- Buyer's Guide
Best Travel Luggage Champion | Carry Awards IX
Our Best Travel Luggage 2021 brings cutting-edge innovation to your travels, combining clever access and packing with peace of mind…
Samsonite are true icons in the luggage industry. The brand has been around for 111 years (yes, you read that right) and over their extensive history they’ve pushed the boundaries of luggage; setting benchmarks for durability and creating innovative pieces that changed the nature of what luggage could be. So it’s not surprising that Samsonite are innovating yet again – and this time with the highly impressive Ibon.
Modern-day travel habits and needs have shifted. While hardside luggage is great for protection, it’s not always easy to pack or retrieve gear from it, especially in small spaces. And while duffel-like access is convenient for tight spaces, you might feel a little anxious as your duffel disappears into the bowels of checked luggage carnage. The Ibon offers a refreshing middle ground, courtesy of Samsonite’s signature innovation. A one-point lock opening provides access to the suitcase with a quick and simple twist; job done. But adding to the clever design is the shape of the compartments. Traditional hardside luggage opens up to wide and shallow compartments. The Ibon instead offers narrower but deeper compartments that maintain a smaller footprint. This makes it easier to open, easier to pack, and takes up a lot less space while doing so.
Samsonite doesn’t stop there though. Multiple carry handles (including an interior one) make it easy to maneuver the suitcase both closed and open. You also benefit from useful interior dividers and pockets for organization, as well as the easy-breezy nature of spinner wheels. All offered within a hardside construction exuding the superior quality that travelers have come to love and expect from the brand.
While traveling can definitely be fun, it’s also often tiring and inconvenient. The innovative Ibon does away with a lot of packing frustrations and its useful feature set really does shape a practical travel experience. And when trips are easier, they’re more enjoyable. Exceptional work, Samsonite!
These are the pieces that just missed out, and in most cases, by the smallest of margins. To them, we award a High Commendation. The below were of outstanding quality, displaying fine craftsmanship and design flair. With honor, we bow our heads in the utmost respect and kudos. If this were a dais, they’d be biting their teeth into silver medals, while their flags were hoisted into the horizon – a feat not to be overlooked. And we’re sure they’ll be back, to take it one notch higher, next year.
Zero Halliburton’s aluminum cases are instantly recognizable. But being the savvy brand that they are, they knew such cases wouldn’t suit the needs of everyone. It was time for a refresh. Pieces that conveyed that same iconic aesthetic and sense of quality, but lighter. Not to mention less of a hit on your wallet too. The Zero Halliburton Edge Lightweight Continental Carry-On Case delivers all of this in sleek, well-crafted elegance.
This case offers high quality throughout, with thoughtful details that enrich your journeys and bring a touch of luxury to your travels. The ZH Concave Edging™ adds a classy look but also strength; a scalloped grip handle on the base and ergonomic telescoping handle enhance maneuverability; a smart metal logo badge also doubles as a shopping bag hook. And that’s just the start of the carefully considered details. Practical interior organization also keeps your gear tidy and secure, so you aren’t faced with a jumbled mess on arrival. All wrapped up in a sturdy polycarbonate build available in a range of colorways. A luxurious look and feel, precision manufacturing, and travel-friendly features make this a smart companion for both business and leisure trips. Excellent effort, Zero Halliburton!
Norwegian brand Norrøna are well versed in creating gear for challenging conditions. And travel can be downright tough. So they’ve designed their 120L Trolley Bag accordingly. This rolling duffel uses highly durable and sustainable fabrics, specifically ECONYL® 450D for the main exterior fabric and a hard-wearing 900D ECONYL® for the base, both with a 2000mm PU coating. However, the bag doesn’t have a metal trolley system, allowing it to come in at a surprisingly lightweight 2.4 kg.
The 120L Trolley Bag also offers multiple carry methods. Tough wheels that will handle offroad use, stowable shoulder straps for backpack carry, as well as a range of conveniently placed grab handles. The main compartment is complemented by a quick-access front pocket, both with their own interior organization. And the clean, tapered shape gives this bag understated style that transitions smoothly from backcountry slopes to urban jungles. This is a well-considered, sustainably made, and burly luggage piece that will serve you well for many years of travel adventures. Well done, Norrøna!