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American Tourister Moonlight Spinner 28 Review

An inexpensive and beautiful hard case with questionable construction
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Price:  $160 List | $79.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, stylish and beautiful, simple and ample storage
Cons:  Poor wheel construction, no external organizational features
Manufacturer:   American Tourister
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 21, 2020
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Reliability - 25% 4
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 6
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 6
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Style - 10% 9

Our Verdict

Seeking a beautiful hard-case spinner at a relatively low price? The American Tourister Moonlight Spinner offers about 100 liters of storage in an elegant and sleek package. On hard surfaces, it triumphs, pushing and pulling easily in all directions. However, this suitcase is a low scorer in this review because of its poor performance and craftsmanship of the wheels. When the environment gets dusty, the wheels on this piece of luggage can easily get gummed up, impeding its travel. We tested it while traveling over 2000 miles by truck, rolling it over all sorts of terrain for months. Our conclusions? While it's inexpensive and quite stylish, it is designed for clean and simple transport from the airport to the hotel, and nothing more.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The American Tourister Moonlight Spinner is a beautiful piece of checked luggage. Its hard case design is for anybody looking for a stylish look with great gliding capacity. However, while we appreciate the ample storage and simple features, we are concerned about its construction for long-term use. It is a companion for those who only travel a few times a year and need something that looks good.

Performance Comparison


The American Tourister is best for those that stick to clean surfaces given its poor wheel construction.
The American Tourister is best for those that stick to clean surfaces given its poor wheel construction.

Reliability


This suitcase is questionable when it comes to reliability. In our experience, we used it while traveling via car, rolling it around on a plethora of surfaces over the timeframe of about three months. During our experience, we appreciated the sturdy and easy to use handle but had issues with other elements.

The hard case of the Moonlight is quite water-resistant  but unfortunately  the zippers are not. It will stand up to light rain  but don't let it get drenched.
The hard case of the Moonlight is quite water-resistant, but unfortunately, the zippers are not. It will stand up to light rain, but don't let it get drenched.

While the outside of the case is impervious to water, its zippers, like all the suitcases we tested, are not. Additionally, the outer 100% lightweight polycarbonate is especially susceptible to scrapes, scratches, and blows. When looking at online reviews, we noticed that many users made the same observation, having it come out quite marked up after one or two tips through baggage claim at the airport.


Another point of concern is the wheels. They are quite small, and while they glide well on flat and smooth surfaces, we worry about the construction. Within the wheel assembly, there are many cracks and spaces — the bearings are exposed to the point that you can see them!

Here we see the ultra-small and cheap wheel housings and exposed ball bearings! Dirt  dust  and grime will build up here and your wheels will stick if not kept 100% clean.
Here we see the ultra-small and cheap wheel housings and exposed ball bearings! Dirt, dust, and grime will build up here and your wheels will stick if not kept 100% clean.

Given the cracks mentioned above, along with the fact that the wheels are quite jiggly, we suspected that they would get gummed up easily, especially when going through dirt. When testing the wheels of the Moonlight over a plethora of surfaces including gravel and dusty rock, we indeed noticed that they stopped spinning as smoothly. While this didn't stop the transportability of the bag, it made the suitcase travel in odd ways, pulling to one side.

The wheels are super tiny and don't do well to surmount big obstacles.
The wheels are super tiny and don't do well to surmount big obstacles.

When we cleaned the wheel out, by blowing compressed air inside, this helped to negate the problem. With these observations, however, we can't stand behind the reliability of this product. While we were successfully able to clean the problem areas, this isn't ideal. Also, many online reviews confirmed our experience with the wheels and also noted construction issues with the handle. As a result, this suitcase scores low in this category, and we wonder about its longevity.

Here we see how the case drags up stairs and curbs. It has no protective bumpers  which means the base receives the brunt of the impact.
Here we see how the case drags up stairs and curbs. It has no protective bumpers, which means the base receives the brunt of the impact.

Storage & Organization


Storage and organization are simple and thoughtful in this suitcase. There are no external pockets or organizational features, but you can easily put a purse or carry-on items on top of the bag, given its rigid exterior design.

Here we take our award winner laptop backpack for a ride on our travel luggage while visiting an Air Bn'B in Ontario  Canada.
Here we take our award winner laptop backpack for a ride on our travel luggage while visiting an Air Bn'B in Ontario, Canada.

Inside, you'll find two large compartments that can hold either bulky or delicate items. The compartments each hold about 50 liters (calculated from our measurements).

The Moonlight Spinner offers ample and simple storage options for both your clothing and hard goods.

The back compartment of the Moonlight comes with compression straps, while the one on the front has a zippered mesh compartment. This case also comes with an expansion zipper that offers about an inch more space between the two sides if you need it. The only internal pocket is large, long, and affixed to the top part of the bag. This is where we put any toiletries with the potential to leak. Overall, this case met all our needs, and we could easily fit clothing and gear for everything from climbing adventures to visiting the parents for the week.

Ease of Transport


With its spinner design, this suitcase floats effortlessly through the airport and over hard surfaces. There's a little clearance under the bottom of the bag, so it can make it easily over small items like stray rocks. Since the wheels aren't large or oversized, it has more trouble moving up and down stairs and over curbs. It has no bumper bars to aid in these kinds of transitions so, as a result, you feel like you're dragging it more than actually 'rolling it.'

It moves easily in spinner mode on hard surfaces.
It moves easily in spinner mode on hard surfaces.

Luckily, the Moonlight comes with some pretty sturdy and comfortable handles. They are located only on the side and top of the suitcase though, so your options for grabbing the case are slightly limited.

The handles are easy to grab but only located on the top and bottom of the suitcase.
The handles are easy to grab but only located on the top and bottom of the suitcase.

Overall, we love the way this suitcase handles most traveling situations. However, it's not designed to take on super grimy or dirty areas. Stick to hard surfaces like concrete and sidewalks if you decide to purchase this piece of luggage.

In spinner mode  it can't get over curbs  which is true for all four-wheeled luggage items.
In spinner mode, it can't get over curbs, which is true for all four-wheeled luggage items.

Weight


Weighing in at 11.5 lbs, this is a pretty light case. You can pack up to 38.5 extra pounds of gear before hitting weight capacity at the airport. However, if you're simply traveling via car, the size of this suitcase can take on quite a bit more then just that.

A look at the weight of this suitcase on our spring scale.
A look at the weight of this suitcase on our spring scale.

Style


The Moonlight received many compliments when wheeling from one place to the next. The finish is clean and crisp, shining like a clam-shell in the sun. It comes in unique patterns and stylings that seem to change throughout the seasons. Overall, we give it high points in this category simply because it's versatile in its design and looks great wherever you go. No generic stylings here!

The American Tourister Moonlight Spinner is pretty cute and best for those that appreciate a feminine look.
The American Tourister Moonlight Spinner is pretty cute and best for those that appreciate a feminine look.

Value


When considering most checked luggage with a large storage capacity, you're looking at prices that can be hundreds of dollars more than what the Moonlight Spinner costs. However, while the price is relatively low, the reliability is quite questionable. That said, if you know you won't be traveling anywhere where dirt, dust, and grime reside, and you don't expose your case to any unnatural forces, then it might be of value to you. But, if you know your case is going to get dirty, then expect this one won't last very long. While the price is low, so is the value. In this case, you get what you pay for.

American Tourister does provide repair options via their warranty that are worth looking into.

Conclusion


The American Tourister Moonlight Spinner is a four-wheel clam-shaped suitcase that offers great glide over hard surfaces. It's perfect for airport travel or while strolling down the sidewalk. However, while it is beautiful in design, its value is questionable as it lacks sturdy and quality craftsmanship.

A good option for those seeking a relatively inexpensive hard case suitcase with excellent volume.
A good option for those seeking a relatively inexpensive hard case suitcase with excellent volume.

Amber King