Kathmandu Litehaul v2 – the Ideal Carry-On Travel Pack?
Checking your luggage into the hold is always a risky option, but the Kathmandu Litehaul gives you the chance to take only cabin baggage.
In my job as travel journalist I'm always at airports, catching planes to far flung destinations, but flying seems to get more stressful as I get older. Anything that can relieve some of that pressure is always welcome so I always try to take only carry-on baggage – that way there's no anxiety at the baggage carousel at the other end. It does mean that you have to pack wisely and I'm always on the lookout for the perfect bag. When I heard about the Kathmandu Litehaul it seemed to be just the solution I was looking for.
Now many people swear by wheelie bags, but I find them too heavy, with the wheels taking up much needed space. I prefer to go for the rucksack option, with the straps folding away behind a zipped compartment, and the Litehaul has a proper semi-rigid harnessed back system with padded chest straps and hipbelt. This is also detachable, a good idea as it means you can slip the bag over your shoulder for short term use.
As a man with only one cabin bag, the sight of the steel frame at the departure gate always fills me with considerable dread, particularly on the low budget carriers. Baggage restrictions do differ from airline to airline so the published dimensions of the Litehaul at 55cm x 31cm x 23cm seem to satisfy them all, apart from Ryanair which only allows a depth of 20cm. When pressed, I suppose you just squeeze the bag into the frame and squash it to fit. I usually just sling the bag over my shoulder, as though it weighs nothing at all, smile at the official and hope for the best.
This is the updated version of the original Litehaul and they've added extra pockets without increasing the dimensions. There's a small front pocket, large enough for a couple of paperbacks, a fleece lined pocket on the top which can take a compact camera and a large full-length zipped compartment, accessible from the outside, designed for a 15" laptop or a couple of sweaters. Helpfully there's even a bottle pocket on the side.
Inside the 3/4 opening flap there's one main large compartment, and there's also a 3/4 length mesh pocket on the underside of the lid, perfect for a pair of shoes or your dirty laundry. The stated storage space is 38L and one thing that I miss from other similar bags is horizontal securing straps to keep everything compact. Apart from this, I did manage to fit everything in from my normal packing list, and kept the weight down to less than the 10kgs stipulated by many airlines.
The bag seems well made, a mixture of 840D ballistic nylon, 420D nylon check, with a polyester lining, and comes in red, blue and black. The zips seem strong, and the padded shoulder straps and hip belt make it a comfortable carrying proposition. With a recommended retail price of £89.99 it's not cheap but, as you say, you gets what you pay for – it should serve me well for many years to come.
- External access 15" laptop sleeve
- Lockable main zip
- Convertible hipbelt
- Zip-away harness
- Bottle pocket
- Organiser pockets
- Height 55cm x Width 31cm x Depth 23cm
- Weight 1.44kg
For more information visit the Kathmandu website.