20

I am going on a hiking trip to Norway and need to put my tent somewhere. Can I put a bag with a tent strapped to it in hold?

A bit like this, or at the bottom:

image of people carrying tents strapped on the bag

The issue is that my bag does not have native straps like that, so I may have to improvise...

I am flying with Norwegian Airlines from Gatwick to Bergen.

31

It depends. Assuming that you don't exceed any size limits, airlines are still often cautious when it comes to any kind of straps, even loose straps on a plain rucksack, or any other dangling parts from checked luggage. The airline may require you to wrap your rucksack in plastic foil to contain any loose ends. Both in Gatwick and in Bergen, there are actually bag wrap services, where you can have that done for you.

The reason is simply that any loose ends or parts of checked luggage tend to tangle or get stuck on the conveyor belt system. It saves the airport luggage handlers a lot of hassle if the passengers are required to contain their luggage as one manageable piece with a predictable shape.

  • Be advised, however, that security personel might simply rip apart the foil if they suspect anything suspicious inside. My backpack was taken apart once due to a disassembled fuel stove (not it Gatwick or Oslo, but still). They barely managed to get everything back inside since it was very tighly packed. So a tent on the side might complicate those things even more. – Sebastian May 14 '18 at 6:31
  • 3
    @David I'm honestly not sure which food market you are referring to. As you can see on the maps of the airport, there are only a few shops outside the security gates. The closest thing to a food shop are two kiosks (7-Eleven and Point), which may have a small selection of overpriced foods, but I can't imagine that they sell plastic wrap. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 14 '18 at 6:56
  • I've had a few airlines (Virgin Atlantic, BA, Ryanair) who have been happy for me to check a main bag & a small bag (like a tent) separately provided they are both under the total weight restriction despite only paying for 1 bag although this seems to have been on the agent's discretion each time – Rob Farr May 14 '18 at 8:15
  • 2
    About loose hanging straps etc: always put a 'sleeve' around your entire backpack. That will prevent a lot of damage, and is better than plastic for Sebastian's comment, and can serve as rain protection. – Jan Doggen May 14 '18 at 12:40
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo btw, I am flying to Bergen, not Oslo. – turnip May 14 '18 at 14:02
16

No airline requires you to check "a bag". As long as you are within the size, weight, and content restrictions, you can check pretty much check anything you want. What you (and them) want to avoid are

  • dangling parts (straps, etc.)

  • possible part separation (after all, there is a single tag for the whole thing).

Both points are easily solved by putting your stuff inside a (strong) plastic bag. Most airlines I know do provide big transparent bags for this; they are mostly used for child seats and strollers, but they are certainly appropriate for a backpack with stuff attached to it. For more peace of mind, you may want to bring your own bag and not depend on the check-in agent.

  • 1
    Even a large, cheap duffel will do in a pinch. This is how I transported a backpack plus miscellaneous camping gear (hiking poles, ropes, tent, sleeping bag, tent). Plus it protects your kit from getting snagged on stuff. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas May 13 '18 at 19:01
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    Also available at some airports are services that will wrap your bag in (coloured) cellophane. They're marketed as a tamper-evidence solution but will work really well to keep your stuff together, too. – detuur May 13 '18 at 19:07
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    As long as you are within the size, weight, and content restrictions, you can check pretty much check anything you want. Seems so. I've seen someone check in a stick. The kind from a tree. – Belle-Sophie May 14 '18 at 6:16
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    @Belle-Sophie Or if you're in Australia... – reirab May 14 '18 at 15:42
  • @reirab or heading to Australia (though that wouldn't work very well nowadays) – Wayne Werner May 14 '18 at 21:30
5

Consider using an airport bag for your backpack. It would not only solve the tent problem, but it also makes sure that straps and buckles do not get caught and damaged in transit.

They only weigh some hundred grams and are easy to stow. Depending on how you pack, they might double as a bag for dirty clothes or similar on your hike. I have this one, but that's just an example.

2

Yes, it should be allowed. I've checked a folding bicycle unbagged on multiple airlines with a strap holding it together. Just make sure there aren't any loose parts hanging out, like make sure the strap itself is tied and not dangling and that the pull string for the tent is packed away where it can't get caught on anything.

Ideally you want to put backpacks in a duffel bag, but if you're traveling light and want to skip than you should be fine if you take certain precautions against getting snagged in the conveyor belt.

2

One solution to the outer bag proposed in some answers to keep the straps under control is a rucksack raincover. Some are designed to zip round the entire bag in transit, like this one (not necessarily a recommendation, just an example). You'd need a lightly oversized one if you're carrying a lot of outside load on your pack, but it would be useful on the trail as well.

I've always been OK with strapping the straps tight to the pack and tying off any loose ends, but you might not get away with that everywhere

0

They can ask you to reorganize your luggage if straps could get in the conveyor system OR if items (like the tent) could get loose due to not being fixed correctly. Happened to me two times.

But that's no problem at all: you can either take a tape with you to fix your setup on site or use an additional cover which has the advantage to secure your straps (would be bad if they are damaged before the trip).

Apart from that you don`t need to worry.

-1

Why not? When I traveled like that, they put my bag in a big box like thing. Same as the things you have to put your coat, belt, laptop, ... in when going through security. But then bigger.

  • I'm not sure what you mean. At what point did they put the bag in a large tray? Surely that was just to put it through an x-ray machine and it wasn't transported in that state? – David Richerby May 14 '18 at 14:31
  • At the check in desk. Where you give your luggage and they attach a tag to it. Then they send it on a conveyor belt. Europe that is, security used to be after you checked in luggage. Not sure if they transported it the entire way to the plane. But on arrival it was still in such a box. – roel May 14 '18 at 14:39

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