CHOOSING THE BEST TRAVEL LUGGAGE
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the right luggage. Before choosing your luggage, think through each step of your trip, from the moment you leave your home till you get back. Where are you going? Will you be there for a week or a month? Will you be roughing it out in the wilderness or lazing on a beach? The length and nature of your trip dictate your luggage needs.
Do note that no matter the size or shape, a well-constructed luggage should:
1) Be able to endure rough handling and a variety of terrains.
2) Have smooth-rolling wheels that allow you to manoeuvre it easily and navigate through tight spaces.
3) Have sensible organization pockets that allow you to access your essentials quickly.
4) Have an integrated TSA-approved lock (required for traveling in the USA).
HOW LONG WILL YOU BE THERE FOR?
For short trips, you can pack everything into a carry-on luggage. This allows you to avoid escalating checked bag fees and waiting around at baggage claim. It’ll also eliminate the chances of lost, delayed or damaged luggage.
For long vacations, you can consider either a hard-case or soft-case rolling luggage with lots of packing space.
Lightweight Carry-on for Short Trips
While the US is more lenient with the weight limit for carry-on luggage, most European and Asian airlines limit your weight to around 7kg. That’s not much, so choosing a lightweight carry-on is crucial.
For ‘The Boss’. At 2.45kg, the Briggs & Riley Baseline Rolling Cabin Bag is designed to fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat. The 1680D ballistic nylon outer fabric is resistant to tears, abrasions, dirt and moisture. With its understated aesthetics and suave vibe, it is perfect for working professionals on short business trips.
Another good choice is the Bric’s Riccione 20″ Spinner. At just 2.3kg, this futuristic-looking roller works well for both business and leisure. Made from shock-resistant and lightweight Makrolon Polycarbonate, it is a hardy luggage that will last you for years to come.
For the Sporty Traveller. If you’re a traveller with an active lifestyle, consider the adventure-ready Thule Subterra Carry On 22”. The interior lining is lemon yellow, which is a nice contrast to the dark exterior. There are three handles (top, side and bottom) to help you lift the bag into the overhead compartment. A standout feature is the internal ratcheting compression board, which maximizes packing space and minimizes wrinkling.
Rolling Luggage for Long Holidays
For extended vacations, you’ll need a roomy rolling luggage. Think about whether a hard-case or soft-case luggage will be more suitable for you. If you want to protect anything fragile (laptops, iPads, cameras), a hard-case luggage is better. It is also much easier to keep dry in rain and snow.
Softer cases can absorb water and are more susceptible to stains and smells. If you plan to travel in winter or to more rugged locations, you may want to choose a hard-case luggage.
For soft-case luggage, having pockets on the front is a big perk. You can reach for things you’d like to keep handy, such as a change of clothes, toiletries and magazines. This is especially useful for parents traveling with children. Keeping extra blankets, pacifiers and picture books in an outside pocket is a good idea.
Also, a soft-case luggage is easier to squeeze into car boots and tight storage spaces on public transport.
For the Big Family. The Briggs & Riley Baseline Extra Large Expandable Spinner is the best soft-case luggage, bar none. It has almost ten thousand cubic inches of capacity and is only 6.5kg. You can pack absolutely everything you desire in the cavernous main compartment and external pockets. Its best feature is the in-built CX compression system, which allows the luggage to expand by 26% more.
For the Refined Lady. If you are looking for something that is functional and feminine, the Bric’s X-Travel 30” Spinner is the one for you. The bright and bold colours stand out on the baggage carousel. Made from luxurious satin nylon, it has a roomy interior for all your belongings and can carry a heavy load. Perfect for both working women and ladies of leisure.
For the Solo Traveller. For hard-case luggage, the hard-wearing Bric’s Riccione 31” Spinner is our top choice. It features two durable polycarbonate shells, four multi-directional swivelling wheels and a built-in TSA-friendly combination lock. This is a dapper piece that can withstand demanding travel environments.
For large luggage, get a 4-wheel one that will glide gracefully beside you. It is less strenuous for people with joint problems, as you are hardly putting any weight on your wrists. Dragging a heavy 2-wheel luggage is more exhausting. In crowded airports and train stations, you might also trip people walking behind you.
THE NATURE OF YOUR TRIP
Will you be driving or taking lots of trains and buses? Will you be staying put at a luxurious hotel or constantly moving from one outdoor cabin to the other? Depending on how you’re travelling and where you’re travelling to, the type of luggage you’ll need will vary.
Wheeled Backpacks for Train and Bus Rides. If you’ll need to constantly move among different modes of transportation, go for a lightweight wheeled backpack that fits in overhead compartments of planes, trains and buses.
If you have connecting flights and need to sprint from one gate to another, a wheeled backpack is better than a rolling luggage. You’ll be surprised at how light they are when you carry them on your back.
The crème de la crème of wheeled backpacks is the Osprey Ozone Convertible 75L/28” Backpack O/S. Handles on the top and side will help you hoist the bag up a chicken bus in Guatemala. On the inside, there are storage pockets for your laptop, tablet, clothes and food. At the back, there is a pocket with a drain port for damp storage. Perfect for the adventurous traveller who values being fully mobile. If you are looking for something more compact, consider the Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L/22” Backpack O/S.
Other excellent options include the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Rolling Duffel 90L and Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Rolling Duffel 120L. Ultra-light and constructed with water-repellent Bi-Tech Armor Lite, they are equipped with massive wheels, gear pocket, grab handles and tie-down daisy chains for epic adventuring.
As a general rule of thumb, 50-60 litres worth of space should suffice for about a week. For cold weather destinations where you’ll be carrying bulky sweaters and thick jackets, get something that’s about 70-80L.