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Away The Carry-On Review

A minimalist’s dream bag with a sleek modern appearance and commendable performance across all metrics
away the carry-on carry-on luggage review
Credit: Away
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $275 List
Manufacturer:   Away
By Myrha Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 26, 2022
78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 9
  • Ease of Use - 35% 7.1
  • Design - 25% 8.9
  • Packability - 25% 8.1
  • Durability - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

Our Top Pick among the best carry on luggage hardshells, the Away Carry-On has a small footprint but delivers big on performance. With impressive functionality, high-grade materials, and a host of valuable features, this is a premium hardshell carry-on you'll be proud to have by your side. A tough polycarbonate exterior accented by smart organizational extras and luxe detailing – including a removable internal compression panel, an embedded TSA-approved lock, and an optional USB power source – means this case is built to last and sized perfectly to comply with domestic airline standards (even when packed full). Live out your Influencer dreams with this sharp, stylish suitcase that puts a 21st Century spin on a classic 1960s Hollywood glam aesthetic.
REASONS TO BUY
Polished
Modern design
Thoughtful organizational tools
Easy to lift and maneuver
REASONS TO AVOID
Prone to tipping
Scuffs easily
Expensive

Compare to Similar Products

 
away the carry-on carry-on luggage review
This Product
Away The Carry-On
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $275 List$370 List
$314.49 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Polished, modern design, thoughtful organizational tools, easy to lift and maneuverWheels magnetically align, excellent organization, deceptively large capacity, stable and durableMany useful extras, impressive capacity, accessible priceUltra lightweight, durable, good capacitySmooth and stable, impressive capacity, variety of colors, lightweight
Cons Prone to tipping, scuffs easily, expensiveDimensions exceed airline standards, heavyHeavy, exceeds airline size requirements, frontside bulkWobbles occasionally when full, few extra featuresDurability concerns, minimal organizational features
Bottom Line A minimalist’s dream bag with a sleek modern appearance and commendable performance across all metricsA super versatile and functional bag that is durably built and makes travel easyAn accessible price point and a slew of useful features make this carry-on a good option for those who want a solid performer without breaking the bankA super lightweight and functional carry-on that doesn’t compromise on useful features or comfort in useA simple, lightweight yet solid hardshell spinner that outshines other bags at a similar price point
Rating Categories Away The Carry-On Travelpro Platinum... SwissGear Sion Soft... Travelpro Maxlite 5... Samsonite Omni PC H...
Ease of Use (35%)
7.1
8.5
8.2
7.2
7.5
Design (25%)
8.9
7.8
6.1
7.2
8.0
Packability (25%)
8.1
8.3
8.7
8.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.4
5.2
Specs Away The Carry-On Travelpro Platinum... SwissGear Sion Soft... Travelpro Maxlite 5... Samsonite Omni PC H...
Measured Dimensions 21.7" x 13.5" x 8.5" 23.5" x 14.3" x 9" 23" x 14.1" x 10" 23.5" x 14" x 9" 21.5" x 14" x 9.5"
Handle Height Options (where it locks) 4 (27", 34", 37.5", 41.5") 5 (28", 36", 38", 40", 42.5") 3 (28", 34.5", 43") 3 (27", 38", 42.5") 5 (25", 30.5", 33", 36", 41.5")
Number of Wheels 4 4 4 4 4
Number of Exterior Pockets 0 3 2 2 0
Interior Opening Style Half shell Top lid Top lid Top lid Half shell
Locking? Yes Main compartment zipper has a loop for a lock but does not come with lock No Main compartment zipper has a loop for a lock but does not come with lock Yes
Exterior Material Polycarbonate hardshell with leather details High density nylon Polyester Polyester fabric with Duraguard coating Micro-diamond polycarbonate
Colors 9 - black, navy, ocean, green, asphalt, petal, white, sand, lavender 7 - vintage gray, shadow black, bordeaux, coastal blue, intrigue black, rich espresso, true navy 8 - black, blue, burgandy, dark gray, navy lime, pewter, purple, teal 8 - azure blue, black, burgandy, imperial purple, mocha, sapphire blue, slate green, dusty rose 11 - black, carribean blue, red, white, silver, teal, navy, purple, bronze, burnt orange, radiant pink

Our Analysis and Test Results

When top-tier functionality and high-end good looks are equal priorities, the Away Carry-On stands ready to serve. And with its host of valuable features, smooth ride, and a tough yet distinguished exterior, it was an easy choice as our favorite hardshell styles among the best carry-ons.

Performance Comparison


away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - the away carry-on stands photo-ready and armed with a slew of smart...
The Away Carry-On stands photo-ready and armed with a slew of smart features to make it a favorite among our testers.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


The Away Carry-On performed admirably well under all test conditions, and was one of our favorite bags to grab for most of our personal travel needs. Although it was one of only two cases not structured with an expansion option, it still had everything we needed to accommodate all clothing for our everyday adventures as well as gear-heavy packing lists on trips that required a bit more flexibility in storage and purpose.


The key to everything we loved most seems to be its well-conceived compression system. Simple by design and located inside one-half of the case's clamshell opening, a single high-grade and removable compression panel is set up to lock down any items placed within the compartment. The result: exponentially greater storage capacity across the entire bag. When put to use, the compression panel allowed us to secure a climbing helmet, rope, and multiple pairs of shoes, along with all other clothing and incidental items we'd need for travel. And while a bit more pressure may have been required to zip the clam back together when full, our effort was minimal overall and notably produced no strain on the hefty external zipper itself.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - the well-engineered compression system within the away carry-on...
The well-engineered compression system within the Away Carry-On works wonders to increase space inside the case while ensuring bulky items stay put.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

This high-end polycarbonate hardshell bag is fairly standard when it comes to exterior organizational features - as in it has none - but there are a couple of smart tools incorporated inside the case that proved useful in streamlining packing and producing an organized form. First, half the clamshell opening features a high-grade mesh enclosure to restrain loose items when opening and closing the case.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - a handy mesh pocket along one side of the compression panel adds to...
A handy mesh pocket along one side of the compression panel adds to the convenience of packing the Away.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

On the other side, you'll find its handy compression panel along with a couple of additional storage pockets including a zipped mesh sleeve (built into one side of the panel itself) and another small side zip pocket containing a reusable laundry bag. Back outside, you'll discover a TSA-approved combination lock embedded into the top of the bag to make day-of travel more secure. And for those who want the option to boost electronics on the go, there's also an option to upgrade with an ejectable dual-port USB charger embedded right into the roller handle housing near the top of the bag.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - a tsa-approved lock embedded into the top of the away carry-on is an...
A TSA-approved lock embedded into the top of the Away Carry-On is an added bonus, so you can relax knowing your belongings are well-protected even when the bag is not directly underhand.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We found the Away Carry-On exceptionally easy to manage up and down stairwells and to toss into trunks or overhead bins, with well-placed, low-profile yet contoured carry handles that fit nicely into our hands (far more comfortably than many other bags in the suite). An extendable telescoping handle with multiple settings and a set of sturdy double spinners at each corner of the base provide a reasonably stable and consistent roll across most surfaces. However, we did notice the case struggled some on mixed terrain – for example when we hit deep cracks in the sidewalk or a blanket of grass and pine needles – where the base's low clearance seemed to catch the bag up underneath. On occasion, this produced a bit of shifting back and forth in the case's forward motion. Other times, it caused the bag to tip (a performance flaw easily remedied by maintaining control of the telescoping handle).

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - a long telescoping handle (offering several different settings to...
A long telescoping handle (offering several different settings to lock in different heights) makes covering distances or crossing awkward terrain much more manageable.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Packability


Anyone who likes a classic clamshell hard case will not be disappointed with the Away Carry-On. It has all of the basic standard internal features we've come to expect from such a design, but with a set of high-grade material upgrades and thoughtful details that raise the bar. For example, while half of the clam is enclosed with a panel (not uncommon), the heavy weight of that mesh material and strength of its included zippers were unusual, and give the impression of a far more protective and secure storage space built to resist rips, tears, and mishaps.


Similarly, on the reverse side of the clam, you will not only find an innovative compression system – far and away better than any restraint found in any of the other hardshell bags, and a vast improvement to even the simple straps built into many soft-shell cases – you will also find two storage pockets for small items that need to be tracked more carefully in transit. One is a panel-sized mesh sleeve that could house your book, a pair of sandals, or any other mixed incidentals. The other is a much tinier zip pocket containing a reusable laundry bag to help you stay clean and organized on the road.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - an open layout comes standard with clamshell bags, but the away...
An open layout comes standard with clamshell bags, but the Away dials it up by incorporating high-quality materials and adding smart, highly useful features any style of traveler will appreciate.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We had no problem enclosing all items from our 7-Day Summertime Getaway packing test in the Away case. The simple open layout allowed us to pack without excessive thought, and all items ended up fitting easily due to the impressive functionality of its compression system. We also found each of the additional pockets to be quite useful for tracking a few of our smaller more sensitive or important items in transit. Our Bulky Gear packing test netted similar results, although we did have to invest a bit more energy into pre-planning how we would utilize the case's organizational tools to account for so many items in unconventional shapes. But yet again, the compression straps worked like a dream, and everything fit. We just had to press a bit more firmly on the bag's outer edges to pull the zipper closed. But we were certainly impressed to see such overstuffing didn't break the bag, even without an expansion feature.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - we managed to stuff so much more than seemed ever possible...
We managed to stuff so much more than seemed ever possible, including all items from both our packability tests - even without an expansion feature.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Design


Built of a tough polycarbonate shell accented with leather details and helpful organizational extras, the Away Carry-On is an understated yet luxe bag that's built for the rigors of the road. Sleek and streamlined, it's also a minimalist's dream, drawing on elegant mid-modern style features to establish a hip, trendsetting aesthetic sure to catch any influencer's eye. A variety of attractive colorways, in shades that range from classic to whimsical, are available to choose from, but all come in muted tones that won't detract from the chic vibe.


Built well within airline compliance standards, the Away is one of only two carry-on bags in the test group that doesn't offer any sort of expansion feature and will maintain its original dimensions no matter how well you might manage to overstuff it. This then also means you are tasked with storing your belongings into each of its twin halves just as they come. So a bit of thought may be required if you are trying to carry any unusual or large items along. Fortunately, the Away thoughtfully incorporates a brilliant compression system plus a couple of extra interior pockets and a half-shell mesh enclosure, so you should have all the tools you'd need to address any packing list that might come your way. And with a high-grade, easy-glide zipper built about a half-inch or so below the exterior shell (allowing the zip head to "lock" into an embedded TSA-approved security mechanism while also protecting it from unexpected snags and tears), you should have no problem closing the case once you're done.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - inside features strong mesh and hearty zippers that make the...
Inside features strong mesh and hearty zippers that make the clamshell design highly functional.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Plus, with its open layout design, and the choice to remove the compression panel entirely, you still have the option to toss and go whenever that method suits you best. In the end, it's the addition of several bonus extras – an embedded TSA-combination lock, removable laundry bag, leather ID tag, and even an optional USB power port – combined with its stylist-yet-tough, well-engineered, compact build that secures the Away Carry-On its "Premium" status in our book.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - understated but luxe, the away commands attention wherever it goes...
Understated but luxe, the Away commands attention wherever it goes with its sharp good looks and superb performance in action.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Durability


Straight out of the box we got the impression this bag could be unbreakable. The tough polycarbonate exterior feels thick and hearty to the touch, double spinner wheels feel sturdy and glide effortlessly in a straight line, weighty zippers and high-grade mesh provide protective seals at openings, and well-crafted handles sit comfortably underhand to provide easy control and maneuverability whenever we're in motion.


The simple lines and top-tier materials of the Away Carry-On breed confidence in its durability and function, leading us to hope the sophisticated bag could withstand whatever hazards might cross its path. And upon testing, our projections were mostly realized as no amount of hard road use or intensive drop-testing (onto concrete from great heights) seemed to result in any significant damage. Just a few scuffs and scratches plus a bit of rattling in the telescoping handle, and a single spot of thinning on the interior liner fabric. No signs of damage to the shell or wheels, no split zippers, and no frozen handles. Everything works.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - although the clearance is relatively low on the away carry-on...
Although the clearance is relatively low on the Away Carry-On, sturdy spinner wheels in well-protected housings deliver a reliably smooth and stable ride over most average surfaces.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our only real complaint with the Away Carry-On is that the matte exterior scuffs and scratches easily, even with just average use (so much so that the case comes standard with a "scuff removing sponge"). This can be a bit of an annoyance when you want to roll into a new destination looking as polished as possible.

Should You Buy the Away Carry-On?


Not the least expensive bag in our lineup nor the most expensive – although trending toward the most costly on the price spectrum – the Away Carry-On delivers such a long list of enviable characteristics in design and performance (not to mention good looks!) that it can easily justify the extra spend to anyone who may have the budget. We don't doubt travel and lifestyle influencers will be sure to spot its value and derive dividends from featuring it as an added design element in product or destination photos. And if you too are someone who travels often on a tight schedule — ever have to run straight off a plane into a meeting, conference, or party with your luggage still in tow? – then this would be a great choice to ensure your style is on point wherever the day takes you.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - one of the most important features of any bag is the handle, and...
One of the most important features of any bag is the handle, and this premium spinner suitcase makes sure its touch points settle easily into the contours of the hand and require little pressure to command control of your case.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What Other Carry-On Should You Consider?


This is a bag you'll be proud to roll into a work meeting or carry alongside you straight from plane to after-hours party. And while the lack of expansion options may disappoint the most dedicated shoppers among us, most average travelers will find the case offers an abundance of storage space, smart features, and plenty of versatility to deliver when needed.

If a less expensive carry-on would do you better, take a look at the well-structured Samosnite Omni PC. Or, for a similarly premium case but with more options for storing items on the go, consider the Travelpro Platinum Elite — it has pockets for days, and some other fun extras to boot.

away the carry-on carry-on luggage review - the away will keep you looking good and feeling fine no matter what...
The Away will keep you looking good and feeling fine no matter what method you use to pick it up to go.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Myrha Colt
 
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