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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 suitcase review
The newest update to the Baseline Expandable Spinner is a full inch larger and nearly a pound and a half heavier, making the final package much more substantial when you hit the road.
Credit: Myrha Colt
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $869 List
Manufacturer:   Briggs and Riley
By Myrha Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 7, 2022
79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 14
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 9.0
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8.0
  • Reliability - 25% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 4.0
  • 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. Its innovative compression system invites you to load freely without worrying your suitcase will explode at the seams. We are impressed with its trifold hanging clothes envelope and large unobstructed main compartment featuring a pair of well-structured garment panels for interior organization and compression. The SmartLink strap makes it easy to quickly attach a personal item when on the go. And recent updates only increased capacity and fine-tuned performance. Our favorite four-wheeled roller in testing, it runs smoothly through airports and admirably tackles cobblestones and curbs outside. Although expensive, this case continues to be an excellent investment. And, with its highly praised unconditional lifetime warranty, we are confident you will be able to rely on it for years to come.
REASONS TO BUY
Well-made
Innovative compression
Rolls beautifully
Tri-fold hanging garment folder
REASONS TO AVOID
Very expensive
Heavy
Difficult to roll on mixed terrain
Editor's Note: This review was revised on December 7, 2022, with info on the updated version of this suitcase.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $869 List
$869.00 at Amazon
$289 List
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$167.99 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, heavy, difficult to roll on mixed terrainLimited 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%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Reliability (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
4.0
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 13.7 lbs 9.6 lbs 9.4 lbs 10.3 lbs 11.6 lbs
Volume 122L 109L 80L 145L 127L
Liters per Pound 8.9 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 29" x 20.25" x 12.5" 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 2 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 zippered sleeve, 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: 37"
1st Mid 40”
2nd Mid: 42"
High: 44"
42" 40.5" Low: 36"
High: 41"
Low: 36.75"
High: 40.5"
Built-In Lock No (but includes detached TSA approved lock) 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 panels; 2 mesh pocket; tri-fold garment folder; corner reinforcements; large u-zip front pocket, small colorful 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

Briggs & Riley tout the longevity of their luggage via a Simple As That Guarantee. While we haven't put this guarantee to the test, the Baseline Expandable Spinner 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. And with the most recent updates to this model, the case is a full inch taller and offers over 14 liters of additional capacity compared to earlier iterations.

Performance Comparison


briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - simple, timeless good looks and a smart, thoughtfully constructed...
Simple, timeless good looks and a smart, thoughtfully constructed base will serve you well over many decades of use.
Credit: Myrha Colt

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. The Briggs & Riley trademarked CX system uses two ratcheting plastic slide handles in the main compartment, each released with the simple press of a button, to expand the bag's depth by 2.5 inches (adding about 30% more space by stretching out a fold of the bag's structured ballistic nylon exterior). From there, you just pack in all your clothes, zip up the case, and press down on the outer edges of the bag. This pressure engages the expansion handles and sets them 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 just packed away. And when put to use, it becomes increasingly hard to keep the bag's weight under 50 pounds. Still, we like this unique expansion/compression system much more than the approach used by the other expandable bags we tested. Most just use a zipper to unleash an extra band of flexible fabric, which works well enough to increase space but provides little structure to protect items inside while simultaneously exposing the zippers to extra strain. The CX system tucks the extra fabric back into place, protecting the bag and its contents by using the hard shell to hold the entire package together.

Engaging the CX system on each side of the bag is easier than ever...
Engaging the CX system on each side of the bag is easier than ever with the new orange one-touch release buttons.
When you are ready to compress the bag, just zip it closed and push...
When you are ready to compress the bag, just zip it closed and push it down on the outer edges of either side.

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, sitting up top at the front side of the case. This is a slight repositioning from its previous location, which was embedded into the larger external pocket. We love having the option to keep such important items close at hand. A large, shallow U-shaped pocket runs across nearly the entire frontside of the suitcase just below, providing an easy access option for storing thin layers, books, or entertainment options on the go.

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - one of the key changes in the most recent update to the briggs &...
One of the key changes in the most recent update to the Briggs & Riley Large Expandable Spinner is the location of the small front side pocket (now placing it slightly higher up on the bag, embedded into the body versus the larger sleeve pocket below).
Credit: Myrha Colt

The main compartment is spacious even without the expander in play. But it doesn't unzip right down the center in clamshell form. Instead, the large top zip-panel opening reveals a tri-fold hanging compartment on the flip side (now with a soft, more flexible fabric strap "hook"). If you're traveling with a dress or suit, laying it out here using the thick bolsters to lock it in will help keep wrinkles at bay. Once you've zipped those items away, you'll also find two zip-mesh pockets on the inside of that main entrance flap for toiletries or accessories (a change from the single mesh pocket included in earlier iterations of the case).

There are now two mesh pockets lining the inside of the opening lid...
There are now two mesh pockets lining the inside of the opening lid (with the tri-fold garment envelope contained below). But the smart design of the garment panel design at the base of the main compartment has not changed and remains a great way to restrain and compress items inside.
A built-in tri-fold garment envelope makes this the perfect case for...
A built-in tri-fold garment envelope makes this the perfect case for business travel when you might need to have nicer dresses or a suit along for the journey. A foam roll bar at the base helps you to neatly holds the items in place and prevent wrinkling.
Since hangers come in varying degrees of thickness, the hook in the...
Since hangers come in varying degrees of thickness, the hook in the tri-fold garment envelope has been now been updated with a cinching strap instead (to make it easier to adjust when packing your items).
If you tend to travel with clothing you would rather not fold, this is a great option.

From here, organize the large, open compartment as you like. You can use the two smart garment panels to affix loose items toward the back. This works great for storing clothing you are less likely to use upfront — the just-in-case jacket, for example — and any pieces that have less immediacy for your travels. Just cinch them down over those belongings and there's still plenty more space to add in the things you'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. Then add your contact information to the luggage tag tucked away on the backside of the case and attach your purse or laptop using the SmartLink strap at the front, and you're quickly ready to roll.

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - once compressed, the expansion "panel" disappears back inside the...
Once compressed, the expansion "panel" disappears back inside the hard structure of the case.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Ease of Transport


The Baseline Spinner suitcase is our favorite four-wheeled roller. Larger wheels with a new proprietary shock-absorbing design (an update on this new model) make for smoother rolling. And four settings on the telescoping handle (up from three in the last version) mean it's even easier to find a comfortable height for your body no matter what 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 appreciate how its external handle-housing doubles as bumper protection when dragged over curbs. While gravel and rough road were less maneuverable — more like a hard drag on two wheels versus a roll — and the fully-weighted case proved challenging to roll uphill when relying on one hand alone, overall the large Baseline Spinner performed no worse under these circumstances than other spinners in our test group, and it was far and away the easiest to control on smooth terrain.

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - large shock-absorbing wheels offering two full inches of clearance...
Large shock-absorbing wheels offering two full inches of clearance provide flexibility for tackling mixed terrain, even if the bag is still best suited to urban environments.
Credit: Myrha Colt

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 built outside the suitcase, maintaining perfectly flat packing space inside to ensure maximum flexibility and capacity when storing your items.

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - cobblestones and pavers were no cause for concern when rolling with...
Cobblestones and pavers were no cause for concern when rolling with the Baseline Spinner and the sturdy multi-height telescoping handle offers a comfortable ride no matter how tall the handler.
Credit: Myrha Colt

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 hand-hold up top, a fabric grab handle at the bottom (an upgrade from the slip-pocket found in the last version), and a streamlined 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.

The finger sleeve that once appeared at the bottom of the Baseline...
The finger sleeve that once appeared at the bottom of the Baseline Spinner is gone now, replaced with a sturdy full-size for even easier loading.
One of the newest updates to the Baseline Spinner is the addition of...
One of the newest updates to the Baseline Spinner is the addition of a full grab handle at the bottom of the suitcase (rather than the sleeve that used to exist in its place).

We also really appreciate this bag's SmartLink 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 through hotels or airports.

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - the smartlink strap makes a handy edition for day-of travel. just...
The SmartLink strap makes a handy edition for day-of travel. Just strap your purse, laptop, or any other personal item to the outside and you can roll the whole set of bags together at your side.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Reliability


Briggs & Riley isn't shy about advertising their guarantee — 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 (now even larger) 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 ergonomically 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 a convenient tracking feature.

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - ergonomic zipper pulls, a tsa cable combination lock (included), and...
Ergonomic zipper pulls, a TSA cable combination lock (included), and the option for monogram leather detailing are among the many extras that make this high-end suitcase stand out among the crowd.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Among the only concerns to come up during testing was 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 sign of impact. However, a close inspection inside the case after concluding the direct spray test revealed a soaked interior liner with wet contents along the zipper lines, as well as pooling at the bottom of the main compartment.

While water beads up on the exterior fabric, zipper openings remain...
While water beads up on the exterior fabric, zipper openings remain a vulnerability on pretty much every suitcase we tested.
The large frontside pocket on the Baseline Spinner opens using a...
The large frontside pocket on the Baseline Spinner opens using a u-shaped zipper, making the case all the more vulnerable to water in the event of unexpected rain showers.
Water sneaks inside the case through the zipper closures and then...
Water sneaks inside the case through the zipper closures and then seeps down into the core of the bag, potentially soaking whatever contents are inside and leaving the inner liner wet to the touch.

The one other concern involves the bag's longevity. Specifically, we question the practical lifespan of the plastic in the CX expansion/compression system. Although it seems well-made and we recognize it won't be exposed to much sunlight or wear and tear, we also know plastic can fail. We'll just have to trust the company's warranty policy on this one. But for a case of this price, we think it's important to consider where and how that feature will be used so you can weigh the pros and potential cons accordingly.

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - the new one-touch cx expansion button is a recent upgrade to the...
The new one-touch CX expansion button is a recent upgrade to the Baseline Spinner. Just a quick press of each button and you can easily pull up both sides of the bag to expand.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Weight


Durable products are rarely the lightest ones available. And weighing in at 13.7 pounds — more than a full pound heavier than the previous iteration of this model — the Baseline Spinner certainly tops the scale enough to give any active traveler pause. There are many options out there (and within our test suite) that weigh considerably less. So although this case is sturdy enough to last a lifetime, and it allows you to pack up to 36 pounds of gear before you hit checked bag maximums, it is still well worth considering how much weight you are willing to absorb as your base before you've added a single item.


It is also important to consider how much you are willing to haul around once loaded. If you're road, boat, or train tripping, we're confident you can stuff quite a bit more weight in there. And since this bag rolls so well, we expect you will do well on flat city streets and inside hotels, etc. Also, with those three exterior handles, the packed case shouldn't be terribly hard to pick up (if you've got the muscle to support the weight).

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - a full inch larger and nearly a pound and a half heavier than its...
A full inch larger and nearly a pound and a half heavier than its predecessor, the updated Briggs & Riley Large Baseline Spinner offers a whole lot of storage space while still managing to roll smoothly alongside you. Just watch out for those airport scales or you'll quickly find yourself paying overage fees.
Credit: Myrha Colt

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 review - just as classically good-looking as its predecessor, the newest...
Just as classically good-looking as its predecessor, the newest version of the Baseline Expandable Spinner won't jump out at you from the carousel but it will serve as a loyal companion on business and leisure trips for years to come.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Should You Buy the Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner?


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 our testing indicates, and you're someone who values packing flexibility with the option to keep fancy clothes relatively wrinkle-free, we see this bag as a solid investment.

briggs & riley baseline large expandable spinner suitcase review - packed full, we toss-tested each suitcase to see how it would...
Packed full, we toss-tested each suitcase to see how it would perform under the rigors of airline luggage handling. The Briggs & Riley case powered through with no problem at all.
Credit: Myrha Colt

What Other Suitcases Should You Consider?


It's easy to see how thoughtfully constructed the Briggs & Riley Baseline 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. However, if you're not ready to spend the big bucks, the Samsonite Omni PC 28" could be just what you're looking for. Although hard-sided and clamshell in design (and without the full array of organizational bells and whistles of the Baseline Spinner), the Omni PC proves strong, rolls well, and offers exceptional capacity, all at a much more palatable weight and price point. Prefer to stick with something offering more organizational features and a classic soft-sided look? The Travelpro Platinum Elite 29" has many similar features to those of the Briggs & Riley, but with less damage to your wallet and a lower number on the scale.

Myrha Colt
 
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