Well Designed Travel: Top 5 Carry-On Suitcases

Well Designed Travel: Top 5 Carry-On Suitcases

Smith Schwartz
Jan 26, 2012

When I decided to live out of a suitcase, I never thought I would spend about 6 months of my life researching, shopping and just plain going dizzy from all the online suitcase trolling. Every time I would pass a luggage shop, I'd get whiplash trying to peek inside, always stopping in to test drive a new model. After becoming insanely particular about each and every detail, I feel like I've finally made the right decision for me. Luggage is such a personal choice and an object that becomes a part of our individual travel histories, so why not be choosy?

5. MUJI Bellow Pocket 4 Wheel Carry

I love the simplicity of this bag. Like every product in the MUJI catalogue, this suitcase is sleek and well designed without looking too 'designer'. Unfortunately, I really wanted a bag that was 20" tall or less, so that I would always be able to fit it in the overhead bin of any flight. So I had to move on to the next option.

4. Eagle Creek Traverse Pro 19"

This bag really is really appealing because of the detachable backpack feature. What a great way to carry your small valuables as you run through the airport to catch a connecting flight. The functionality of this bag is great, however the look was just a bit sporty for my taste. Especially since I don't have that many belongings anymore, I have a real need to absolutely love every item I own, and this bag just didn't make the cut.

3. Eagle Creek Twist 35L Connect Wheeled Carry-On

A bit small (and still sporty) for me, this is the bag my husband ultimately decided on. It's super durable, and Eagle Creek is known for making great bags that last. He really likes the easy to stow backpack straps so that he has the option of either carrying it on his back or rolling it behind him. The laptop sleeve is nice, but a little tough to remove your laptop when the bag is completely full. He uses the sleeve to store various other electronics that he doesn't need to pull out at security checkpoints.

2. Lipault 20" 2-Wheeled Foldable Duffle Carry-on

I really wanted this to be my bag. I have fallen in love hard with the entire line of Lipault luggage. It all started with the bright colors, but I fell deeper once I learned about the durable, waterproof fabric and the foldable feature that is fantastic for small space dwellers. In the end, however, I decided this was a little bit bigger than I really needed it to be, and I could possibly run into trouble carrying it on small flights or buses. The height was just right, but this bag was a bit wider than I was hoping. (I did however, keep the laptop bag, which I love!)

1. Briggs and Riley BRX 19"

This is the suitcase I ultimately chose and it's just the right size for me. Not too big, not to small. The padded laptop sleeve is a plus, and can be used for other electronics when I'm carrying a separate laptop case. The exterior has a soft body yet durable boning, making it tough enough to gate-check if I absolutely have to. There are lockable zippers, and even a nicely stowed (but easy to find) ID tag. I love the hidden pops of orange inside, which actually makes it easy to find small items in a dimly lit airplane cabin. Also, with the Briggs and Riley lifetime guarantee, I'm sure to be using this bag for quite some time.

(Images: Lipault, MUJI, Magellan's, eBags, Briggs and Riley)

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