Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28" Review
Cons: Cheap construction, roller surface limitations, questionable lifespan
Manufacturer: Kenneth Cole
Compare to Similar Products
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28"
Check Price at Amazon
|$279 List||$289 List|
Check Price at REI
$239.88 at Amazon
$79.38 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, ample storage, good organizational features||Smooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great style||Durable construction, large capacity, rolls with ease across mixed terrain||Cavernous main compartment, scratch- and water-resistant, easy-roll spinners||Inexpensive, rolls easily, large capacity|
|Cons||Cheap construction, roller surface limitations, questionable lifespan||Zippers could be smoother, low clearance||Limited interior organizational features, easy to overpack||Tough to transport on mixed terrain, easy to overpack, limited organizational features||Low-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper|
|Bottom Line||A standardly attractive yet poorly constructed hard-shell spinner with a few extra features and dubious reliability||A durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travel||The perfect all-terrain rolling duffel with substantial storage capacity and useful organizational extras||An oversized yet lightweight mega-bag with spinner-tight roll and control over smooth surfaces and surprisingly tough exterior construction||A 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%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|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|
|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|
|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"
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Myrha Colt
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