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SwissGear Meyrin 20 Review
Cons: Handle is a little sticky, wheels don't work well on uneven surfaces.
Bottom line: Great suitcase for the price.
The SwissGear Meyrin 20 is an affordable piece of luggage that still gets the job done well. It has four spinner wheels that allow you to push it through the airport as opposed to dragging it behind you. This is great for people who mainly travel in airports only and aren't dragging their carry-on luggage on safari or some other rural locale. It has a large internal capacity, and can carry everything you'd need for a short trip or even a whole week if you are a light packer. There aren't as many extra features on this bag as there are on our Editors' Choice winner, the Eagle Creek Tarmac AWD Carry-On, but they do enclose a clear plasticized toiletry bag, which is a nice touch for the price point. Speaking of price, this bag retails for only $120, which is a refreshing break for your wallet in a field of $300 and up bags. There are other bags in this review that can be purchased at a similar price point, but we preferred this model to all the other "budget" bags, and for this, we've given it our Best Buy award.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The SwissGear Meyrin 20 measures 22.5 x 14 x 9 inches and weighs 7 lbs 9 oz. It has four spinner wheels and an expandable zipper. Current color options are Black, Charcoal, and Dark Blue.
Take a look at how the Meyrin 20 stacked up to its competitors in the carry-on luggage category.
Ease of Transport
The SwissGear Meyrin 20 received a great score for ease of transport, as you can see in the following chart.
The spinner wheels on this bag work well on polished floors and even carpeting, and the flat top of the suitcase provides a perfect place for positioning your laptop. There are pluses and minuses to four-wheeled bags — they save your shoulders and even let you push two bags with the same hand, but once the going gets rough it can be a challenge to push them. You can always tip the bag up on two wheels and pull it like a more traditional carry-on, but the smaller spinner wheels won't roll as smoothly as larger wheels with bearings. Many luggage sets offer both versions of their popular bags — our Editors' Choice winner, the four-wheeled Eagle Creek Tarmac AWD Carry-On, can also be purchased with two wheels (Eagle Creek Tarmac Carry-On), and our Top Pick for Business Travel, the Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic, is also available as the Baseline Domestic Carry-On Spinner. The Meyrin only comes in a four-wheeled version, and we couldn't find any two-wheeled bag's on SwissGear's website. Apparently they've been bitten by the swivel bug!
The SwissGear Meyrin 20 can pack in a lot of gear. It easily held all the items in our "pack for a week in winter test," which included four pairs of pants, ten shirts, running shoes and workout gear, socks and undies, a nice pair of shoes and dress, and a sweater and book.
There's also an expandable zipper for times when you want to pack a little extra and check the bag, or if you purchase a lot of souvenirs on your trip and need some extra storage to get them home. The front flap of the bag has a zippered compartment which can help keep your suit or nice dress in ok shape, but not nearly as wrinkle free as an integrated tri-fold suiter like the one found on the Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic and the Travelpro Magna 2. There are two exterior pockets for stashing odd and ends, but neither of them are large enough to accommodate a laptop, which is a little unfortunate.
The Meyrin ranked a 7 out of 10 for features, ranking around the middle of the bunch.
This bag's features are fairly limited, but do include a few things that savvy travelers will appreciate, including lockable zipper taps and a very distinct expandable zipper tab (so that you are not accidently unzipping the expander every time you try to open the main compartment — annoying!). There are three carrying handles to help you get this bag in and out of overhead storage or your car, and they are well-secured to the main fabric of the bag.
If you're looking for something with lots of extras, check out the Eagle Creek Tarmac AWD Carry-On. It comes with several handy stash pockets, including one just for your glasses case, a strap to secure your jacket or sweater, an add-a-bag strap, and a detachable cargo net that can attach to the inside or outside of your bag.
The chart below shows where the SwissGear Meyrin stands in terms of durability - a bit lower than some of the other bags we tested.
While the Meyrin seems well-made and with quality materials, we did notice that the main handle was sticking a bit after only two trips. The telescoping arms would come out at different lengths and speeds, and it required a bit of extra force to get it out completely, particularly when compared to bags with very smooth handle action, like The North Face Rolling Thunder 22. This wasn't quite as bad or noticeable as the issue that we had with the sticking handle on the Delsey Shadow 3.0 21, until the "escalator incident." After a long flight home from Hawaii, one of our testers accidently let go of the back at the top of an escalator. The bag quickly slid all the way down to the bottom, luckily hitting no one in the process. The material got a little scuffed, but looks surprisingly good considering what it went through; the handle, which was extended at the time, did not fare so well. With lots of scuffs and a little denting, it no longer extends and retracts easily. While we weren't intentionally trying to destructively test our carry-ons, it kind of happened in this situation. And while SwissGear offers a five-year limited warranty on its luggage, that is against manufacturer defects and not damage incurred by airlines or "user error."
If this was a Briggs and Riley or Eagle Creek bag, we could send it in for repairs, but for this bag we are out of luck — but only out $120! (In other words, it could be worse.) The moral to this story is, a) hold on to your bags on the escalator, and b) if you're hard on your luggage or could see something like this happen to you, then you'll be better off investing in a more expensive bag that comes with a comprehensive warranty.
At 7 lbs 9 oz, the SwissGear Meyrin 20 feels fairly lightweight and it's easy to put it in and out of cars and the overhead bin on the plane. It's about a pound heavier than the Travelpro Maxlite 4 22, but it's hard to tell particularly since you can push the bag instead of pull it behind you.
One thing to note about this bag though is that it is technically half an inch taller than the traditional carry-on size (22 inches). While it still fit in airline sizers and didn't appear to be noticeably too tall (which could get a gate agent's attention and wind up with you having to check it and potentially pay some extra fees), it was too long for the overhead bin on one airplane that we flew in and we had to turn it on its side to fit.
This bag is fairly non-descript. It won't turn any heads, either in a good way or a bad one, but it gets the job done well and is classic enough for business travel if needed.
If you are looking for something that is sleek and snazzy, the hard-sided Samsonite Inova 20 is a good choice, and our Top Pick for Business Travel, the Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic, offers a classic, tailored look.
This bag is a great option for a variety of travel. We took it on a family trip to Hawaii, a week on the Jersey shore, and a long weekend in the Pacific Northwest. It did everything we needed it to do, namely hold our clothes, and was a breeze to travel with. If you're an infrequent traveler and don't see yourself needing the durability that someone who flies weekly does, this bag is an excellent choice.
Our Best Buy winner represents a great value. It retails for $120, and scored much higher than the Rockland Melbourne 20, which also retails for the same price. It might not be the most durable bag, but we doubt any other bag in this review would have fared any better in our impromptu "escalator fall" test. If you're looking to save some money on your luggage so you can have more funds to make your next trip happen, then this is the bag for you.
The SwissGear Meyrin 20 offers a lot of functionality for the price. It can hold a lot of clothing, has several handy features, and is not too heavy. It's a great option for someone who only travels occasionally and/or who doesn't want to spend $500 on a bag.
This bag comes in two other sizes, 24.5" and a 29" version.
SwissGear Meyrin 24.5
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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