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REI Co-op Tourwinder 28 Review

A perfect all-around use suitcase with lower storage capacity
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Price:  $239 List
Pros:  Great value, solid construction, good organizational features
Cons:  Vibration on cobbles, smaller volume capacity
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 21, 2020
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68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Reliability - 25% 8
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 6
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 6
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Style - 10% 6

Our Verdict

REI has discontinued the Tourwinder 28 as of 2020.

Need a simple yet durable suitcase to take on all your trips? The REI Tourwinder 28 stands out as a reliable product with a wide range of applications. It features a softshell design and smart organizational features. Its storage isn't ample, holding just under 70-liters of gear. Even though it vibrates quite a bit, especially when rolling over cobbles, its oversized wheels and durable construction can take on most hard surfaces. In comparison to other luggage out there, it's reasonably priced and backed by a great warranty. This all-around performer is perfect for everything, from the weekend trip or exploring the cities of Europe.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Tourwinder suitcase offers almost 70 liters of storage with many useful organizational features. It stands out as durable and rugged, ready to take on Europe or other worldly destinations.

Performance Comparison


The Tourwinder is perfectly suited for trips that require just a few articles of clothing and a whole lot of imagination. It is durable with great travel and organizational capacity.
The Tourwinder is perfectly suited for trips that require just a few articles of clothing and a whole lot of imagination. It is durable with great travel and organizational capacity.

Reliability


Loaded with bomb-proof zippers, a super sturdy handle, and stable oversized wheels, you can trust this case to take you wherever you need to go.

We love these super sturdy tires that are large  reliable and move well over all surfaces.
We love these super sturdy tires that are large, reliable and move well over all surfaces.

The extended bumper across the back of this suitcase protects the already burly 420-denier ripstop nylon fabric, ensuring that your trip won't be interrupted by a fabric tear.

A look at the extended back bumper that protects the case when going up stairs.
A look at the extended back bumper that protects the case when going up stairs.

While this suitcase isn't waterproof, the nylon fabric offers water resistance from light rain. Just don't get caught in a torrential downpour.

While the fabric is quite durable and water-resistant  the point of weakness is the zippers that are far from water tight.
While the fabric is quite durable and water-resistant, the point of weakness is the zippers that are far from water tight.

Overall, we rate the reliability of the Tourwinder to be above average because of its great craftsmanship. In addition, when assessing online reviews from everyday users, nothing raised red flags. We find this suitcase to be well-constructed and reliable.

A look at the super durable handle that doesn't jiggle or move at all. It offers one height for transport.
A look at the super durable handle that doesn't jiggle or move at all. It offers one height for transport.

Storage & Organization


The Tourwinder comes in just one size and offers about 68.5 liters of volume. We love the front entry that allows access to items inside while the bag is standing upright. While we don't love that you need to undo four external buckles to get inside, this system does offer good compression.

A look at all the storage features of the REI Tourwinder. For it's smaller volume it does a great job packing everything that you need with great organizational spaces.
A look at all the storage features of the REI Tourwinder. For it's smaller volume it does a great job packing everything that you need with great organizational spaces.

The interior of this suitcase holds it shape well due to the hard case frame that runs the length of the handle and there are two compression straps to secure clothing. Each side has a zippered mesh compartment for convenient storage of toiletries or other things you need to be able to locate efficiently.

A look at the relative capacity storage with our water jug test.
A look at the relative capacity storage with our water jug test.

Along the front flap are two very large pockets. The bottom one is fully enclosed (though not waterproof), and perfect for stashing a pair of running shoes. The top pocket is an ideal place to store electronics or other items you'd like to have quick access to.

The second pocket on the front of the suitcase is perfect for stashing a pair of smaller shoes. These are size 9 women.
The second pocket on the front of the suitcase is perfect for stashing a pair of smaller shoes. These are size 9 women.

On the outside of the Tourwinder you'll find some unique features that may or may not be useful, depending on your packing style. On the top of the bag there are four webbed gear loops and a very tiny pocket that houses a small buckle. We didn't find the gear loops to be very useful and the pocket is not even large enough to fit a sandwich. The buckle, however, can be used to secure a carry-on article or purse to the top, which we find very helpful.

Use the front pocket to store your personals. While the front flap can fit a 15-inch laptop  it's not very secure and not a reasonable use when on the go.
Use the front pocket to store your personals. While the front flap can fit a 15-inch laptop, it's not very secure and not a reasonable use when on the go.

In the front, there is a larger zippered compartment where you can store other easy to access items like a phone or charging cord. Finally, the compression system that wraps around the bag isn't closed at all and might serve a purpose for an extra jacket or layer, or even a water bottle. We wouldn't recommend putting a padded laptop here simply because of theft potential.

The compression straps keep the suitcase narrow and packed well for easy transport.
The compression straps keep the suitcase narrow and packed well for easy transport.

Overall, we love the storage features of this suitcase. We find most of them quite functional, making it easy to pack. Given the small volume, though, we wouldn't recommend this case for super bulky items. It's probably not the bag to pick if you need bring a bunch of ski or camping gear. Instead, this is a great choice for traveling across Europe where all you'll need are some essentials, not clunky gear.

Ease of Transport


The oversized wheels of the Tourwinder impressed us over a variety of terrain. They roll effortlessly over sidewalks, concrete driveways, and even gravel roads. That said, since the wheels are composed of a plastic material and aren't rubberized, this case does jiggle quite a bit. When fully loaded on bumpy surfaces like cobblestone, this behavior can get annoying. You'll still get to where you're going, but it won't be as enjoyable.

Rolling over pavement and other surfaces with the Tourwinder are no problem thanks to its oversized wheels.
Rolling over pavement and other surfaces with the Tourwinder are no problem thanks to its oversized wheels.

There are handles on all sides of the Tourwinder, making it easy to grab from any angle. We especially like the one on the very front of the bag which aids with foward and backward movement. None of the handles are very luxuriously padded, but they get the job done when the bag can't be wheeled.

Handles surrounding the entire suitcase make lifting this case really easy.
Handles surrounding the entire suitcase make lifting this case really easy.

Overall, this suitcase scores about average for ease of transport. While it's pretty easy to wheel around, the vibrations in the wheels can be cause for annoyance. If they were replaced with a smoother wheel, this luggage case would be far nicer to travel with.

Here we test stair capabilities with the Tourwinder on some stone steps. This one performs very well!
Here we test stair capabilities with the Tourwinder on some stone steps. This one performs very well!

Weight


Weighing a measly 8.5 lbs, this is a super lightweight piece of luggage. You can pack 41.5 lbs of gear into it before hitting airline weight limits. Additionally, this case distributes its weight very well, so it doesn't tip or fall over when left standing.

We took the time to weigh our cases.
We took the time to weigh our cases.

Style


This suitcase isn't really fashion-forward, but it's not behind the times either. It offers a more tactical, but not too techy, look. Its casual appearance stands out enough to be sighted on the luggage claim, but it shouldn't be considered overly stylish or formal by any means.

An outdoorsy look that isn't too technical. The Tourwinder is a great casual travel suitcase for those who like functionality over fashion.
An outdoorsy look that isn't too technical. The Tourwinder is a great casual travel suitcase for those who like functionality over fashion.

Value


The Tourwinder offers pretty awesome value for its level of reliability. It's one of the cheaper suitcases out there with great performance all around. While the price seems high at first glance, remember, you get what you pay for. Also, since this is an REI product, it comes with an unbeatable warranty. Within 90 days, you can return it for any reason if you're unhappy. After that, it falls under a limited warranty agreement.

Conclusion


The REI Tourwinder is a great general use luggage piece. With just under 70-liters of storage, it's perfect to use for anything from a short weekend trip to a whirlwind backpacking trip around Europe. It boasts awesome craftsmanship and great storage features. With a decent price tag, it's one of the higher valued pieces that we tested, and was in the running for our Best Buy award.

Roll to your next destination easily. The REI Tourwinder stands out as a fully-featured option with great reliability and super solid construction. Perfect for weekend trips or minimalist adventures where your clothing is all you need to take.
Roll to your next destination easily. The REI Tourwinder stands out as a fully-featured option with great reliability and super solid construction. Perfect for weekend trips or minimalist adventures where your clothing is all you need to take.

Amber King