How to Use External Compression Straps Video

Compressing your luggage using external compression straps.

Squeezing your Tres Hombres into the overhead bin can be a bit taxing if you’ve loaded it to the gills. Not to worry, there’s a reason this bag and the Sherpa Jr. and Big Oxx Expeditions bags have external straps. While you can’t make a checked bag like the Sherpa Jr. or Big Oxx magically transform into a carry-on bag, you can take a bag with extraordinary capacity like the Tres Hombres and make it work in most overhead bins.

In this packing tips video, Red Oxx CEO Jim Markel shows how to use the specially designed external compression straps to conveniently “shrink” your bag. The straps are designed to fit through the inside of the handles because if they’re used on the outside, they will slip loose; the carry handles hold the straps in place right where you need them.

Jim likes to adjust the straps before making his patented “compression wrestling move”. If you don’t have any breakables in your bag, place the bag on a bed, chair or dresser packed with your belongings. Next adjust the strap so the buckles will connect and close without having to tug much on the strap to tighten. By leaning on your bag pressing down and pre-adjusting the strap, you won’t have end up flopping around while pulling on the strap to try to tighten it while struggling to hold a soft-sided bag in place. Kind of like wrestling a pig, it slips away from you. Instead, use your body weight to compress and hold your bag in place. Then you can make minor adjustments to the strap by repeating the process. Hopefully you won’t have to adjust them after you’ve clicked them together. Finally, roll the bag back and forth to “settle” any remaining belongings and repeat the process as needed.

If you like the idea of external compression straps on one of our bags that doesn’t come with any, you can simply order some from a gear manufacturer and use them in the same manner on the outside of your bag. Just remember to slip them through the carry handles or they may slide off your bag.

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