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Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic Review

A high-end bag that will last a lifetime, and then some.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $569 List | $569.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Well-constructed, loaded with travel-friendly features, classic design
Cons:  Expensive, heavy, not as maneuverable as a four-wheeled bag
Manufacturer:   Briggs & Riley
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 1, 2016
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 8
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 6
  • Storage - 25% 10
  • Features - 20% 9
  • Durability - 10% 10
  • Weight - 10% 5
  • Style - 10% 9

Our Verdict

We've awarded the Briggs and Riley Domestic carry-on bag our Top Pick for Business Travel for several reasons. Firstly, this bag is well-constructed with sturdy materials that are sure to last through thousands of miles flown. Its unique "Outsider" handle (the telescoping handle is on the outside of the bag) provides a flat interior packing surface and maximizes internal space. Plus, its equally unique "CX" internal expansion system provides 25% more volume in case you return home with more items than you originally packed. Its built-in garment bag keeps your work attire wrinkle-free and ensures that you never forget it hanging in a hotel closet. It has a classic, professional look to it suitable for any business environment. Finally, all this is backed by their "Simple as That" guarantee. Briggs and Riley will repair any damage to your bag, be it a manufacturer defect or something that was caused by an airline, for life.

While you'll pay twice as much for this bag as most of the other models in this review, if you are a frequent flyer (or notoriously hard on your luggage) we think the Baseline Domestic expandable carry-on is a solid investment.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $569.00 at Amazon$239.00 at Amazon$160.99 at Amazon$299.00 at Amazon$113.68 at Amazon
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Pros Well-constructed, loaded with travel-friendly features, classic designExtremely easy to maneuver, stylish design perfect for business trips, durableFair price, durable, easy to use, easy access outer pocketsLoaded with features, easy to travel with, large storage capacity.Lightweight, spacious, expandable.
Cons Expensive, heavy, not as maneuverable as a four-wheeled bagHeavier modelMay need to check if expander is used"Technical" styling not for everyone.Has a very nondescript look, not the most durable.
Bottom Line A high-end bag that will last a lifetime, and then some.A high-end bag built to make travel easy and to last a lifetime.This easy roller offers a little luxury at a nice priceA non-conventional carry-on for the outdoor enthusiast.Inexpensive bag when purchased at the usual "street" price.
Rating Categories Briggs and Riley Baseline Do... Platinum Elite 21" Expandabl... Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinn... Tarmac AWD Carry-On Maxlite 5 22 Expandable Roll...
Ease Of Transport (25%)
10
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6
10
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10
10
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10
10
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9
10
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7
Storage (25%)
10
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10
10
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10
10
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10
10
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8
10
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8
Features (20%)
10
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9
10
0
10
10
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9
10
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10
10
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6
Durability (10%)
10
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10
10
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10
10
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9
10
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6
Weight (10%)
10
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5
10
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8
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9
Style (10%)
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5
Specs Briggs and Riley... Platinum Elite 21"... Crew 11 21"... Tarmac AWD Carry-On Maxlite 5 22...
Measured Weight 9.19 lbs. 7.81lbs 7.20 lbs 8.13 lbs 6.31 lbs.
Dimensions 22" x 14" x 9" 22" x 14" x 9" 22" x 14" x 9" 22" x 13" x 9" 22" x 14" x 9"
# of Wheels 2 4 4 4 2
Number of interior pockets 2 5 4 4 2
Number of exterior pockets 4 2 2 3 2
Compression system CX expansion-compression system Compression straps with integrated accessory pockets Compression straps Compression straps Compression straps
Lock No, but lockable No, but lockable No, but lockable No, but lockable No
Main Material 95% Nylon High-density nylon fabric with DuraGuard® coating resists stains and abrasions. High-quality ballistic nylon fabric with DuraGuard® coating for stain and abrasion resistance 1000D Helix Poly Twill and Polycarbonate shell Polyester fabric with water and stain resistant coating
Unique features Built-in suiter, unique expansion-compression system, external handle stays for maximum internal storage, add-a-bag strap Removable toiletry pouch and dedicated power bank pocket Dedicated power bank pouch Hybrid hard/soft-sided design, coat keeper strap, expandable zipper, add-a-bag strap Expandable zipper
Handle height (inches) 36", 39", 41" and 43" 36”, 38”, 40” and 42.5” 38”, 40” and 42.5” 37", 39", and 41" 38" and 42"
Other Versions 19", 25", 28" 20", 25", 28" 26"
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Limited lifetime

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Briggs and Riley Domestic expandable carry-on bag measures 22 x 14 x 9 inches and weighs 9 lbs 3 oz. It is made with heavy-duty ballistic nylon. It has four exterior compartments (one of which can hold a 17" laptop) and two interior pockets, including a built-in garment bag section.

Performance Comparison


Due to its exterior handles  our Top Pick for Business travel won't fit it very narrow sizers  but it has no trouble fitting in overhead bins.
Due to its exterior handles, our Top Pick for Business travel won't fit it very narrow sizers, but it has no trouble fitting in overhead bins.

Ease of Transport


The Domestic did not score very highly in this metric. This bag was not as maneuverable in an airport or on the plane as a four-wheeled bag. In fact, it is so wide that it kept hitting the armrests down the aisle of the plane unless we pulled it perfectly centered. That said, the large, wide wheels on the Domestic do make it easier to roll on uneven surfaces, like a parking lot, and the three carrying handles made removing it from overhead bins or the trunk of a car easier. This is one of the heaviest bags in the review; we especially noticed the weight when it was loaded up with a laptop and clothes for a four-day trip while dragging it through miles of airport corridors. While some travelers still swear by two-wheeled bags, there is no question that a four-wheeled bag that you can push is much easier on your arms and shoulders.


If you love all the features of this bag but prefer a four-wheeled model, Briggs and Riley has you covered with the Baseline Domestic Carry-On Spinner. The Spinner version has a slightly smaller internal volume (42.5L) but is otherwise identical to this bag.

We did run into an issue with this bag not completely fitting in one airline's test bin. A first we couldn't fit it at all, then we removed our computer from the exterior pocket, and it almost fit all the way in, but not quite. While this bag still easily fit in the overhead storage bin on the plane, a gate agent would be able to require you to check this bag if it didn't fit in their test bin. Considering that there is usually a fee associated with checked bags these days, not to mention the hassle of dealing with this when trying to board a plane, we recommend that you not over-stuff the Domestic if using it as a carry-on to avoid this issue.

Storage


The Baseline Domestic scored perfectly in the Storage metric, outshining all the other carry-on bags we tested! Check out the chart below to see how the other bags stacked up.


This carry-on wowed us in this metric — this bag can hold a lot of stuff. First, we tried it with our wintertime long weekend pack test, and it comfortably held everything that we might need for a three-day trip, including a change of business attire or a nice dress and heels.

The wide compression straps not only compress everything down but also prevent your belongings from falling out when you open the bag.

Another suitcase manufacturer threw down a challenge, stating that their bag could hold four pairs of pants, ten shirts, four pairs of shoes, two jackets and two toiletry bags without having to expand the bag. When we decided to try this ultimate pack-for-a-week-in-a-carry-on test with this model, it also easily held all of the above, including a suit!

This flat-bottom bag is much easier to pack in  and increases the internal capacity.
This flat-bottom bag is much easier to pack in, and increases the internal capacity.

This carry-on has such a large internal volume thanks to its unique design. The telescoping handle tubes are located on the outside of the bag. This creates a flat surface on the inside for maximum packing capacity (44.6 L according to the manufacturer), without those annoying ridges found in most other bags. This bag can also expand from the inside. It's unique "CX" expansion system lifts the sides of the bag up an additional 2 inches, much more than the typical 1 to 1.5 inches created by expandable zippers, and increases the carrying volume by 25%. This system also alleviates the problem of trying to get into your bag only to discover that you've undone the expanding zipper (again!) and not the main zipper.

The "CX" internal expansion system on the Domestic lifts the sides of the bag up an additional 2 inches for 25% more volume. Pack everything  then push the top down when you are done to compress the bag.
The "CX" internal expansion system on the Domestic lifts the sides of the bag up an additional 2 inches for 25% more volume. Pack everything, then push the top down when you are done to compress the bag.

Features


This bag is loaded with features to make packing and traveling a breeze. It ranked towards the top of the heap when it came to features.


The internal mesh/elastic compression straps are almost as wide as the bag, which means they will keep all of your items securely in place should you need to open the bag mid-journey. The zipper tabs are lockable on both the main compartment and the exterior padded laptop sleeve, so you can lock whatever is important to you.

Too many features to count  including corner bumper guards  lockable zipper tabs  and an add-a-bag strap.
Too many features to count, including corner bumper guards, lockable zipper tabs, and an add-a-bag strap.

We already mentioned the expansion system and large packing capacity of this bag, which our testers preferred over other models with an external expanding zipper. The internal suiter on the Domestic is well-designed and ensures that you can't lose your garment bag, and the bottom end of it zips off in case you prefer to use that internal pocket for documents or other items instead of a suit. There is also a sunglasses case located on the outside of the bag between the telescoping handles. Finally, the Domestic comes with an add-a-bag strap that is housed in its own pocket (so you can't lose it) should you want to attach a briefcase or boarding bag to your carry-on.

The tri-folding built-in garment bag will keep your business attire wrinkle free. If not using this compartment for clothes  the bottom panel unzips leaving more room for documents or other items.
The tri-folding built-in garment bag will keep your business attire wrinkle free. If not using this compartment for clothes, the bottom panel unzips leaving more room for documents or other items.

Durability


This bag is made with high-quality materials and attention to detail. The main fabric of the bag is ballistic nylon to minimize abrasion, wear, moisture, and dirt. Even after several flights, we still do not see any visible scratches or marks on this bag, unlike all the other models that we tested.


The Baseline Domestic also has protective corner guards on all four corners to minimize wear in those high impact areas. The only part of this bag that we were worried about was the telescoping handle. It does seem to be securely attached to the frame, which was one concern that we initially had about this bag considering that it is on the outside and could potentially be ripped off the bag entirely. We didn't have any durability issues with it though, and if it were to get damaged Briggs and Riley states that they'll replace or repair it, free of charge.

The only question we had about this bag's durability was the exterior handles  as they seem to be an easy thing to damage  but we never experienced any issues  and the manufacturer says they'll repair any damage no matter the cause. The glasses pocket is a nice touch too.
The only question we had about this bag's durability was the exterior handles, as they seem to be an easy thing to damage, but we never experienced any issues, and the manufacturer says they'll repair any damage no matter the cause. The glasses pocket is a nice touch too.

Weight


At 9 lbs 3 oz on our scale, this is the heaviest bag that we tested.


The hefty weight comes in part from the use of ballistic nylon, which is a dense material, and some of the extra features like the reinforced corners. If you prefer a lighter weight (and much less expensive) bag, then the 6 lbs 5 oz Travelpro Maxlite is a good option.

This bag can get a little heavy once it's fully loaded.
This bag can get a little heavy once it's fully loaded.

Style


This bag has a classic, well-made look to it. It only comes in several dark colors, as ballistic nylon is difficult to dye in lighter shades.


The Briggs and Riley Domestic has business written all over it, and if you believe that your luggage makes a personal statement about your values, then this bag says you are about quality, high-end products.

This bag looks professional  well-made  and classic.
This bag looks professional, well-made, and classic.

Best Applications


This bag is best suited to general airline travel, including business trips. You can easily pack for a week in this bag, and if you like to bring souvenirs home from your trips, you can expand it, pack it full, and check it for the flight home. If you are only the occasional traveler, you might not need as heavy duty a bag like this one. Check out another Top Pick, the Eagle Creek Tarmac AWD Carry-On.

The front pocket has a laptop sleeve  and it doesn't get too tippy with one in there.
The front pocket has a laptop sleeve, and it doesn't get too tippy with one in there.

Value


There is no question that the Domestic is an expensive bag. It retails for $569, both on the manufacturer's website and popular online retailers (unlike other bags, which have a high list price but then are always "on sale" for half that amount). However, if you want to purchase only one bag that will last you years or even decades, then this model is the way to go. Should something break or get damaged, whether it was due to a defect or the airline, Briggs & Riley will repair it for you, for free. This type of all-inclusive, lifetime warranty is rare in the industry, and worth it if you find your luggage regularly gets damaged.

Conclusion


The Domestic is the Rolls Royce of carry-on luggage. Loaded with features, well-constructed, and fairly expensive. If you want to purchase only one piece that will last a lifetime, then this bag is the one for you.

Other Versions


The Baseline Domestic collection offers this bag in multiple sizes. We reviewed the carry-on size (22"), but it is also available in a medium (25") and a large (28").


Cam McKenzie Ring