Me and my Antlers (oh deer)
After comprehensively slagging off the Antler Monza II Double Decker bag, I hope to be able to redeem the reputation of Antler by introducing you to my new holiday companion - the Antler Salento. After my husband and my bear(s) I can't think of anything I'd rather travel with. It's a bag chock-full of all the redeeming features that were missing in its stable-mate.
I have bought two Salento bags - I ordered one on-line for my sister and her girlfriend in advance of our trip to India. I knew they didn't have a good bag and suspected that if they went with a rubbish one we'd all end up with most of their stuff in our bags. Whilst waiting for the online order to arrive, I made one of my not infrequent trips to the Antler shop at Cheshire Oaks in Ellesmere Port and - not realising it was exactly the same model - I bought a second Salento in the same size for us. From memory I think I paid £40 online and ten pounds less in the store when the lovely manager knocked an extra tenner off for me - probably in reflection of my serious suitcase-buying addiction. Luckily the two bags are in slightly different colours so we didn't have any mix-ups but we did find that hotel porters always assumed that the two went together.I've also written previously about the Antler Texas bag which is the bag I use for my weekly commute to work. I recognised many of the great features of the Texas being repeated and possibly even improved upon in the Salento so I bought with a sense of real confidence that the Salento would deliver against my rather picky travel needs and that's exactly what it did.
I would characterise the Salento as an ideal soft wheelie bag for a trip of around 10 days to 2 weeks based on average packing needs. So if you are the type who can go a month on three pairs of knickers and a titchy hand baggage allowance this will be too big and if you are the type who needs 12 pairs of shoes, hairdryer/hair straightener/mp3 speakers and half the contents of Comet, then it might be too small. The dimensions are 72 x 44 x 30 cm (please don't ask me what that is in old money) although the 30 depth is only achievable by really stuffing it to bursting point. In reality it doesn't need to be that fat and will run comfortably at around 2/3 that thickness. The empty weight of the bag is just 3 kg which really is quite remarkable for a bag of this size and strength - my small cabin bag is only a few hundred grams lighter. The nominal capacity is 68 litres.
We don't take a lot of clothes on holiday but do tend to take a lot of first aid kit, sheet sleeping bags, travel towels, squishy pillows, and rather a lot of books. One great thing about the Salento is that if you don't over-pack to start with, there's a massive amount of extra volume that you can squeeze in as you go along, especially in the enormous front pockets. Our bag stayed pretty much the same size until the very end of the trip when a shopping spree meant it had to let its belt out a bit whereas my sister's started a similar size to ours but looked about 7 months pregnant by the end of the trip.