Packing up my old kit bag

As I get ready to jet off to visit my two smart, beautiful children this weekend (they only paid me a little to say that), I realize how different packing has become since I was a wee miss back in the 60’s. For one thing the very thing I pack my stuff in has evolved and changed over 5 decades (holy crap that’s a long time!).

English: Old luggage at Arley railway station ...

My father used to always call our suitcases, grips. He would yell to my mother, “Are the grips ready to go in the car?”. Personally that word always put me in mind of some sort of disease, but my father was a child of the depression and that’s what he called luggage then and continued to do so for the rest of his life. For many years my dad used an old, hard, leather grip with shiny, gold latches. It was really very attractive but it wasn’t very easy to cram a lot of extra stuff in. Maybe that’s why in old movies, someone always had to sit on the suitcase to get it to shut while someone else clicks the latches in place!


One big change in traveling bags has been the development of soft sided luggage. It  certainly has made the suitcase more malleable and able to fit a lot more stuff, the only problem being when these overstuffed bags are trying to be shoved into the overhead bin.
But I truly think the biggest innovention in luggage design was the addition of wheels. Such a simple thing with so much benefit that you wonder why no one thought of it before! I can remember the family struggling with the suitcases. My mother and I both having little upper body strength, gripping the handles of our bags with two hands, and wrestling to move them even a short distance. This is usually why my dad was loading the grips in the car! Even when my kids were little I can remember Nanook wrenching his back as he lugged all the suitcases onto a train, while I was trying to corral the kids to find their seats. That’s not that long ago!

So yes packing for vacation has become simpler, and I no longer need someone to help me with my luggage, but I do need someone to invent a universal gadget plug,

so I don’t need to lug along separate cords for my phone, camera, Kindle, and iPad!


3 thoughts on “Packing up my old kit bag

  1. Actually, there IS a universal gadget plug. All of these are USB devices. So all you need is a synch cord and a charger plug.

    I like the Griffin GC17117 USB synch cord because it has a detachable head. The head will work on the iPad. If you take it off there is a micro USB plug underneath. That will work for your Kindle, smart phone (non Apple), and camera. The test is to take the Kindle cord and stick it into your smart phone and camera. If it fits, you are good. The dual synch will work for ALL the devices.

    You need to make sure your charger plug is a 2A plug (Vs 1.5A) as your iPad needs the higher current. The newer iPad comes with the 2A plug. The other devices, if made after 2007, can handle that. The best part? These types of plugs are dual voltage. So if travelling internationally you only need to take an adapter plug for that country – no voltage converters needed.

    If you want to charge 2 devices at the same time you may want to get a dual port USB plug such as the PowerGen Dual Port USB 2.1A charger. I has one side for iPad, and the other side for smaller devices like iPhone/smartphone. You will need to bring a 2nd synch cord for the 2nd device.

    If you really want to save weight think about installing the kindle app on your iPad. Then leave the Kindle at home.

  2. I own a beautiful green, hard-sided vintage suitcase. I love using it because it makes me feel like I’ve been transported back to the early ’50s, but it does get heavy very quickly despite its relatively small size! (Especially since I have a tendency to try to squeeze in a few books at the last minute… haha) Most of the traveling I do is by car (road trips/camping trips) so I usually pack my vintage case lightly and bring a medium-sized rolling bag for the rest.

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