Following on from my recent UK train trip, our new Cabin Max Wheeled Backpack goes out on the road again…
This time it's a long weekend city break for two (four nights), to Prague in the Czech Republic.
Flying with British Airways, we have the option of taking one checked hold suitcase each – however I'm keen to try our new bag out as carry-on luggage, and by avoiding the wait at the luggage carousel we'll have more time to enjoy the destination.
BA allow a piece of hand luggage measuring no more than 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm – slightly more generous than the budget airlines with which our backpack is guaranteed to comply (fully packed it's 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm). We can also take a second piece of smaller carry-on luggage each, such as a handbag or laptop.
I plan to pack all our clothes, shoes and toiletries in the CabinMax bag, take a regular rucksack for books/snacks/gadgets etc, and a handbag – for easy access to tickets and documents.
I'm still impressed by the versatility of this bag. It's got plenty of room and a multitude of pockets so you can pack everything neatly and know where it all is. This trip should test out the capacity, and I would envisage using it primarily as a trolley bag on this occasion. As such the rucksack straps are packed neatly away, but it's easy enough to switch and they may come in handy getting from Prague airport to the hotel via bus and tram.
The springtime weather forecast looks variable, with a high chance of rain but some warm sunny days too.
We will each travel in:
- Cargo-style trousers (lightweight and shower-proof)
- A long sleeved top
- A fleece
- A gilet
- A pashmina (for me)
- Comfortable walking shoes/trainers
In the CabinMax rucksack I have packed:
- 4 x underwear and socks (socks stuffed inside shoes)
- 1 pair of flat smarter shoes (definitely not heels for Prague's cobbled streets!)
- 1 vest
- 1 pair pyjamas
- 1 short sleeved t-shirt
- 1 long sleeved t-shirt
- 2 smarter evening tops
- 1 pair smarter trousers
- 1 clear envelope with make-up and toiletries, decanted into small bottles
- 1 pouch of non-liquid toiletries e.g. hair brushes, razor, first aid supplies
- 1 set of jewellery
- 4 x underwear and socks (socks stuffed inside shoes)
- 1 pair of flat smarter shoes
- 2 short sleeved t-shirts
- 1 long sleeved rugby shirt
- 2 smarter evening shirts
- 1 pair smart jeans
Everything fits in with ease – I start with shoes at the bottom (in plastic bags and stuffed with socks), then pack in clothes around them using the ‘rolling' method; lay each item flat (or a pile of two or three similar items), fold in half, then roll up into sausages or parcels. Fit these in the gaps, starting with smaller/less delicate items and finishing with your best clothes on top. Pop toiletries in a front pocket so you can access them easily through security.
Then in the smaller rucksack I have packed:
- 1 clear plastic envelope with further toiletries (each person can carry one, measuring around 20cm square)
- 2 x fold-up waterproof jackets
- Phones, gadgets and solar powered charger
- Foldable water bottle (empty)
- 1 Cabin Max Pack Away Day Sack (for day trips, without having to unpack this rucksack)
This bag is around half-full, which gives some flexibility for souvenirs or adding in discarded clothing layers if we get too warm.
My handbag contains a travel wallet with tickets/passports/insurance etc, and could easily fit inside the rucksack if we were limited to just one piece of cabin baggage each. Don’t forget to carry your holiday insurance policy certificate and wording – just in case you need it. It’s worth getting quotes from different companies or comparison websites before you buy to check the best prices and cover.
Arriving at the airport it was quite strange not having to queue at the check-in desk (we'd printed boarding passes at home) and force of habit saw us actually looking for the desks, instead of heading straight to security! But a quick check in a luggage guage confirmed that the rucksack would indeed fit through as carry-on baggage and we were through security with no problems – our toiletries and gadgets were easy to access and re-pack in the front bag pockets, although you do need to be a little more organised with having more items to put through.
On the plane the backpack fit easily into the overhead lockers, and it was nice to know there was no risk of it going AWOL! Landing in Prague we picked it up and headed straight out to the bus stops for the city centre – no waiting by the baggage carousel. We were on a bus within 30 minutes of touchdown, and at our hotel within another hour – a nice start to the holiday! Carrying everything between airport, bus and tram was easily managed, and even over the cobbles by the hotel the backpack wheeled easily – we didn't opt to carry it at all in the end.
We wore/used pretty much everything we took, except the waterproof jackets as it turned out – there were a few showers but luckily only when we were inside. The weather was variable as expected, starting cool but the final day was very hot and sunny. Evenings were chilly but comfortable with a light jumper or pashmina. There was nothing we felt we'd omitted to pack.
Prague is beautiful and definitely a city for walking around – as well as the cobbled streets there are lots of steps too, so you really do need comfy shoes. It's also full of tourists and school parties who wear all sorts, so really ‘anything goes' and you won't be excluded from anywhere, but there are opportunities to dress up if you like – the numerous music concerts held every night would be an option although again it's not essential to be smart.
We stayed at the Best Western Kinsky Garden hotel – a little way out of the centre so quieter and away from the tourist noise and bustle. However it was walkable (10-15 mins to the Charles Bridge) and the public transport is excellent, with various tram and bus routes stopping at the end of the road – this made the transfer to/from the airport really easy too. Rooms were a little small, but adequate for a short stay – so long as you don't take too much luggage!