- Buyer's Guide
Fly By :: Victorinox Lexicon 22 Dual-Caster
Welcome to the second part of our awesome Fly By series in partnership with Cathay Pacific – the World’s Best Airline for 2014. Swooping into action is Mark Clemmow, First Officer at Cathay Pacific Airways. Taking to the sky is the Victorinox Lexicon 22 Dual-Caster. Find out whether it’s a smooth journey or if turbulence hits with this carry-on…
My first impression of this suitcase was that it looked smart, professional and would be very suitable for me to take to work. After using it for the last few months, it has certainly lived up to those initial impressions as well as revealing an intuitive design and thoughtful touches that have made it very useful to me for leisure purposes too.
Who it suits
Business and leisure travellers looking for a generously-sized carry-on that is easy to manoeuvre and will stand up to rough handling and the bumps and knocks that are inescapable with travelling.
Who it doesn’t suit
People who plan to venture over rugged terrain. The wheels work great for smooth surfaces but will start to wobble when rougher ones are encountered. If you’re heading off the beaten track, consider a backpack instead.
It has accompanied me on various work trips to long-haul destinations such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London and Paris and I found it to be an ideal size for these layovers with enough space for me to pack all my clothes, including thicker jackets for cooler weather, as well as enough spare room for a little bit of shopping. It has also been with me on regional overnight trips to places like Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo and I have been able to pack it up comfortably with extra room to spare for a few different night stops on a continuous pattern.
“I found it to be an ideal size for these layovers with enough space for me to pack all my clothes…as well as enough spare room for a little bit of shopping.“
This sort of extended regional pattern necessitates extra uniform and a variety of clothing when flying from the equatorial region one day and then to places further north in China and Japan the next day, and my suitcase did not let me down here with plenty of space for my needs.
Most importantly, it has also been with me on a few different holidays to the Philippines, Siem Reap and Koh Samui, where it has no doubt been treated more roughly than it would normally be when it is coming onboard the plane with me during my work trips. On holiday, I usually check my bag into the cargo hold in order to comply with the liquid and gel restrictions, and I have personally witnessed it being thrown off the plane on a small island in the Philippines, not to mention the rougher surfaces it has to travel over when it’s with me in such places as opposed to the usual big international airports that I travel to when on duty. Despite such abuse, it has shown its sturdiness and the corner trimmings and materials used have shown their worth with their durability and build quality.
The four-wheel design was a first for me as I’ve previously only ever used two-wheel suitcases, and I’ve found that it really does make it easier when on a very long walk to a boarding gate at the far end of an airport. I normally use two wheels only when I’m on duty as my flying bag is too large to sit on top and so instead I attach it to my suitcase and pull it along behind that on two wheels. When on holiday though I use a rucksack that sits comfortably on top of the suitcase and allows me to use it in four-wheel mode which I’ve found very convenient.
“I have personally witnessed it being thrown off the plane on a small island in the Philippines…”
It’s obvious that it’s designed for airport concourses paved with smooth tiles or marble as it rolls along like a dream on those, quietly and with a minimum amount of effort. On rougher surfaces the wheels wobble a lot more and it sometimes tends to overbalance but that is due to the places where I’ve been trying it out and a normal business traveller would have no cause for concern in my opinion.
The telescopic handle operates smoothly and has a few different positions to lock into depending on your height. I use it in the most extended position and have found it to be correctly situated whether I’m using four wheels or pulling it behind me on two wheels. The strap that comes with the bag allows for attaching another smaller case behind as I mentioned previously and is sturdily built and capable of pulling heavy loads with no fear of breakage. There’s also a rather nifty spring-loaded mechanism that unlocks the securing point of the strap with a quick press of the side button, and then allows for it to be simply pushed back in to lock it in place. This is a definite improvement to other suitcases I’ve used where the securing point is a bit fiddly and it’s easy to get handles stuck in the strap when trying to take it off quickly.
Naturally the suitcase has a zip on the outside that allows the suitcase to expand if required and this has proven necessary on a couple of trips where I’ve bought far too much stuff and have needed that extra space, not to mention the three outside pockets that are also thoughtfully provided.
“The strap that comes with the bag allows for attaching another smaller case behind…and is sturdily built and capable of pulling heavy loads with no fear of breakage.”
There is a slight tendency for the suitcase to tip over if it’s fully loaded both inside and outside and with the expansion zip fully open, but every other suitcase I’ve had with an expansion suffers from the same problem and is only to be expected when it’s being forced to carry much more stuff than one would realistically expect to be able to fit inside!
Having said that, I must say that the inside of the suitcase is generously sized and the coat hanger section was easily able to take the suit that I packed into it when travelling to my friend’s wedding in England.
“There is a slight tendency for the suitcase to tip over if it’s fully loaded both inside and outside and with the expansion zip fully open…”
What’s more, my suit arrived in excellent condition with no need for any pressing despite such a long journey folded over in a suitcase all the way from Hong Kong!
The not so good
There are two pieces of fabric connected with a strap that you can place over the top of your clothes and other items once packed inside the suitcase to secure the whole contents in position. Perhaps my only gripe with this suitcase is over this item, as although it stretches a lot and so can be strapped over almost anything, the flexibility of the pieces of fabric and the way they’re attached to the suitcase mean that you can’t really tighten them to hold things down in any meaningful way.
Other designs I’ve seen on my previous suitcases have been more difficult to secure when the inside is very full, but once you have got the strap locked over your items, then you can tighten the strap very well (like tightening the straps on a rucksack on your shoulders) and actually compress the contents a bit, thus providing you with more leeway to either close the case more easily or to put that last-minute shopping inside.
This design doesn’t really provide any capability of securing the contents firmly and pressing them down, so it almost seems a bit redundant having them there in my opinion. But again I must stress that this is really about the only thing I didn’t like so much about this case.
“This design doesn’t really provide any capability of securing the contents firmly and pressing them down…”
All in all, with my one gripe aside, I have found everything else about this case to be an improvement to my previous ones and I would certainly have no hesitation in recommending it to a business traveller for its generous content space and ease of manoeuvring on its four wheels. By the same token, I also believe that it is very suitable for leisure travellers going away on short trips for the same reasons and also due to its obvious build quality and durability that will stand it in good stead for being hurled out of the cargo hold in many airports all around the world!