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Backpack in airline holds

Tikitour

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata Oct 17
Primitivo Aug 18
Maybe I’m worrying about nothing..... but I think of all the loops and strappy bits on the outside of my backpack, and envisage them getting caught in the baggage handling machinery.

Is this a problem, and if so, what is the solution?

I pay to have my pack shrink wrapped at the airport prior to checking in - it stops the straps getting caught and damaged and stops anyone accessing it ( to remove the contents or put stuff in - like drugs). Costs around €10 takes less than 5 minutes.

I’ve found this service available at many airports i.e Auckland (NZ), Madrid, Croatia.
I’ve never seen any packs damaged on the carousel- but I don’t really look at the buckles.

Guess it’s all personal preference. You could probably do it yourself with a large roll of cling wrap. I just find the airport service fast and convenient.
 
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biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I've used both the Gorilla Gear Mariposa and the ULA Circuit. Packed, both can be made to fit the required carry-on dimensions for domestic and international flights, and I have never had anyone even give a second glance when I've flown. They both fit easily into the overhead compartments without any struggle at all.
I travel with a 38L Osprey Talon and have never had a problem with it as a carry on but I pack poles, so I usually check my bag.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Sounds like a hobo or blanket roll a la Crocodile Dundee (see here) - the trouble with these is you have to unroll everything to get to the piece you actually want :(
Hi Jeff,

Yes, it does need to be unwrapped to get to anything, so, like anything else, plan for what you need and arrange things to achieve that. On the other hand, there is my next version;

This can be done with or without a tarp. My preference is to do it this way;

Start with folding the blanket in half lengthwise. Now, begin to pile up belongings in the middle. Then, fold the loose bottom end up over belongings. Fold sides up over belongings. Now, find the middle of of a piece of paracordand hold so the middle forms a bit of a loop. Now, grab the blanket just above the belongings and bunch the blanket up. Put the hand holdp the paracord loop under the bunched blanket and proceed to pull the two loose ends of the paracord theough the loop and tighten. Then fold what is left of the top over the belongings. Now, you should have something that is starting to look like a backpack. Take each paracord in hand, right and left and wrap under and over the pack in a crisscross pattern. Once at the bottom, tie off.

Now, turn the pack overso the blanket ends are on the bottom. Take 10 to 12 feet of webbing and, like with the paracord, find the middle and make a loop in one hand. Wrap around that bunched blanket neck just like the paracord so you have 5 or 6 feet on each side. Take the webbing loose ends and feed through the paracord at the bottom of the pack forming loops for your arms and shoulders.

Stand at the top of the pack, hands through webbing loops and grab the pack and place over your head. Once in place, your blanket pack is on your back and the webbing has become straps. Now, continuing to hold onto the webbing ends, bring together at your beltline and tie in place.

Belongings are double covered on top but only single covered on the side so you do not have to tear it all apart to access, just snake a hand into the top items, from one side (because that is where you keep the things you may need), and replace the side when done.

Hoping to create a video for each method in coming months.
 

Anthony18

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I've used both the Gorilla Gear Mariposa and the ULA Circuit. Packed, both can be made to fit the required carry-on dimensions for domestic and international flights, and I have never had anyone even give a second glance when I've flown. They both fit easily into the overhead compartments without any struggle at all.
Thanks, I'll check them out.
 
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Rogelio

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Future (2017)
We bought the “blue bag” from Akea store. They are less then $5.00 and we sent them through the belly of the plane with no issue. We also used them to pack gear that we sent to the next hostel.
 

PapaSmurf76

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Sept 2016
Maybe I’m worrying about nothing..... but I think of all the loops and strappy bits on the outside of my backpack, and envisage them getting caught in the baggage handling machinery.

Is this a problem, and if so, what is the solution?

Our solution is clingwrap.
Leave the top handle out but wrap the rest several times over. Any removable straps can be taken off and placed in an internal pocket or left at home. Put a knife in the top pocket if you're taking one to help cut off the clingwrap.

Clingwrap / Gladwrap or whatever you call is is available in any supermarket across USA, UK, and continental Europe, so easily accessible for a couple of $£€. That way you don't have to carry a cover. We've also used bin bags and tape in the past but tape isn't always as easy to get.

We used the airport wrap service once, it was far less secure than half a roll of clingwrap and five times the cost.

If you're tall and have a long pack or carry treking poles within Europe you cant carry on your pack, so thats not an option.
What would happen if I lost my pack?
1) Open my packing list on my phone
2) Open google maps and find the nearest Decathlon
3) Open google maps and find the nearest non Decathlon sports store (Deportes) for the rest of the items.
4) Start walking the next day

Buen Camino
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
Sounds like a hobo or blanket roll a la Crocodile Dundee (see here) - the trouble with these is you have to unroll everything to get to the piece you actually want :(
My experience is that no matter how carefully I analyze what I might need and how to pack it, when I actually need something, I have to empty the whole pack to find it! Especially if I check it and TSA decides to peek in. It comes out of the scanner or baggage claim looking like they "repacked" with a dump truck.
 

Peter Voncken

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
april 4 - 14-6 2014 From perigeux to santiago
18-5- 3-6 2015 from Villa Franca del Biedrzo to santiago
Hi
To make sure i could bring my bag in the plane i made a template in cardboard with the dimensions of the airplane company and i place my stuff inside my bag to be sure to not exceed the length and the width.
That's a usefull tip. Thanks. Peter, Ulestraten, Netherlands
 

John H.

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF - 2017
CP Central - 2017
CP Coastal - 2018
CF - [hopefully again someday]
Spend $2 on a role of clear food wrap. Wrap your bag in every direction and leave a little opening for the carry handle and attach your luggage tags. Works like a charm and protects walking poles and straps. Also keeps airport staff from stealing contents. The wrap made mine look smaller and one airport let me take it as carryon. I bought a second role of clear food wrap for 2 Euros at a grocery store in Santiago. Easy and cheap. - When practice packing, I tried a light weight $50 backpack cover bag and its strap tore before I left home :)
 
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Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
I met a guy on my first Camino who walked the Primitivo, and had limited time. When his backpack was "delayed" by the airline he just bought a very small backpack, and the barest of essentials - extra shirt, socks and underwear, toothbrush, etc.

There's a lesson there. Sometimes I like to imagine walking the Camino with just what would fit in a kids' school bag!
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
Spend $2 on a role of clear food wrap. Wrap your bag in every direction and leave a little opening for the carry handle and attach your luggage tags. Works like a charm and protects walking poles and straps. Also keeps airport staff from stealing contents. The wrap made mine look smaller and one airport let me take it as carryon. I bought a second role of clear food wrap for 2 Euros at a grocery store in Santiago. Easy and cheap.
I've seen the plastic-wrapping machines at airports in Europe. I assume that must be a strictly non-US thing. It's drummed into us Americans that security has to have complete access to everything in our baggage - we're not even allowed to fly with wrapped Christmas presents.
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
I always wear my boots, if my pack ever gets lost, that is why I carry a credit card. Never had any luggage of any sort Camino or otherwise lost in 50 years of travel, so not something I spend a second worrying about ever.
My rule of thumb is to carry my bag on when flying outbound and check it when returning home. But on a recent trip my bag made it home ahead of me while I missed a connection and spent a night at Dulles with nothing but the clothes I was wearing and a hotel toothbrush. So now my rule of thumb is to fly home with an extra pair of underwear in my jacket pocket. :)
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
One carabiner is a nuisance. two or three on one fist ARE a field-expedient set of "brass knuckles..." It can be done...
I fully understand and sympathize with any of the airport gate security agencies in the US around the world, and sympathize having worked a similar job dealing with the public for many years, but honestly if I were on a flight and some foolish person tried to disrupt it violently utilizing carabiners clenched in his fingers as knuckles, I would be laughing inside the entire time I watched him pass out from a sleeper hold, :) .
That being said though, I can honestly say I have never had a bad experience with security at any airport anywhere in the world.
 

Vikita

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(May 27 /June (2017 - Hopefully)
Maybe I’m worrying about nothing..... but I think of all the loops and strappy bits on the outside of my backpack, and envisage them getting caught in the baggage handling machinery.

Is this a problem, and if so, what is the solution?

You can have it shrink wrapped for about $10 if you want. I did that when I came home. You just have to find something to open it when it comes off the baggage machinery. On the plane on the way to Spain, I carried it on with me.
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
You can have it shrink wrapped for about $10 if you want. I did that when I came home. You just have to find something to open it when it comes off the baggage machinery. On the plane on the way to Spain, I carried it on with me.
Most small keys will work for that, if you're determined enough. But if you're that determined, fingers will work. :)
 

BoH

Never more than 7-8 kg on the back!
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2011, -13, Norte -15 and again sept -18.
My reasons for checking my backpack are as follows:

1) can’t take trekking poles as carry-on
2) budget airlines do not allow any leeway on the size or weight of carry-on.
3) they also charge for hold baggage, and if I’m going to pay extra to check my poles, I may as well check my pack as well.
4) I need a pack long enough to accommodate my poles.


I don’t think my pack is too big: 33l, expandable to 40l if you stuff all the outside pockets. I don’t expect it to be full, and hopefully not too heavy: all my clothes will be ultra light and quick drying and I’m not going mad with the number of items (2 long-sleeved, 2 short sleeve, 2 trousers, 1micro fleece, rain jacket, hat, buff, gloves, 3x underwear and socks), no books except Brierley and a small notebook, dual-purpose soap rather than different detergents for everything - but it is too tall to go as carry on. That decision is made now, the pack is bought (and is very comfortable).

So, thank you to those who have made practical suggestions. I have wondered about the wrapping service at the airport, but the alternatives are worth exploring too. My pack has a built-in rain cover..... but if that got torn in transit, I then wouldn’t have a rain cover.

I will be wearing my boots on the plane and carrying valuables, medication and Travel documents in an extremely light collapsible bag. I have a night booked in Bayonne because my flight arrives in the evening. I am travelling via Paris, but with a 4 hour connection time, so hopefully all will be well re lost pack. I’ve also only known it once in 30 years as a regular traveller.
Maximal height for the rucksack as handluggage in Europe is 55 cm. I always fold my poles together and place them diagonal. Never a folding-knife! and The blade must not be more than 60 mm. Knifes made of plastic can divide sausages and cheese, and are also ok.
 

hieudovan

DoVanHieu
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Several folks had posted about plastic wrap, Saran wrap, Glad wrap, Cling wrap... I too use plastic wrap to wrap my backpack because I can't take my poles as carry-ons. As carryon, I have a small "shopping bag" that I fill with one change of clothes, medicines and necessities if my backpack is delayed. I never had problems with staff needing to open the wrapped backpack. I do leave the strap on top of the backpack unwrapped so staff can use it to move/carry the backpack as needed. I do the same thing on the flight home.
 
D

Deleted member 29041

Guest
Not exactly the cheapest solution, but a very handy solution that doubles as a pack liner: Zpacks "Airplane Backpack Case"
airplane_case_side_l.jpg
 
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jerbear

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
Wrap it with saran food wrap tite.
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Year of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Maybe I’m worrying about nothing..... but I think of all the loops and strappy bits on the outside of my backpack, and envisage them getting caught in the baggage handling machinery.

Is this a problem, and if so, what is the solution?

I worry about my straps snagging in transport. Always have done due to one single accident flying home from Greece, my fault !!
Always use a strong, clear bin liner - 2,5 meter of polycord around, wound like an oven steak, on with luggage tag, and into the hold!
I can see if sb tried to pry or unpack, due to many scout knots.
Poly cord will be used on the trail as clothes line or roof ridge w/ emergency blanket if I ever need to bivy out in the the rain or in the night !!
 
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Philip Nelson

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April-May (2018)
So, I have had the same questions. Really did not want to spend more money but decided I should, primarily because of the issue of how to carry my trekking poles and fears of dangling straps. After a great deal of searching I settled on the Pro-Tector Rucksack cover. Competitively priced, excellent quality and for me a huge selling point is that they are manufactured in Nepal at a fair wage providing jobs for local families. I received 2 yesterday in the mail and they are very well made. I compared with several others, all similarly priced and would certainly buy the Pro-Tector again. I originally read about them on this forum. Check them out at http://www.pro-tector.co.uk . I am in U.S. and shipping very reasonable and fast. My wife and I will commence in SJPP April 18 and can't wait!
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
Some people like the collapsible cable netting that can be locked to prevent theft in albergues. I wonder whether the holes in them are small enough to prevent straps from sticking out far enough to catch on things?

One argument against the bags is that they send a visual signal that "there's something in here worth stealing!"

When checking the bag in (if you're going to or from USA) is that you have to use a "TSA approved lock" which is a complete joke. TSA has keys that can open any such lock. The reason I say it's a joke is because if master keys are possible, then criminals have them, too.

But as far as this thread is concerned, I'm only wondering if they would serve as damage reduction. Certainly they wouldn't prevent the shattering of plastic parts like buckles and wheels due to impact. But maybe they would protect straps and handles.
 

PaulCat

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June (2015) & June/July (2018)
Maybe I’m worrying about nothing..... but I think of all the loops and strappy bits on the outside of my backpack, and envisage them getting caught in the baggage handling machinery.

Is this a problem, and if so, what is the solution?

I've flew on a few occasions with straps not secure. I had not problems, but I Was worried about the straps getting caught on something somewhere.

Next flight I take where I have to check my bag, I'm going to put it in a large mesh laundry bag.

Something kind of like this.
 
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Anthony18

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Due to my walking stick, I had to check-in my backpack. In all cases, they put it in a sturdy plastic bag and it worked well.
A pilgrim told me that she packed her sticks in their own box and checked them in, while taking her backpack as a carry on. Hopefully that's what I'll be able to do to avoid checking in backpack.
 
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YoCo

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Future: Aug 2018 Frances
Huh.... I've not heard of using cling wrap to secure a backpack.

When I flew to Oz from the US a million years ago I just put it in a cinch up type laundry bag. Had no issues.

This Camino trip I figured much the same for my 32L school type backpack. No frame, just the buckles & straps to keep out of conveyor belts and the like.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I'm sorry that you lost your iPad, but valuables should never be placed in the hold. Neither should prescription medications.
I didn't say it was in the hold. I said stolen. And since you bring up medications, can you believe that thyroid hormone replacements were stolen from an albergue?
 

Jnlee99

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: SJPdP -> Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Future: Santo Domingo de la Calzada -> Santiago
Huh.... I've not heard of using cling wrap to secure a backpack.

When I flew to Oz from the US a million years ago I just put it in a cinch up type laundry bag. Had no issues.

This Camino trip I figured much the same for my 32L school type backpack. No frame, just the buckles & straps to keep out of conveyor belts and the like.

Didn't see then in western europe , but it's a norm in estern europe.
 

Sonder

Life in Years is better than Years in Life.
Year of past OR future Camino
CF & Finisterre (2018)
CF (2020)
Buen Camino!

I am leaving this August for the Camino Francis and my solution to checking my backpack & poles it to use a "FRAKTA" bag sold at IKEA. Hopefully the link below works. Anyway, in the US it costs $5, so would not be a big loss if damaged. It is shaped like a rectangular box measuring about 29" x 14" x 12" and my 40+ liter backpack has plenty of room. I just wrap duct tape around the outside of the bag to tighten up the loose space around the backpack. It only weighs 6.5 oz and is made of a woven plastic material. I have used it on several flights here in the U.S. with no problems.

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90149148/
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Buen Camino!

I am leaving this August for the Camino Francis and my solution to checking my backpack & poles it to use a "FRAKTA" bag sold at IKEA. Hopefully the link below works. Anyway, in the US it costs $5, so would not be a big loss if damaged. It is shaped like a rectangular box measuring about 29" x 14" x 12" and my 40+ liter backpack has plenty of room. I just wrap duct tape around the outside of the bag to tighten up the loose space around the backpack. It only weighs 6.5 oz and is made of a woven plastic material. I have used it on several flights here in the U.S. with no problems.

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90149148/

Yes, we know them well.

If you lose it they're only about $3 in Europe for the one with a zip closure 0.60c for the open top ones.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
Buen Camino!

I am leaving this August for the Camino Francis and my solution to checking my backpack & poles it to use a "FRAKTA" bag sold at IKEA. Hopefully the link below works. Anyway, in the US it costs $5, so would not be a big loss if damaged. It is shaped like a rectangular box measuring about 29" x 14" x 12" and my 40+ liter backpack has plenty of room. I just wrap duct tape around the outside of the bag to tighten up the loose space around the backpack. It only weighs 6.5 oz and is made of a woven plastic material. I have used it on several flights here in the U.S. with no problems.

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90149148/
Not being a pole user, I opted for a simple laundry sack around the backpack. Protects the bag from something catching an edge and later gets used for separating clean from dirty IN the bag and can also be a makeshift pillow!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
Be sure you have a contingency plan as to what you will do if your checked pack does not arrive with you. Sadly..there are many reports of this happening despite the posts that say.."I checked mine and they didn't lose it.."
It happens ...and if it does you should have a plan about any reservations or connections you have to get to your starting point as it may take a day or 2 for it to be found...or not found it all.
Consider carrying your pack on board and only check those items you feel are not allowed.
 

Ferenjinan

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy- Auvillar ( 2018 )
Lisbon- Santiago (2019)

St. Jean Pied a Port - Finisterre 2008
Brilliant! However, just 2 years ago replaced my 30 year old pack with a new, powdered blue comfy one (I check it, straps and all) with good waist belt etc, so will go with that. Not happy that it does weigh though.
And about the plastic wrap- one time at the Delhi airport I succumbed to a free wrap your bag and was later appalled to see how much plastic was involved, not reusable for anything. An eco sin on my conscience.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
Be sure you have a contingency plan as to what you will do if your checked pack does not arrive with you. Sadly..there are many reports of this happening despite the posts that say.."I checked mine and they didn't lose it.."
It happens ...and if it does you should have a plan about any reservations or connections you have to get to your starting point as it may take a day or 2 for it to be found...or not found it all.
Consider carrying your pack on board and only check those items you feel are not allowed.
Good thing I did not make any reservations, because this happened to me. My bag took another plane and wasn’t reunited with me for another nail biter of a day! All was better once I hit the trail, but that wonderful hospalitero at St. Jean had to calm me down. She was a treasure
 
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