Burton Wheelie Double Deck Review
Cons: Heavy, overstyled
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Burton Wheelie Double Deck was a welcome change of pace to a field full of the same faces to luggage options. The Double Deck performs with the best of them as a durable go-anywhere bag, but struggled in some performance categories like weight and styling. Likely targeting a younger crowd, Burton has put a burton logo on just about every possible aspect of this bag. In fact… we counted them.
The Burton Wheelie Double Deck performed well enough in our performance comparison to land itself in a 5th place position out of our field of 13 bags. A respectable finish, but no replacement for any one of its more worthy opponents.
The Wheelie does durability with a bit of fanfare. It is overbuilt for a lifetime of abuse; perhaps longer. This bag boasts a laundry-list of features to maintain durability: gussets at all four front corners, a hardshell backing, and sturdy skateboard wheels are just the beginning. Steel rivet reinforced handles and metal zipper pulls round out this Sherman tank of a suitcase build. And if you are a chronic over-packer, the internal zip panels of the Wheelie feature a neoprene skirt that allows enough expansion to keep you from busting zippers.
For a super durable bag within a reasonable price range, check out the Timbuk2 CoPilot. If durability in a bag for a refined business traveler is what you seek, check out the Briggs & Riley Baseline — the only suitcase in our test that offers free replacement parts for your bag.
This bag had enough space to handle our packing list, but even so, it had less space than we imagined it would. It looks the part, but getting everything packed away wasn't a cake-walk. There was more strategizing with the packing of the the Wheelie than some of its competitors. We believe the bottom-up tapered form and poor space-planning is to blame.
The oddity here is the exterior access zipper for the toiletries compartment. A non-hinged zipper access which feels like reaching your hand through the pursed lips of a zipper monster. Great for forearm exfoliation, questionable for convenience.
The interior provides clamshell style packing configuration. One side with a full-body zipper panel enclosing the main compartment and a surface accessory pocket as well; the other side enclosed by two zipper panels. A main compartment makes up two-thirds the height of the bag, and the excessively large shoebox sized toiletries compartment makes up the balance. A divider separating the two compartments can be unzipped to create a full-length compartment on this side as well.
The Wheelie certainly offers ample storage, but paled in comparison to the clam-shell configuration of the Timbuk2 CoPilot.
Ease of Transport
Broken sidewalks, concrete stairs, curb drops and more — the Wheelie really shined in this portion of our performance test. The skateboard wheels made easy work of navigating the course while the gusseted hard-shell back panel withstood the abrasive abuse of stairs.
The biggest challenge with picking this bag up was the top handle sitting tall enough that even the main reviewer, at 6-foot 2-inches, found lifting the bag awkward. But not to worry, any of the four other handles (two front, one side, and one bottom) will do the trick.
Some features of the Wheelie we found cool and useful. The retracting luggage identification tag is convenient feature. Although we question the applicability with checked luggage, we always appreciated the addition of an add-a-bag strap. On the inside of the bag, we prefer the clamshell zipper panels versus the more traditional cinch straps.
On the other hand we found ourselves scratching our heads over the dual compression straps around the girth of an already rigid-bodied suitcase. It certainly adds a Mad Max air to the bag while complementing the two front-facing handles. But we found these straps completely frivolous and imagine they may become bothersome with frequent packing and unpacking.
For features that make sense, check out the expansion features of the Briggs and Riley Baseline and the tricked-out compact suit folder of the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2.
Outweighed by only the Briggs & Riley Baseline, the Burton Wheelie came in at a stout 11.3 pounds. We weren't thrilled by this weight as we believe this bag offers less space that its volume would otherwise provide, and is laden down by an over-zealous offering of ruggedness. For more weight budget to spend on your clothes — and less on your bag — the TravelPro Maxlite 4 is your bag.
Burton is proud of the Wheelie and it shows. We noticed that every place imaginable, the designers placed a Burton name or logo. From the Zippers to the wheels, no potential landmark for a Burton insignia was overlooked. We even found 2 buried in the inner-workings of the bag, where no reasonable person ever has reason to look. At last count, we found a total of 18 Burton marks on this bag, and we have a feeling we missed a few.
Otherwise, the overall styling is overdone. In black, the straps and rivets make this bag seems perfect for post-apocalyptic vampire story-line. That, and people proud to represent the Burton brand, of course.
This is a great bag for the younger consumer who proudly sports, rides or otherwise wears Burton apparel and gear. This bag will get all your stuff to your destination, in the same condition you packed it in. A sturdy bag that fits with the under-25 crowd.
For the right consumer, this bag is a robust piece of luggage that will last well beyond the expectations of any piece of luggage. The long-term viability of this bag makes it a great option for travel for years to come.
We may not have been sold on the styling and some of the features of the Wheelie, but it certainly showed its worth and made its strengths known. A sturdy bag with no shortage of Burton fanfare, the Wheelie will withstand abuses of air-travel.
— Dave Eyvazzadeh
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