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Travel in Style: Carry-on Luggage Worth Considering

In Guides by Anthony Rezendes

Most people wouldn’t think that selecting luggage was such a big deal. I can tell you that for someone on the taller side, it most certainly is. Traditional wisdom would tell you that if you accidentally chose a set from a major retailer that was defective, wasn’t as durable as you had hoped, or even started falling apart earlier than you had anticipated, you could blame it on the poor craftsmanship, return it for a refund, or chalk it up to a bad experience and move on. But what about the particular set being sized appropriately?

Avoid Baggage with Baggage

One mistake I didn’t want to repeat from my first experience was having the carry-on handle be too short to roll comfortably behind me. While most luggage today seems to  fine for people averaging anywhere from 5’0″ to 6’4”, my current set always causes me to hunch over to accommodate the short length of the handle. When I forget to do this, my back heel kicks the luggage just enough to set the rollers off course, or worse, tips over, having me awkwardly carrying it from it’s extension arm as I try to fuss with getting the wheels set back on the ground securely.

What to Look For

Let’s face it, being in the airport can be frustrating for anyone. It can be even more so if you’re luggage isn’t the best fit for you. For this article, I’m going to be focusing solely on carry-ons and will review the following three pieces. The pieces I looked at also have accompanying suites of three or more sizes, but I’ll save that for a later review.

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My criteria for reviewing the luggage was:It be lightweight (~7 lbs)

Carry-on type of luggage (for long weekends, etc)

Handle length be enough not to mess with my ankle (Height conscience flyer)

Under $70 (shopped at Macy’s, Overstock, and found the best deals at Tuesday Morning)



Weight 6.4lbs
Height L9.5″ x W14″ x H20″
Warranty Limited Lifetime
Materials Polyester, Aluminum
Wheels 360° spinners (4 wheel)
Handle Aluminum, 2 locks
ID 4011360



1. Travel Pro

Despite its light weight, the travel pro feels sturdy, the wheels provide a full range of motion and a smooth glide. While the height is only described as 20″ the length of the arm feels longer than either the London Fog or the Atlantic as seen in this side-by-side example.

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 Handle height on the Travel Pro extends slightly taller

The telescopic handle feels sturdy and stable, providing the feel of a bag at twice the cost. All three have a way to extend the dimensions, just about ensuring you’re able to fit any extra gifts/trinkets you bring back from your trip.

The Travel pro’s zippers feel durable, and not easily torn off or bent. The exterior shell, while polyester, seem to be coated as to prevent snags or scratches. Looking at the internal compartment, you can see that there are three zippered mesh compartments that allow the owner to easily segment their toiletries from clothing.


Weight 7lbs
Height 21″W x 14″H x 10″D
Warranty Limited Lifetime
Materials Polyester, Aluminum
Wheels 360° spinners (8 wheel)
Handle Aluminum, 2 locks
ID 360UL

2. London Fog Brighton

Building off of its well respected brand in jackets, full length coats, and rain gear, London Fog has long been a staple in the luggage arena. As you would expect from this big player, the Brighton 21″ is one in a series of gear specifically designed to show off what the company is good at – creating practical, versatile, and elegant products.

interior_london_fog

They are a premier global lifestyle brand recognized by over 98% of people worldwide and you can tell in their attention to detail. Inside the bag, you immediately notice that they forgo the typical mesh found in other bags for clear, durable plastic that can easily be taken out during bag inspection. Straps and pockets feel durable for this level of product and you can easily see how they’ve leveraged their expertise in other arenas to build something timeless.


Weight 7.1lbs
Height 21.0″ x 14.0″ x 9.5″
Warranty 10 Year, Limited
Materials Polyester, Aluminum
Wheels 360° spinners (8 wheel)
Handle Aluminum, 2 locks
ID 309126102, 309126101

3. Atlantic

The last in my roundup, the Atlantic features a rugged, dark matte polyester fabric that’s just as durable as the Travel Pro. As with its counterparts, multiple exterior pockets keep you organized and a telescopic handle lets you travel hassle free. The no-frills interior was probably my least favorite of the bunch, but the wheels are smooth rollers requiring minimal effort with a 10 pound test. The smart organizing features that are touted on the brochure are suitable however not overly impressive for this price range.

interior_atlantic_low


Summary

While all bags felt like a good bargain for the price, I was at first drawn to the London Fog bag for it’s attention to detail on the inside. The idea of a lifetime warranty also appeals, however I’d want to read the fine print to see what it doesn’t cover. While the amenities it affords are wonderful, I couldn’t help myself from going back to the Travel Pro for the simple fact that the handle felt extremely sturdy. After looking at the pictures again it also appears perhaps an inch or so longer as well. While the interior is less appealing than that of the Atlantic or the Brighton, length is of huge importance and any little bit I can get is a blessing.

Having owned my share of luggage ranging from Samsonite to American Tourister, nothing can really compare to actually testing it out in real world conditions over an extended period of time. Even historically reliable brands can sometimes fail given the right set of circumstances. I had this exact thing happen to me when I bought my first “real” set of luggage. The piece actually had unscrewed itself from the metal chassis and causing the bag get caught up in the airport conveyor belt. Thankfully, passengers were spared from seeing me having to pick up my belongings strewn about the carousel…but it was close.

My best advice is to make sure you take your top choice for a test spin around the store. Heck, load it up with some stuff as well. The more you can simulate real-world experiences the better in my opinion. For those 6’7″ or taller who need more reach on their handles, I recommend Armor Extend-a-handle or something similar.


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About the Author

Anthony Rezendes

Anthony is one of the original Lanky Living founders. As a user experience designer living in Austin, TX, his interests include helping start-ups build their business, working on various creative endeavors, and spending time with his family.