About a year ago, I decided that the rolling suitcase I was using to travel was getting too cumbersome and I could make it through the airport easier with a small duffle bag. Last year I travelled 12 times (11 for work) and the bag worked well. However, the bag started hurting my shoulder and I started looking for a better solution.
Like most things I buy, I researched suitcases until I was blue in the face. I wanted one that would easily fit in an overhead bin and had 2 wheels. This turned out to be a huge challenge. First off, many manufacturers have switched to spinner type bags with 4 wheels. This type of bag makes a lot of sense for people going from house to car to airport to hotel and travel over smooth surfaces. This isn’t always how I travel. When I’ve gone to San Francisco or Portland, I’ve taken public transportation and then walked a number of blocks over uneven sidewalks. The spinner bags would be harder to use, so I immediately ruled them out.
Finding a small bag also proved to be troublesome as different companies measure the bag dimensions differently. Some include the wheels and handles; others do not. I checked the websites of the airlines I’ve used in the last year (Alaska, Delta, and Southwest) to make sure the dimensions met the guidelines. I also found that some bags had a compartment for a laptop. This seems a bit ridiculous for business travelers (makes sense for airline crews) as most people that travel for business will drop off the luggage at a hotel or leave it in a car and take the laptop in a backpack or other bag into an office.
After much searching, I ended up getting a Travelpro Luggage Crew 9 20-Inch rolling bag as well as one from Costco. After evaluating the two (I could return the one I didn’t like), I decided to keep the TravelPro. While it isn’t perfect, it seems to work OK.
The TravelPro has the dumb laptop compartment which makes it fatter, but I have no use for it. If this was left off, it would be a better bag. However, the other aspects of the bag seem well thought out. It doesn’t tip over and the handle and wheels work well. My Brenthaven MetroLite backpack has a way to easily slide the backpack on the handle of a rolling bag and that seemed to work well; however, it did a bit of extra weight on the arm that I was using to pull the suitcase. The suitcase easily fit in the overhead bin on my Southwest flights and rolled well through the airport.
Will this be the perfect bag for me? I have no idea; I just hope it lasts for awhile.