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Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner Review

This bag is expensive but promises a lifetime of organized packing and happy urban rolling
Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner
Credit: Briggs & Riley
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $869 List | $869.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Well-made, innovative compression, rolls beautifully, tri-fold hanging garment folder
Cons:  Very expensive, difficult to roll on mixed terrain, compression tech of questionable durability
Manufacturer:   Briggs and Riley
By Myrha Colt and Clark Tate  ⋅  Jul 8, 2022
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85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 13
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 9.0
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 9.0
  • Reliability - 25% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Style - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner makes it easy to pack, stay organized, and keep wrinkles to a minimum. It also uses an innovative compression system to let you pack pretty much anything you want without worrying about your suitcase exploding at the seams. We're impressed with the tri-fold hanging clothes compartment and large, unobstructed main compartment featuring a pair of garment panels for additional organization and compression within. It's also our favorite four-wheeled roller in the test, running smoothly alongside you in the airport and admirably taking on cobblestones and curbs outside. It comes with a SmartLink strap to quickly hang a personal item from your bag as well. Although expensive, this case is an excellent investment. And with its highly praised unconditional lifetime warranty, we are confident you will rely on it for years to come.

Editor's Note: This review was revised on July 8, 2022, with info on the updated version of this suitcase.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $869 List
$869.00 at Amazon
$289 List
$289.00 at REI
$279 List$260 List
$239.99 at Amazon
$119 List
$100.58 at Amazon
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Pros Well-made, innovative compression, rolls beautifully, tri-fold hanging garment folderDurable construction, large capacity, rolls with ease across mixed terrainSmooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great styleCavernous main compartment, scratch- and water-resistant, easy-roll spinnersInexpensive, rolls easily, large capacity
Cons Very expensive, difficult to roll on mixed terrain, compression tech of questionable durabilityLimited interior organizational features, easy to overpackZippers could be smoother, low clearanceTough to transport on mixed terrain, easy to overpack, limited organizational featuresLow-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper
Bottom Line This bag is expensive but promises a lifetime of organized packing and happy urban rollingThe perfect all-terrain rolling duffel with substantial storage capacity and useful organizational extrasA durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travelAn oversized yet lightweight mega-bag with spinner-tight roll and control over smooth surfaces and surprisingly tough exterior constructionA low priced expandable suitcase with enormous storage capacity but dubious durability
Rating Categories Briggs & Riley Base... REI Co-op Big Haul... Timbuk2 Copilot Samsonite Omni PC H... Amazon Basics 30" H...
Storage & Organization (25%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Ease of Transport (25%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Reliability (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
Style (10%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Briggs & Riley Base... REI Co-op Big Haul... Timbuk2 Copilot Samsonite Omni PC H... Amazon Basics 30" H...
Measured Weight 12.2 lbs 9.6 lbs 9.4 lbs 10.3 lbs 11.6 lbs
Volume 104.5L 109L 80L 145L 127L
Liters per pound 8.6 11.1 8.5 14.1 10.9
Construction Zip open, softshell Zip open, duffel Clamshell plus topside u-shaped zip access, softshell Clamshell, hard-sided Clamshell, hard-sided
Measured Packed Dimensions 28.5” x 20” x 11.5” 33.75" x 16.25" x 14" 26.5" x 14.5" x 13" 30.5" x 20.5" x 13" 30.75" x 21" x 12
Expansion Zippers? Yes (but not using zippers) No No Yes Yes
Number of Wheels 4 2 2 4 4
Number of Large Interior Compartments 1 1 2 2 2
Interior Storage Features Tri-fold hanging folder with mesh pocket, garment compresssion panels 2 mesh organizational pockets on inside of opening panel (one with key hook), 2 internal compression straps 2 mesh clam panels with 2 organizational pockets Elastic restraint straps in one-half clam, zip enclosure over opposite half; hanging zipper accessory pocket One-half clam with elastic restraint straps, one-half large zip enclosure with 2 zip mesh pockets, hanging zip accessory pocket
Number of Exterior Pockets 1 large sleeve with 1 interior organizational slip pocket, 1 small zipper pocket 1 side exterior zip pocket. 1 small top zip pocket with piggy-bag strap attachment, plus daisy-chain gear loops 1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve None None
Compression System CX compression / expansion system (doesn't compress unless oversized) 2 external and 2 internal compression straps (4 in total) No 2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression 2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression
Handle Height from Ground Low: 35"
Mid: 40"
High: 43"
42" 40.5" Low: 36"
High: 41"
Low: 36.75"
High: 40.5"
Built-In Lock No No No Yes, TSA Approved No
Main Exterior Material 1680D ballistic nylon Recycled 400-denier nylon/recycled 1,680-denier nylon (bluesign®-approved) Nylon and polyester Polycarbonate Extra-thick ABS, hard shell
Unique Features Compression / expansion system; cinching mesh restraint panel; 1 mesh pocket; tri-fold garment folder; corner reinforcements; large u-zip front pocket ; SmartLink strap Oversized wheels, rugged chassis, full-length bumpers, 2 internal and 2 external compression straps, stopper-stand, carry-on piggyback clip, 6 haul handle options, daisy chain lash points, water-resistant Liquids pocket and padded front pocket to fit 13" laptop; skateboard wheels Built-in TSA-approved lock; large packing capacity; impressive water resistance, expandable, anti-scratch exterior 150D-polyester zippered clamshell enclosure, 3 organizational pockets

Our Analysis and Test Results

Product Update Note — July 2022
Briggs & Riley made some updates to their Baseline suitcases since our test period with this model. They have added a monogram plate, redesigned the logo, and the zippers are revised with ergonomics in mind. The compression/expansion system now operates with one touch of a push button instead of the previous 2-touch design. Additionally, the spinner wheels have a new proprietary shock-absorbing design. Compare the model we tested above (left) to the updated version on offer now (right). We're linking to this updated model.

Briggs & Riley tout the longevity of their luggage via a worry-free lifetime guarantee. While we haven't put in a decade of testing on the Expandable Spinner just yet, it is very well made, and we expect it to last. The innovative CX compression system, which we'll describe in more detail below, also lets you pack way more than an average bag this size.

Performance Comparison


Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - we appreciate the classic looks and impeccable function of the...
We appreciate the classic looks and impeccable function of the Expandable Spinner.
Credit: Clark Tate

Storage & Organization


In our pack test, we were able to fit one tester's entire wardrobe in this bag. It has a unique expansion/compression feature that lets you pack more than seems possible within the same limited space. This trademarked CX system uses two ratcheting plastic handles in the main compartment to expand its depth by 3.5 inches (adding about 30% more space), stretching out a fold of the bag's ballistic nylon outer fabric. From there, you just pack all your clothes in, zip up the case, and press the plastic expanders back to their original position. Viola, the suitcase is back to its original size.


The compression system works pretty seamlessly, though it is a little alarming to think about how much you've actually just packed away. It's also hard to keep the bag's weight under 50 pounds at that point. Still, we like it much more than the other expandable bags we tested. Most just use a zipper to unleash an extra band of flexible fabric, which works well but exposes your zippers to extra strain as the top and bottom of the bag are no longer tightly secured. The CX system tucks the extra fabric back in, protecting it and using the hard shell of the bag to hold it all together.

The CX system in action, shown here expanded to let you pack in the...
The CX system in action, shown here expanded to let you pack in the maximum amount.
Once you pack and zip the bag, all you have to do is press down...
Once you pack and zip the bag, all you have to do is press down above the ratchets to snug everything back up. Works like a charm.

Aside from the massive amount of storage you get with this suitcase, you'll also enjoy a smart and intuitive organizational system. There is one small, external zippered pouch for day-of-travel necessities, like your ticket and ID. We love having those close at hand. The large, shallow U-shaped pocket behind then gives you easy access to layers, books, or other entertainment options.

The main compartment is spacious even without the expander. It doesn't unzip right down the center in clam form. Instead, a top panel zips open to reveal a tri-fold hanging compartment on the flip side. If you're bringing a dress or suit, laying it out here and using the thick bolsters provided will help keep wrinkles at bay. Once you've zipped those items away, you'll also find a small toiletry compartment on the inside of that main entrance flap.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - the trifold hanging compartment can't perform miracles, but it does...
The trifold hanging compartment can't perform miracles, but it does a lot to reduce fold-induced wrinkles.
Credit: Clark Tate

From here you have a large, open compartment to organize as you'd like. To start, use the two smart garment panels with their additional cinching mechanism to affix loose items toward the back. This works great for those items we're less likely to use upfront — the just-in-case jacket, for example — and any pieces that have less immediacy for our travels. Once cinched down, there’s still plenty more space to add in the things we know we'll need first or most often. If you decide to throw in even more, simply expand the main compartment, stuff it in, and compress the whole bag down again.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - this bag packed away our lead tester's entire wardrobe.
This bag packed away our lead tester's entire wardrobe.
Credit: Clark Tate

Ease of Transport


The Expandable Spinner suitcase is our favorite four-wheeled roller. Larger wheels make for smoother rolling, and three settings on the telescoping handle mean it's easy to find a comfortable height for your body and whatever situation you're forging through. Double-swivel wheels keep up with instant directional changes, and the internal restraint and compression systems ensure the bag never topples unbalanced. On busy streets, it tracts right alongside you, staying out of your way and everyone else's. We even like this spinner bag's rolling action on cobbled streets and handle-housing bumper protection over curbs. While gravel and rough road were less maneuverable — more like a hard drag on two wheels versus a roll — it performed no worse than other spinners in our test group and was far and away the easiest to control on smooth terrain.


The telescoping handle has subtle V-indentations that Briggs & Riley claims make it stronger and less prone to jamming. We buy the stronger bit given the sturdy feel, and we never ran into jams. The handle extends and contracts easily with a press of the center button on the handle. We also like that the handle's housing is outside the suitcase, keeping the inside of the suitcase perfectly flat and making it easier to take advantage of all the interior space.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - the big, sturdy, endlessly rotating wheels work great.
The big, sturdy, endlessly rotating wheels work great.
Credit: Clark Tate

When you need to pick the bag up to tackle a shuttle bus or load it in a car, you have three handles to grip, increasing the chances that one will be within reach. There's a large, plush one up top, a tuck of fabric at the bottom, and a streamlined hand grip to one side. We like these low-profile options as they help you manipulate the bag without protruding enough to catch or get in the way while in motion.

A small pouch in the front of the suitcase keeps necessities close...
A small pouch in the front of the suitcase keeps necessities close at hand.
The SmartLink system clips a loop of webbing to the top of the bag...
The SmartLink system clips a loop of webbing to the top of the bag. It has a buckle in the middle of the webbing that makes it easy to release the second bag without dismantling the whole system.

We also really appreciate this bag'sSmartLink system. It's essentially an extra strap that quickly hooks on the top of the bag in a loop to hold another small duffel or purse. It snaps and unsnaps quickly, letting you stow your personal item as you make your way to checked baggage.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - we never hesitated to forge ahead with this bag.
We never hesitated to forge ahead with this bag.
Credit: Clark Tate

Reliability


Briggs & Riley aren't shy about advertising their worry-free warranty. They'll repair any functional piece of the bag for its lifetime. That guarantee goes a long way to justifying this bag's price tag, and we’re pleased to report its ease of use has been confirmed directly to us by travelers who’ve taken advantage of the resource successfully in the past.


This bag does seem very well made, with thick ballistic nylon outer fabric and low-profile edge guards to protect it from excessive wear and tear. The wheels are wobble-free, the handles sturdy, and the zippers not only thick but supposedly self-repairing. Even the zipper pulls seem thoughtfully constructed, with a divot for your fingertip to make them more comfortable in your hand. The bag doesn't come with an integrated lock, but they do send a TSA-compliant loop lock with the bag. It runs between the main zippers to secure your belongings. A hide-away leather ID tag lives discreetly on the other side as another convenient tracking feature.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - while the bag doesn't have an integrated tsa-approved lock, it does...
While the bag doesn't have an integrated TSA-approved lock, it does come with a loop lock.
Credit: Clark Tate

Among the only concern to come up during testing applies to the suitcase’s water tightness. No question the protective outer nylon of the soft shell performed well overall, repelling water from all surfaces during consistent showers with top-side beading showing up as the only exterior signs of impact. However, a close inspection inside the case after the direct spray test unveiled a soaked interior liner and wet contents along the zipper lines, as well as pooling at the bottom of the main compartment.

Water testing the Briggs & Riley: impervious but not waterproof.
Water testing the Briggs & Riley: impervious but not waterproof.
Water can gain entry inside the bag via vulnerable access points...
Water can gain entry inside the bag via vulnerable access points like zippers and handle connections.
Water inside the Briggs & Riley Expandable Suitcase after testing.
Water inside the Briggs & Riley Expandable Suitcase after testing.

The one other concern we have about the longevity of this bag is the plastic in the CX expansion/compression system. It seems well-made and won't be exposed to much sunlight or wear and tear, but plastic can fail. We'll just have to trust the company's warranty policy on that one. But for a case of this price, we think it’s important to consider where and how it will be used and then weigh the pros and potential cons accordingly.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - here you can see the fold of fabric in the middle of the bag that...
Here you can see the fold of fabric in the middle of the bag that supports the CX expansion/contraction system.
Credit: Clark Tate

Weight


Durable products are rarely the lightest ones available. Weighing in at 12.2 pounds, the Expandable Spinner certainly weighs enough to last a long time. It's not the heaviest option in our review, but it's on that side of the scale. You can still pack around 38 pounds worth of gear if you're planning to check this bag. And if you're road, boat, or train tripping, we're confident that you can fit in a lot more. Since this bag rolls so well, we're not that concerned about how hard it is to pick up, especially with those three exterior handles.


Style


The Expandable Spinner doesn't jump out as the most fashionable bag available today. We're going to call it a classic. It looks nice because it's well made, uses durable fabric that doesn't easily show wear and tear, and nothing about it is edgy or offensive.


This also means the style is unlikely to fade out of fashion completely. We really appreciate this since buying less means a smaller impact on your wallet in the long term. It's also better for the planet.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - quality bags usually look nice, and the briggs & riley is no...
Quality bags usually look nice, and the Briggs & Riley is no exception.
Credit: Clark Tate

Value


Briggs & Riley offers a lifetime guarantee on their products. But remember, those always refer to the reasonable lifetime of the product, not your lifetime. And rarely do companies define what they think is reasonable. But Briggs & Riley promises to repair all functional components of your bag for free without any proof of purchase. This just doesn't apply to simple cosmetic damage.

To us, this warranty, and how well-built and sturdy this suitcase proved itself during testing, is key. It's expensive for sure, but if it lasts a decade or two, its cost per use drops sharply. If it is as durable as we think and you're someone who values packing flexibility and the ability to keep fancy clothes relatively wrinkle-free, we see this bag as a solid investment.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - the bag's solid construction seems made to last. we appreciate that...
The bag's solid construction seems made to last. We appreciate that the telescoping handle is built outside the bag, keeping the compartments inside wide open.
Credit: Clark Tate

Conclusion


It's easy to see how thoughtfully constructed the Briggs & Riley Expandable Spinner is when comparing it to the rest of the lineup. From the smoothly pivoting wheels to the three-level telescoping handle, we're impressed. Its one-of-a-kind compression system will let you pack with abandon, and its organizational system will help keep your stuff tamed while on the go.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner suitcase - while many other bags performed admirably, the briggs & riley...
While many other bags performed admirably, the Briggs & Riley Expandable Spinner Suitcase made for an easy choice any time our destination was more city than backcountry.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Myrha Colt and Clark Tate
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