Reviews You Can Rely On

Rockland Melbourne 20 Review

An affordable roller with enough utility to suit light packers and infrequent travelers and plenty of colors to keep it fun
rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review
Credit: Fox Luggage
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Price:  $120 List | $134.21 at Amazon
Pros:  Spacious, easy to use, budget-friendly, lots of colors
Cons:  Durability issues, rattly roller handle
Manufacturer:   Fox Luggage
By Myrha Colt & Maggie Nichols  ⋅  Sep 26, 2022
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 9
  • Ease of Use - 35% 5.4
  • Design - 25% 6.6
  • Packability - 25% 7.1
  • Durability - 15% 4.0

Our Verdict

The Rockland Melbourne 20 is a hard-sided, 360-degree spinner in our best carry-on luggage review, with a budget price tag. The clamshell design offers simplicity in an open layout, while a set of four double-wheel spinners and a telescoping handle offer relatively smooth sailing when running to your gate or checking in at a hotel. It's also sold in a wide array of colors and has a 2-inch extension option plus some basic organizational tools to create space for easy packing. But what it offers in ease of use and cost savings, it lacks in durability and reliability. So unless you're an infrequent traveler or a child, it's likely to lack the functionality and performance you require.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on September 26, 2022, to re-evaluate this bag for any potential updates (this newer version no longer comes with a padlock) and to see how it compares to the new contenders in our test collection.

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rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review
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Price $120 List
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Pros Spacious, easy to use, budget-friendly, lots of colorsMany useful extras, impressive capacity, accessible priceSmooth and stable, impressive capacity, variety of colors, lightweightInexpensive, decent storage, expandableBudget-friendly, numerous color choices, lightweight
Cons Durability issues, rattly roller handleHeavy, exceeds airline size requirements, frontside bulkDurability concerns, minimal organizational featuresDurability concerns, rattly roller handle, finicky zippers, heavyDurability issues, rattly roller handle, finicky zippers, lower-quality interior materials
Bottom Line An affordable roller with enough utility to suit light packers and infrequent travelers and plenty of colors to keep it funAn accessible price point and a slew of useful features make this carry-on a good option for those who want a solid performer without breaking the bankA simple, lightweight yet solid hardshell spinner that outshines other bags at a similar price pointA well-priced and reasonably spacious hardshell carry-on with limited organizational features and dubious long-term viabilityAn inexpensive roller of dubious durability but enough utility to suit light packers and infrequent travelers and plenty of colors to keep it fun
Rating Categories Rockland Melbourne 20 SwissGear Sion Soft... Samsonite Omni PC H... Amazon Basics 21-in... Kenneth Cole Reacti...
Ease of Use (35%)
5.4
8.2
7.5
5.6
4.3
Design (25%)
6.6
6.1
8.0
5.1
6.9
Packability (25%)
7.1
8.7
7.0
6.0
4.0
Durability (15%)
4.0
7.0
5.2
4.0
3.6
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.

Performance Comparison


rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review - the inexpensive rockland melbourne is noted for its great color...
The inexpensive Rockland Melbourne is noted for its great color choices and a simple build.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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.

The telescoping handle on the Melbourne was one of the least sturdy...
The telescoping handle on the Melbourne was one of the least sturdy and most rickety of all roller handles we tested.
A closeup of the double-spinner wheels on the Rockland Melbourne 20.
A closeup of the double-spinner wheels on the Rockland Melbourne 20.

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.

rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review - while no lock comes with the rockland melbourne, you can easily add...
While no lock comes with the Rockland Melbourne, you can easily add one if you wish.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Packability


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.

rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review - the restraint straps in the melbourne do little to actually restrain...
The restraint straps in the Melbourne do little to actually restrain or compress the contents.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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.

rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review - the expansion feature of the melbourne gives you a lot more...
The expansion feature of the Melbourne gives you a lot more flexibility in packing than meets the eye, assuming you plan to check your bag for airline travel.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Design


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.

rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review - a clamshell opening is a standard approach to a hardshell case...
A clamshell opening is a standard approach to a hardshell case, allowing for plenty of flexibility in packing but not a lot of extra features.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


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.

rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review - a bright silver is just one of many fun color options available on...
A bright silver is just one of many fun color options available on the Rockland Melbourne.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Durability


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.

Handles are among the vulnerable components we've seen in testing on...
Handles are among the vulnerable components we've seen in testing on the Rockland Melbourne.
Preparing the Rockland Melbourne for its big drop test, mimicking...
Preparing the Rockland Melbourne for its big drop test, mimicking the kind of treatment any suitcase might receive behind the scenes at an airport.


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.

rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review - an easy choice if you need simple and affordable, and a child would...
An easy choice if you need simple and affordable, and a child would love the many color options.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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.

rockland melbourne 20 carry-on luggage review - all the basics but none of the brawn - the rockland melbourne likely...
All the basics but none of the brawn - the Rockland Melbourne likely won't be a case to carry you through years of travel but it can make a quick, inexpensive option for immediate getaways.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Myrha Colt & Maggie Nichols
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