/ Airplane hand luggage sack, 50ltr, but proper?

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JohnnyW 05 Jun 2019

Didn't really know how better to phrase that!

Just packing for my next job, a double ascent of Elbrus, and I am fed up of messing about with rucksacks to complement my checked luggage and still be usable once on the job. My Scottish winter sack is an old Grivel Alpinist (the black and yellow one), 52ltr, and it is ideal for what I need to carry (group kit plus my own), but it is long in the back, and 10cm over the airline stipulation, and doesn't break down. As I am transfering from BA to Aeroflot, I don't want the worry of any hassle about its size.

I have a Lowe Alpine 35-45 that is my summer sack, and that is small enough, but it's too much of a squeeze with the group kit.

I also have a MH South col which is great, as the hip belt and back support removes so I can put that in the checked bag, and it is then small enough with the lid removed too, but at 70ltr, it's over kill once on the job.

Soooo, I am looking for a proper 45-55ltr sack that is not over 50cm in the back, or that has a removable back system.

I don't want any of the heroes who can pack enough for themselves and the group into a bum-bag, or any comments on 'I have never needed more than 25ltrs for a 3 week exped'. I am after any real-life experiences of a short-ish or collapsible sack that will do both things.

Does such a thing exist?


Ushba 07 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

I have the lowe alpine ascent 40:50, removable back frame which might fit the bill. You can chuck the frame in checked luggage and have the back as big as desired.

nniff 07 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

Aiguille Alpine Zephyr

HeMa 07 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

Granite Gear Virga (2) ticks all yer boxes...

But you'll need something for the back, it is only a flimsy fabric bag.

However, it is my to-go solution for hand luggage when flying alone and have a need for proper rucksack at the location... Not too spendy either... 


Getoiu 08 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

I bought the Osprey Variant 52 last year for the same reason. it's 54cm but has removable back that I chuck in the check in so it collapses a bit more. Never had any problems with or without it but from this year there's new carry on restrictions on some companies. I always used to travel with my carry on only but now I pay for a check in and put the backpack into it. Whatever else I need on board I put in a small foldable or plastic bag. In regards to the back pack - I really like it except the ice axe straps. They have plastic fateners that freeze so I have to break the ice build up on them to pull my axe out. In result they look like chewed by a dog and won't last long

Post edited at 15:17
JXM 08 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

I frequently travel with a Grivel Alpine 45+10 (red and black). It is 52 cm in the back when I take the lid off and I have never had a problem when boarding. Have you tried fitting it into one of those carry-on-dimension-control-devices in the airport? A sack is fairly easy to mold into the required dimensions compared to a suitcase. I think it helps that I always carry it casually on one shoulder and have the waist belt buckled behind the pack or completely taken off but I have no evidence to support this theory.   

Toerag 09 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

Karrimor Hot Rock 30 with aiguille alpine side pockets strapped on? (this is just a guess by the way).

ben b 09 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

I often take a Blue Ice Warthog 40l as carry on and have never had problems thus far (probably about 15-20 international flights - but not involving Aeroflot...).

It's also a really nice pack functionally. 

My suspicion is you might as well take the Grivel and if you end up having to check it in,  it will probably not come to the same cost as a new pack anyway. Aeroflot are trying (I gather) to look a bit more professional these days. As others have said, it's amazing how easy it is to squash a soft pack into the maximum size frames.

good luck 


Martin W 10 Jun 2019
In reply to ben b:

Since you are checking luggage anyway, can't you put the rucksack (empty) in one of the checked bags, and any stuff displaced from the checked bag, along with the stuff that you were planning to take in the rucksack, in a lightweight bag that does meet the carry-on rules?

Duncan Bourne 10 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

I have an old Lowe Alpine Fortress 60ltr that I use.

With the support struts taken out I can fold it in on itself and then it is small enough to get into those little baskets and I can still back a few items for the plane in it.

I think if you can find something with a removable back system that should work

Duncan Bourne 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Getoiu:

What are the new restrictions? Thinking of going to Spain later in the year

geordiepie 12 Jun 2019
In reply to JohnnyW:

No bag recommendation s but having lost bags to Aeroflot on the way to Bishkek I'd recommend not checking your hand luggage so you're guaranteed to arrive with at least some stuff.

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