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Choosing a durable suitcase

Does anyone have suggestions for what type of carryon luggage is best? I have an older two wheel suitcase and the wheels are protected. I'm considering on purchasing a new carryon but most of them have four wheels that swivel and I am afraid that a wheel could easily get knocked off when pulling it around Europe on the cobblestone streets. Has anyone had problems with the spinner wheels? Would appreciate any suggestions of brands that worked for you in Europe.

Posted by
8645 posts

This is really a matter of personal taste. A good quality bag will work for you whether it has two wheels or four. I have been quite pleased with my bags from ebags.

Posted by
5153 posts

Please do a Search here- this topic is thoroughly- and passionately - discussed almost weekly on this Forum. There is a wealth of info already at your fingertips.
Good luck!

Posted by
1081 posts

Look right here at the Rick Steves travel store, many people on this forum have used them and like them. I like the fact that they replace a bag if anything is defective on it and it breaks.

Posted by
7463 posts

I know one person had problems with the spinner wheels because there was a broken spinner wheel lying next to the curb in the street outside Milan’s central train station. Hopefully it was at the end of their trip!

I have the 2-wheel Eddie Bauer 21 Expedition. It’s worked very well through lots of European trips. I just ended one in Italy going to smaller cities that had lots of round boulders….I mean cobblestones. They were larger cobblestones than I had experienced previously, and the smaller wheels wouldn’t have been able to glide over them.

Also, if you are looking for durable, try to buy one with the rugged YKK zippers - not the cheaper thin type.

Posted by
767 posts

Another vote for Travelpro Maxlite. I have the 20 inch two wheeler and I LOVE it!! Fits nicely in the overhead and I have had no problems with it on cobblestones.

Posted by
11509 posts

I find that Travelpro delivers great 'bang for the buck'

We have 2 wheelers of the 'international' size.

Finding the 2 wheeler style is more challenging that it used to be, but there are options available

Posted by
174 posts

I bought a new suitcase this spring from Monos. It has 4 wheels and is hard sided. It also has a zip opening on top where I can put my ipad without opening the whole suitcase. I have had two wheel suitcases but for me it's easier to push with four. Its also very light and I can lift it into the overhead myself.

I wanted the look and durability of a hard suitcase but it was skeptical about whether it would hold enough stuff. Even though it is"hard" It does have some give. I have taken it on two trips to Europe (including Rome with cobblestones) this year and it has performed excellently.

I also like having two sides for my stuff instead of just one compartment. Very happy with it so far and the wheels and quality of the build are great are great.

Posted by
11509 posts

Re: Monos luggage

What did you do when you came to a curb? The pix I see do not show any protection on the side to be able to tilt and pull it up a curb. Did you pick it up or....?

Posted by
107 posts

I have eBags with the rollers. I have traveled quite a bit with it and it has worked really well. i prefer the rollers opposed to the spinners because they seem sturdier. The spinners seem to work well only on smooth surfaces and I don’t want to worry about the abuse the streets of Europe will do to the bag.

Posted by
525 posts

I've had good luck with Delsey luggage and buy it exclusively now. I am careful about running it over cobblestones because that seems unwise for any piece of luggage--so I usually carry my carry-on when I hit that type of pavement. I know--that's inconvenient for some, but cobblestones are brutal and good luggage is expensive. I love the four-wheel spinners. They're so easy to maneuver. I'll never go back to two-wheeled luggage.

Posted by
4350 posts

My spinners work just fine on all surfaces and don’t put as much strain on my shoulders. They are also really easy to get down an airplane aisle (or any other tight space) and on and off escalators. I don’t baby them.

I have 2 I am currently using - which one depends on the trip. I have a 20” expandable off brand and a TravelPro Lite international carryon size (non expandable). No problem with cobblestones, etc. I have been using a spinner for a number of years and not yet had a broken wheel, etc. I only replaced my first one because I wanted something smaller (it was a 22”).

Posted by
333 posts

Timbuk2 CoPilot

It's clamshell so you can only disturb 1 side. Small pocket on top & a zip out front for access to one side of the clamshell. 2 wheels (my preference) with skate board wheels that are durable & replaceable. 3 straps & a telescoping handle that's easy enough to put a backpack on.

Posted by
1259 posts

Many folks have passionate opinions about the specific brands and models they may own but, if you look at, say, eBags, you will see there are many dozens of international-sized carryon wheelies from which to choose. (I happen to prefer a backpack-style carryon but that's a different passion.)

Durability is a feature of the case itself, materials and closures, the transmission, and the handle, none of which should ever fail unless run over by a car. Useable internal space is reduced by the mechanical features. Some luggage makers only sue external measurements and may not disclose accurate internal capacity. The mechanical systems add significant mass, too. Larger skate-style wheels will roll over just about anything and are easily replaced but tiny wheels are far more popular. The handle should be stout enough to help steer and be easily deployed/retracted. Reputable brands that make great products will carry premium price tags.

While reading reviews and recommendations here and other sites is helpful, it's best to actually handle the units you are considering. Try to have fun shopping.

Posted by
2500 posts

We have the RS Ravenna. This is our second set of RS luggage. We wore the first ones out after many years of travel and got our money’s worth from them. They are very durable but I just wish they were a bit lighter.

Posted by
2250 posts

We had two of the rolling Rick Steve's 21" bags. I should say we had one, as one of our kids swiped one of them and hasn't given it back;) The other bag though finally gave up, but we had it for 15 years and it got a lot of use! For a couple years, my husband flew with it weekly. We replaced it with a new RS bag. We never had any issues with the old bags on the cobblestones. We haven't used the new bag yet, so can't comment on that.

Posted by
18811 posts

Does anyone have suggestions for what type of carryon luggage is best?

I prefer a hard sided spinner (4 wheel).

I’m considering on purchasing a new carryon but most of them have four
wheels that swivel and I am afraid that a wheel could easily get
knocked off when pulling it around Europe on the cobblestone streets.

Not sure why one of 4 wheels would get knocked off vs one of 2 wheels?
My travel style means that 90% of the time the wheels are being used at airports or train stations (no cobblestones); 9.9% of the time at hotels (no cobblestones) and 0.1% of the time crossing streets between hotel and taxi or train station and taxi none of which in the last 20 years has been cobblestone. But I pretty modern destinations like Albania, Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia and the like.

But if your travel is mostly to mountain villages with cobblestone streets and you walk from the airport or bus terminal or train terminal, that might be a different circumstance.

Has anyone had problems with the spinner wheels? Would appreciate any
suggestions of brands that worked for you in Europe.

No. As 90% of the time my luggage is stationary either beside me in the airport or train station or beside me on the curb waiting on the taxi; I value the fact that the thing stands upright on its own even with a small bag hung over the handle.

When it does move under my power its nice that it carries all of its own weight and all I do is walk along side it.

It weighs almost 2 pounds more than a lightweight two wheel soft bag, but that doesn’t mean the packed bag has to weigh anymore. Actually I fly mostly on an airline that has a 8kg weight limit so all the bags on the plane, no matter what type, theoretically weigh the same.

If you are interested, PM and I will go get the name off the bag. Its been good, no problems for a few years on a lot of trips, but no fancy name brand.

Posted by
1259 posts

There are few major brands of spinners that rise to the top here on the forums. Purchasing a spinner is a function of reputation, durability, features, mass, size, and cost. The larger marketplace is worth a few hours of research if you're at all interested in the variety. It's also easy to just buy one of the recommendations from experienced RS travelers.

Spinners are not on my research list (I'm strictly a carryon backpack guy for the next decade or two) so I took a spin around reddit, one-bagger blogs, travel magazines, and the yootoobs to see what the hipsters, global nomads, and so-called minimalists are using these days for carryon-only. I uncovered about twenty brand names I've not heard of before. After discarding the shills and the junk, that still left twelve or more colorful, highly regarded, hard-sided spinners, in a wide range of prices, that had survived hundreds of flights and hundreds of miles of being rolled or dragged around the world and gained the respect and recommendations of the owners.