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Hands-on Gear Review

Rockland Melbourne 20 Review

Price:   $120 List | $39.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Expandable, affordable, zippered internal divider.
Cons:  Poor construction, difficult to wheel.
Bottom line:  Inexpensive suitcase but not built to last.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Fox Luggage

Our Verdict

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

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Thursday
December 1, 2016

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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.

Performance Comparison


Does it fit? Yes! This compact bag shouldn't ever be denied at the gate.
Does it fit? Yes! This compact bag shouldn't ever be denied at the gate.

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.

These small spinner wheels seem to have a mind of their own and don't like to travel in a straight line. They are also not geared towards rolling over anything but smooth airport floors.
These small spinner wheels seem to have a mind of their own and don't like to travel in a straight line. They are also not geared towards rolling over anything but smooth airport floors.

Internal Capacity


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.

We were able to fit two pairs of shoes  four pairs of jeans  ten shirts  a sweater  workout clothes  and toiletries in this bag  but there wasn't room for dressy clothes or a way to keep them wrinkle-free.
We were able to fit two pairs of shoes, four pairs of jeans, ten shirts, a sweater, workout clothes, and toiletries in this bag, but there wasn't room for dressy clothes or a way to keep them wrinkle-free.

Features


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.

We always appreciate when the expandable zipper tab and the main zipper tabs are different shapes and sizes so that we don't accidentally open the expander section every time we try to open the bag.
We always appreciate when the expandable zipper tab and the main zipper tabs are different shapes and sizes so that we don't accidentally open the expander section every time we try to open the 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.

The expandable option is a nice feature - it won't fit in the overhead bin this way but it is great for when you buy too much stuff on vacation and choose to check your bag on the way home.
The expandable option is a nice feature - it won't fit in the overhead bin this way but it is great for when you buy too much stuff on vacation and choose to check your bag on the way home.

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.

The grab handles are attached by flimsy tabs that are easy to damaged. Part of this tab broke during our first trip with it.
The grab handles are attached by flimsy tabs that are easy to damaged. Part of this tab broke during our first trip with it.

Weight


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.

Style


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 inexpensive suitcase has a plain design with few extra features.
This inexpensive suitcase has a plain design with few extra features.

Best Applications


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.

This bag is great for travelling with kids. They can push it themselves and it gives them a place to take a break.
This bag is great for travelling with kids. They can push it themselves and it gives them a place to take a break.

Value


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 customerservice@foxluggage.com. Be sure to keep your hang tags, receipt, etc., if you think you might want to make a warranty claim down the road.

Conclusion


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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