Like a lot of other people I watched “Rick Steves’ European Travel Tips and Tricks” episode before my Blue Walk trip to Italy in April of this year. Rick really believes in the backpack suitcase that you carry as opposed to the cumbersome roller bag. It makes sense. When you’re traveling in Europe you often have to move your bags over cobblestone streets or narrow sidewalks to get to a train station or taxi stand and you can maneuver through a crowded airport easier when you’re not dragging a suitcase on wheels behind you, it just makes sense.

My husband and I decided to give this a try for our Blue Walk Tour to Italy in April. I think we were the only ones who packed light and carried our bags. Everyone else had bulky suitcases with wheels on them. That’s how I’ve always traveled in the past. Didn’t even occur to me to pack lighter and take a smaller bag but I love Rick Steves so I took his advice.

(Picture Credit: C.J. Arabia)

We decided to go with one of our favorite companies, Red Oxx. I’ve owned Red Oxx bags in the past and have found that they are high quality. I selected the leaner Lil Hombres while my husband selected the larger Tres Hombres.

The philosophy is to pack light – nobody has ever gone on vacation and said, “I’m so glad I brought all this stuff!” Most people grumble about how they have over packed yet again and now have to carry a bunch of things they didn’t really need from town to town. We embraced the less is more philosophy and kept it light – just the essentials.

  • Walking shoes, dress shoes, sandals
  • 5 changes of underpants
  • Basic toiletry kit – half the size I normally travel with
  • Water resistant jacket since we knew we might have some rain
  • Casual walking clothes and a couple nicer outfits for fancy dinners – layers are best and scarves come in real handy

I was actually able to fit 9 outfits into my Lil Hombres bag (so much for packing light!), as well as my toilet kit and everything else I needed. For a small carry on, the Lil Hombre packs a lot of gear. My husband’s Tres Hombres, which is a larger version of the same bag, was so roomy he didn’t even fill it, leaving us plenty of room for souvenirs on the return trip.

One of the things that attracted me to the Red Oxx company is that their bags are made to last. Their bags are constructed for quality and made in America, beautifully designed and come in a beautiful selection of colors that make it easy to spot your bag in a pile or on the carousel. They have a modern yet rugged design. The side pockets provide plenty of space to keep things organized and easy to find. The zippers are extremely well constructed and the straps are very sturdy and comfortable even when wearing them like a backpack and walking longer distances. Sometimes we would walk to the train station instead of taking a taxi and having a bag you can wear on your back made that possible. One last stroll through town as you head to the train… Goodbye Duomo off to the Colosseum!

(Picture Credit: C.J. Arabia)

You can’t beat the Red Oxx warranty. They stand behind their products.

At Red Oxx your warranty claim process has been simplified. If your bag’s seams or zippers happen to break, it gets burned in a car wreck, it gets chewed on by the family dog, or impossibly torn apart by a baggage train, first we’ll marvel it even happened at all, then our team of Warranty Specialists will access whether the bag can be fixed or replaced – NO QUESTIONS ASKED! Only a bag lost or stolen will not be replaced. That’s it. Talk about an unbeatable warranty.

My husband has vowed that he’ll never use a roller bag again. He was quite fond of my Lil Hombres so we switched bags when we got home. I gave him my smaller bag which is actually perfect for a man who packs light. The Tres Hombres has a little more room and I do tend to pack heavier than he does, so it just made sense. If you’re looking for a lightweight travel option, I highly recommend the Lil Hombre and if you’re a gal with more gear, go for the Tres Hombres.

They have a good variety of bags on their website so give it a click and check them out.