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Carry on bag that doesn't tip and rolls well

I'm looking for a carry on bag that when packed doesn't tip over and rolls nice. My current bag when packed doesn't roll well. I struggled with it on my last Europe trip.

Posted by
23473 posts

Question ??? Why doesn't your current bag roll well? Is it a spinner or two wheels? My experience is that two wheel bags come with large wheels that roll over cracks and cobblestone much easier than 4 wheel spinners. Tipping over problems are generally solved by how you pack the bag -- heavier items closer to the bottom, etc. Also, weight makes a big difference. The heavier the bag the greater potential for rolling problems. So what type of bag are you currently using? That will help us to better frame our responses.

Posted by
5067 posts

We've used the Rick Steves Rolling Carry on bag and have been very pleased as it does roll nicely. Some who've reviewed the bag in the past have indicated they had tip over problems. We, however, have not had any problems. That's probably because we pack the heavier items at the "bottom" nearest the wheels.

Posted by
21 posts

My current bag is a 4 wheel Samsonite soft shell. I do put the heavier items on the bottom. I don't even have it expanded and it rolls poorly and wants to lean. I struggled rolling it in the airport. I'm looking into purchasing another carry on bag. This was my first time doing carry on for a Europe trip. I learned so much.

Posted by
23473 posts

I personally do not like the four wheel spinners in Europe with a lot of broken concrete, cobblestones, and in general poorly maintained streets and sidewalks. The wheels are smaller and tend to get stuck in every crack or bump. I recently purchased an inexpensive, 2 wheel Nautica bag as a replacement for very old and well used 2 wheel bag. I have used it once and it works well. The 2 wheels are larger and partly recessed so that it fits the sizing box much easier. Some with argue the opposite but that is what works for us. Also, personal opinion, tend to buy cheap bags ($50) as I find their service is as good as expensive bags. And a few years ago a luggage theft ring was busted at DIA who only stole expensive bags from the luggage area.

Posted by
1259 posts

Small spinners are inherently unstable platforms because the wheels are too close together—it’s just physics. There are only two reasons a spinner would be tippy: too much mass off center or too much mass packed too high. The form factor of the bag cannot be changed much, the dimensions are clearly established and a lot of useable packing volume is filled with the frame and transmission. There are some spinners that are horizontal. They might be more stable but they seem to be only available from the high zoot makers.

https://www.tumi.com/p/garment-4-wheeled-carry-on-01171501041/

If you are committed to using a spinner, and I think you should be looking at two-wheelers or a backpack, you’ll need to read the user reviews very carefully to find a satisfactory design. Take yours with you as you hit the luggage departments so you can see the differences in frame design. Try to have fun shopping; lots of great bags out there.

Posted by
2716 posts

The previous poster is right-they are inherently unstable. My Briggs and Riley international widebody spinner tips much less. But it’s expensive and, to my chagrin, did not meet the measurement requirements on my recent Delta flight to Rome. I took instead my TravelPro Crew 9 spinner which only tips when I have another small bag on top. Yes, spinners need to be pulled like a two wheel bag now and again on cobblestones. But I gave up on two wheel bags for the most part as the pulling torqued my low back.

Posted by
2925 posts

My sister-in-law and I just got back from 3weeks in Italy. We each used RS Rolling Carry-On topped with a tote with trolley strap. Both worked great over all types of surfaces. Over Venice’s bridges the trick was to pull the suitcase when going up stairs and push when going down. Both suitcase/tote combos stood without tipping over regardless how full they were.

Posted by
1662 posts

Lisa,

I like Travel Pro also. Seems a few of us had good experiences with the brand.

This is what I have in two colors - Purple and Blue.

https://www.macys.com/shop/product/closeout-travelpro-walkabout-3-22-expandable-carry-on-rolling-suitcase-created-for-macys?ID=2584988&CategoryID=16908&swatchColor=Dark%20Purple#fn=sp%3D1%26spc%3D7%26ruleId%3D78%26kws%3Dtravel%20pro%20close%20out%26searchPass%3DallMultiMatchWithSpelling%26slotId%3D6

I loved it so much when I got the Purple, I ordered the Blue. I took it as a free check on my last trip to Rome. I stayed in one place for two weeks.

The luggage held up exceptionally well. It is lightweight. It holds a lot of stuff. It held/safeguarded my souvenirs that I had to pack in a checked bag. Of course, I protected them accordingly.

The material is very nice. The zippers are very good. I like the two, rugged wheels. The handle is pretty stable and secure compared to "other brands and lightweight models."

They've been on "Close Out" for a while now, over a year. They are not seconds. I got mine for less than what the sale price is now, but, it's still a good, current price. And, sometimes Macy's will allow an additional coupon on top of the sale. That's how I got mind for a "steal."

If you happened to get it and don't like it, Macy's has a good return policy (in case you're not aware.)

*Updated: Oh, I noticed you asked about carry on, oops, lol. The above I mentioned "meets" a lot of carriers measurements. If I wanted to, I could have carried it on British Air, but they are generous to begin with. Some other carriers may be more strict - even by 1/2 an inch.

Posted by
15726 posts

I switched to a 4 wheel spinner nine months ago (Away Carry On). When necessary, I tip it on its side like a two wheeler. No problems. When choosing a spinner it's important to choose good quality wheels. The cheap ball like wheels are horrible.

Keep heavier weights towards the bottom of the bag. A two wheeler bag has more of a probability of tipping over than a spinner.

Posted by
90 posts

Any problems or issues with your Away carry on. Ready to order, trouble deciding color and large carry on vs smaller carry on.

Posted by
15726 posts

No trouble with the Away carry-on but my battery doesn't work well. The larger carry-on will not fit many sizers regardless what Away claims.

The bag does get scuffed but I've been told a magic eraser will help.

Posted by
4175 posts

I have an old Lipault spinner similar to this, a domestic Eagle Creek 2-wheeled bag exactly like this and this Eagle Creek international bag that I'm currently traveling with.

They are progressively lighter from 6 lbs (new ones are 5 lbs and under) to 5.5 lbs to 4.5 lbs empty. Surprisingly, their capacity doesn't vary all that much: 35 L, 41 L and 36 L.

I've never had issues with any of them tipping. I have no problems rolling any of them in front of me down most airplane aisles. I've had no problems tilting and rolling any of them over any kind of paved surface.

I do think that the Lipault spinner is more maneuverable, but even though it is well within domestic flying regs, I do have to gate check it on smaller planes. The other 2 have no issues unless the plane is very small and old.

I will say that I prefer the U-shaped handle to the T-shaped one because I can put a sleeved tote over the U-shaped one. With the T-shaped handle, I have to wear a little backpack or wear a tote cross-body. I'm testing those options on this trip.

This is the new version of the Eagle Creek bag I'm traveling with now. It's a little heavier and has a little more capacity than mine. Hmmm? No wonder mine was on sale last fall.

And it seems that these domestic and international spinners are the new versions of my green Eagle Creek. At well over 6 lbs, both are much heavier than mine. Gotta be the wheels.

These are expensive bags unless you catch them on sale. I did not pay full price for any of them. They are sold in stores and by many online vendors. Be aware that the biggest differences among the vendors of any brand of wheeled luggage seem to be the size measurements and the weights. And with any wheeled bag, they might not include the wheels and handles.

Posted by
156 posts

I've owned several Travelpro bags, both two and four-wheeled, and have been impressed with their quality and durability over the years. I do think two-wheeled bags are slightly better in terms of space and durability of the wheels, but if you're not going to be dealing with rough pavement and cobblestones, a good quality spinner is just fine.

It's also not a bad idea to check availability of spare wheels should one go south. I've seen replacement wheels for Travelpro, Amazonbasics, and some other brands on Amazon, and those aren't a bad investment if you don't want to go through the time and hassle of a luggage repair shop.

Posted by
3265 posts

There is a way to pack most bags so they will not tip over, IMO, but I have not tested all bags obviously...not yet anyway. However, I believe the key is to put the heavier items on the bottom and don't store a laptop at the top/front of the bag.

I'm a bag addict and have used many bags thru the years. However, for many years now my go to bag for international travel has been the RS wheelie (first the 23 inch and now the 21 inch). My bag still looks like new and I usually check it. It has been wheeled thru snow, mud, rain, cobblestones, on and off public transportation, etc. You think it, it has been through it. LOL That being said, we all have our favorites on this forum as we tend to have many packing addicts who are set in our ways.

I suggest you check out Consumer Reports and their latest report on wheeled carryon bags. The RS bag did extremely well, considering its lower price than the top one Briggs and Reilly, which didn't do well on weight and is expensive. It also did better than Travel Pro (just by a little) as I recall.

Posted by
996 posts

I've had good luck with the Delsey Aero line. This suitcase rolls extremely well (compared to previous rolling bags). It's lightweight (again, compared to my own previous bags). And if I have to check it, it's hard sided.

Posted by
92 posts

I just returned from an overseas trip with my new Travelpro Maxlite-5 22". It weighs 5.4#, compared to my RickSteves rolling carryon at 6.5#. They seem to fit the about same amount of stuff. I was very pleased with it but am also pleased with the RS bag. The Travelpro feels very un-tippable, the wheels are large and the little feet angle toward the front, which may help. It rolls very smoothly and the handle pulls up and down smoothly. We flew Lufthansa airlines and they were very clear that the carry-on bag was limited to 17# total, so I was prepared to check the bag. Info about the personal item was hard to find, but it seems it was limited to 6" in depth. On this trip they made many announcements about the weight and size limit but did not enforce any of it. When we flew Lufthansa a few years ago they weighed carry on and personal item together but the weigh limit was slightly higher. Sorry that I've gone a bit off-topic. Anyway, I am very pleased with the Travelpro Maxlite 5 bag. Rolled very smoothly, zippers worked well too and didn't tip.

Posted by
110 posts

I am also a fan of the Travel Pro with two wheels. 4 medium sized Pro Packing cubes fit perfectly with room for shoes and toiletries, and with heavier items on the lower part of the bag tipping isn’t an issue. Happy Travels!

Posted by
5697 posts

Another vote for Travelpro 2-wheeler -- I have an older model, bought at the thrift store, and it rolls beautifully on all terrains.
EDIT to add: the reason it was a $5 bargain was that the last 2" of the zipper was off the track -- a minor flaw in my eyes and one I can easily work with.

Posted by
12 posts

I liked monos carry on plus model as firstly it packs a ton. It came with the 2 anti-microbial laundry bag and two shoe bags, plus Italian leather luggage tag - super easy to organize. It came with a magic eraser for any scuffs and beautiful dust bag for storage (I use it often at train stations when I need to put into locker or to put away in my garage). The telescoping handle is quite unique as the push button is under neath the handle so feels super natural moving around with it , definitely didn't tip over with my heavy packing my recent trip. also has the compression pad which resolves the bulky packing - super cool part it has silent 360 degree wheels that make zero sound.

In regards to the travel pro ----- I love them it's just that I had a very bad experience with the zipper issues in my trip to London in 2017 and design was quite outdated.

@frank

No trouble with the Away carry-on but my battery doesn't work well.
The larger carry-on will not fit many sizers regardless what Away
claims.

The bag does get scuffed but I've been told a magic eraser will help.

I agree with the battery not working very well, and I find it not quite useful because I always carry my battery pack in my laptop which I bring to board plane.

Overall I give higher points to Monos luggage.

Posted by
278 posts

I have a Travelpro with 2 wheels that works very well - it's lightweight, rolls well and doesn't tip over. Like other who posted, I find the 2 wheels work better on city streets and cobblestones better that the 4 wheel spinners. I sometimes use an eBags backpack (Weekender, no wheels) instead of a rolling case when I know I'll be dealing with a fair amount of hotel and subway stairs and don't want to deal with lugging a suitcase up/down them.

Posted by
393 posts

I took my family (of 4) to Italy. We owned three carry-on bags and I was not earning a lot of $ at the time, so I used a $15 carry-on from OfficeDepot and let my family use the good ones.

Mine was the only one with problems.
All of them were 2-wheel bags, with wheels big enough (my wheels were a bit small)
BUT my stupid carry-on didn't have wheels on the outside edges of the bag- they were more in line with the two telescoping poles of the handle system. The carry-on flipped over on any big transition of cobblestones.

We now own the Rick Steves rolling 2-wheel carry-on and love them.