Traveling / Flying with a Ruck Sack

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Wondering what are people's experiences when travelling with a loaded ruck sack.

I usually travel by boat if I'm going to Europe with my ruck sack, and i can keep it with me at all times. I do fly, but when I have in the past it's been for "proper" holidays, suitcases etc.

I know I'm a bit more concerned than i should about flying with a ruck sack (especially within the EU). However,
Having it just sitting there on the baggage pile, with all it's zips / pockets is just too inviting i think.
I'd rather take precautions and use tips to secure my ruck sack ... rather than be left on the other end with missing items or no ruck sack at all.

Someone has suggested a "Rucksack Travel Bag" which can help secure your ruck sack, by placing it within another one. Which can be locked, but also helps blend it into the crowd of other "normal bags".
( looks like a good idea to me, along with a sturdy lock. Would have to be light and durable though, 600gms seems ok)

Obviously "Travel Light" is #1 on the list while travelling with a pack :)

This is quite a good site about travelling light:

Anyway, I know a few of you can rarely keep your feet on UK soil before you're itching to get away again!

Any tips you've picked up along the way?

Cheers :)



Aug 9, 2004
Rotterdam (NL)
I'd go for the Travel Bag: it not only keeps grabby mits out of your belongings, it also protects your pack against transport belts at the airport (straps that get snatched between those belts). It also prevents getting stuff put in your pack that isn't yours and doesn't belong in your pack at all.

An old duffelbag is also used, but probably as 'expensive' as the travel bag to purchase.

As you said already: keep it light. Go through your gear 3, 4, 5 times and ask yourself if you really need it for the trip (I still carry to much - even after this ... :rolleyes: ).
There are stores in the UK where you can buy food (I was quite amazed to find out ;) ).

Be sure you're not carrying any flamable etc. things in your pack (that you are not allowed to carry on board of an airplane - be it hand or cargo).

Enjoy the moot mate, as I can't make it this year (again! :cussing: :banghead: )


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 15, 2005
although by no means 100% secure, the use of zip ties on the zips and clips can at least show you if your bags have been tampered with.

The flight bags are good too, as any scuffs, liquid spills etc will be on the bag rather than on your rucksack. I used one when i went over to Sweden with my rucksack, and it did a good job of protecting the bag.

Just make sure all the straps etc are not loose if you dont use a flight bag.


Aug 17, 2006
Yeovil, Somerset, UK
I recently travelled with my rucksack in a travel bag (came with it - thanks highlander) on the train. I felt load better knowing that it was all zipped away with a padlock when I had to leave it further down the carriage. I'd certainly recommend them.


May 9, 2006
Co.Durham - Consett
Not exactly bushcraft but when I travel on a train I usually tie my suitcases to the shelves with a bike chain and lock, not because I'm paranoid but because people have tried to take a bag before.


Jan 30, 2006
Heavenly Cornwall
In my experience airlines now wrap backpacks or bags with lots of straps/bit that can get caught in trolley wheels etc in a large clear plastic bag for safer handling. (Sadly this has meant that my bag ended up in Honalulu once whilst I, my friends and their 'sensible' luggage ended up in China :eek: ) Although this obviously isn't designed to make your gear safer, it does help.

Prior to them wrapping 'strappy' luggage in these bags I had the dismay to be stood waiting at the carousel in Nepal for my bag and then having to watch as one of my walking boots come out, then my washbag, then my travel journal :eek: etc all slowly make there way down the conveyour, eventually followed by my empty & slim looking backpack.
There was stuff missing but as I was a poor lowly backpacker it wasnt anything too valuable :rolleyes:

Whatever you choose to do, label the bag clearly with your details and flight details in case it doesn't end up in the same continent as you and try and carry anything you couldnt survive without in your hand luggage (such as deodorant if you're travelling to China as it seems you can't buy it over there :confused: :D )

And, if all else fails and youre kit goes missing just enjoy the lightness of the load.


John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
I have been usind a huge nylon bag I made from an "end of roll" aprox 8'x30" into which I slide my rucksack. The neck is twisted, folded over and tied with cord and "security" tied with a releasable cable tie. The bag is so aged and repaired with gaffa tape that it looks like sh1t so no self respecting thief would waste their time looking in it/nicking it and customs have easy access if they want, saving loss of padlocks!
On the outside of the bag there is a small web loof for the airline tag so it should go to the same place as me and all my essentials are in my hand luggage anyway...
I once did a week long trek in Morrocco on just my hand luggage and a couple of borrowed bits when Air M lost the bag betwen Cassablanca and Marakesh....
The big bag is easy to drag on airport floors, forms a decent survival bag/groundsheet/stash bag and before it got too worn was used as dry storage/floatation for swimming across rivers - with its current condition it might work as a field shower.....
Cheap, easy to make - the pattern is in my "Abasic guide to masking your own outdoor activities equipment" book - if you can still find a is out of print but Pennine and Point North used to have stock (and of course sell the fabric etc) but hey - it is simple enough to work out how to sew 2 sides of a rectangle of fabric to make a bag!
Good luck!


Full Member
Jun 28, 2005
Well I bought a copy of your book last month, so its in stock... Now trying to persuade the wife to let me cut a sheet up to practice...

RE. travel. I use a large exarmy kitbag..


Full Member
I used a travel bag on my recent trip to Sweden it packs up really small and had a 80 L capacity, kept my rucksack safe thru the gentle hands of the baggage handlers and airport conveyors. I also used it to store my food on site, useful in keeping the local wildlife, insects at bay.



Full Member
Jan 7, 2004
Been using a big bag similar to a travel bag for years when travelling with rucksack and they work great. Protects the sack and a handy place to stuff all the things you needed to get to you will only need at one end of the flight like jumpers and coats when headed to the tropics.


Mar 25, 2007
North Hampshire
Like others I have a large ( I think Dutch Naval ) Bag which I can get my sac into and lock away. Its great as it gives me a second bag if I need it, or just makes ID and stuff much easier.

As soon as the bag is off the reclaim thingy I unpack it, stow the bag and am off :) Easy life.

Having used it for nearly 15 years its gotten a real character :)


Oct 24, 2006
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
My wife and I flew from Canada to Warsaw and then took the train to Prague, Vienna and back to Krakow before flying out of Warsaw back home. We didn't pack anything in the outside pockets of our bags and did up all the straps and buckles tightly. Any dangling straps were tied off. We had no problems with them being hung up in the machinery or theft. Of course, we kept a close eye on our luggage. :)


Jan 29, 2007
A good thing to use, one I use when flying, is a US Army duffle bag. Bombproof (not a good thing to say on a plane, I suppose), no outside pockets, and deep, so, even if you cant get the pack in when its full, you can unpack what you need, stuff it in there, then put the smaller pack in. In the US, I dont think you can lock your bags anymore, due to security constraints. Or, if you do, there's a chance they'll cut the lock.
I suggest, prior to putting the duffle onto the plane, snugging the shoulder straps down & taping the loose ends tight.
Cheers for all this guys.

OldSoldier: Apparently you can lock them you just need to have "TSA Approved" locks. Which means security can open them if needed with a special key.

I went and got myself a "transit bag" (Highlander one) a few days ago.
It's cool, can be used as a rain cover too and fits all my stuff in it... should do the job!

If about both of them here:

Thanks again ;)


Mar 22, 2007
Another thing you can so if you are doing a lot of travel by bus/train once you get there is visit a local market and buy a rice/potato sack. I have used this in South America and South East Asia to camouflage my expensive-looking pack amongst the other stuff in the hold. It will double as airline protection for your return flight.:cool: