Rolling Gear

Last May, Indian airline companies reduced the permissible weight limit on checked-in bags [domestic sector] to 15 kgs. The international limit ranges from 23 kgs (or lower?) to the more generous likes of Emirates that allows up to 30 kgs (Economy) and 50 kgs (First Class).

The average suitcase weighs between 3-6 kilos. What remains is what you get to fill. The lightest bags in the market are quite expensive, and aren’t too rugged either. A few trips and you’ll know.

So while most of us feel restricted by the weight limit, I’m sure you’ve wished bags were light enough to allow you to carry stuff weighing exactly the permissible weight limit, if not more.

Wait. Carry more than weight limit? How’s that even possible? How could you carry over 23 kgs when the limit is 23, and yet not have to pay for it?

Before you read ahead, let me confess, I don’t have an answer for it yet, but I’m hoping this post will spark some genius in you to start working towards a solution to make bags and other things [try shoes, school bags, cars, anything] lighter. That would be useful, wouldn’t it?

Growing up, I often imagined the possibility of having bags lined with an airtight casing of a gas less dense than air, like Hydrogen or Helium. Imagine being able to carry 30 kgs of your stuff, and the Hydrogen or Helium compensating to bring the final weight back down to 23 kgs.

Simple as it sounds, here’s why it isn’t possible. Hydrogen is extremely flammable and can diffuse easily [with the tiniest crack], making it extremely difficult to carry, and dangerous too.

Then there’s Helium. Helium is unfortunately too expensive to be a viable option. And to put into perspective the quantity that would be required, it would take 974.3 liters of helium to lift 1000 grams (1kg). You’d be better of paying for excess baggage.

So, till we find a solution for it, stick to traveling light. And think of ways that bags and other things could be made lighter. You can’t imagine the things you could move around easily then, and the energy and fuel that will be saved in doing so too.


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