Rockland Melbourne 20 Review
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Rockland Melbourne 20
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|Bottom Line||An inexpensive roller with an open layout and numerous color options that will work well enough for infrequent travelers and kids||A host of useful features combined with a durable foundation and solid functionality make this reasonably priced softshell an easy choice to meet your carry-on needs||An affordable four-wheel roller with impressive storage space and numerous color options||An inexpensive case with enough features for basic use even while presenting concern over its durability and long-term performance||A simple, affordable roller with an open layout and numerous color options that could serve infrequent travelers and kids well enough|
|Rating Categories||Rockland Melbourne 20||SwissGear Sion Soft...||Samsonite Omni PC H...||Amazon Basics 21-in...||Kenneth Cole Reacti...|
|Ease of Use (35%)|
|Specs||Rockland Melbourne 20||SwissGear Sion Soft...||Samsonite Omni PC H...||Amazon Basics 21-in...||Kenneth Cole Reacti...|
|Measured Dimensions||23" x 14" x 9"||23" x 14.1" x 10"||21.5" x 14" x 9.5"||22" x 14.8" x 10"||21.1" x 14.6" x 8.5"|
|Handle Height Options (where it locks)||3 (26", 33", 41")||3 (28", 34.5", 43")||5 (25", 30.5", 33", 36", 41.5")||2 (33", 41")||3 (30.5", 33", 41")|
|Number of Wheels||4||4||4||4||4|
|Number of Exterior Pockets||0||2||0||0||0|
|Interior Opening Style||Half shell||Top lid||Half shell||Half shell||Half shell|
|Locking?||No||No||Yes||No||Main compartment zipper has a loop for a lock but does not come with lock|
|Exterior Material||ABS hardshell||Polyester||Micro-diamond polycarbonate||ABS hardshell||ABS hardshell|
|Colors||26 - black, blue, brown, champagne, charcoal, gray, green, lime, magenta, navy, orange, pink, purple, quilt, red, silver, turquoise, two tone blue, two tone green, two tone navy, black wave, gold wave, mint, carbon, two tone magenta (with 3 additional colors available as part of a 2 piece set)||8 - black, blue, burgandy, dark gray, navy lime, pewter, purple, teal||11 - black, carribean blue, red, white, silver, teal, navy, purple, bronze, burnt orange, radiant pink||4 - black, navy blue, blue, orange||15 - charcoal, cobalt blue, kelly green, light silver, magenta, black, navy, rose gold, smokey purple, teal, barn red, deep purple, naval, white, purple|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rockland Melbourne 20-inch is an inexpensive, fairly low-performing hard-sided carry-on constructed of varying materials – ABS or polycarbonate, depending on the color. It comes in a standard clamshell form, with four spinner wheels, a telescoping handle, an expansion zipper, and minimal organizational features.
Ease of Use
While some previous versions of the Melbourne 20 were built with a set of four single 360-degree wheels, the current version we tested has upgraded to double-spinner wheels. The improved wheels help the Melbourne roll more smoothly over rough surfaces, maintaining a straighter line with less correction required, and rotating without hesitation when being pulled or pushed from varying angles. The improved clearance also allows the bag to bump more easily over thresholds and stairs. A telescoping handle (with three different height options) is easy on the hand, but also proved to be one of the least sturdy, most rickety roller handles we tested, making it more difficult to steer the case while in motion.
Like most hardshell cases, there's nothing in the way of external pockets on the Melbourne, so it isn't a great candidate if you're looking for one bag to do it all while traveling. But paired with a backpack, purse, laptop bag, or other smaller personal item, it could serve you well for the bulk of your gear. Add a TSA-approved lock (looped through the overlapping zipper pulls) and you'll have the comfort of knowing your items are secure until you unload at your final destination. Plus, weighing in at under 7 pounds, you ought to have no problem carrying the case up stairs, loading it onto airport shuttles, or tossing it into a trunk or overhead bin, even when packed full.
Though it lacks much in the way of pockets, the Melbourne 20 still allows for the reasonable organization of items inside. As is typical, its clamshell design is set up with half of the bag enclosed by a large zippered flap meant to keep your contents restrained so you can open and close your bag. The other side has a simple cross-band of elastic, secured in the middle by a single plastic clip. This restraint is about as bare minimum as you can get, maybe keeping your bulky items from moving around a bit, but offering no compression. The elastic itself isn't even particularly taut.
You'll also find one hanging accessory pocket built along the spine of the bag, sized just large enough to fit a handful of cords, toiletries, or other small personal items. But, if you're a fan of organizational tools, this simple bag isn't likely to excite you. While it did pass our weeklong summertime getaway test without the need for employing expansion, our bulk test proved more of a struggle. However, once we released the expansion zipper – which allows for an extra two inches of space to fill – we had no problem loading up all the gear (including the helmet) and zipping it back closed.
If you're the type of person who already uses packing cubes or doesn't need the organizational aid of pockets, an open layout like that in the Rockland Melbourne 20 may be all you need, providing plenty of versatility to use the space how you prefer. However, the flip side is that the case lacks all but the barest of bones when it comes to organizational assets, and that absence may mean arriving at your destination with your belongings more jumbled than the way you left them. Another issue we need to point out is sizing. Although the Melbourne is advertised to meet U.S. domestic airline standards to fit overhead compartments, we found the bag's measurements do not actually comply — it's one inch too long to meet those numbers, even without expansion. Of course, we understand many airlines are not sticklers when it comes to verifying dimensions. But it's an item for consideration if you are making a purchase specifically to fly.
The Melbourne also comes in more color choices than any other bag in our test group, ranging from classic single shades to wild neon colors or two-tone options. So if you are looking to make a statement, this case should have something to suit nearly every preference. But, the lack of features, dubious durability, and the poorly structured handle are also likely to make it a less appealing option for anyone driven by quality and function, rather than colorway and price.
During past tests of this same bag, the Melbourne 20 had broken outright during moderately rough testing. A handle snapped while being pulled from an overhead bin and a shell had broken after a fall from a moderate height. Not exactly confidence-inspiring.
This time around, we did not see that same level of breakage during testing (just a bit of "wonkiness" in its roll and a small tear in the interior liner as a result of the drop test). But, we did note that the bag arrived fresh out of the box with issues in construction. Just along the inner seam of the expansion panel (where the panel is attached to the bag itself), we found evidence of glue peeling off from the bag where the seam holding the expansion feature in place seems to be detaching. While the bag continued to work throughout testing and the seam held, it does seem only a matter of time before the bag no longer serves its purpose. The Melbourne 20 is also not the most sturdy-feeling piece of luggage we tested. Load handles tend to stick out rather than snap back into place like they should, and the telescoping version is among the loosest most wobbly ones we tested. Plus, the "hard" ABS plastic exterior is actually quite soft, easily compressed with hardly any effort.
Should You Buy the Rockland Melbourne 20-inch Carry-On?
The Rockland Melbourne is one of the least expensive models we tested. Though it's not likely to satisfy any frequent traveler's needs or stand up to any serious abuse, it may be a solid choice and decent value for infrequent use or travelers who pack lightly and travel with care. It could also be a great pick for a child who won't likely be relying on this bag for years to come.
What Other Carry-On Should You Consider?
The Rockland Melbourne 20 is a simple, hard-sided piece of carry-on luggage with four double spinner wheels and a telescoping handle. It comes with limited features and a no-nonsense design, but also in a reasonable size with many fun colors to choose from. Although not a particularly sturdy box, the low price could make it the right option for infrequent travelers or the kids in the family.
Do you like the simplicity of a hardshell case but need a bit more reliability if you're going to drop money on a new bag? An affordable yet upgraded option to consider is the Samsonite Omni PC. Or if you've come to realize more is better when it comes to pockets and organization, the SwissGear Sion is a nice higher-quality carry-on that will shower you with organizational options.