Linyera Backpack (Trolley version)
This Backpack was created around the time of the 1st lockdown in 2020. I had been considering making a wheeled backpack since the first one I ever made but never got myself to do so. I guess I was too young and proud of my strenght and ability to keep my pack lightweight to go for some wheels. Turns out on my 30th birthday I gave myself an accordion and all that lightweight-ness dissapeared in an instant. I designed a backpack that allowed me to carry the accordion while having it protected from bumping into things and also making it easily accessible when I wanted to play it. Unfortunately I never documented that backpack properly. Over the course of the next 2 or 3 years I started resenting the weight on my pack caused by the accordion and the fact that besides it, I wasnt carrying much else and still I felt the pain. So I considered it was about time to put some wheels on my pack. I proceeded to modify a Quechua Forclaz 70L that I had stashed somewhere in Europe and while it took the pain off my back it transfered it to my arms as the balance was off and the wheels where too small (and noisy). So after 2 or 3 attempts I came up with this little gem. The pictures where made roughly after a year of heavy use, so you can see I beat it up properly and it took the damage like a champion. Nothing has broken so far and it looks like I can continue to travel rough with it.
This is the padding and strap section of the bag. As you can see, I basically took the paddings off of one of the worst backpacks I ever had in my life, a Deuter 40L. I would loved to have used some heavy duty army backpack's paddings/straps but this is what I had available at the moment. The main compartment is a carry-on sized typical airport bag with a solid frame. I chose this kind as I needed it to be stiff and provide some protection for my accordion. I did no sewing at all and went for the screws as in my previous design, since they proved to be such an effective way of keeping things in place and prevent any tearing.
From one side.
This is the top part. I tore apart an old laptop bag and made a compartment where I fit my sleeping pad. An old belt keeps the pad in place and the laptop bag comes with a large pocket with separate compartments inside.
A peak inside the modified laptop bag.
A close up on the belt system to keep the mattress in place. I decided to keep the belt long so, for example, If I have a jacket that im not wearing but want to have available then I can fold it and keep it tight on top of the mattress.
This is my modified sleeping matt. Its basically a yoga matt that I cut in several rectangular shapes (I measured it according to my bag's lid size) and then taped it together with gaffer tape so it folds like an accordion bellow). I like this way better than rolling it since it not only provides extra protection for my accordion but I can use it as a seat when folded or I can make it double padded when the terrain is rough, which makes it shorter but I dont care if my legs are on the ground so long my trunk is comfortable.
From the other side. As you can see I left the handle. Initially I thought of removing it and putting something simpler there but this one proved to be so comfortable and sturdy that I decided to leave it in place.
Main compartment open. As you can see the lid has a mesh with a zipper and I cut the back of it to create an extra space to fit stuff (mostly flat things like notebooks, folded shirts or clothes)
As you can see I used a washer and a butterfly nut to keep the wheel in place and to be able to remove the whole wheel and axle if needed.
The axle was made of a hollow tube and a threaded bar, I got both in a hardware store for cheap. I cut the tube slightly smaller than the threaded bar so as to leave a bit of thread out for the nut and washer. before I had used only the threaded bar but it was not strong enough and bended a bit so I put it inside a tough metal tube and now the axle keeps its shape no matter the weight or if I roll it down the stairs all the time.
The axle and wheels can be very easily and quickly removed. I do this at times when I want to be sure my pack would fit, for example, in people's trunks when hitchiking or when storing it somewhere. I normally stash the axle and wheels in the main compartment. The size of the wheels is optional, but remember that the bigger the wheels the easier it rolls and the more places you can roll your pack effortlessly. smaller wheels are only good on flat and smooth surfaces such as sidewalks and pavement. With these babies I can go where I want to. Another detail is the two clips with straps that I normally use to carry a plastic tarp rolled tightly and fastened to the bottom of the pack.
This is how the bottom part of the bag looks when the wheels and axle are removed. In this picture you cant see that I added some extra reinforcement on the sides of the hard plastic where the old wheel system was (go 4 pictures up, the closeup of the wheel shows it a bit), its basically two metal plates bolted into the hard plastic with a hole that goes thru both metal and plastic so the axle slides in. I could have kept the old wheels but they make that annoying airport and tourist sound and also are so tiny that you cant really pull your stuff in every terrain. Bigger wheels means less effort when pulling and I have been carrying my stuff on uneven hiking paths with no problem (thats why I went for such big wheels)
Since the shoulder and hip straps are a problem when rolling the backpack, I decided to add this easy latching mechanism to the hip belt so that it stays away from the wheels and floor by being fastened flat on the back of the backpack. The mechanism is placed in such a way that i can easily remove both sides of the hip belt while wearing the backpack. The shoulder straps are an fix since they have the chest-fastening clips that I pass thru the top hoop and that keeps them from being too loose.
This is how it looks when the hip belt is removed from the latch, you can see how I fixed the back padding and straps to the bag with screws now.
The top part also has straps with clips where I would normally fix my bivy sack and/or sleeping bag. Theres also a handle just like on one of the sides, this one I barely use as usually the sleeping bag/bivy lays on top of it and anyhow i find it better to carry the bag sideways (when going upstairs for example). The telescopic handle is long and sturdy enough to be very comfortable for the hands/arms. You can also see that theres a combination lock. I should try to decypher the combination so I can use it to keep my things locked inside but I never got myself to care so much about that yet.
And last.. the reason why I went for such a design. The accordion fits like a glove and its very much protected from damage. Specially when travelling with the accordion and winter gear, the bag gets quite heavy, so I end up using it as a trolley 99% of the time. its very rare that I ever use it as a backpack, but its great to be able to do so in those rare occasions.
Some thoughts on why such a pack if you are not carrying a 6kg accordion: Eventhough you might be young and strong and feel like a dork rolling your pack around, looking more like a homeless person than a traveller, I have to say I recommend the switch. In my experience as a traveler it has made it much less tiring to be in cities and to walk long distances. I now feel like I can walk to the next town if I feel like it or if im not getting any rides. And I do, very often since, walk ridiculus distances without destroying myself thanks to the wheels carrying all my gear weight.