Even the most fanatically organized among us — those of us who live to pack a car with Tetris-like precision or who pride ourselves on reducing a suitcase to essentialist perfection — are soon bested by parenthood. One goes from feeling like the John Wick of airport transfers to feeling more like the minor character in a sitcom, the sweaty neighbor, say, who’s always stumbling into the room with too much stuff and knocking all the art off the walls.
At its core, parenting is about the logistics of carrying around all the stuff that your traveling circus can’t do without, things that may seem random or frivolous to the non-parent, but that you know represent the difference between finding yourself making an emergency run to the nearest Target or enjoying a welcome cocktail at that rental cabin in the woods.
I’m talking about everything from bedside sound machines and bottles of wine to pretzels and rain boots. A handled tote bag isn’t the right shape and size for the job — everything on top spills out while you’re fishing around for something at the bottom — and neither is a duffel bag, which in no time is tossed into a jumbled, maddening mess.
Enter the RUX 70L “gear hauler” — a category of luggage we didn’t realize we needed, until the moment we put it use. Now it’s become our most essential piece of car travel luggage. It’s insanely durable; easy to carry when full (using either the handle or backpack straps); extremely light when empty; and it packs down flat. Even around town, when you’re not on a road trip, we put this in the grocery cart, fill it up, put it straight in the trunk and head home, never to use another grocery bag again.
With our 3-year-old and our 6-year-old, we took it on a road trip to High Hampton in the Smoky Mountains where it served as our in-room pantry, and to a rental house in St. Augustine where I used it for Pellegrino, paper towel and Pirate Booty stowage, and to the grandparents’ house where we used it to carry bedtime books without bending them and a few Lego constructions so they wouldn’t get smashed.
You can load it brim-full because it’s rated to carry 50 pounds, and we almost always do. The handles and shoulder straps make it easy to carry in different ways, and the lid opens on both sides so your kids won’t notice the box of Thin Mints in there, but you can still easily slip your hand in to get something out while you’re on the road. And when you get where you’re going, you can either leave it unfolded to use it as your portable pantry, or fully collapse it until you’re ready to leave.
The Problem It Solved
Before we had the Rux, every time we’d pack for a road trip, the kitchen packing was always a last-minute fiasco. Cold and frozen food went into a cooler, and then all the pantry items like crackers and granola bars went into paper grocery bags or a cardboard box along with a few bottles of wine and any gear we decided to throw in at the last minute: Bluetooth speaker, phone charger, Etch-a-Sketch, etc.
The RUX now does that job for every trip, and we know exactly what goes into it — it’s like the packet drawer of luggage. While we haven’t taken it camping yet, it is weatherproof so rain, waves, and paddle splashes should be no problem.
Good To Know
There are modular accessories, and while we have found that we mainly use it without any accessories, adding the waterproof RUX Bag that nests inside is a nice way to subdivide the storage. Color options are green, tan, black, and orange.