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With travel restrictions beginning to lift, cautiously, around the world, it may be time to dust off old luggage or consider new replacements as you consider even newer destinations. Hard sided looks better to most peoplebut soft sided luggage should withstand the bumps and knocks of travel for longer. This spinner carry-on offers the best balance of size, value, reliability, and durability, with high-end details. The Elite only improves on past iterations in the Platinum line by reducing the size of the stowed handle which used to jut out about an inch and adding a second zippered, exterior pocket for easy access on the go and a USB pass-through extension that lets you insert your own battery pack for charging your phone.
And at 7. The spinner luggage configuration stands out in particular because of its MagnaTrac wheels, which magnetically snap into a forward position when the bag is moved. It also has an easy-to-use, removable garment bag.
If you prefer more packing capacity the equivalent of squeezing in two more sweatshirtslarger wheels that run more smoothly over rough terrain, and a more protective built-in garment folder, 2 we also like the two-wheeled inch versionespecially for longer trips.
But after several years of testing experience, we think the superior maneuverability of spinner luggage, along with improvements in manufacturing processesmake four-wheel bags a better choice for most people. Measuring 23 by Soft-sided carry-ons last the longest and show the least wear, but if you prefer the look of a hard-sided bag, the Away Carry-On is our choice.
Like our other picks, this bag stood out for its high-end components, such as sturdy YKK zippers and wheels that moved as smoothly as those on our soft-sided top picks. Its strong yet flexible polycarbonate shell does show more wear than our soft-sided picks. Similar to our soft-sided top picks, Away bags are backed by a lifetime warranty. This carry-on bag offers superlative build quality, plenty of expandable room, and a uniquely effective compression system.
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Every detail of this top-rated bag, from the zippers to the wheels to the wrinkle-resistant suit compartment, is made to the highest standards, and we found it has a higher proportion of usable space than any other spinner bag we tested. This is further boosted by the uniquely effective ratcheting CX compression system that allows travelers to fit an entire extra outfit into the same external dimensions as most other carry-ons. The Baseline Domestic is also the only spinner luggage model we tested with a built-in garment folder, which helps shirts and pants stay wrinkle-free if you pack them well.
Other than wheels, the handle is the component most likely to break on any bag, and looser handles have a little more tolerance to wiggle within their tubes, so they are less likely to bend and get stuck.
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While a tighter fit feels more reassuring, it takes just a couple of trips to get used to the handle. If things go awry, user-replaceable parts and a network of repair centers located around the world make quick fixes easy, and the reliable lifetime warranty covers repairs for airline damage. More than hours of research—including interviews with numerous luggage expertsfrequent-flying friends, family vacationers, and occasional business travelers—along with dozens of hours of testing and tens of thousands of miles of flights went into making these picks.
However, you need to register the luggage within days of purchase to activate the coverage. The handles of both Elite models are sturdy without feeling too rigid. After handling countless bags over the years, we have found that the tolerances of the Travelpro telescoping handle feel the most comfortable: It's not so loose that it feels flimsy, but not so stiff that it feels stubborn.
It is sturdy and unassuming, and does what it is meant to do without complaint. It hides scuffs and scratches, and is much more versatile than hard-shell—styled bags.
An expansion zipper lets you increase storage by about 30 percent in a pinch—although the bag will no longer be carry-on compliant. We prefer to use the expansion zipper as something of an ad hoc compression system: We unzip the expansion zipper while packing the bag and then zip it at the end, tamping everything down tight. The Elite also has a variety of convenient exterior pockets: two in the front, suited for small miscellaneous items like a sleep mask and boarding passes; and one on the side for a battery, but it can fit a bit more if necessary.
There is also an accordian pocket on the front, for magazines and electronic tablets. The spinner model of the Platinum Elite has a unique magnetic locking system, which helps align the wheels along parallel axes. With the MagnaTrac wheels, the Platinum Elite is easier to maneuver than the other spinner models we tested. The Platinum Elite also does very well by the s. It weighs 7.
By comparison, the two-wheeled version holds 2, cubic inches or 80 percent of its total conceivable volume. Travelpro increased the diameter of the wheels on the Elite, making for a slightly smoother ride, and redeed the top handle to lie flat, which cuts about an inch from the overall height of the bag relative to des. The spinner model of the Platinum Elite comes with a removable garment bag for optional use.
The Crew 11 only offers a three-year warranty against airline damage. Both Travelpro bags have user-serviceable parts and multiple repair centers.
To get repair service, you can either drop the bag off at a repair center or ship the bag to Travelpro, the cost of which they will cover. Though the Platinum Elite rolled pretty well in general, we are still a bit concerned when dragging the carry-on bag up stairs.
In luggage reviews, we have seen a of complaints online that the version of the Platinum Elite, the Platinum Magna 2, was prone to tipping over when fully loaded. So long as you pack heavy things first boots, camera lenses, souvenir wine bottles —closer to the handle—you should be fine.
Travelpro uses a self-repairing nylon coil along with Supra zipper he throughout its bag, instead of zippers made by YKK. However, two years ago, we noticed a small uptick in Wirecutter reader complaints about zipper tabs breaking.
We reached out to Travelpro, and a representative told us that a production error expanded the capacity of the front pocket of the Platinum Elite; this allowed travelers to overpack the pocket, which put excessive strain on the zipper. Travelpro told us that it has fixed the error in subsequent production runs of the Platinum Elite.
Travelpro covers the Platinum Elite with its best warranty for return, repair, and replacement : If your bag suffers from this or any other problem, get in touch with Travelpro, and the company ought to resolve it promptly. We like the battery pocket, but the built-in cable itself, which routes from the pocket to a USB port less than 6 inches away, is an unnecessary item, which at best adds a potential point of failure to the bag—USB cables do not last forever. Does it ruin the bag?
Is it a feature? Not really. We still think most travelers are better off with one of our soft-sided picks than a hard-sided carry-on; soft-sided luggage shows less wear and typically lasts longer than hard-sided luggage. Its wheels and zipper are as well made as those of our soft-sided picks, and its polycarbonate showed fewer scratches than that of hard-sided competitors. We tested the Away Carry-On for three years, traveling with it ourselves across the country and lending several units to testers and frequent travelers to see how they enjoyed using the bag.
The polycarbonate that Away uses is both strong and flexible. When we first started testing the Away inwe found that flexibility to be a liability, especially on airport carpets: The first version of the Away I tested tended to flex into itself and jam up its own wheels when I pushed it in front of me.
But I haven't experienced the issue with any of the latest models of this suitcase. The bag itself feels good in the hands, and the Hinomoto wheels are noticeably better than those on any of the hard-sided competitors we tried, except for the Muji.
Away also uses YKK zippers, currently outclassing our top pick in that regard Travelpro moved to Supra zippers in The Away has a modern and minimalist look and also comes in more colors than our soft-sided picks, but the sleek style comes at a cost: Its polycarbonate shell is ultimately more likely to break than the nylon fabric of our other picks. It also lacks certain amenities, such as external pockets and a suiter, that our top picks have.
The clamshell de, which splits down the middle and opens into two parts, can make it frustrating to pack and unpack.
Packing cubes help, but after years of packing and unpacking soft-sided luggage with a single lid, I definitely find a clamshell de to be more finicky. The Away is priced comparably to the Travelpro Platinum Eliteand it too is backed by a lifetime warranty that protects against defects and parts breaking. It weighs a pound less than the Platinum Elite but a pound more than the Crew 11and it has a similar amount of packing space to both.
Which suitcase will work best for you depends on your taste and needs. Both models perform just as admirably as each other. The two-wheeled version has the same internal layout as the spinner model, but it offers a bit more usable space. The most ingenious part of the Baseline Domestic bag is its CX expansion and compression system. Load the bag as full as you need to, and zip it closed.
Then you push down on the bag, which compresses it as a clip mechanism secures it in place. Unlike other expansion systems, which are either open or closed, this one locks into incremental positions. Another ificant difference: The tracks for the handles are on the outside of the bag, which allows for a flat surface in the interior of the bag, with no small crevices to work around for simple packing. And in our tests, after packing 10 bags trying to figure out strategies for each nook and cranny, packing on a broad flat surface felt like a luxury.
According to our measurements, the bag, unexpanded, offers 1, cubic inches of storage room and that s for the space occupied by the wheel wells and such. Expanded, it can stow 2, cubic inches—or nearly 77 percent of its conceivable available space. All of these features add up to a carry-on that is easier to pack than any other bag we tested. A wide, wrinkle-free tie-down system completes the package. On the outside, the Baseline Domestic is pretty unremarkable. We also noticed a robust feel to the zippers, which are a self-repairing type made by YKK.