Features

Four new carry-on luggage reviews

30 May 2018 by BusinessTravellerAsiaPacific
Samsonite Evoa

Samsonite Evoa

BACKGROUND

Samsonite’s Evoa collection launched in 2017. There are three colours available: silver, copper and black, all with a brushed finish.

DESIGN

The case has a minimalist style with a textured brushed effect that gives a sleek metallic aesthetic (the case itself is made of plastic, though it does feature metal corner protectors). There are three sizes available – mine was the smallest 55cm/20inch variety, suitable for carry-on. At 3.4kg the case doesn’t eat into the standard 7kg carry-on allowance too greatly. The finish of the product is excellent and the case is sturdy, though I would expect the plastic exterior to get scratched over time. The Evoa zips open into two equal halves, though only one side has a full divider, which zips closed. The top half of this divider is a plastic mesh, while the bottom is a translucent pocket that’s good for storing documents. One noticeable feature is that the handle mechanism doesn’t intrude too much into the interior space so you don’t lose too much volume.

HANDLING

The Aero-Trac suspension wheel system is designed to reduce noise and vibrations while in motion. Indeed, the Evoa is smooth, quiet and easily manoeuvrable. However, when I was pulling the case behind me on just two sets of wheels, the Evoa lost some of its smoothness – particularly as the wheels have to swing round when switching direction, which felt rather clunky. One feature that is definitely useful is the adjustable height of the handle – the Evoa has multiple settings, though the mechanism can get a little stuck on the way down.

SECURITY

The Evoa uses a TSA Recessed Combo lock (so travellers shouldn’t need to worry about it being broken during security checks). The case itself is fastened using zips that clip into place and remain secured while the bag is locked, and the zips themselves are dual layered, providing added security.

VERDICT

It may not have too many bells and whistles, but the Evoa is a solid, straightforward carry-on suitcase that is comfortable and easy to use.

Click here to read the full review.

Rimowa Topas Cabin Multiwheel

Rimowa Topas Cabin Multiwheel

BACKGROUND

Rimowa’s iconic aluminium case rose to prominence after being the only material to survive a factory fire at the company’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany in 1937. There are three colours in the collection – silver, titanium and stealth (black).

DESIGN

The classic silver Rimowa case is effortlessly stylish and stands out next to other brands, the smart, functional appearance striking a good balance between casual and formal. Size-wise, the case fit comfortably in the overhead compartment, but weight is a point to consider. The metal case is quite a hefty 4.8kg when empty – leaving just 2.2kg for personal items if the airline is strictly enforcing the typical 7kg hand-carry limit. However, the aluminium is very durable and scratch-resistant compared to plastic-based models. The hard shell also gives peace of mind for carrying breakable items, and should fare well in the hold if you check in your case. A plastic grip encircled the case to keep it waterproof. The royal blue interior was fairly roomy – I managed to pack a thick coat in one half, and a pair of shoes, laptop, tablet and work documents in the other. The contents of both sides are kept in place by rigid boards, secured with Velcro strips. There is also a double-zipped net on each of the boards, allowing you to store small flat items.

HANDLING

The Rimowa has four pairs of wheels, and is very smooth to pull along with excellent balance. The telescopic handle has no pre-set stages meaning you can easily adjust the handle length to your exact preference. I also appreciated the switch to plastic for the handle material, as metal can be unpleasant to hold in cold environments.

SECURITY

There are two TSA locks (one at the top and bottom), which are easy to set and unlock.

VERDICT

The durability of a Rimowa is second to none. Despite being deliberately rough with my case during the journey to stress-test it, it came back in perfect condition. The main drawback is the weight, as it’s heavier than most.

Click here to read the full review.

American Tourister Air Ride Spinner 55/20 TSA

BACKGROUND

American Tourister is one of the brands acquired by Samsonite and certainly carries a certain cachet, with its products prominently displayed in department stores.

DESIGN

One of the first features to notice on the Air Ride range is the triangular design, giving what would be an otherwise staid, ridged surface a distinctive geometry. The case has a good amount of space, and I found that extra material I accumulated during my trip (such as brochures and souvenirs) were easily accommodated thanks to the flexi material and generous measurements. The Spinner 55/20 TSA could be considered the baby of the Air Ride range, but it’s no less robust – it maintained its shine and capabilities after back-to-back trips to Bangkok and Adelaide. A double zipper is the tool of choice for opening and closing, while the interior is designed to provide a compartment for the lid section with a zipped pouch and another neat zipped section against a panel on the lower section. Another highlight for this case is that it’s very lightweight, at just 2.9kg.

HANDLING

The Spinner has one handle for carrying and gripping, but positioned on the top; sensible enough as the lid and opening section offer more room for packing this way. The extendable handle gives four positions for coasting along airport walkways or the tilt and drag towards the taxi stand.

SECURITY

Zip tags clip into recessed TSA locks with a latch on a groove and four-digit dials.

VERDICT

This was a solid, no-fuss carry-on that performed well and proved adaptable enough to deal with extra contents on my return.

Click here to read the review.

Tumi Merge Carry On review

Tumi Merge International Expandable Carry-on

BACKGROUND

Tumi’s brand-new Merge collection launched in January 2018. The collection has been inspired by the Californian landscape, cities and laid-back vibe.

DESIGN

Not as eye-catching as some of Tumi’s other brands (the beautiful 19 Degrees collection for example), but it’s smart enough for a business trip and relaxed enough for leisure travel too. It’s a neat, stylish case without being ostentatious. A useful zip expander increases the depth to 28cm, with an overall capacity of 38 litres. The soft-shell case is quite lightweight at 3.7kg, but has been created with durability in mind and the primary material is Ballistic Nylon – a thick, sturdy form of woven nylon originally used as body armour in WWII before the creation of Kevlar. The material is hard to scratch, though being a textile, probably wouldn’t fair too well in rain. The inside of the case felt extremely roomy, with additional pockets for organisation, and the top-down format was efficient. The front of the case has three additional pockets, making it easy to prioritise items you may need to grab quickly.

HANDLING

The standout feature of this bag was its fantastic balance and manoeuvrability thanks to the four sets of dual-swivel wheels. Even when fully expanded and packed to the brim, I could twirl the case like a ballerina with the tiniest exertion. It also handled itself well over rougher terrain, such as uneven pavements. There’s a three-stage telescopic handle, plus retractable top and side carry handles and a bottom grab handle – particularly useful for yanking your bag off a crowded carousel.

SECURITY

My main quibble with this case was the discrete TSA combination lock – easy to lose and unable to secure all of the exterior pockets together. A neat identity tag is buckled onto one side and the bag also features a TUMI Tracer – with barcode and QR code.

VERDICT

A good choice. The case looks good, is a dream to manoeuvre, can hold plenty of items – particularly if utilising the expander – and offers options to prioritise important items. My only complaint was the unattached lock.

Click here to read the full review.

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