Traveling for a year? Here's our thoughts and decision on what luggage to carry.

Baby and I talked about what to bring for quite some time before we agreed on one simple rule... you can take anything you like as long as you can carry it on your back. I've done month long trips before with my trusty Lowe Alpine backpack and I must say after a few weeks on my shoulders, I'm ready to give away all my things and become a monk. A rolling suitcase is a much better on the bones but inevitably, there are places where rolling is impossible. We researched solutions and spoke to a few long term travelers before deciding on Eagle Creek's Switchback convertible packs purchased at REI. I bought the 25" version while baby went with the lighter 22" model. The bag is made of lightweight nylon so it doesn't break the airline scales. There are backpack straps as well as wheels for versatility and there’s a zip off day pack that easily fits a laptop, several books, passports and a change of clothes. Perfect for a carry on.

After twelve months on the road, I can say that Eagle Creek has been nearly ideal. The ripstop nylon has performed well and while it has become a bit dirty, it's held up fabulously to airport baggage handlers, train compartments, minivan rooftops and even one motorcycle accident. Most of the time, we zip the day pack onto the main suitcase and roll the set with nothing on our backs. On the few occasions we've had to carry everything, the big bags' shoulder and waist straps are very comfortable. By slinging the daypack across the chest, everything is well balanced and we don't feel like hunchbacks lugging our kit. Bottom line, we've been very pleased with our choice. The only real issue is that one wheel on the 25”  became loose about 6 months in. It still rolls but a bit sideways and rubs its plastic housing causing more rolling resistance and a nice burnt rubber smell every so often. I’m contacting Eagle Creek to see if I can get a replacement wheel kit somewhere.

See the Switchback on Eagle Creek's website.