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Away is going after Americans (and their love of carry-ons) with its new bags

Away found that 50% of Americans only travel with soft-shell suitcases. So it made one.

Over the last three years, the suitcase brand Away debuted a wide range of travel bags, from weekenders to backpacks. But it’s still best known for its very first product, a hard polycarbonate case with horizontal ridges and a small logo on the top right-hand corner. The brand’s founders say they deliberately design visual consistency into their products—though they’ve made cases in every color of the rainbow, their distinct silhouette makes it possible to quickly identify any Away bag you come across. And there’s a good chance you will, the next time you fly: The brand has already sold more than a million of these hard-shell cases.

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[Image: Away]

Today, Away adds a new product to its stable: A soft-shell case. According to Away’s research, half of all American consumers only travel with soft-side luggage. Elsewhere, luggage and carry-on allowances on airlines tend to be smaller (in fact, Rick Steves himself recommends just checking your suitcase when flying in Europe, since airlines tend to enforce their limits more strictly). Away’s new soft-shell pieces have the advantage of being expandable—you can stow the carry-on version or expand it up to 1.7 inches when you need to.

Aesthetically, Away has tried to apply the same visual language to these cases as it did with its original hard-shell. The exterior is made from a nylon that holds its shape, and there are horizontal ridges on them. They also come in the same four sizes as the hard-shell cases, from a carry-on to a large checked piece.

[Photo: Away]

Away has grown quickly since it launched in February 2016. This summer, it received a $100 million Series D funding round, bringing its valuation to $1.4 billion. This means that the brand is under pressure to keep growing quickly. The brand’s founders say they will use this investment to increase its brick-and-mortar footprint. But it also appears to be developing more and more products to cater to every possible traveler’s whim. And if you’re someone who simply cannot imagine traveling with a soft-shell case that expands to fit all the stuff you buy on trips, well, Away’s got you covered.

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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