Away Travel Large Review
Cons: Expensive, drags up stairs
Manufacturer: Away Travel
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Away Large suitcase features a beautiful and durable hard case, loaded with ample storage and amazing portability. It stands out as a suitcase that is built to last for many years to come. It is our favorite four-wheeled spinner, earning it one of our Editors' Choice awards.
What can we say? We love and trust the Away Travel for all of our trips. The craftsmanship of this piece stands out when compared to other hard cases and four-wheeled luggage items. The wheels are well-built and very durable, and the outer polycarbonate shell is surprisingly scuff and abrasion-resistant. If you want a hard-case spinner piece to trust, this is our favorite.
Wheels are typically the weakest point in on any piece of roller luggage. We appreciate the durable rubber construction of these smooth-rolling wheels and the fact that the housings secure flawlessly to the body. Nothing looks cheap or poorly crafted.
The swivel that the wheels are fastened to offers the best construction we've seen. There are no exposed areas for dirt or sand to collect, and the ball bearings are well protected. In comparison to two-wheeled models, these wheels aren't nearly as large or oversized, which is usually cause for concern with heavy loads. However, we tested this case fully loaded, and the wheels performed well over a series of surfaces, bearing the load well.
While most hardshell cases are prone to scuffs, scratches, and cracking, this one stands out as supremely durable. After tossing it around in the dirt and gravel for an entire week while on a climbing trip in Red Rocks, it still looked pretty new, with only minor scuffing near the bottom.
The exterior is also waterproof; however, the zippers are not, so be careful in a downpour. The handle is durable and doesn't bow or flex under pressure. Overall, we love the excellent craftsmanship, performance, and reliability offered by this case. Our only caveat is the recessed zippers that can be a pain to zip up when the case is filled to the brim.
Storage & Organization
Storing and organizing items is pretty simple with this hard case. It doesn't feature a plethora of pockets or organizational components, nor does it offer an expansion zipper. But the features it does have suffice for any traveler going to visit family or head out on an urban vacation. While the volume isn't advertised, we calculated it to be roughly 110 liters, with 55 liters of space on each side of the case.
The simple clam shape design of this suitcase allows you to pack to the brim. During our climbing trip, we were able to fit all of our clothing and ultralight camping gear into it without a problem. When packing it up, we liked the zippered mesh that keeps one side of the case altogether.
The open side of the Away features a removable compression organizer that links into the compression straps of the case. You can fill this area, then place the organizer lid over the top to help compress the entire load. We really like this feature, but keep in mind that if you don't use it and open the suitcase in the wrong direction, all the contents will fall out.
This actually happened to us quite a bit, so we used the compression organizer more then we thought we would. This system also has a couple of mesh pockets that help to organize items even more. In addition, there is a small zippered pocket that easily fits things that might get messy while flying, such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc.
Overall, this case earns high points for storage simply because it's got a significant amount of volume and the depth to take on everything from bulky gear to simple clothing. It's our go-to for almost any vacation or trip, whether we're traveling via plane, boat, or car.
Ease of Transport
The Away Large makes it easy to navigate over small obstacles. This suitcase features four wheels which offer easy movement in all directions.
On smooth surfaces, the wheels have minimal sound or vibration, allowing you to effortlessly moving over small cracks in the pavement. This suitcase navigates well in the airport and has just "okay" performance on more technical terrain.
When rolling this luggage around while fully loaded at the Las Vegas airport, we were impressed at how well it handles. Each axle has two rubberized wheels that offer a very wide base for stability. Where a single tire would normally be vibrating, the Away provided a smooth ride. The bearings of the wheels spin with ease and without any friction points that would otherwise compromise movement. We especially love that this is one of the only cases that doesn't pull in an odd direction and goes exactly where you want it to go.
On more technical terrain, it's basically impossible to push this case alongside you on all four wheels — no big surprise there. In this situation, we simply tipped it up on two of the wheels to pull it along. Since this suitcase has pretty small wheels and the distance from the bottom of the case to the floor is minimal, it, unfortunately, gets stuck on larger objects more easily than cases with more substantial wheels and a larger distance to the ground.
Going up stairs isn't easy, given the smaller wheelbase — the back of the case drags on the stairs. Luckily, the exterior material is super durable, but integrating some bumpers here, or making the wheels a bit bigger, would help with this problem. In most cases, when we needed to head up a large flight of stairs, we turned the case on its side and used the handle to carry it up.
The handles on the top and side of this suitcase make it easy to load in and out of vehicles. We just wished there were two more handles, one on the bottom and the other side, to make it even easier to throw around.
Overall, of the four-wheeled cases we tested, this one offers the smoothest ride when in spinner mode. However, in two-wheel roller mode, it doesn't perform as well as other suitcases that have oversized wheels and bumpers to help get up stairs. That being said, it's stable, doesn't tip over, and stands on its own when fully loaded. All good things.
Even though this is a heavier case at 12 lbs, it honestly doesn't feel particularly heavy. You can fill it with 38 lbs of gear for flights — more, if you're in the car or willing to pay for oversized luggage at the airport. The case is perfectly balanced, and even with lots of weight inside, it doesn't tip over.
This case is super cute and stylish with a simple yet elegant design. We received compliments from complete strangers at the airport, earning it big points in this category.
The front and back feature a continuous, but subtle, horizontal line pattern while the top and bottom of the case offer an uninterrupted matte finish. The Away is definitely one of the most stylish that you can find at luggage claim, making it a great option for work trips or casual travel alike. It was typically our first pick out of the pile and there are several different color and pattern options to choose from.
While the price tag might seem high, this suitcase is a worthy investment. It is well constructed, offers great organizational capability, and is incredibly versatile. It also comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.
The Away Travel Large is elegant, stylish, and functional. We love its easy organization and hearty level of craftsmanship. This hard case is exceptionally durable to scuffs and scratches while the wheels, even though they are small, are extremely well built. If you're seeking a suitcase that is easy to navigate and will last you on all your adventures, this is the creme de la creme and our Editors' Choice for Best Overall Spinner. Whether you're a frequent flyer or road tripper, it has a little bit of something for everybody.
— Amber King
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More