Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 24, 2022
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The perfect carry-on?

The TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

Once upon a time my wife and I went to Greece for almost a year with everything stuffed into two blue duffle bags. We were young and carefree, and ready for anything which was just as well, but that's another story.

Since then there's been a lot of travel — and a lot of bags. The one criterion that hasn't changed: they have to be carry-ons. I learned that lesson on one of my first jobs. I worked at Montreal's Dorval airport checking in passengers and their luggage. This was before the days of airline security. Bags were simply tagged and placed on a conveyer belt, which carried them through an opening in the floor and out of sight. My supervisor was a jolly fellow who liked a good laugh as much as the next guy. "Down to the incinerator!" he'd call as each suitcase disappeared perhaps never to be seen again. Bag handling being what it was — and is — that was sometimes the case. I've only used carry-on bags ever since.

Finding just the right piece of luggage has always been a challenge. For a while I was happy with a stylish canvas affair with leather trim by Ricardo, but I grew weary of lugging it so I switched to a backpack. That didn't set quite the image I was hoping for so when the first wheelie cases came out, I was pre-sold. My handsome hard-side glided through many airports until ever shrinking airline carry-on sizes caught up to me a couple of years ago. I was consistently asked to "check it" at the gates to be retrieved plane-side at my destination. I rebelled and, going full circle, acquired a compact backpack, this one on wheels. Convenient. Right size. Wrong look.

I'm ready to move on again, this time to a TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible. From all the good reviews I've read, this could be it. I have my eye on the smaller 19.5-inch model rather than the 22-inch just in case the airlines tighten up the regulations again. Both are 14 inches wide and share the same wonderful features. They open like a suitcase with separate compartments for neat stowing, but also include a stuffable pocket as part of the lid. Compression straps inside and out keep your things firmly in place. Two well-planned zippered pockets provide a place to keep tickets and passport, and there’s another for toiletries. There's a secret place for a computer and a water bottle holder that folds away until you need it. No geeky wheels. You can carry it on a sling, strap it over your shoulder by a side handle or wear it like a backpack on straps that fold away.

It comes in nine colours. To check it out go to and search for TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible. There's a video. $160.


Win a TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible by entering the Gadget of the Month contest here.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


Showing 12 comments

  1. On December 5, 2017, Andrew Kirk said:
    This would make a great Christmas present for my wife.
  2. On December 5, 2017, TOM IWAMA said:
    This would be ideal for carry on only typ eof travel
  3. On December 5, 2017, Farkad Shasha said:
    Great item for traveling
  4. On December 5, 2017, Judy Chow said:
    Love the different ways you can carry this bag!! Would be great for travelling!
  5. On December 5, 2017, ilmar Kents said:
    This carry on bag would be ideal for carrying my underwater camera and regulator on the diving trips of the future. One must carry extra clothes when flying as your luggage may not make it to your destination when you do. Hence, this pack would be ideal.
  6. On December 6, 2017, Muri B Abdurrahman said:
    Until I win it and see it I won't believe it
  7. On December 8, 2017, Kirollos Mikail said:
    I will give it to person in need this Christmas. I am sure they will enjoy it. And I hope they can one day use it as a carry -on as well.
  8. On December 11, 2017, Dr Nicholas Cristoveanu said:
    looks like a very useful, practical carry on
  9. On January 2, 2018, Greg Patey said:
    Perfect for Venice!
  10. On January 3, 2018, Patricia Lyle said:
    Well since you missed Christmas, I do have a big birthday coming up next week and this would make a great present ;)
  11. On January 15, 2018, Fred Engle said:
    After dragging huge suitcases, and roller carry ons, this finally may be the answer to overweight charges on Air Canada.
  12. On January 18, 2018, Marium Tariq said:
    We love to travel and this would be perfect for that .

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