With all due respect to Away, whose hard-sided suitcases have become something of ubiquitous travel accessory for the Everlane-and-Rothys set: But isn’t variety the spice of life—and travel? (Yes, we know, there’s now an Away soft-shell case.) That’s why we rounded up eight other duffels, rolling suitcases, and flight-ready carry-ons that are innovative, beautiful, practical, and worth a breakup with your current luggage. Get carried away, literally.
Roam Custom Journey ($495)
You can customize any piece of Roam’s smartly sized luggage collection (from its cabin-friendly Jaunt carry-on to the behemoth 98.5-liter capacity Globetrotter) by selecting a different color for just about every element of the the bag, including the front and back case, wheels, handle, and even zipper. And then you can add a custom monogram. The company also knows a thing or two about customer service: You can try out any Roam luggage for up to 100 days with a full refund—after that, you have a lifetime warranty on your roller.
Baboon Go-Bag ($150)
This weekend-size bag could probably survive the apocalypse. The Baboon’s shell is made from ballistic nylon, which was originally intended to protect wearers from flying debris, shrapnel, and artillery-shell impacts, while its multiple straps let you to carry it however you like: as a duffel, backpack, cross-body bag, and more. But what we like most about these bags is that they look sharp without taking themselves too seriously. The Baboon’s bright colors and the playful prints of its silk-lined interiors are flamboyant, yes, but never tacky.
Rimowa Check-In L ($1,500)
Sure, they’re expensive. But Rimowa’s suitcases are built to go the distance. And let’s be honest: buying several suitcases over your lifetime could be more expensive—and is certainly more wasteful—than investing in an enduring classic. Rimowa was the first brand to design their aluminum-shelled luggage with those recognizable grooves and offer each suitcase size—from the 82-liter Check-In to the more manageable Cabin carry-on ($1,150) in a variety of snappy colors.
Porter-Yoshida & Co Shell Holdall ($640)
Ah, the bag of craftsman’s dreams. A family atelier in Japan, Porter-Yoshida & Co. was founded after Kichizo Yoshida stuffed his belongings in a sack, tied the ends, and slung the strings over his shoulder—creating his first backpack design while trying to escape the Great Canto earthquake in 1923. Soon after, Yoshida was creating luggage for members of the Imperial family. Ever since, the brand has been designing and constructing bags that prioritize function and quality construction. This duffel also just happens to be timeless and beautiful, too.
The North Face Rolling Thunder 36 ($350)
This 155-liter giant belongs at the top of a mountain just as much as much as it does in an airport. Made of the same Base Camp material that TNF uses for all of its expedition Base Camp duffels (which make for a carry-on with a can-do attitude and a classic look), the Rolling Thunder 36 comes with a slew of features that make traveling with a big bag—dare we say it?—easy. The larger-size wheels give the bag better balance and traction, lash points are reinforced with coated daisy chains for durability and longevity, and a Sherpa strap allows you to join any duffel or backpack you have to the face of the roller for a one-system carry. The bag’s angled handles (which aren’t of the telescopic sort, so they won’t break like those aluminum weaklings) offset weight for an easy and ergonomic pull when you’re on the go. If The North Face can make bags that some of the world’s most adventurous athletes trust (looking at you, Alex Honnold), we can trust it, too.
Samsonite Hartlan Spinner ($390)
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a no-fuss, no-frills suitcase that’s wallet-friendly. And that’s exactly what you get with the Hartlan Spinner from Samsonite, a Colorado-born manufacturer that’s been making luggage for more than 100 years. The Hartlan Spinner meets carry-on standards for all airlines and impresses users with its solid construction, capacity, lightweight feel, and approachable price.
Eagle Creek Borderless Convertible Carry-On ($300)
For those who struggle with deciding between rolling suitcases, duffels, or backpacks, here’s the solution: the Borderless Convertible Carry-On from Eagle Creek. The price is right at only $300, and the suitcase can be rolled along like traditional luggage or carried like a backpack, thanks to handy built-in shoulder straps. This bag was codesigned with National Geographic explorers, so it’s weatherproof for those dreary travel days and is durable enough to withstand rough handling during checked-bag transfers. There’s also a waterproof compartment inside—perfect for to stashing dirty or wet clothes and shoes, so they won’t touch any of your other belongings.
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