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Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" Review

A standardly attractive yet poorly constructed hard-shell spinner with a few extra features and dubious reliability
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28"
Credit: Kenneth Cole
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Price:  $280 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, ample storage, good organizational features
Cons:  Cheap construction, roller surface limitations, questionable lifespan
Manufacturer:   Kenneth Cole
By Myrha Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 27, 2022
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 5.0
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7.0
  • Reliability - 25% 4.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Style - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

Cheap, attractive, functional, and long-lasting: this is the elusive mix of every luggage shopper’s dreams. Sadly, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds 28” isn’t it. On the surface, the 85L spinner carries all the visual cues of a respectable, classically styled mid-size hard-sided suitcase. It even rolls across flat urban spaces with standard aplomb. But the time-tested rule remains: you get what you pay for. And where costs run low, corners are cut. From its weak plastic caster wheels to its flimsy ABS exterior case and each material item in between — zippers, handles, interior liner, you name it — this bag disappoints. Easily cracked wide open in testing, we don’t trust this case to roam far. But for a low-cost option to haul things quickly, maybe.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Inexpensive, ample storage, good organizational featuresSmooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great styleDurable construction, large capacity, rolls with ease across mixed terrainCavernous main compartment, scratch- and water-resistant, easy-roll spinnersInexpensive, rolls easily, large capacity
Cons Cheap construction, roller surface limitations, questionable lifespanZippers could be smoother, low clearanceLimited interior organizational features, easy to overpackTough to transport on mixed terrain, easy to overpack, limited organizational featuresLow-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper
Bottom Line A standardly attractive yet poorly constructed hard-shell spinner with a few extra features and dubious reliabilityA durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travelThe perfect all-terrain rolling duffel with substantial storage capacity and useful organizational extrasAn 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 Kenneth Cole Reacti... Timbuk2 Copilot REI Co-op Big Haul... Samsonite Omni PC H... Amazon Basics 30" H...
Storage & Organization (25%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Ease of Transport (25%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Reliability (25%)
4.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Style (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Kenneth Cole Reacti... Timbuk2 Copilot REI Co-op Big Haul... Samsonite Omni PC H... Amazon Basics 30" H...
Measured Weight 9.2 lbs 9.4 lbs 9.6 lbs 10.3 lbs 11.6 lbs
Volume 85L 80L 109L 145L 127L
Liters per pound 9.2 8.5 11.1 14.1 10.9
Construction Clamshell, hard-sided Clamshell plus topside u-shaped zip access, softshell Zip open, duffel Clamshell, hard-sided Clamshell, hard-sided
Measured Packed Dimensions 29.5" x 20.5" x 11.75" 26.5" x 14.5" x 13" 33.75" x 16.25" x 14" 30.5" x 20.5" x 13" 30.75" x 21" x 12
Expansion Zippers? No No No Yes Yes
Number of Wheels 4 2 2 4 4
Number of Large Interior Compartments 2 2 1 2 2
Interior Storage Features Elastic restraint straps in one-half clam, zip enclosure over opposite half, hanging zipper accessory pocket 2 mesh clam panels with 2 organizational pockets 2 mesh organizational pockets on inside of opening panel (one with key hook), 2 internal compression straps 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 None 1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve 1 side exterior zip pocket. 1 small top zip pocket with piggy-bag strap attachment, plus daisy-chain gear loops None None
Compression System 2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression No 2 external and 2 internal compression straps (4 in total) 2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression 2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression
Handle Height from Ground Low: 37"
High: 41"
40.5" 42" Low: 36"
High: 41"
Low: 36.75"
High: 40.5"
Built-In Lock No No No Yes, TSA Approved No
Main Exterior Material ABS, hard shell Nylon and polyester Recycled 400-denier nylon/recycled 1,680-denier nylon (bluesign®-approved) Polycarbonate Extra-thick ABS, hard shell
Unique Features Reinforced molded corner guards; zip enclosure and restraint straps; hanging accessory pocket Liquids pocket and padded front pocket to fit 13" laptop; skateboard wheels 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 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

The Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds has surface appeal. It's a shiny, classic, hard clamshell case that suggests simple yet functional travel support in a respectable mid-size form. Unfortunately, that's where the attention to true value ends. While you'll find ample storage at a reasonably low weight, you won't walk away with the solid construction or reliable components required to ensure long-term, or even short-term, use.

Performance Comparison


Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - walking with the kenneth cole reaction out of bounds spinner over...
Walking with the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner over dirt and gravel is difficult when relying on the four spinner wheels. Better to switch to two.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Storage & Organization


Storage and organization are simple and reasonably thoughtful in this otherwise underwhelming mid-sized 85L suitcase. With its standard clamshell design, there are no external pockets or organizational features to note, although a purse or carry-on item can certainly ride well enough atop the rigid exterior if the need arises.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - capacity testing inside the kenneth cole reaction out of bounds...
Capacity testing inside the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner with a 7-gallon water jug.
Credit: Myrha Colt

The two clam halves of the core compartment offer plenty of room for all you'd ever need on an average week-long jaunt and leave plenty of wide-open space to organize the interior as you prefer. Yet with only a couple of minor interior organizational additions, there's really not much to set this bag apart as a contender.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - packing a full week's worth of closing and gear into the kenneth...
Packing a full week's worth of closing and gear into the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Specifically, a single zip enclosure panel runs across one-half the clam opening to hold your items secure. On the other side, you'll find a bag-length accessory pocket hanging down the middle, just under a set of gently elasticized straps. Although ostensibly a restraint system meant to hold gear in place in the other half of the bag, we found no evidence these thin flimsily-clasped straps could perform against great weight, even if their presence allowed for a slightly simplified packing strategy.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - two-halves of the clamshell all packed up and ready to go.
Two-halves of the clamshell all packed up and ready to go.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Ease of Transport


Out on the move, the Reaction Out of Bounds performed acceptably, if not impressively. All four spinner wheels provided reasonable glide across most paved and polished surfaces, only producing small hiccups in our gait at intervals where cracks or concrete seams made themselves known. When packed reasonably light, the bag managed to keep up and deliver without exhaustive pressure. And notably, without any stopper to brake the suitcase when standing, it managed to continue rolling along without us on occasion. Best to keep a hand on it.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - the out of bounds spinner looks good at a distance, but...
The Out of Bounds Spinner looks good at a distance, but underperforms in all ways other than price.
Credit: Myrha Colt

At the full check-weight of 50 pounds, things went down a bit differently. Like other spinner bags in our test suite, a heavy pack job seemed to produce an angled effect to the bag's position each time it was in motion, sending it out away from the body at 45 degrees to our front side. A heavier bag also produced a noticeable amount of drag working against the spinner wheel mechanisms, requiring extra arm strength to provide stabilization and control. While tolerable for short distances, this would certainly become an annoyance on a longer journey, especially given the lightweight design of the telescoping handle.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - carrying the reaction out of bounds using its side haul handle.
Carrying the Reaction Out of Bounds using its side haul handle.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Wherever rough road presented, we also had issues. Like all spinners, we knew this case would struggle. But given the worrisome combination of cheap parts and construction, each scrape, tug, and stumble across stairs, potholes, rocks, or gravel left us worried the bag was about to see the end of its days. So while such landscape sampling did not impact its overall transportability during testing — it held up well until it met its final set of stairs — no matter what destination lay ahead, the Out of Bounds was inevitably our last pick out of all options on the table. Where there's no trust, there's no future.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - walking with the kenneth cole reaction out of bounds spinner...
Walking with the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner parallel to the body requires flat surfaces. On rough road, you need to flip it over to two.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Reliability


The Reaction drew questions of durability straight out of the box. Flimsy to the touch, its thin ABS hard-shell exterior with hard plastic molded corner reinforcements did little more than project a superficial strength without any verifiable weight in materials or construction to back the claim. Similarly, the cheap hard-plastic single-wheel casters, clothing-grade zippers, and lightweight pull handle jiggling within its housing only continued to feed our concerns that not all parts were made to last.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - the out of bounds with the retractable pull handle extended.
The Out of Bounds with the retractable pull handle extended.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Stuffed in a trunk at full capacity, the Out of Bounds gave us no immediate cause for concern. Zippers and hard case served their purpose, with items remaining tucked away and out of sight. But once out on the roll, the vibration and jiggle underhand and the flex to both sides left us doubting that contents would safely arrive at our destination.

Haul handle on the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner...
Haul handle on the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner suitcase.
Corner guard protection on the ABS constructed Kenneth Cole Reaction...
Corner guard protection on the ABS constructed Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner bag.

Exterior scuffing from average travel use came standard, although it did tend toward the sort that could be sufficiently wiped clean. And much like nearly all other suitcases in our test suite, the hard-shell exterior remained impervious to water in testing. That said, it was quickly undermined by zippers and other vulnerable connection points, allowing moisture to seep in and pool along the inner edges and bag base below.

Water beaded on the outside of the hard-cased Kenneth Cole Reaction...
Water beaded on the outside of the hard-cased Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner.
Water inside the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner after...
Water inside the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner after testing.
Water infiltrated the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner...
Water infiltrated the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner via vulnerable zipper and handle attachment points.

But the real kicker for the Out of Bounds came during testing when we mimicked the harsh road life ahead for any case moving between hotel and airport tarmac: a short fall down a set of stairs. Of all the bags in the group, this hard case proved the most disappointing, becoming the single only case to give out entirely with a dramatic split along the zipper to expose contents to the ground below. For us, this is where the purchase-worthiness of this low-priced suitcase stops and ends.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - scuffing on the outside of the kenneth cole reaction out of bounds...
Scuffing on the outside of the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner after stair testing.
Credit: Myrha Colt

No doubt, the smooth finish on the case's exterior played a part in its final demise, rocketing the bag down each step with increasing speed and power. But overall, our true concerns lie with the cheap parts and poor quality of craftsmanship. And even though we were eventually able to successfully reclose the bag after futzing with the zipper post break, this is not how we'd choose to travel.

Vertical view of the split zipper which resulted from the stair test...
Vertical view of the split zipper which resulted from the stair test scenario.
Zipper splitting along the bottom edge of the Kenneth Cole Reaction...
Zipper splitting along the bottom edge of the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner - the result of stair testing.

Weight


At 9.2 pounds, this is a pretty light case comparatively. You can pack up to 40.8 extra pounds of gear before hitting weight capacity at the airport, which seems just about right for the 85L capacity of the bag. This means less opportunity to overweight yourself and face charges. However, when it comes to weight-to-volume ratio, you get little bang for your buck. If a light bag with core strength and legitimate packing power is a priority, other options will suit your needs better.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - weighing the kenneth cole reaction out of bounds spinner by hand.
Weighing the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner by hand.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Style


The Out of Bounds received compliments for its classic spinner styling. For a low-cost option, its crisp, clean finish and dulled shine will garner subtle appreciation when rolling alongside you at the airport. And with a good number of color options to choose from, you should have no problem finding a seasonal shade to match your current look.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - the kenneth cole reaction out of bounds spinner makes for an...
The Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner makes for an attractive city bag if you are comfortable rolling the dice on reliability and performance.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Value


When considering most checked luggage with a decent amount of storage capacity comes in at over a couple of hundred dollars, it's always refreshing to discover options for a more restricted budget. But unfortunately, as is often the case, where costs are reduced, so too is quality. And with the Out of Bounds 28" spinner, there is no doubt that some basic durability and functionality requirements are missing. That being said, if you aren't planning to travel far and wide or often, and you have no expectation of facing extraordinarily rough roads or wild climactic forces, this cheap case ought to have enough stowaway space and wheel-power to see you there. Maybe even enough lifespan potential to get you back home. While we wouldn't count on it time after time, riskier bets have been made. The gamble is yours.

Conclusion


The Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds is an inexpensive, classically-styled, four-wheel clam-shaped suitcase offering respectable storage capacity, a decent glide over hard surfaces, and a few useful organizational extras to set it apart. Where it fails to deliver is in the quality of parts and craftsmanship. This undermined our confidence in performance and longevity and put its overall value into question even at such a low price.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" suitcase - split zipper on the kenneth cole reaction out of bounds spinner.
Split zipper on the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Myrha Colt

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