- Buyer's Guide
Best Check-In Luggage Finalists – The Second Annual Carry Awards
We’ve all been there: stumbling through the airport doors, running late, with rocks of sleep still jammed in our eye and a heavy hangover looming over our head. It’s not pleasant and all you want is easy and functional when you’re being eyeballed by steely airport staff.
And more than ever, we’ve got options – airport hangars full. I’m serious, the luggage category is as diverse as Ando’s iTunes playlist. From casual to formal, from outdoor to airport only, you will find both a format to suit, as well as an emotional connection to inspire.
While there’s more variety than ever in check-in bags, there are also some emerging themes. One is that weight sucks! Very few folk have unlimited baggage allowance, and so it’s rare for us to recommend a heavy bit of luggage these days.
The other is that you want something that stirs some emotions in you. If you ask science, it says that most of us are happier before and after our holidays, than actually on them, so you need kit that brings on the warm and fuzzies across the entire experience.
And we have a diverse bunch nominated, for a diverse range of travel that’ll hopefully hit the mark.
So please, help your favorite win the gong…
You have two votes to use as you will…
Allocate your 1st choice with 2 points
And your 2nd choice just the 1 point.
Note: any votes made over the allotted limit will be wiped from the voting tally.
Duffels with backpack straps are plentiful, but most of them suffer the same few issues. The first is too many straps that get in the way of your load access. Next is collapsing forms with loads that ride too low and inhibit your motion. And last is an inability to tuck straps away for air travel. The Boreas Erawan solves all of these things, with a format that is fundamentally better. It’s cheap enough. It’s light enough. It’s not tops in looks or durability, but it puts toughness where you need it most. This is clearly one of the best duffels in the world.
Lots of weekenders look great, but very few of them can fit into a tiny kit bag and slide into your backpack. As with lots of their NSW ranges, Nike treat new fabrics in classic ways, elevating synthetics to be as classy as leather. While this bag has been getting released and sold out for a couple of years now, its elusiveness has helped it win nomination for this year.
This nomination surprised us a little, as it’s too heavy, shows knocks, and has been largely made obsolete by polymer replacements. But then we looked at it again and said to ourselves “Damn, it does look amazing!” And really, I think that’s why so many crew nominated it, because it looks like you might be carrying a cheeky 5 million bucks to blow on your own island or even smuggling Cold War nukes. It has that kind of appeal. But Rimowa does make a great case, and this range looks better than any of them. Once you get a few knocks, it starts to develop a patina-ish travel story. But be warned, you’ll be wanting first class baggage allowance, or you’ll have to pack real light, which may only leave room for your secret code and your shoe phone.
There are not many trips we do where your outgoing load equals your homecoming load. Whether it’s gifts you’re giving, samples you’re leaving, or shopping you’re bringing home, some versatility with luggage makes a big difference. The Morphus lets you split your luggage, wheel it, backpack it, shoulder carry it, or just compress the heck out of it. This is a two-part luggage solution that will do anything you need it to, without much of a compromise on weight.
So, the Samsonite stuff has kinda been creeping up on us. It’s not as immediately striking as some, or as dolled up as others, but darn it just works. We’ve had a Cubelite wrap its way around the world a couple of times so far, and this spinner is still box fresh and awesome. The wheels are large enough to skip over bumps, and clad in a resilient but vibration-deadening rubber so they stay quiet. The hardware is smooth, tight, and stiction-free despite plentiful abuse. And the case has been dented on drops, but keeps popping back. Put simply, this is the spinner than has converted several of our contributors over to spinners, where historically they’d never go near the small wheeled things. Oh, it’s also light, featured and almost affordable…almost.
We talk a bit about the Security Theatre around air travel at Carryology, as most of the billions of dollars spent on this stuff is silly. However, there are times when you need to protect your luggage, and Pacsafe are good at it. Their double-coil ToughZip resists pen punctures (a radically easy way to break into luggage), their Exomesh resists slashes, and the AT range is really quite light considering the safety feature set. There is an update currently flushing through, so the still great and prior model is at discount. Happy saving!
This bag is awesome value, weighs a whole kilogram less than most of its direct competition, and won’t complain as you drag it around the world in pursuit of waves, white and weirdness. But say you want more color than just black with highlights? No problem. The F-Light has plenty of colorways to match the loudest of board shorts or Hawaiian shirts. Trust us, we have a couple that are almost permanently out on loan, because they just work. And sometimes that’s all you really want, besides good swell, of course.
Tanner Nomad Duffel
There’s a few things that have become apparent through the course of these awards: 1) The lines between carry-on and check-in are blurred, with one country’s carry-on being another’s check-in. 2) Heritage re-invented is way more fun than heritage replicated. 3) We’re suckers for this vibe Tanner have going on right now. The Nomad is manly yet refined, sumptuous in detail, yet stops short of self indulgence. It uses leather without consuming the whole cow and it will wear beautifully, and will remain flexible and as willing as your plans change.
– VOTING HAS NOW CLOSED –
What’s not in?
This category was a hard one. We almost had a top twelve happening, but reluctantly had to cull some awesome gear. Billykirk came close but got nudged out at the finish. The Gregory Alpaca brings something fresh to rolling bags and Briggs & Riley are doing lots of interesting things.
And the outdoor industry is re-discovering adventure travel in a way that will continue to throw forward worthy contenders. Stay tuned for more awesomeness through 2014.