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Need Recommendations for hard shell spinner carryon size

Not at all what I would choose but 21 yr old daughter insists. Thanks for the help. I liked the TravelPro Maxlite but she insists on hardshell and she didn't like the colors of the Samsonite. If this keeps up, I'm just going to give her a garbage bag to carry her stuff in!

Posted by
27447 posts

Domestic carry-on size will be too large for some European airlines, I think. Does she understand that, or is she just planning to travel domestically?

I'm not a fan of hard-shell suitcases (or spinners), but I stopped by my local TJ Maxx and Marshalls a couple of days ago, and there were lots of hard shells out there, in a variety of colors. You might get a good deal. There's very, very little in the discount stores with only two wheels.

Posted by
14288 posts

Do you have a TJ Maxx near you? I saw some really cute hardshell spinners recently at my local one. I ~don't~ want one but I was almost seduced by them, lol!!

If you go, take a tape measure and a luggage scale if you have one.

Posted by
3995 posts

Here's a post I did recently after I bought my first hard shell spinner, based on a love at first sight in Marshalls: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/new-luggage-why-didn-t-i-think-of-that-buyers-remorse

While I wouldn't dissuade her from buying a hard shell spinner just ask if she would be put off by its operational differences. If we're me, I'd give her $125 and turn her loose in your nearest TJmaxx, Ross or Marshalls store to do the testing and decision making herself.

Posted by
5697 posts

Does she really want to carry on, or just likes the size and the look ? Nice thing about hard shell is that it tells you clearly when you try to overpack (I.e., you can't close it) And it looks cute and trendy.
Seconding the suggestion about TJ Maxx -- lots of styles and colors, at prices that don't require a lifetime commitment to one bag.

Posted by
4482 posts

Thanks everyone. Mona, I read your very helpful warning post about spinners-she said she already knew it has to lie flat. She would love the $125 TJ Max suggestion-I'm just afraid the one she picks might fall apart when she and I are taking trains and the Tube in England in June. Her mom does not believe in taxis! I (not she) would prefer one with a reputation for durability! Does anyone have experience with Delsey and/or Travel Club? Her comment on durability was, our plane trip to Charleston this month can be the test run and if it doesn't hold up, she can just buy another-all with our money, of course! And she has to do carryon-I'm not into checking luggage on most trips.

Posted by
10369 posts

Delsey is a good, reputable manufacturer. Most of my suitcases over the years have been Delsey but always soft and two-wheeled. We recently traveled with a group of older French people. They all had hard-sided, large, four-wheel cases, mostly Delseys.

I'm just afraid the one she picks might fall apart when she and I are taking trains and the Tube in England in June.
You can always carry an extra garbage bag or flat-pack duffel bag as a back-up.

Posted by
8245 posts

I used to be a Samsonite hard shell guy. But that was many bag generations ago.

Now, I go to Amazon for soft side 21" Trave! Pro w/swivel wheels that is ultra light. The weight is so important. Hard shell doesn't doesn't do so we!l on planes.

Posted by
4601 posts

I can't recommend a suitcase, but can state that American airline carry on measurements won't allow flights on Air Canada...then add all the low cost airlines in Europe. Instead of a garbage bag, in case things break, consider this foldable light weight pack. Rick's Sarah Murdoch used it for a while and it should carry most of what her spinner would hold
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0151EFHGQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=advenwithsara-20&linkId=977f05ecb80c70bad70ecb186acc0a25
For $20, then you have peace of mind she will have something she can carry....the only down side of this is that it isn't lockable, so move it to the front on the tube or train so she can watch any points of entry.
And if the hard side breaks, and she cries, well, it is a lesson learned. Stand back and pass her the backpack, duffle, or garbage bag - without a word.

Posted by
15722 posts

Hard shell spinners are very trendy right now with the Away Luggage carry on leading the pack. Travel and Style magazine writers are lavishing such praise on this bag it's as if it was satisfying them in a certain way.

Have her browse eBags for something she might like.

Posted by
4482 posts

Maria, thanks-definitely getting one of those. I loved your comment about passing it to her without a word! I knew I would get great advice here! David, the Travelpro was my first choice but she insisted on hardshell-I think she's still in the stage of cute bag rather than dependable one! I suspect her dad will weigh in with that one and the two of them will lock horns!

Posted by
4066 posts

At 21 she can make up her own mind, and face the consequences while you watch, trying not to smile. At 21 she can pay for it herself, the price of being picky, yes?

Posted by
2788 posts

I have gone to Europe for 14 of the last 16 years. I have always used a 21” +/-
Carry-on with two wheels and have never had a problem with it. I also have taken 14 RS tours and have seen numerous travelers with the spinner type suitcases have real problems trying to pull them along on uneven surfaces
Like are found in lots of places in Europe particularly on cobble stone streets.
I have also seen some of those folks carrying their spinner type suitcases rather than trying to pull them on rough surfaces. Just make your daughter aware of those potential difficulties.

Posted by
4601 posts

Cala, it is hard to let them suffer the consequences - or prove us wrong. Letting her decide on her bag with a neutral approach gives her her wings. Not criticizing means neither of your are embarrassed when one is wrong. Having an alternative if the suitcase fails means you have peace of mind, and after she stops being mad that you were right, there will most likely be a 'thanks, Mom'. It doesn't hurt to let Dad read this thread and decide himself...

Posted by
276 posts

I have the 25 inch hard-sided Travelpro bag. Very light weight, held more clothes than I needed and handled Europe very well. And made it unscathed from the baggage carriers who couldn't care less about your personal property. The carry on should work well. It's lighter than one of RS's carry on bag and the same as the other. The only part of a hard-sided bag that drove me nuts is that you couldn't open the bag on a luggage rack. You have to put it on the bed. Over all if she wants a hard-sided bag I'd recommend Travelpro. I'm actually looking at the Ebags mother lode. A bit heavier than I'd like but I like the compartments. My luggage collection is out of control!

Posted by
8661 posts

My wife is satisfied with her Heys. They have lots of unusual patterns and colors.

Posted by
2455 posts

Cala, you might just give an envelope with a $100 bill in it, and send her on her way. She knows of the internet, no?

Posted by
11534 posts

Travelpro does have a 21" hardside spinner --- found it on Amazon for about $130

If the color selection does not pass muster, then just give her whatever amount of $$ you want ,and let her pick her own and let her live with her choice

(My kids were in their 30s before they discovered their parents were not complete idiots)

Posted by
4012 posts

If your daughter walks up hills (either smooth sidewalk or cobble stone), if she really wants a spinner, tell her that she must drag the bag using all wheels. So many people when commuting up a hill treat their spinner like a 2 wheel pullman and lift the back set of wheels while putting all the weight on the front set. Often, spinner wheels can't handle this much weight/force and those wheels end up breaking.

So if you or she is going to spend the money on a spinner, make sure she knows how to use it when going up hill.

Posted by
2023 posts

I love my hard shell spinner and it is great for airports, train stations, etc. My requirement was it had to be a shiny black one with a great zipper. Easy to identify because I use two large luggage tags--one pink & one bright green. Best of all it cost under $100 at Walmart. Have not had the experience of pulling it over cobblestones but it did make a recent trip to Rome. I see no point in buying any brand name or pricey luggage because it takes such a beating and I just replace every 5/6 years.

Posted by
996 posts

My main reason for wanting a hard shell case are times when I anticipate I may have to walk in the rain while dragging my case along. If I have a laptop/tablet with me, I don't want it to get soaked.

Posted by
1450 posts

highlander, we have already discussed elsewhere Ricks hard shell hybrid bag, and it has 2 wheels, not 4, so is not going to satisfy the 21 year old who thinks she wants a spinner.....

anyway, I agree with you that a bag that opens like a book is annoying after all of those years of just propping the lid of my old 30 inch black roller bag against the wall............

on most luggage racks I can make it work..... I pack all of the "weight: " down at the wheel end, so place the weightier 2/3 of the bag open on the rack with the lightest 1/3 floating between the rack and the wall, and remove my toiletries VERY carefully.... kinda like a game of Jenga

Posted by
3265 posts

I think we all have a right to our odd choices in luggage. If a 21 year old has an opinion on her luggage, then it should be honored. There is no right choice. My RS tour guide in Greece had a Huge hard sided suitcase with 4 wheels and she loved it, and managed it fine. We all need to make our own decisions, which will sometimes be good decisions and sometimes will not. A 21 year old is certainly strong enough to handle most bags or deal with the ramifications if her bag breaks.

And, if the 22 inch can't be carried on interEuropean flights, it can be checked. Millions of people check their bags and survive. ;)

Posted by
15722 posts

And, if the 22 inch can't be carried on interEuropean flights, it can be checked. Millions of people check their bags and survive. ;)

Wray, that is heresy to some here. And add four wheels---OMG!!!!!! :)

My RS guide on Village Italy had a spinner bag she got at Costco and had been using it for years. She never had a problem with it. (By coincidence, it's the same manufacturer that now makes RS bags. I had the new RS hybrid hard/soft bag on that tour. It broke after a week.)

The key to buying a spinner bag for use on non "shiny" surfaces is the wheels. Good, sturdy, well attached wheels can mean the difference between smooth sailing and rough seas. Stay away from small wheeled bags. In this case, size matters.

Posted by
139 posts

Recently hunted for a "regulation" carryon spinner. So many brands are oversized!

Narrowed the field to Away (so cool, but spendy) and ebags Fortis. Then we saw a new spinner at Costco -- it's on the heavy side, but has good outer pockets and solid build like Briggs & Riley. It cost far less than the other bags, with Costco's great return policy. I still hanker for an Away bag, but it's twice the cost, and I don't need the battery feature.

Posted by
4175 posts

Be sure to check the details if shopping online or take a measuring device if shopping in person.

You need to verify that the vertical measurement from the floor to the top of the handle is 22" or less for a carry-on. Verify the other dimensions as well. Often the dimensions given, even on the tags on the bags, do not include the handles and wheels.

The size is particularly important if you are required to put the bag in a sizing box at the airport. A hard shell bag simply won't go in if it is too big. By the way, an overstuffed soft-sided bag will not fit even if its overall dimensions are carry-on size.

Also, many bags say they are lightweight, but really aren't. That could make a difference if you fly within Europe or on a European airline.

Even a pound lighter can cut the whine frequency and level when lugging the bag around town, on and off trains and up and down stairs. I noticed that the Away carry-on bag is supposed to be 7 pounds. That's pretty heavy.

The weight thing is difficult because the same bag can have different weights listed by online vendors. However, I have a 22" Lipault spinner that I love. Mine is duck blue. There are lots of great colors. They're soft-sided, a French brand and weigh about 4.9 pounds. Hard-sided bags are usually heavier.

Now about the spinner shaming that sometimes happens with luggage discussions. I have both that spinner and a 2-wheeled Eagle Creek Load Warrior. It's been my experience that my spinner is much easier to lug around, even on rough streets and cobbles. I do tilt it, but I've never had an issue with the wheels. They roll just as well as the ones on the 2-wheeled bag.

Posted by
117 posts

I have the smaller of the 2 Away carry-ons, and just returned yesterday with it from a trip to Rome and London. The wheels on the Away are bigger and studier than other spinners than I have had in the past so I did not have any trouble rolling it. I've had the bag for about a year and a half now and it has been on at least 10 trips, both domestic and international and it's held up very well so far. I know hardsided bags are not the bags of my choice on the forum but they work for me, and I still manage to pack light and carry-on only even when going for 2 weeks.

I still have an old 2 wheeled Delsey and a travelpack but the Away has become my bag of choice lately.

Posted by
4482 posts

Since I always like to know the outcomes of these threads, no one suggested the best idea of all-outsource the shopping to the frequent traveler husband. They bought a Swiss Gear at Target, too small for my taste, but it will definitely fit airline carryon requirements and the wheels are double so hopefully more durable. Thanks to everyone for their ideas!

Posted by
4601 posts

Thanks for coming back and giving us the resolution. Double wheels - that sounds encouraging. Hope it all goes well.

Posted by
156 posts

Will this be used primarily in the US or Europe? If Europe, she needs at most an 18” model, because with the wheels, that will typically come to 20 or 21 inches, which could be a problem for carryon on the budget European carriers.

If using in the US, she has a lot more leeway. Consult the airline sites for limits. Also, if she’s an overpacker”, tell her not to use the expansion feature in bags so equipped if she doesn’t want to check the bag. 22 inches is usually fine.

I have two hardside spinners, one an Amazon Basics 20 inch and a Rockland 18 inch with opening front compartment. Both have proved durable, lightweight, with no problems on several different US airlines. And I try to pack light.

The hardside versus softside debate will go on forever, but it really comes down to the quality of the bag itself. You can’t go wrong with Travelpro in my experience for softside luggage that lasts forever, but if you’re looking to save some $$$, I’d go to eBags and go by their reviews. Good luck!