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Travelpro Maxlite 4 22 Review
Cons: Has a very nondescript look, not the most durable.
Bottom line: Inexpensive bag when purchased at the usual "street" price.
The Travelpro Maxlite 4 22 is the latest update in one of Travelpro's most popular series. This carry-on is lightweight, roomy, and easy on your wallet. There weren't too many changes made from the previous model, the Maxlite 3 (our former Best Buy winner), so if you've used that carry-on and loved it, you'll like this one just as much. It has two large wheels, soft sides, and structured walls. It measures 22 x 14 x 9 and has a large external pocket that will fit a 16" laptop. It also has the added bonus of being expandable, which is a great solution to that problem of "When I started my vacation, everything fit into my bag and now for the life of me I can't get it back in." Although it might mean checking your carry-on on the trip home, you can simply unzip the expandable zipper and voila! You have seven extra liters of space to work with. The SwissGear Meyrin 20 slightly edged out the Maxlite this year for our Best Buy designation thanks to its ease of transport and even smaller price tag, but this is still a great bag for the price.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Carry-On Luggage of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Travelpro Maxlite 4 22 works well for general airline travel and is a great option for individuals who want a lightweight, easy-to-roll bag. This bag has the standard carry-on measurements of 22 x 14 x 9 inches and weighs 6 pounds 5 ounces. It comes in three color options: Ocean Mist Blue, Black, and Purple. This model did fall a little short in both Style and Durability, so if you are a frequent business traveler the classic and more sturdily constructed, though much more expensive Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic, would be a better option.
Ease of Transport
Although you can't push the Travelpro Maxlite 4 22 around the airport like the four-wheeled bags that we reviewed, it still maneuvers easily, and because it's so lightweight, it's also easy on the arms. The wheels are also much larger than those on a four-wheeled version, making it easier to pull on uneven terrain like a bumpy parking lot or gravel road. If you are really interested in the four-wheeled design, Travelpro does make a four-wheeled version of this bag. The Maxlite also has top and side handles that are lined with a gel-like padding, making it easy to remove from overhead storage or tackle a flight of stairs. The one downside of the side carry handle is that we found that it occasionally got caught up on the edges of the airline seats as we pulled it down the aisle.
This bag held everything in our pack test without a problem. The bag's structured walls ensure that the bag stays within the required airline measurements even when it is stuffed, and its exterior pocket provides a useful space for a laptop or reading material. Moreover, this carry-on is expandable, thanks to a zipper that sits just between the main compartment and the exterior pocket. With the bag expanded, we were able to fill it full of souvenirs on our way home from a vacation.
This bag doesn't have a lot of options when it comes to features, but as we mentioned above we did appreciate the expanding zipper. This is perfect for trips where you end up purchasing extra souvenirs and don't quite have enough space (or the items that you originally brought magically grow in size). Simply un-zip the expansion zipper and check the bag. Overall though, this bag is relatively simple, which is to be expected in a lower priced model. It has non-elastic compression straps and two mesh pockets in its main compartment, but no folding compartment to keep a suit or nice dress wrinkle-free. If this feature is important to you, then our Top Pick for Business Travel, the Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic, or the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2, are better options. The exterior pocket is deep enough to hold a 16" laptop in a slim case, but it does not have built-in laptop padding and it makes the suitcase more prone to tipping over. Finally, this bag has a pull handle on the bottom, which is useful for tugging it out of tight spaces.
This bag has durable self-repairing zippers and a sturdy telescoping handle, but it's made with slightly less sturdy components than their Magna line. Most of the other bags that we reviewed had some sort of frame sheet on the entire length of the back side (underneath the encasement for the telescoping handle); however, the Maxlite saves on weight and forgoes reinforcing the middle of the back panel. There is a frame six inches down from the top and six inches up from the bottom (both of which provide structural support to the bag), but the nine inches in the middle of the back panel are comprised solely of fabric.
While we did not experience any ripping of the fabric in this middle section, after checking the bag on a return flight we did notice some denting in the upper frame panel on both this model and the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2. While the "damage" was minor, it does raise some concerns over the longevity of the bag. Travelpro offers a limited lifetime warranty on the Maxlite series that covers "damage as the result of defects in materials and workmanship." The damage done by an airline carrier or through normal wear and tear is expressly not covered, which is what happened in our case. This situation only serves to reinforce one of the reasons why people prefer to carry-on when possible, as you are generally more gentle and careful with your luggage than a baggage handler.
At a little over 6 lbs, the Travelpro Maxlite 4 22 was one of the lightest carry-ons that we tested. This model felt noticeably lighter to pull than the Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic, which weighs over 9 lbs. With a four-wheeled suitcase you might not notice the weight as much as you are generally just pushing it around, but with a two-wheel model you are dragging the weight, so a lighter bag is nicer. This model might sacrifice a bit on some aspects of durability to help make this happen, but overall we think that the decreased weight is a huge draw for this bag. The Osprey Ozone Wheeled 22 is even lighter than this bag but it doesn't have the same storage capacity.
The Travelpro Maxlite 4 22 is a fairly basic bag that comes in a few colors and is not the carry-on to choose if you want to make a statement when you fly. It certainly has a professional look to it, but it's also just nondescript. This is primarily due to the fact that this bag uses the tried and true two-wheeled design with top and side handles and an exterior pocket. But — and this is the thing — after completing several months of testing, there's a reason why that design is so popular in carry-on luggage: because sometimes basic is better. So, if you aren't overly concerned about looking super chic or cool when you travel, we do highly recommend this bag.
This bag is ideal for general airline use, especially for longer trips or heavy packers. The expandable feature is also great for individuals who want a little extra versatility and the option to use it as a small checked bag.
This model has a stated retail value of $260, but we consistently see it for at least half that price on major online retailers. Is this a case of price inflation so that you feel like you're getting a deal when you buy it "on sale?" We don't know, but if you can get it for around $120 then it is a great deal.
We really appreciated this classic bag's simplicity and lightweight design. This is a sensible carry-on that does its job well and will make packing up for your next trip a breeze. It doesn't have some of the extras like our Editors' Choice winner, the Eagle Creek Tarmac AWD Carry-On, but if you are looking for an inexpensive model to take on your next trip, be it a weekend getaway or spring break vacation, then this model will do nicely.
The Maxlite 4 collection offers this bag in multiple sizes. We reviewed the smallest size (22") but it is also available in a medium (25") and a large (28") size, as well as a spinning 21" carry-on.
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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