore, but we couldn’t hide our enthusiasm when we saw these awesome Kenneth Cole leather duffels. The leathers are all top notch and the values can’t be beaten. With three different styles to choose from, there is sure to be one for you or a gift for someone special.

KC-580825Looking for a duffel for a quick trip or as a gym bag? Then check out the new Colombian Leather Top Zip Duffel. It has plenty of room for an extra pair of shoes, several changes of clothes, and toiletries. With its sleek black leather, it is perfect if you have to go from the gym right to a meeting and is small enough even to use as a carry-on for a commuter plane. At $119.99 this is going to be a hot holiday seller.

Leather duffels are a great alternative to a wheeled carry-on and the 20″ Colombian KC-58011-1NLeather Weekend Duffel is perfect for those situations. The bag is made of full grain leather and features both interior and exterior pockets for all your small items and tickets and a padded leather strap for easy carrying. This bag comes in black or brown and is an unbelievable deal at $124.99. It even comes with a matching leather luggage tag.

KC-580835If it’s style you are looking for then check out the Polished Nappa Leather Top Zip 20″ Duffel. The leather is cow polish nappa leather which is smooth, polished leather that looks great and feels great to the touch. This is a look you will never feel out of place with, even the most formal of occasions. With an included, detachable leather strap you can carry it over your shoulder or you can use the open pocket sleeve to trolley it on top of a larger bag. At $129.99 we are practically giving it away.

With all three bags quantities are limited to stock on hand, and with the holiday’s approaching quickly this will be a hot item so the time to buy is now. After all, he who hesitates is lost.

 

One fun thing that can be done to personalize many leather items is to have it monogrammed. This is an old process that actually dates back to ancient Greece. For a IMG_1387while, it was considered passé but what was once old is always new again- so they say. Many people do not understand the process and need some guidance. This is where we step in. Follow along for your complete guide to monogramming.

Monogramming leather is done by a stamping machine. This is a process that has not changed in over 75 years and it is all done by hand. The first part is finding the necessary letters or symbols intended for use. There are several choices on lettering sizes. Don’t worry, the person doing the monogramming will work with you to choose the right letter size. Once the machine is heated up the next step is determining where to stamp the item. This part can be trickyIMG_1392 and it takes monogrammer years to know exactly where the best place is aesthetically to make the burn.

Once the letters are picked the next choice is whether to have the letter burned or to have a foil. A foil, usually silver or gold, helps the letters stand out on the item. However, burned-in has become more popular because it has a classic look that never goes out of style. This is very much a personal choice.

IMG_1390Once the letters are in place and the spot marked on the bag the next step is to secure the item so it doesn’t move. It is important for the monogrammer to make sure that the item is centered and secured so the item doesn’t move. If the item is moved or isn’t centered there is no way to erase this so there is no room for error. Once this is done it is time for the stamping. The letters are pushed in by force for several seconds so the burning can take place. Once this is over the item is all ready to go.

Monogramming is also great for gifting, If you aren’t 100% sure about the item, a certificate for monogramming is a safe bet. This way, you know they’ll love the item before they monogram is done.

College Luggage and Backpack guide

It’s the time of year every parent dreads; sending your kid off to college. First-time students will need items like backpacks, duffels, and other travel items. All this packing might seem overwhelming at first. However, a bit of planning can prevent the dreaded last-minute panic. Below is a handy guide of what you might need for the new college student.

Backpacks

A backpack in college can serve a very different function than they did in high school. TNF-CHK3-SSWThe days of having to carry all your books and lunch to school are over. The college student won’t have to carry as many books but they probably will want to carry a laptop to class and study groups. Make sure that any backpack you buy has a padded compartment for a laptop. The North Face backpacks have been popular with college students for many years, and still standard issue at many college campuses. For most fashionable students, brands such as Kipling or Knomo might fit their style. For the student who wants to major in business, backpacks that are designed for professional use will be perfect to use for internships and job hunting.

The Weekend

One famous college tradition that hasn’t changed in many years is the road trip. Students will need a bag for coming home or visiting friends at other college campuses. Weekender bags are very popular because they are lightweight and because their designs can hold lots of clothing and accessories. Small, non-wheeled duffels are popular too because of their structured look and durability. If a student will be mostly traveling by plane to get home a carry-on suitcase might be a more practical idea.

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Getting There and Back

If you are going by car then boxes and large duffel bags will suffice. However, if your student will be flying back and forth to school things get trickier. Wheeled duffels are a popular item due to their easy storage (they will fit under most beds). Luggage can be used too but take up more room in small dorm rooms. The next question is size. Duffel bags 34’’ and smaller usually will work with airline regulations as long as they are less than 50 pounds. Larger sized and overweight bags will usually incur extra costs so be careful if you are trying to minimize costs.

Final Thoughts

When I first went off to college over 25 years ago, my family and I had to buy and pack everything I would need to furnish my dorm room. With the advent of the internet and e-commerce now, things can be ordered beforehand and shipped to the school on the day they will arrive. This will save you from having to physically bring everything and speed up the moving process. Sometimes things do change for the better.

Hello Muddah Hello Faddah: A Summer Camp Duffel Guide

It might still be cool outside, but summer is not far away. For many kids, this means summer camp time and for parents, time to shop for a duffel. There are many choices and below is a handy guide to simplify the process.

Sleeping under the stars

The first step will be to determine what your camp’s guidelines are. For the classic overnight camps, where the kids will be transported by bus, most camps will require a large non-wheeled duffel bag. In this case the recommendation will be a 40’’or larger duffel bag. Being non-wheeled, it will still be easy to store and your child will be able to use the same bag year after year.

Game on

For specialty camps (such as sports camps), or in the situation where you will be driving TNF-CWV7-KZ3_1your child to camp directly you might want to consider purchasing a large (36’’ or larger) wheeled duffel. The advantage of using this type of duffel will be the maneuverability that having a bag with wheels will offer. Imagine having to carry a 50 LB bag hundreds of feet!!! While a wheeled duffel isn’t quite as easy to store they will usually still fit underneath a bed.

Learning is fun

Older kids nowadays often go to academic camps which are hosted on college campuses. These camps tend to be shorter in duration, but might require flying to your destination. A wheeled duffel is still a good idea for these students; however, you will have to keep in mind airline regulations which are typically 62’’ (this is determined by measuring a bag adding together length plus with plus height) and a max weight of 50 LBS. If you go over this size or weight you might be hit with significant fees by the airlines. If your child needs to take more, then it might be cheaper to ship some items ahead.

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Those who fail to plan plan to fail

Camps almost always provide a packing guide that lists what your child will need for the summer. Once you purchase your bag do a practice pack to make sure everything fits and do it well in advance. If organization is an issue, packing cubes can help. Last minute packing is no fun and finding out the bag you purchased isn’t correct can lead to unnecessary panic. I would try to have your list complete and the practice pack done at least 3-4 weeks in advance.

Final Thoughts

One final tip is summer camp isn’t the time for your son or daughter to bring out their new fashions. Old clothes will be nice and comfy and if they get ruined or misplaced they won’t be missed. At the end of the summer your kid can just throw them away rather than having to repack their items. Remember, simple packing equals more time for fun.

 

 

The IT gifts for everyone

Summer is here at long last. It means afternoons at Wrigley, boat tours on the Chicago River, nights grilling on the patio, and full on party season. Don’t you feel like your social calendar is always busiest this time of year? It’s like everyone saved up all their celebrations until now, and it’s madness. The temperatures rise and everybody wants to let loose. We have Father’s day, graduation, birthdays, engagements, weddings and they all seem to fall in these three months under that scorching summer sun. The only thing you have to think about is whether or not you packed your sunscreen. Well that and the gifts you need for every event. We’ve all been through the cycle and have ended up with that quick and easy gift card because we left it to the last minute. Worry not- we have your back. Whether you’re heading out to that engagement party or father’s day brunch, we have the ultimate IT gift to bring with you.

 

The event: Father’s Day brunch

The gift: Andrew Phillips leather tie case

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The event: college graduation party for your niece

The gift: Victorinox charisma tote

 

The event: high school graduation party for your nephew

The gift: High Sierra sportour backpack

 

The event: engagement party for that couple finally getting hitched

The gift: Royce wine carrier

 

The event: your best friend’s birthday bash- poolside mimosas required

The gift: Amy Butler for Kalencom everything bag

 

The event: thank you’s for your bridal party

The gift: PurseN travel bag

 

The event: thank you’s for your trusty groomsmen

The gift: Osgood Marley leather money clip

 

The event: extra special birthday for him- the type he doesn’t announce

The gift: David King weekend leather duffel

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Something you need that didn’t make our list? Let us know, and we’ll send the perfect idea your way!