At TravelAge West, our staff seems to constantly be in transit — in fact, one of our editors will visit the Caribbean and Korea in the same week. Needless to say, quality luggage is always on our wish lists. With that in mind, we field tested several roller bags to see which luggage made the grade and which bags we’d rather send packing.
The easy-to-maneuver Samsonite Silhouette 700 Series Spinner makes it a breeze to pass through airport lines and tight airplane aisles. With its four multi-directional wheels, this bag allows you to roll in any direction you please. The spinner fits enough clothes for a week or long weekend and features a convenient compartment for a laptop in front. The comfort grip handle is not as sturdy as the rest of the bag and has trouble staying in a locked position. The bag easily fits in most overhead bins, and the bright red color makes it easy to spot.
Samsonite 700 series offers several colors and sizes, from a tote to a jumbo suiter. $335. (22 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches, 10 lbs.)
— Tara L. Cole, Art Director
Cram it all in
Burton’s Wheelie Flight Deck is perfect as a carry-on for short and long trips. It handles well as checked luggage, and the custom skate wheels are quite durable. Some carefully crafted features make the bag especially versatile, like volume-enhancing “cram zones,” which consist of stretchy fabric for extra stuff. Also, the bag includes a removable laptop pouch for convenient storage — but beware, my laptop made the bag a bit too large.
The Wheelie Flight Deck meets most airline carry-on size restrictions, has lockable contour zipper pulls and dual-stage telescoping handle. The bag also includes a new hideaway SnakeStack External Backpack Attachment and comes in other colors. $129.95. (22½ inches by 13½ inches by 10 inches, 8 lbs.)
— Janeen Christoff, Managing Editor
Backpacker on wheels
Eagle Creek’s Tarmac ES 22 has the spirit of a backpack paired with the convenience of a roller bag. The multiple pockets — both inside and out — helped keep me organized on long trips. But resist the temptation to overstuff the outside pouches, as the bag will no longer fit into overhead bins. While the bag comes in blue, green and a more sophisticated black, the look of this luggage might be too casual to match a button-down suit.
The Tarmac meets most airlines’ carry-on requirements and features an ergonomic handle, protective kick plate, an expandable main compartment and a lifetime guarantee. $235. (14 inches by 22 inches by 9½ inches, 8 lbs.)
— Jamie Wetherbe, Assistant Editor
L.L. Bean has mastered the art of taking classic style and redesigning it for the modern consumer. Case in point: L.L. Bean’s Premium Collection Rolling Pullman luggage. Using a combination of durable leather and 1,200-denier polyester herringbone fabric outside, the bag has a molded interior and two mesh-covered sections inside. It is deceptively big and durable, but never once came close to the 50-pound limit. Perhaps the bag’s best feature, however, is its extra-large outside pocket, which seems almost infinitely stuffable. On the negative side, the zipper is a tad tricky when going around its corners.
Comes in sage, black, tan, cordova leather and black leather. Sizes run medium ($240), large ($280) and extra large ($310). (Large: 26 inches by 22 inches by 12 inches, 13 lb. 12 oz.)
— Kenneth Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief
L.L.Bean’s Microfiber Collection Rolling Pullman bags features a multitude of small — almost concealed — zipper compartments. Although the pockets kept my items in order, it took airport security almost half an hour to search my bag. The bright blue luggage is easy to spot but is also easily stained. While the luggage is lightweight, the bags don’t always corner well when rushing through the terminal. The Rolling Pullman bags come in three sizes: medium for $189 (22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches, 9 lb. 5 oz.); large for $229 (25 inches by 18½ inches by 9¾ inches, 12 lb. 8 oz.); and extra large for $259 (28 inches by 20¾ inches by 11 inches, 13 lb. 1 oz.)
— Deborah Dimond, Associate Art Director