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Baggage suggestions?

I usually ride with a small family team with our own support vehicle, but my sibs are thinking about starting the route about a third of the way in and I’m toying with starting on my own in Council Bluffs and meeting up with them later in the week. So – thinking about the baggage truck, and packing a bag for same. I don’t have a suitable bag and am looking for suggestions. I want something sturdy, big enough to hold my tent, bedding, etc., but not overly heavy on its own. It would be nice if I could carry it either by the handle or on my back. I am 59 years old and a sturdy but not burly grandma. Any suggestions?

20 Replies

jelly0317, March 19, 2019 at 6:43 pm

Army surplus-type duffel bags work well. Attach something eye-catching to the outside to make it easier to spot in the baggage area. Put all of your clothes in sealable plastic bags.


Gypsy Rose, March 19, 2019 at 6:44 pm

For much of my life (on the water and on land), I have been a fan of the Bill’s Bag (which I also use for RAGBRAI). They’re simple, durable, waterproof (in case your baggage gets left out in the rain), and can be carried on your back (but not meant for long-distance hiking). I have a large one (110L) that I use for RAGBRAI, but I also have a 65L version for times when I’m not carrying as much.

~ Kevin


jwsknk, March 20, 2019 at 7:50 am

can you arrange to have the others bring some of your stuff, then you only need to pack for 2-3 days.


trek2300, March 20, 2019 at 8:38 am

Bag wise, there are myriad brands and price ranges available. Some bags will last nearly forever and others…not so much. However, I’m a firm believer in wheeled duffel bags. Rolling a bag, even over rough terrain, is significantly less challenging than carrying it.

Have a great RAGBRAI!


turtlePacker, March 20, 2019 at 11:13 am

Yeah, that’s my plan. Unfortunately doesn’t make tent any smaller!


Chris, March 20, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Though you are limited to one bag/person, up to 50lbs, the tent can be clipped to the outside of the main bag so it doesn’t take up room in the bag. I’d suggest doing this for a second reason: almost every morning, your tent will be wet with dew, and sitting in a hot bag just makes everything in your main bag damp.

Like the others said, bag selection is going to really depend on if you’re packing for 2 days before you meet up with the rest of your team, or you’re packing for all week. For two-three days, I’d suggest going with a surplus military rucksack, as they can be had for cheap money, are pretty roomy, and carry on your back just fine. For a full week’s worth of stuff a backpack can get pretty heavy, especially after a long day. A duffel with a reinforced bottom that you can just drag, or with wheels, is a good bet for that.

Perhaps the biggest thing, though: think COLOR! Make it bright and easy to find in the claim area. It’w way, way better than it used to be, too. Years ago it was just a huge pile. Now, it’s laid out quite nicely in rows. Won’t take you more than 3 minutes to find your bag.

See you in July!


turtlePacker, March 20, 2019 at 2:56 pm

Good point about moisture, Chris. The 50 lb limit is for the entire package (bag + anything attached to it), correct?


Biggearguy hill, March 20, 2019 at 8:33 pm

Does your bag weight and tent weight is totaled together or separate?


Uncle Kraig, March 20, 2019 at 8:52 pm

The 50 lb limit is for bag/tent and anything else you bring. Whether it is attached to or inside of your bag, the grand total for all is 50 lbs. and they do weigh every bag.


Vlad Yu, March 20, 2019 at 9:54 pm

Got the last 2 years I used this ikea bag:

$5, reasonably waterproof, very light, unique!


Biggearguy hill, March 21, 2019 at 3:00 pm

I guess i better weigh my luggage before go -2 or 3 lbs.


Mary, March 21, 2019 at 3:10 pm

I used this bag last year. I also used 2 waterproof lightweight dry sacks for my two-person tent/tarp and both easily fit in the big yellow bag. I’m a grandma also, a wee bit older than you, and I was able to heist this bag up on my back and carry it to a camping spot. The shoulder straps were good to have!


Biggearguy hill, March 21, 2019 at 9:25 pm

My wife bought my bag so i have to use it. No questions asked. You must lift weights lol


Jill Ellenbecker, March 22, 2019 at 6:35 am

I bought this one last year. Worked well, loved the backpack straps, has a plastic coasting to keep moisture out in case it were to get rained on. I used an old army duffel bag the first year and found it much more awkward to carry by myself.


Linda Wiard-Bauer, March 23, 2019 at 7:16 am

Vlad Yu:
$5 – that’s amazing! And it stood up to 2 years of RAGBRAI – wow! Did you attach your tent, or put it inside?


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