Rockland Melbourne 20 Review
Cons: Not very durable, lacks organizational features, patterned interior isn't our favorite look
Manufacturer: Fox Luggage
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rockland Melbourne 20 is a hard-sided carry-on that may be made out of one of many materials, depending on the color you choose. The red and blue models we've tested over the years are both made of ABS plastic and have a clamshell design. When the expansion zipper is not employed to overstuff your luggage, this box meets most carry-on guidelines (in the US). It has four double wheels, telescoping handles, no exterior pockets, and minimal internal organizational features.
Ease of Use
While some previous versions of the Melbourne 20 have just a single set of four wheels, this version has four double wheels. The difference between the old single-wheel version and this double-wheeled unit is very noticeable. The dual wheels help the Melbourne roll more smoothly over rough surfaces and straighter, with less correction required than its predecessor. They more easily bump over thresholds and stairs and rotate fully to be pulled or pushed at any angle. The telescoping handle has two different height options — less than some other models we tested. It's easy to pull into place and slide back into the body of the bag, but it's also one of the least sturdy, most rickety options we tested, making it more difficult to steer the case where you want it to go.
With a total lack of external pockets, the Melbourne 20 isn't a great candidate for a solo bag when traveling. Paired with a backpack, purse, or other carry on item, it's easier to pack and lock this suitcase closed until you reach your destination. Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of this smaller roller bag is its exceptionally low weight. At just 6.9 lb, the Melbourne is one of the lightest models we tested and feels practically featherweight.
Storage & Features
Though it lacks any pockets on the outside, the Melbourne 20 has some minimal organization inside. With a clamshell design, one full half is also enclosed by a large zippered flap to keep your contents from falling out as you open and close the suitcase. The other side has an X-band of elastic, secured in the middle by a single plastic clip. This is about the bare minimum for keeping things from moving around and easily lets things fall out if you accidentally open it with that half swinging up. It also has one small zippered pocket attached along the spine of the bag that can fit a handful of items like toiletries or underwear. If you're a big fan of organizational features, this simple bag likely won't excite you.
The Melbourne is on the smaller side of the models we tested. It does pass our pack-for-a-week test, though only if you're a fairly light packer or the weather is warm (and so required clothing is thinner). An expanding zipper allows for an extra 1.5" of contents to fit inside, but it has no compression straps to help you squeeze everything you brought into a compact package. And unless you can compress your overstuffed bag with the external expansion zipper, the Melbourne is too large to fit into most airplane overhead bins and will likely need to be checked to get home. As an added bonus, Fox Luggage, the parent company of the Rockland Melbourne, gives you a 3-digit, programmable clip-lock to secure your belongings while they're on the belt.
If you're the type of person who already uses packing cubes or doesn't want all their stuff put into different pockets, the Rockland Melbourne 20 does offer the versatility of being able to pack in your own way without pigeon-holing you into their own system. However, it lacks all but the barest of bones when it comes to organization and may not even be able to keep your stuff from arriving at your destination thoroughly jumbled. It comes in a huge variety of colors, and the inclusion of a lock at no extra cost is also a nice perk.
That being said, a ton of the colors and interior patterns (polka dots, anyone?) venture more into the range of personal travel and preferences. The lack of features, smaller size, and less polished appearance make the Melbourne a better choice for infrequent travelers, light packers, and children.
We've tested two different colors of the Melbourne 20, both of which broke during moderately rough treatment. One's top handle snapped while being pulled from an overhead bin upon exiting the aircraft. The other's shell broke after a fall from moderate height. It landed on a wheel, punching the corner of the box inward and when we pulled the wheels back to their original location, a large crack was left in the ABS plastic exterior. Not exactly confidence-inspiring.
Additionally, it's not the most sturdy-feeling piece of luggage we tested. The handles tend to stick out rather than snap back into place like they should, and the telescoping handle is one of the loosest, wobbliest ones we tested. The exterior is "hard" ABS plastic but is readily deformed by a simple light press. It's not a piece we feel confident sitting on while waiting for a delayed flight, and we have significant doubts about its ability to handle being checked.
The Rockland Melbourne is one of the least expensive models we tested. Though it's not likely to satisfy the frequent traveler's needs or stand up to serious abuse, it's a solid choice and great value for infrequent use and travelers who pack lightly and treat their bags kindly.
The Rockland Melbourne 20 is a simple, hard-sided luggage with 4 fully-rotating double-wheels and a telescoping handle. It has a simple, no-nonsense design that's a reasonable size for shorter trips that require less baggage. It's not a particularly sturdy box and lacks all but the most basic internal organization, but it's often very low price makes it a solid choice for irregular travel and light use.
— Maggie Brandenburg