Antler has a huge range of luggage, and many of the names of the new ranges emphasise the lightness of the bags. We have previously tested Atom and the Prism. This Oxygen bag weighs in at an impressive 1.8kg for the cabin bag version. There are also larger models – medium and large, though even the large only weighs 2.5kg.
The bag differs from those other ones in being soft sided, which had both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is there is more ‘give’ in the design, which means you can cram more in. For instance, during this trip I had a thick coat for the UK weather which was completely unnecessary for Barcelona, but the bag was flexible enough to accommodate the folded coat inside in a way a fixed shell bag would not have. The disadvantage is perhaps in terms of strength, though this is less important for a cabin bag since it doesn’t go in the aircraft hold. Antler says the strength comes from a hybrid construction which gives extra strength where you need it and features compression zones to absorb impact.
This was a fairly thorough test. It started with my placing a heavy backpack with laptop computer into the bag, and then wheeling it for a brisk 40 minutes’ walk through central London to St Pancras. The handle was easily strong enough to cope with the frequent lifting and then dropping as it went over kerbs and road crossings. Depending on how rough the pavement or road surface, I either used all four wheels or just two and pulled it behind me. After being stowed on a train, I then emptied the bag, put the back pack on my back, and cycled home with the bag on my handlebars. This isn’t advisable but proved how light the bag was.
The next day I walked back to the station, this time with it half full but with a backpack resting on its tops and secured around the double handles. Again, it had no problems. I then boarded my Easyjet flight to Barcelona (from Luton). On the way there I was informed that the flight was very busy and my bag would go into the hold. I could have argued against this since I have an Easyjet plus card, but there was nothing breakable in the bag so in it went, a further aspect of the test (it survived).
The bag has internal straps for keeping things in place, and the lid (inside) has a netting space where I usually put some shirts and ties. There is also a front pocket and a back pocket for some papers (I fitted several magazines in there). There is also a TSA combination lock.
It is 100g lighter in this cabin bag version than the Atom, which isn’t enough to notice, but I was impressed with the hybrid soft and hard shell. The prices of all Antler luggage are excellent. Highly recommended.
- Size (H x W x D) 55 x 40 x 20 (cm)
- Price £135
- Colour Black
- Material Polyester
- Packing Capacity 36 litres
- Gross Capacity 44 litres
- Wheels four wheels, 360 Degree Rotating Wheels
- Locks TSA Fixed Combination
- Weight 1.8 kg