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Ravenna rolling bag, Part Deux

I've read the reviews of the RS Ravenna rolling bag in this forum, most of which came out shortly after the bag was introduced, and I'm wondering how it's holding up for the road warriors who are using it regularly.

I purchased the RS Rolling Carryon (current model) a couple of years ago, and it's been great. It's made several long trips, passed muster on an international flight for carryon, and checked a couple of times. The light weight is a real plus, especially compared to my Ebags Mother Lode 21" duffel, which is a couple of pounds heavier and is about to be "retired" as it's getting too heavy when fully packed. (Good, durable bag, but the weight is becoming a problem.)

I've been considering buying a Ravenna as I'm drawn to the hybrid structure of the case, with the hard shell corners combined with the flexibility of the fabric. But I have a couple of questions.

  1. How deep are the front pockets? When the bag is fully packed (intelligently, not stuffed), will a say, standard iPad fit? I don't need to put a lot of items in the front pockets, but I would like a few small items to fit.
  2. How are the wheels and handle holding up? No problems with my RS roller. I've pretty much gone back to using two wheeled bags over the spinners, as they just seem more durable.
  3. Given that the bag is more "structured", can a lightweight garment sleeve fit in it for carrying a suit or sport coat without excessive wrinkling? (Or just the suit in a plastic bag, I suppose.) This is a no-go with most soft side bags in my experience, and though I rarely travel with a suit anymore, I have to on occasion.

Thanks for answering these as well as giving overall feedback. I'll probably wait until the Ravenna goes on sale before pulling the trigger, but it's nice to hear what other users are experiencing.

Posted by
495 posts

I actually like my Ravenna bag a lot. I also have the RS rolling backpack which I used until last year. I do love the hard edges, and, for me, I like the ability to expand the case. So what I do is unzip it so that the bag is bigger, load it with my packing cubes and then I zip the expandable section back down. So it's still small enough to carry on and everything inside is not necessarily smooshed but rather all that empty air space that's hard to fill is gone. Does that make sense? And to answer your questions:
1. The two little pockets on the outside are very thin - in one I have a phrase book and the other I just put a few ziplock bags. However, the u-shaped pocket that unzips (right behind those two mini pockets) would definitely hold your iPad and something like a thin windbreaker or a thin sweater.
2. Wheels and handle are fine. I've only used it for an 18 day trip so far, but I'm hoping that all will stay well. I just make sure I don't use that extended handle to lift the case.
3. I measured the inside of the bag and the usable space (without smashing things) is 19.5 x 13.5. So if your packing sleeve is around that size, it should be okay. I use packing cubes and roll my clothes, so I can smoosh the cubes into the case.

I got mine on sale too. If you don't need it right away, there might be a sale around Thanksgiving time.

Happy Travels!

Posted by
156 posts

Thanks for the feedback, Barbara. I think your strategy of opening the expansion gusset before packing makes a lot of sense, actually.

Right now, I'm doing a "luggage purge" of a few bags both on order from my spousal unit ;) but also just to get rid of or replace some older bags that I don't use. I've been considering the Ravenna for a while, because it seems to be a good alternative to a fully hardside bag (which is fine for pretty short trips or checking) without the extra weight. I'll watch for a sale. Thanks again.

Posted by
2257 posts

We bought ours earlier this year and have used them twice since then. I use the inside zippered pocket like a large packing cube for our shirts and tops. The other half is for pants, underwear and shoes, etc. I can’t say how long it will hold up because I haven’t had it for that long but so far I really like this luggage. The luggage went on sale a week after I purchased and RS gave us a refund of the difference.

Posted by
870 posts

We had mixed luck with the Ravenna bag. We bought it for our niece and her friend for our trip to Italy in June. Here is the feedback based on your questions.

  • We didn’t fit the iPad in front, it went in the daypack on the plane. There is some room in the front pocket, but not sure if I would put an iPad there.
  • Wheels were great, traveled through cobblestone streets—no problem. The handle was fine as well. No problems. The side handle broke on my niece’s suitcase halfway through the trip. Was a bit of an issue when you had to get things on & off the trains without the handle. Her friend’s handle was fine. The expandable zipper broke and couldn’t retract on my niece’s suitcase.
  • Can’t give feedback on the suit, didn’t take, but I don’t see anything in the construction that would prohibit it.

Overall, what we liked about the suitcase is its size, it is light, and the wheels are durable. We were disappointed that the handle and zipper broke. The zipper could be the fault of my niece, but not the handle. When we returned RS replaced the suitcase. Their customer service was excellent and we hope that my niece’s suitcase works as well as her friend’s Ravenna suitcase.

Sandy

Posted by
14152 posts

The top handle of mine broke in week 2 of a trip. I was in the middle of a RS tour. The hotel lent me some tools and I was able to make a temporary fix. I gave it away when I got home.

Posted by
32 posts

I have had a couple of the RS bags and the most recent one I purchased was the Ravenna. I have used the bag for two short domestic trips, both carry on. I can't really answer your question about a suit, but as already mentioned, an iPad would fit in the front pocket, but I'd not put on in there as there is no protection if it were to get bumped or squashed by others. The wheels and handles work fine so far.

The only issue I have had and would make me not purchase this bag again, or encourage someone to purchase, is that where one hard plastic corner meets the fabric, the fabric has torn. I contacted RS, providing pictures of the inside and outside of the area, and they told me to take it to a tailor or shoe repair person to have it fixed at my own expense. I did, but they stated that the fabric has been ripped by rubbing on the hard plastic casing and due to the placement of the rip, it cannot be fixed other than by hand sewing. They did hand sew it, but I was told not to expect the repair to last as the constant rubbing of the fabric on the hard edge would just cause it to rip again. I put some duck tape over the plastic corners to provide some glide between the hard plastic and the fabric hoping to get a few more uses out of the bag. I contacted RS again and was told that it was not a defect and they would not replace the bag. Needless to say, I'm a disappointed in this bag's ability to last more than two domestic trips compared to the rolling backpack which lasted for many years and many months-long trips, without issue. Based on that one issue I'd hesitate in recommending the bag, even though I do like the bag overall.

Posted by
211 posts

I have used the Ravenna bag on a couple of trips and have mixed reviews of it. I like the hard corners and the handle has not broken but I find it difficult to use as it retracts flush into the bag and requires digging out to use. Also, not much room to grip. The wheels have held up fine so far. Just returned from Bulgaria and it rolled over very rough cobblestones, etc just fine. The interior configuration requires some thought to pack but I have decided it is sufficient for a light packer. I use packing cubes for the open side and pack bulky items (rain jacket, down vest, etc on the zippered side. The flap in the middle is perfect for undies and socks. No way would I pack an iPad in the front pocket after seeing the baggage being tumbled around on a luggage carousel!! There is no padding on the front pockets. I find the front pockets too small to be truly usable. Maybe a thin guidebook or postcards. This bag also presents a problem when opening as it opens like a book in the middle rather than from the top. This does not work well on luggage racks in hotels and requires a good bit of floor space for opening in small European hotel room.

Posted by
4086 posts

Lynda said, "No way would I pack an iPad in the front pocket after seeing the baggage being tumbled around on a luggage carousel!!" If you see how bags are loaded onto the plane, you'll never put anything breakable or of value in any exterior pocket of any checked bag ever.

I'm a committed carry-on person primarily for the convenience, but all it took for me to be even more committed was observing bags being loaded. I didn't realize that the way they are tossed (yes, tossed) onto the belt is pockets down. Silly me, I would've thought they'd go back down for more stability on the belt. Since the pocket side is rarely flat, the bags roll a bit. As you might imagine, sometimes they roll right off the belt.

Always being on the lookout for a better bag, I was curious about the Ravenna Rolling Case of this discussion. After looking at the description and product details, I'd never consider it primarily because of the 7 lb, 4 oz weight. My roller bags, 1 spinner and 1 with 2 wheels, are each about 2 lbs lighter. I limit the total weight of those bags to less than 20 lbs, so I don't want to waste weight on the empty bag.

Another thing I don't like about the bag for European travel is the clamshell style. It's awkward because typical lodgings lack flat places big enough to let it stay open for a short stay. Note that unpacking isn't a big deal if you have well-organized packing cubes.

Finally, I find the design of the bag just plain ugly. Picky, I know, but who wants an ugly, heavy bag that has the quality control issues mentioned by owners so far in this thread?

Posted by
13251 posts

"Another thing I don't like about the bag for European travel is the clamshell style. It's awkward because typical lodgings lack flat places big enough to let it stay open for a short stay. Note that unpacking isn't a big deal if you have well-organized packing cubes."

I do NOT have this bag but traveled with a friend who does/did. She had difficulty in the small Paris hotel rooms having enough space to open it flat. She was in a single room - didn't have to find space for another person's luggage as well! After seeing how this shape of bag performed it convinced me not to even look at the clamshell style of luggage. I had been attracted to it because I liked how you could pack both sides, but after this...no.

Posted by
156 posts

Really good responses here. Think I’ll stick with my current roller rather than go with a Ravenna.

For the record, I never considered putting an iPad in the front pocket were I to check the bag. That’s too dumb, even for me. 😉 And I’ve watched the loading of planes, which can be truly cringe-worthy. My electronics stay with me in the cabin, and if they’re too bulky, they stay home. (The invention of the tablet has been a godsend for travelers, in my view.)

I’m relatively new to RS products, and have been pretty satisfied with the bags I’ve purchased here. But I’ve also read some comments stating that the older models were more durable, with one astute commentator advising that instead of bowing to inflation, the bags have been reduced in quality and/or durability over the years to keep to the price point. I can’t attest to that as my purchases have been in the last two years, but it makes sense.

Guess this is a situation where “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The RS rolling carryon has served me well over a lot of trips, so I think I’ll stay with it.

Thanks again for the responses. Really helpful!