The 10 Best Luggage
10. Rockland Carry-on
- easily fits in overhead compartments
- exterior resists scuffs and dents
- pull handle feels a bit flimsy
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
9. American Tourister Splash
- great workmanship and stitching
- large front panel for documents
- doesn't have spinner wheels
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
8. High Sierra Sportour
- tow strap for a secondary bag
- lightweight at 7 pounds
- fully retractable pull handle
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
7. Samsonite Winfield 2 HS
- oversized easy-to-grasp zippers
- interior has cross-straps
- handle can break if overloaded
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. Victorinox Avolve 3.0
- easy to access exterior pockets
- durable 1500 denier fabric
- backed by a lifetime warranty
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. Nautica Ahoy
- handle is nice and strong
- zippers open and close smoothly
- good value for the price
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. Samsonite Cosmolite
- combination lock for added security
- upright freestanding design
- bungee cord to attach another bag
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
3. Travelpro Maxlite 4
- tapered 2-inch expansion
- zippered side mesh pocket
- duraflex anti-break buckles
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
2. Delsey Luggage Helium Aero
- large easy-access front compartment
- recessed one-button locking handle
- four double spinner wheels
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Tumi Vapor Lite
- integrated tsa lock
- retractable top carry handle
- rolls very smoothly on uneven ground
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
Picking The Perfect Travel Companion
When you’re traveling, whether it’s a short weekend drive up the coast or a grueling, 14-hour flight half-way around the world, you want to have something secure in which you can transport all of your clothes, toiletries, and, if you love your family and friends, your souvenirs. Of course, that weekend vacation is going to require far fewer changes of underwear than a month-long trip to Japan, but if you have the right bag (or bags) at your disposal, you’ll be able to pack just the right amount for your needs.
Size, then, is likely the most important consideration you can make when investing in a new piece of luggage. If you aren’t the type to travel often, you can prioritize the needs of your next journey over those you imagine you might take in the future. More frequent travelers should think about the length of their average trip, and make a selection that begins there. And remember that when it comes to size, airlines have very specific regulations about the shape and size of bags allowed into overhead compartments. If you’re the type who likes to skip baggage claim and get out of the airport as quickly as possible, make sure your selection is rated for such use.
Once you’ve got a sense of the size you need, you ought to think about the weather in your home state, as well as the weather of your most common or impending destinations. If you fly out of or into Pittsburgh or Seattle, for example, you’ll want a bag that isn’t susceptible to moisture, as those locations are notorious for their rainy weather.
Along similar lines, depending on what you plan on packing into your suitcase, you might want to consider a piece of luggage with hard sides. Many of these rugged devices are made from lightweight metals and plastics that are not only durable, but are significantly lightweight, as well, so you don’t have to choose between the security of your items and their ease of transport.
Finally, don’t be afraid to make a decision based on the aesthetics of a given bag. Making your way through the airport in style is important, to be sure, but a bag with a little flair will also be much easier to pick out on a carousel, reducing the likelihood that a stranger will mistakenly pick up your belongings and take them home.
Other Useful Luggage Accessories
Once you’ve gotten your hands on an excellent piece of luggage, there are a few other items that will help you round out the unit and give you the most efficient and comfortable traveling experience you could desire. Most of these items cost significantly less than the bags themselves, so if your budget will allow for them, feel free to treat yourself.
It’s understandable that you would want to keep your personal belongings safe while in transit, especially if your bag were to find itself in the hands of a stranger. If you use any old lock to secure your luggage, however, the TSA will likely have to break it if they choose to investigate your case, potentially causing irreparable damage your zipper mechanism, which could result in a permanently broken bag. A simple investment in a TSA-approved lock will protect your stuff from the prying hands of anyone unauthorized to search your bag, while allowing vetted employees of the TSA to open the lock with one of their master keys.
If you have a hard time packing light, and you often find yourself sitting on your suitcase just to get it to zip closed, then an investment in some vacuum-sealed bags would do you good. Often called Space Bags, after the most popular brand on the market, these devices will allow you to suck all of the air out of a space filled with anything you decide to pack, drastically reducing the amount of room that your bags take up.
One of the most difficult and potentially hazardous items to pack in your luggage is that extra pair of shoes. Wherever you walk, your shoes pick up a litany of bacteria, and if you don’t have a reasonable way to store those shoes in transit, you risk spreading those bacteria throughout your wardrobe. A quality shoe bag will prevent this, as it effectively separates your footwear from the rest of your clothes, while keeping them tightly packed to maximize the rest of your packing space.
Traveling Through The Ages: A Brief History Of Modern Luggage
Nowadays, when most people hear the word carpetbag, they’re likely to think of an entertainment column in the New York Times that’s notorious for picking the vast majority of Academy Award Winners in the days leading up to the big show. The term carpetbagger, however, is a political one meant to describe a candidate who seeks election in a community where he or she has no connections. The image is one of an outsider coming into a local race with a carpetbag full of clothes on his back.
For the bulk of recent history, if one intended to travel, he or she would do so accompanied by one or more trunks. These hard-sided devices were large, unwieldy, and the province, principally, of the wealthy. Often, these wealthy travelers paid porters, whose exclusive job was to see to the luggage. If one hadn’t any money, but still needed to get around with more than just the clothes on their back, their go-to item was the carpetbag, a satchel of sorts constructed out of the same materials used in common carpets.
As the 19th century drew to a close, consumers could acquire carpetbags outfitted with iron frames intended to make them easier to carry or to stack alongside trunks. Around the same time, smaller trunks with handles built for their owners to carry became more popular, and travel for leisure expanded throughout a growing middle class.
From that point until the addition of wheels toward the end of the 20th century, little changed in the luggage world. New materials replaced the leather that was ubiquitous for so long, eventually giving way to rugged, lightweight metals and incredibly durable plastics. Today's options represent the pinnacle of such technology, and aren't liekly to change too much until somebody invents self-washing clothes.