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Therese Iknoian

Traveler | Photographer at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business ( working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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The Eagle Creek Load Warrior wheeled duffel became our best friend on a recent trip. Luggage can be the bane of our lives when traveling. Ill-aligned straps, not enough compression, too bulky, poorly thought out configuration … these things and more can all lead to packing and schlepping misery. Especially if you are hopping on and off trains, rolling to guest houses down cobblestone lanes, and otherwise leading the adventuresome traveler’s life (no bellhops here).

The Eagle Creek Load Warrior wheeled duffel is rugged, yet sleek, and it weighs only 6 pounds, 9 ounces (3.0 kg for our metric-oriented friends). That’s not a lot for a still sturdy bag with a supporting frame, wheels and grab handles in all the places you might need it. Seriously, grab it from top, side, bottom or front and skedaddle from the train, making a dive around the confused tourists struggling to heave too tall, too wide, too heavy suitcases around. You, my friend, are on your way to adventure.

A soft-sided bag with a duffel look and feel, the Eagle Creek Load Warrior still has sturdy sides and rugged wheels and handle with a deep zip front pocket too. We chose the 25-inch style (also available: 22 inch carry-on and 28-inch models, $230-$270). We found, with careful packing, the 25-incher easily held our needs for four to six weeks – and likely could support longer excursions on warm-weather trips with less of a need for bulky items.

We ended up with a blue model and a black model of the Eagle Creek Load Warrior, steering away from the awful pretty yellow one since rumor was it got dirty real quick. Likely true since even the medium blue one picked up its share of grime and smudges after more than a month knocking around.

Load Warrior Wheeled Duffel Features

One item we particularly liked was the so-called Equipment Keeper elastic strap that stashes in the zipper-covered handle pocket. Pull it out and attach the metal buckle (which by the way doubles as a bottle opener!) to a daisy chain down the front to hold anything from a helmet to a coat to extra goodies for the train ride ahead. Daisy chain loops allow you to vary the snugness based on the gear you are carrying – or attach other gear as needed.

We also thought we’d like the exterior side zip pocket for carrying a water bottle or newspaper (or even a French baguette … mais oui!). But, alas, once you have the suitcase packed pretty full, there is not sufficient give to hold anything other than a flat item. We’d suggest a little stretch on the pocket or maybe a strap to hold an item in.

Also the interior framework for the wheels means you have a couple of bars sticking into the back so you have to pack soft items carefully in and around them to use the space wisely. Plus, the pullout handle to wheel it was a tad of a struggle to push into its pocket and zip closed when fully packed.

Our Final Word — Eagle Creek Load Warrior

Those itty-bitty gripes aside we found the Eagle Creek Load Warrior (15 x 25 x 10 inches for the 25-incher, and expandable too) extremely sturdy, easy to roll around, a piece of cake to carry, and quite stable on its wheels. Well-placed compression straps inside and out kept your treasures contained.

Yup, we’ve been through a lot of luggage in our day, and the Eagle Creek Load Warrior wheeled duffel rises to the top of the heap, so much so it has received our HITT Seal of Approval.

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