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Hands-on Gear Review
Rockland Melbourne 20 Review
Cons: Poor construction, difficult to wheel.
Bottom line: Inexpensive suitcase but not built to last.
The Rockland Melbourne 20 is the most affordable bag in our carry-on review. It retails for $120 but can often be purchased for as low as $45 online, making it an easy choice for budget conscious shoppers in a category filled with $200 and up models. However, this no frills bag doesn't have many of the features of the more expensive models, nor the longevity. This model is a hard-sided bag with four single wheels that tend to have a mind of their own when moving — they rarely do it in a straight line! It is expandable, giving you an additional 1.5 inches overall, but in its regular carry-on configuration it can't hold as much as many of the other models in this review. Its telescoping handle is not very sturdy (it was flexing pretty ominously when we tried pushing the Melbourne while full), and the tabs that secure the grab handles are easily broken. We were much more impressed with our Best Buy winner, the SwissGear Meyrin 20, which also retails for $120 and is a sturdier and more versatile piece of luggage.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Rockland Melbourne 20 is made of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic and measures 22 x 13 x 9 inches. It weighs just under 7 pounds, and comes in over 25 colors.
Ease of Transport
In other reviews, we write about how awesome the four-wheeled design is for maneuvering flawlessly through the airport (read: over polished surfaces). Really, though, you don't reap the full benefits of the four-wheeled design unless you shell out the extra bucks for bags like the Samsonite Inova 20 or the Delsey Shadow 3.0 21. Less expensive carry-ons like this one just don't have the same amazing rolling action as those bags. The Melbourne pulled annoyingly to one side and the rickety handle made it difficult to push while full. The handle can adjust to two heights (34" and 39"), which is nice for fine tuning the right handle height for pushing, but overall this bag received one of our lowest scores for ease of transport.
While we were surprised at how much of our pack test actually fit in the bag, it was a bit of a squeeze. This bag also expands an extra 1.5 inches, which allowed us space for a suit or fancy dress, but there was no way of ensuring that it would come out anything but completely wrinkled.
This is a fairly basic bag and its features reflect that. There is no integrated lock like the other hard-sided bags in this review, nor can the zipper tabs accommodate one. We did like the differentiation between the bag's main zippers and the expandable zipper, and the expandable option is a nice feature for such a small bag.
The compression straps are basic and don't really compress much, but do help secure loose items in that side of that suitcase. The other side can be zipped up completely, and there is one small internal pocket that's big enough for a few pairs of underwear or a toiletry kit. There are no exterior pockets (common with hardsided bags), which is something to consider if you like to stash odds and ends in the outer pockets of your suitcase.
Durability & Construction
This bag is made with ABS plastic, which is less durable than polycarbonate (which is the plastic that more expensive bags like the Delsey Shadow and Samsonite Inova use). The Rockland's zippers are not very thick or burly and we had major concerns over the telescoping handle, which was by far the most rickety and rattly of any in this review. Additionally, the top carry handle is secured by flimsy tabs that are easily broken.
At 6 lbs, 15 oz, the Melbourne is one of the lighter bags in this review, which is noticeable when compared to the heavier Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic, our Top Pick for Business Travel. With some airlines instituting a weight limit on their carry-on bags, lighter bags are definite plus.
This bag has a boxy and plain look to it. It's nowhere near as sleek as the Samsonite Inova, nor does it offer a techy look like the Osprey Ozone Wheeled 22 or The North Face Rolling Thunder 22. Also, the red bag that we tested had a pink and white polka dot interior, which was decidedly "junior" in its styling. The textured surface does help hide scratches though, which might make it look newer for longer.
This bag is suitable for general airline travel and city-to-city trips. It's also a nice bag for travelling with children, who can push a four-wheeled bag easier than they can pull a two-wheeled one, and can use it as an impromptu seat when needed.
At $120 "retail," and a typical $35-55 street price, this is by far the least expensive bag in our review; however, even at this affordable price we're not sure that it's worth it if you are a serious traveler. If you plan on using your bag infrequently and aren't overly concerned about quality in your carry-on this may be the bag for you. One other important aspect to note is that even though this bag has a three-year warranty, we've read multiple user reviews online stating that this warranty is extremely difficult to claim. Rockland Luggage does not have an official website and is made by Fox Luggage. After digging around online and sending a few emails, we found the contact information for the warranty office: customer service at Fox can be reached at (323) 588-1688 and at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to keep your hang tags, receipt, etc., if you think you might want to make a warranty claim down the road.
The Rockland Melbourne 20 has a few attractive features, and is certainly affordable, but its rickety handle and poor rolling action left us unimpressed overall.
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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