It is difficult for a traveling family to look like they’ve got their act together. I’ve seen parents at the airport dragging so many bags and toys and kids and accessories that they look more like they’re heading out to set up a garage sale than heading out on vacation.
Early in our family travel career, Don and I were scarred by the experience of watching another American family struggle for 30 minutes to load their innumerable oversized, hard-sided suitcases covered with plastic garbage bags onto a tiny skiff for a river crossing in Costa Rica. When a few weeks later on that same trip, we found ourselves literally running with our backpacks through two different airports to make ridiculously tight connections, we realized packing correctly in the right bags would be the difference between family vacation heaven and hell. Our REI Wheely Beasts have paid for themselves many times over.
We found the REI Wheely Beast to be the perfect rolling duffel alternative to a backpack or suitcase. Reality dictates that small children just cannot carry their own gear on their backs. Even when they promise they will, they often can’t. Wheeled bags are critical unless parents want to wear extra backpacks on their fronts and shoulders as well.
One grab of the metal-covered, comfort-grip, top handle and you will be sold on the Wheely Beast. It is rugged enough to take camping or to roll down a cobbled street in Italy. The black version looks nice enough to check into a hotel in Manhattan yet understated enough to be inconspicuous on a river skiff in Costa Rica. The interior is wide open – which I prefer – and if you check the video on the bottom of this page, you’ll see that it comes in three sizes. We bought the smallest, 22L version, which is small enough to carry on a plane and load into the overhead compartment without incurring the wrath of a gate agent.
by Maryann Jones Thompson, December 2016
© ROAM Family Travel 2016 – All rights reserved
Keywords: family vacation, family travel, travel with kids, best family travel bags, best family travel gear, gifts for family travelers, travel gifts, best rolling suitcase, best rolling duffel bag, best rollaboard for families