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Consumer Reports: When Buying Carry-On Luggage, Don't judge a bag only by its exterior

An interesting article:

In Consumer Reports' 2016 luggage survey of its subscribers, more than
half of the 39,000 people who flew in the past year say they use
carry-on luggage on some or all of their trips....

Many of the manufacturers of the best luggage brands don’t disclose
the interior volume and looks can be deceiving.

Posted by
606 posts

Interesting article--thanks for posting.

Square corners and outside-mounted handle are two features I love on my Briggs and Riley rollaboard, but alas it's so HEAVY (11 lb!) that I've shelved it in favor of the IT-0-1 rollaboard from International Traveler (4 lb).

The IT-0-1 has square corners and corner mounted handle hardware so no loss of interior packing space. It is at the opposite end of the sturdiness spectrum compared to Briggs and Riley, to be sure, but as long as I don't check it or overpack it, it's held up OK for me for a couple of years now.

Posted by
4574 posts

It's a good article if you haven't already seen that. One of the reasons I don't use a roller backpack is the tremendous amount of space lost due to a sloping top, oval shape instead of square cut, and then there is the zip like a book bag. I know there are others with a more rectangle box shape that opens like a traditional suitcase, those are worth looking at - when the Cdn $ is on par again....

Posted by
19148 posts

They said a lot of things I've been saying all along, particularly that rounded corners and external pockets cost overall volume. One thing they didn't mention is how tapered bags, ones that are thicker at the bottom than at the top, reduce available volume. And wheeled bags not only detract from the volume, they add to the weight.

But then, since the volume that I carry is only about 1400 ci, and regulation volume is around 2700 ci, why do I worry about maximizing the bags volume?

Another thing they don't mention, bags with thicker, heavier weight materials, supposedly higher quality, also detract from the available volume and weight. If you truly carry on, you don't need the heavy weight, durable material - you don't have to worry about the baggage gorillas, you protect it by the way you handle it, and lighter is better. I do insist on quality zippers, but really, the biggest zipper hazard is over-stuffed bags, and I don't do that.

Articles like this can be helpful. I believe a traveler should come-up with his/her own criteria because everyone has different needs and factors. Things like budget, size, durability, weight, jungle-rot resistance, frozen zipper protection, cat proof, flammability issues and Fire retardant, etc..

Posted by
1420 posts

Sun, how did you know that my cat had discovered my original 30 inch black roller bag standing upright in the corner of the guest bedroom and designated it as a scratching post before i caught on? I do still take that bag on car trips so the cat's purpose is shown....everyone knows my home already has a cat so interlopers need to move on.... ;)

Many cats like luggage. My former cat would sit and sleep inside any bag left open when packing. I am afraid that my current cat thinks the small carry on bag with the gray colored liner is his litter box. I have to keep that one zipped-shut and upright at all times in the house.

Posted by
4171 posts

I always carry on.

I have 2 wheeled bags, one spinner, one with 2 wheels. They weigh about the same. The spinner is easier to move around. The 2 wheeled bag is easier to lift and manage in other ways because it has more grab points. I need to figure out the capacity, just for fun. I trust the manufacturers' specs, but now I want to see for myself.

Neither has any serious pockets on the sides. After seeing how checked bags are loaded onto the conveyor belt to go into the hold, I'm glad of that if I ever do have to check them.

Did you know that the baggage handlers throw them onto the belt pocket side down? I sure didn't until I saw it out the window with my own eyes. If you do have to check a bag with significant pockets, do not put anything you don't want smashed into a side pocket!