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Best Suitcase of 2020

By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Tuesday September 22, 2020
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Our globetrotting experts have tested over 20 of the best suitcases in our 4 years of testing. This 2020 update features 10 of the market's best options. We pit each against each other in a competition for the best. We stuffed them into the back of our cars and trucks, filled them with gear, and flew with them to Canada, Europe, and back. We bumped them over steps, traveled over cobbled pathways, and even sprayed each down with the hose. After this extensive testing, we compare and rate each case. Whether you're seeking a great travel case on a budget or looking for a premium buy, we've got plenty of great recommendations.

Top 10 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
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Best Overall Roller Suitcase


Timbuk2 Copilot


Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller
Editors' Choice Award

$177.92
(40% off)
at Amazon
See It

81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Reliability - 25% 8
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 9
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 8
Weight: 10 lbs | Storage Capacity: ~80 liters
Reliable construction
Smooth-rolling wheels
Great storage
Thoughtful features
Zipper action is sticky

The Timbuk2 luggage line includes a variety to aid you in your travels. This case is our favorite two-wheeled suitcase due to its super smooth ride and durable softshell case, great for adventures via plane, train, or automobile. It offers a unique peek-a-boo pocket that lets you access your items without having to unzip the entire bag, which is a huge bonus. Whether you're heading out to wine country for the weekend or planning a big vacation, it's ready to go anywhere with you.

We really couldn't find much wrong with this durable and reliable model, though we were sometimes frustrated by the zipper being sticky and getting held up on corners. It also doesn't feature an option for expansion, though the softer fabric allows you to get more inside than you think. And while there is ample room for clothing and other basic travel items, the size is not conducive to carrying bulkier items. If you need more space than 80 liters, be sure to check out its bigger 108-liter cousin. If you need less, there are also two smaller options.

Read review: Timbuk 2 Copilot

Best Overall Spinner Suitcase


Away Travel Large


Editors' Choice Award

$295 List
List Price
See It

78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Reliability - 25% 8
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 8
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Style - 10% 10
Weight: 12 lbs | Storage Capacity: ~110 liters
Great travel and gliding capabilities
Beautiful style and plenty of color options
Simple and thoughtful organizational features
Durable hard-case architecture
Drags over larger rocks and rougher terrain
On the heavy side

The Away Travel Large is a beautiful product that stands out for its stylish functionality. Built with a super durable polycarbonate shell, it can ward off scratches and scuffs to maintain a great look throughout your adventures. Its four-wheel design allows you to easily push or pull it through the airport. Of the hard-case four-wheel options we've tested, it stands out as the most reliable and heartily built. The two rubberized wheels per axle seem exceptionally buff and durable, even after being dragged over dirt and rocks. The storage is ample, and its simplicity makes it perfect for any vacation or extended travel experience.

Unfortunately, like most four-wheeled designs, the flaw in the construction comes when encountering bigger cracks or rocks in the road. It has a lower clearance than most, so it can't surmount obstacles that stick up too high. Aside from that, we appreciate its great look and considerable storage space.

Read review: Away Travel Large

Best Bang for the Buck


AmazonBasics Expandable Softsided 29


Best Buy Award

$78.91
(5% off)
at Amazon
See It

63
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Reliability - 25% 6
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 8
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 6
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Style - 10% 4
Weight: 11 lbs | Storage Capacity: ~105 liters
Lightweight and simple
Solid zipper & wheel construction
Super affordable
Durable and water-resistant fabric exterior
Tips over when fully loaded
Lack-luster craftsmanship

The AmazonBasics Expandable Softside 29 is a good affordable option if you're looking to save some bills. Not only is its price low, but the wheels are beefy with quite a bit of clearance to make it over larger obstacles underfoot. Even after numerous durability tests, this bag continued to perform well, offering great travel over hard surfaces and the ability to climb over objects more effortlessly than other spinners. We love its plentiful storage capacity which allows you to pack away all your clothing and the bulky souvenirs you collect on your travels.

This suitcase scores lower than most, and this is due to one major flaw. When it's not packed just right, it tips over. You need to be extra thoughtful when packing so that everything is balanced appropriately before heading out the door. Also, several online reviews report durability issues, and upon inspection, we deem the craftsmanship to be fairly cheap. You get what you pay for. For those traveling only a couple times a year, this will do you just fine, but if you're the frequent flyer, think about investing in a higher quality option.

Read review: AmazonBasics Expandable Softsided 29

Best for Business Travel


Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 26"


Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 - 26" Expandable Rollaboard Suiter
Top Pick Award

$197.00
(45% off)
at Amazon
See It

77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Reliability - 25% 7
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 9
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 9
Weight: 10 lbs | Storage Capacity: ~87.5 liters
Fantastic and ample organizational features
Wrinkle-free suit and dress holder
Reliable and smooth
Classic and clean style
Sticky zippers on corners

We love the look and functionality of the Travelpro Platinum Magna. It stands out for organizational features like a removable suit and dress holder. The oversized wheels are smooth and supply a vibration-less ride over cracked sidewalks or scuzzy side roads. The high-quality construction convinced our testers that it's likely to last a long time. If you like to travel in style, consider this swanky choice.

The only caveat we've identified is that the zippers can be a little sticky around the corners. Aside from that, it's hard to find anything wrong with it! It's well-constructed and a worthy investment for anybody seeking a great checked luggage piece with fantastic storage features.

Read review: Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 26"

Best for Cross-Country Travel


Osprey Sojourn 80L


Osprey Sojourn 80L/28" Wheeled Convertible Backpack
Top Pick Award

$229.99
(32% off)
at Amazon
See It

72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Reliability - 25% 7
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 6
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 9
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Style - 10% 5
Weight: 8.5 lbs | Storage Capacity: ~80 liters
Backpack/roller bag hybrid
Super transportable
Lots of organizational features
Water-resistant features
Backpacking feature needs time to figure out
Backpack straps are narrow for larger people
Lower storage capacity than advertised

The Osprey Sojourn 80L is a unique suitcase that can turn into a backpack. This feature is especially helpful if you find yourself moving across rougher terrain that would normally be deemed 'no-suitcase land'. Most people that use roller bags have probably encountered times when rolling isn't possible, and you find yourself dragging it frustratingly behind you through the dirt. This bag will avoid this situation entirely, preventing you from scuffing it up. We also appreciate its organizational features and water-resistant compression system that make it ready for any weather condition.

While we fully appreciate this unique design, it unfortunately doesn't do the roller luggage or the backpack very well. Even though the backpack has a full-suspension system with a built-in hip belt, most people will find it uncomfortable to carry for long days, especially if you have a full load. Also, even though it does roll well, it has a history of flipping on curbs if not packed with an even weight distribution. Despite these caveats, it's still our favorite for cross-country travel, and we'll continue using it on longer adventures due to these excellent features.

Read review: Osprey Sojourn 80L

Best for Adventure Travel


Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 30


Top Pick Award

$299.90
(21% off)
at Amazon
See It

74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Reliability - 25% 9
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 10
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 5
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 3
Weight: 10 lbs | Storage Capacity: ~100 liters
Extremely durable with great water resistance
Many storage and organizational features
Huge storage capacity for bulky items
Great overall travel
Some features don't seem sensible
Bulky and large

Built like a beast, the Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 30 has a tactical look with plenty of features. Although it's advertised with roughly 100 liters of storage, we fit even more inside! In addition to abundant storage, it has plenty of external pockets to hold anything you need - cameras, tripods, adventure gear, the works. You can even separate your stinky adventure boots from your nightlife clothes using its internal compartment. If you're looking for a standard piece of luggage to check at the airport, this is not it. It is built for those that need to take a lot with them and appreciate a tactical and outdoor-focused look.

The biggest downfall is its specific niche of applications. While you could certainly use it for any type of vacation, it's quite an investment for simplistic travel or short trips. The huge dimensions and bulkier design are not as easy to maneuver at the airport, and its looks aren't everybody's cup of tea. Adventurers and those seeking a utilitarian suitcase will appreciate it best.

Read review: Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 30


Traveling with the award-winning Away Travel Large suitcase is super easy. It did a great job while visiting Las Vegas to party with friends and climb in the beautiful Red Rocks Park.
Traveling with the award-winning Away Travel Large suitcase is super easy. It did a great job while visiting Las Vegas to party with friends and climb in the beautiful Red Rocks Park.

Why You Should Trust Us


Amber King and members of our testing teams are frequent travelers who make over 40+ trips a year locally and abroad. Amber has traveled to five different continents, exploring remote places everywhere she goes. In these endeavors, she's traveled frequently with both duffel bags and roller luggage. Living in the beautiful, centrally located hub of Ridgway, CO, she spends her weekends traveling to other mountain towns exploring hot springs, breweries, and trails. When she's on the road, you'll find her on unique adventures, such as sailing in remote places like the Faroe Islands with her European friends. She makes her living as a full-time gear tester and has written 20 different categories over the last five years for OutdoorGearLab, ranging from ski socks to hydration bladders. She, along with the other testers on our team, are extensive travelers and explorers who almost always have roller luggage in tow.

Testing roller luggage is far from a drag (sorry for the dad joke). During the testing period, we explored the cobbled streets of Canada and the high mountains of Colorado. Our testing process began with researching over 100+ different candidates before handpicking a small group of the best. Testing went on for three months, and we brought them everywhere we went. We rolled them around on the sidewalk, through the airport, and over cracked sidewalks. We traveled with them in the back of our truck, switching them out while on the road. At home, we set up obstacle courses, rolling them over and around different objects. We even hosed them down with water to see which could repel a light rain. In total, each case saw at least 2000 miles of travel and close to 100 hours of testing.

Related: How We Tested Suitcases

Even though it weighs 12 lbs on its own  we still managed to pack a tent  sleeping bag  pad  and a whole mess of clothing and stay underweight.

Analysis and Test Results


The roller luggage we tested ranges in style from generic to super stylish. We even included a model that doubles as a backpack. We compared ten suitcases across five key metrics and evaluated them all in the field and in our at-home lab. Our five key metrics were reliability, storage, ease of transport, weight, and style. The cases that won awards either did the best across all these categories or stood out for one particular aspect. Read on to learn more about how each performed in these head-to-head evaluations.

Related: Buying Advice for Suitcases

There are many options out there to choose from. What suitcase is best for you?
There are many options out there to choose from. What suitcase is best for you?

Value


You might notice that checked luggage costs a pretty penny, and typically, you get what you pay for. Very rarely have we found a super high-quality roller case that is low priced. You also might notice that some super high-end products can cost up to thousands of dollars, while others are just a few hundred. If you want luggage of the highest quality, then be ready to drop some cash. However, most people don't need these super high-quality cases and typically do fine traveling with a lower-priced case.

For example, the AmazonBasics Expandable Softsided is usually available for a low price, and still provides decent performance. While it is generic, not especially stylish, and has some significant flaws, we think it is far more reliable than other low-priced options like the American Tourister Moonlight. When purchasing a piece of luggage, be sure to assess the features and look for signs of good quality construction.


It's important to consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer you are purchasing from. You don't want to be overseas and stuck with a piece of luggage that has broken beyond repair.

Reliability


The reliability of your luggage is paramount to performance. Once you drop your luggage off, you have no control over how it will be handled. Therefore, selecting a case that is manufactured with durable materials is the best way to ensure its reliability. After airport travel, you also want to ensure that your luggage can take the brunt of random forces it may come in contact with. This includes being dragged over rough terrain, pulled up and down flights of stairs, and carried from one place to another. Zippers, handles, and wheels are typically where cheaper suitcases break down the quickest. We evaluated the craftsmanship of each, tested them with at least three months of travel, and put them through the worst "stuff" we could.


General Wear and Tear

If you're considering dropping hundreds of dollars on a top of the line model, you should start by looking at the outer materials. Suitcases can be classified into two main categories of outer materials that are helpful for analysis: hard or soft.

After you check your luggage into the baggage handlers  you've got to bet it'll be tossed around without much regard. A reliable suitcase constructed of durable materials is of chief importance when considering this big investment.
After you check your luggage into the baggage handlers, you've got to bet it'll be tossed around without much regard. A reliable suitcase constructed of durable materials is of chief importance when considering this big investment.

In general, hard-cases are more susceptible to wear and tear than soft-sided options. In our review, all the hard cases tested were made out of different grades of polycarbonate or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic. Of them, the polycarbonate plastic proved to be more durable — especially if it has a higher grade. For example, the Away Travel and Samsonite Winfield are made from different grades of polycarbonate plastics. The Samsonite has a lighter construction, while the Away is heavier. After pulling each through the dirt and, quite frankly, treating them like trash, the heavier polycarbonate of the Away Travel showed less wear and tear.

Of the hard-shell cases  the Away Travel Large (middle) offers the most durable polycarbonate construction. This is followed by the Samsonite Winfield 2 (left) made of lightweight polycarbonate  with the American Tourister (right) trailing behind with its less durable ABS plastic construction.
Of the hard-shell cases, the Away Travel Large (middle) offers the most durable polycarbonate construction. This is followed by the Samsonite Winfield 2 (left) made of lightweight polycarbonate, with the American Tourister (right) trailing behind with its less durable ABS plastic construction.

ABS plastics are another common material used in the construction of hard-cases. Manufacturers prefer it because it can easily be injection molded and offers a modest level of durability at a low cost. It's not surprising that the American Tourister Moonlight , made of ABS plastic, is not very durable, showing gouges and scratches after just a few uses.

This hard polycarbonate shell is a heavier weight and provides exceptional durability.
This hard polycarbonate shell is a heavier weight and provides exceptional durability.

Soft cases are typically more durable than hard-cases, but they can be susceptible to being cut or punctured. All the options we tested, even the soft ones, are decently durable. However, there are some differences in general construction.

A look at all of the soft-cased luggage that offers much more resistance to abrasion than hard-case options. If you want to make sure your luggage remains scratch and scuff free  opt for a soft-shell exterior. Some do better than others.
A look at all of the soft-cased luggage that offers much more resistance to abrasion than hard-case options. If you want to make sure your luggage remains scratch and scuff free, opt for a soft-shell exterior. Some do better than others.

Most bags feature either nylon and/or polyester material construction. Both are typically incredibly water-resistant. Those that integrate more nylon with a polyester combination, like the Sojourn and Copilot, offer excellent resistance to water and wear and tear. However, that's not the only thing to look for.

Here we see the nylon and polyester combination on the Timbuk2 Copilot that offers good water resistance and overall durability.
Here we see the nylon and polyester combination on the Timbuk2 Copilot that offers good water resistance and overall durability.

If the information is available, look for the denier rating of the polyester. Denier is a measurement of the linear density of the material fibers. A higher denier rating, like the 1680-denier rating of The North Face Stratoliner and the 1000-denier rating of the Eagle Creek ORV typically corresponds with better overall durability. Lower denier ratings like the 150-denier rating found in the AmazonBasics Expandable indicate that the fabric might wear or pill after a few uses, though it will likely remain water-resistant.

The Eagle Creek ORV integrates many materials to make it super durable. 1000-denier polyester construction with reinforced plastic bumpers on all corners of the case adds reinforcement for high abrasion areas.
The Eagle Creek ORV integrates many materials to make it super durable. 1000-denier polyester construction with reinforced plastic bumpers on all corners of the case adds reinforcement for high abrasion areas.

When looking at the burliness of the outer material, the Away Travel proved to be the best amongst our hard-case competitors. Meanwhile, the Eagle Creek ORV offered the highest reliability of any of the soft-shelled cases. It features reinforced corners and super bomber fabrics for long-distance travel.

Water Resistance

We also tested the water-resistance of each contender by hosing them down on full blast for about three minutes. All the cases were basically impervious to water on the main body, but water found its way in at the handle joints and through the zippers. Those that kept water out of these areas, like the Osprey Sojourn, scored the best in this test.

During our water tests we exposed each case to three minutes of watering to simulate a real downpour. While each suitcase has waterproof fabrics  the water always seeps in through the holes in the handle and the zippers. The Osprey Sojourn has many features that keep water away from the zippers  which provides great water resistance.
During our water tests we exposed each case to three minutes of watering to simulate a real downpour. While each suitcase has waterproof fabrics, the water always seeps in through the holes in the handle and the zippers. The Osprey Sojourn has many features that keep water away from the zippers, which provides great water resistance.

The Eagle Creek ORV and The North Face Stratoliner also did well, with their recessed construction and awning-like fabrics that wick the water away from the zippers. Overall, none were fully waterproof, but if you need decent resistance, look for those with zippers that are more protected.

Wheels

This is one of the most essential reliability factors to consider. A solid set of wheels is what separates convenience from frustration when traveling. You want to make sure that the wheels you have are smooth and won't fall apart after just a few trips. There are two types of construction to consider: four-wheeled (spinner cases) and two-wheeled (roller cases). In general, two-wheeled options use larger, oversized wheels that are a little more durable, whereas four-wheeled models are smaller and can't handle the same stresses with a full load.

A comparison of the Copilot's skateboard wheels (left) with the Travelpro Magna Platinum (right). Both are large  wide  and smooth  but the skateboard wheels are by far the best choice for reliability. They can easily be changed out  with much more material that won't wear down as quickly.
A comparison of the Copilot's skateboard wheels (left) with the Travelpro Magna Platinum (right). Both are large, wide, and smooth, but the skateboard wheels are by far the best choice for reliability. They can easily be changed out, with much more material that won't wear down as quickly.

The best overall in this category were the skateboard wheels on the Timbuk2 Copilot. They are solid, stable, and easy to change out. The Travelpro Platinum is a close second with a super smooth ride over all sorts of surfaces. Other two-wheeled options that came close include The North Face Stratoliner and Eagle Creek ORV. Both are sturdy, oversized, and move easily up and down obstacles. They don't, however, offer as smooth a ride as either the Copilot or Magna 2 simply because they either have grooves or aren't flat. As a result, they vibrate a little more over different surfaces.

A look at the difference between the average roller luggage (two-wheels  left) and the spinner case (four-wheels  right). Those with burlier wheels are always more reliable than those that are tiny. However  in each category  there are stark differences in construction and performance.
A look at the difference between the average roller luggage (two-wheels, left) and the spinner case (four-wheels, right). Those with burlier wheels are always more reliable than those that are tiny. However, in each category, there are stark differences in construction and performance.

Of the spinner cases, we appreciated the well-crafted wheels on the AmazonBasics SoftShell and the Away Travel Large. Both have a double wheel on a single axle, which makes the ride smoother than a single wheel design, and should improve the overall capacity to take on a heavy load. The AmazonBasics SoftShell sits higher above the ground, so it's able to navigate obstacles more easily. The Away wheels, however, have a rubberized layer (instead of the 100% plastic make-up of the AmazonBasics) that makes it far more durable and less prone to nicks or scratches, and therefore we believe they're more reliable wheels overall.

Here we compare wheels on the Away (left) and Amazon Basics (right). The Away offers much better construction and durability. However  the Amazon Basics suitcase sits much higher off the ground  rolling over obstacles better in travel. Look for this double-wheel design as opposed to the single wheel design.
Here we compare wheels on the Away (left) and Amazon Basics (right). The Away offers much better construction and durability. However, the Amazon Basics suitcase sits much higher off the ground, rolling over obstacles better in travel. Look for this double-wheel design as opposed to the single wheel design.

The Samsonite Winfield 2 and American Tourister Moonlight score low in this category because their wheels are laughably small with poor craftsmanship. Neither travel as well as the double-wheels of the bags mentioned above, and design flaws mean that dirt and grime can build up in the cracks when rolling through nasty stuff. In our testing, these started to pull in the wrong direction after their axles got gummed up, making travel difficult.

Spinner wheels can vary a lot. Single wheels are far less durable than double-wheeled construction.
Spinner wheels can vary a lot. Single wheels are far less durable than double-wheeled construction.

Handles

A good handle shouldn't pull out or break after just a few trips; it should remain intact and retain its strength, even under considerable weight. In our testing, the handles for all the cases proved to be impressively resilient. Among the burliest was The North Face Stratoliner. Handles that provide only one level of height and are thicker in construction didn't seem to wobble or jiggle at all. Other models with telescoping abilities, like the Travelpro Magna, jiggled and flexed under pressure, though the varying heights they provide can be useful.

A good handle that is comfortable and won't blow out under a heavy load is very important to ensure the reliability of your suitcase.
A good handle that is comfortable and won't blow out under a heavy load is very important to ensure the reliability of your suitcase.

Traveling Up Stairs

One of the most damaging actions these bags are exposed to is being dragged up stairs, which can bang the backside of the case. If you're strong enough, it's better to just carry your luggage up the stairs, but if you prefer to drag it, look for cases with protective plastic bumpers that run from the wheel up the length of the case.

The North Face Stratoliner has a plastic bumper system from the wheels all the way up to the handle to protect it from scrapes when pulling up a flight of stairs.
The North Face Stratoliner has a plastic bumper system from the wheels all the way up to the handle to protect it from scrapes when pulling up a flight of stairs.

Cases like The North Face Stratoliner possess this feature to protect both the stair and the back of the bag. Others, like the Copilot, have this feature, but it's made of a metal material that gets scratched up quickly. Some other models include this bumper, but it doesn't extend down to the wheels or across the entire back, leaving key areas exposed. Cases with oversized wheels also travel better up the stairs than those without.

Although we evaluated all aspects of reliability separately, we found the best bag overall in this category to be the Eagle Creek ORV. It has super burly outer materials with handles and wheels that are durable and easy to change out. If durable and reliable are what you seek, this is our favorite. Other well-built options include the Timbuk 2 Copilot, Away Large, The North Face Stratoliner, and Patagonia Black Hole. All sport larger wheels that provide reliable travel and excellent water-resistance properties.

The Eagle Creek is built like a durable beast. It offers the best reliability overall  beating out the rest of the competition.
The Eagle Creek is built like a durable beast. It offers the best reliability overall, beating out the rest of the competition.

Storage & Organization


To consider storage and organization, we looked at the volume and organizational capacity of each model. To do this, we went on a lot of different trips! Each time, we would assess all our options, choose a suitcase, and then note why we chose that particular one. We packed each with low-bulk items like clothing, dresses, and suits, as well as bulkier things like ski boots, snow pants, and camping and climbing gear, to see how each fared. Bags that offered either thoughtful organization or ample storage capacity scored higher in this category.


One of our favorites is the Travelpro Magna 2. It has just under 90-liters of storage and unique features such as a removable suit and dress holder. This is an excellent option for the frequent flyer who likes to easily see what's in their luggage.

The Platinum Magna 2 offers additional organization and is a step above the rest.
The storage opportunities are incredible!
The Travelpro Platinum Magna offers some of the best features. With many storage options  such as a zip-out suit or dress holder  this case is far from basic in its design.
The Travelpro Platinum Magna offers some of the best features. With many storage options, such as a zip-out suit or dress holder, this case is far from basic in its design.

The Eagle Creek ORV 30 is a great choice for adventure travel because of its many pockets and practical organizational features. It features a huge amount of storage in its soft-sided case that is perfect for packing bulky items. This is a great option to consider if you need to bring big boots or camera gear on a long travel mission. It even has a bungee cord to attach a helmet to the top of the bag, a feature we personally found less useful.

The Away Travel case offers amazing storage  easily packing away all of the items on our list.
The Away Travel case offers amazing storage, easily packing away all of the items on our list.

A simpler bag that also scored high in this category is the Timbuk 2 Copilot. It offers a clam-style design where you can load your gear into both sides of the case evenly. Several other products offer this same layout, such as the Away Large and the The North Face Stratoliner. All these bags are simple in design without a huge number of pockets, and they offer just a few compartments for organization. We think this strategic simplicity is perfect for the average vacationer.

The peek-a-boo external pocket of the Copilot allows you to access any items that you might want without having to unzip the entire suitcase. A feature that we love  especially for road trips.
The peek-a-boo external pocket of the Copilot allows you to access any items that you might want without having to unzip the entire suitcase. A feature that we love, especially for road trips.

Other hardcase options like the Samsonite Winfield and American Tourister Spinner offer ample storage that is effective for stowing away bulky or non-bulky items. These suitcases, like many in our review, feature an expansion zipper located at the bottom of the bag to ensure it stays balanced when in action.

This case doesn't offer a huge level of volume  but it's perfect for the weekend or week-long trip. It's also for those that prefer to travel light.
During our roller and storage capacity tests  we filled each case with a 6-gallon water jug weighing about 40 lbs. This helped us get a good comparison of the profiles of each suitcase. The jug fit effortlessly into some  while completely filling the space of others.
During our roller and storage capacity tests, we filled each case with a 6-gallon water jug weighing about 40 lbs. This helped us get a good comparison of the profiles of each suitcase. The jug fit effortlessly into some, while completely filling the space of others.

In general, most cases we tested offer suitable storage for trips that might last anywhere from a week to months. When you're considering storage and organization, consider if you prefer a simple bag that you can throw everything into, like the Black Hole wheeled duffel, or if you'd prefer more built-in organization, such as a special area to keep your suit wrinkle-free.

Ease of Transport


Any wheeled checked luggage should be able to navigate the polished floors of an airport. But, as we all know, your luggage is rarely limited to use only on pristine, obstacle-free floors. Luggage always seems to come in contact with a cracked sidewalk, steep curbs, and gravel-laden pavement. If you're traveling abroad in remote countries, it's quite possible that you'll also encounter a dirt road or cobblestone path. When testing this metric, we rolled each case over all types of terrain to see how they performed, taking note of which provided the smoothest ride. The contenders that fared the best in this category can go anywhere, even over the gnarliest of surfaces.


Let's face it. When the going gets tough on rougher terrain, you're bound to find yourself carrying your luggage. While many manufacturers like to advertise their wheeled bags with "oversized wheels that can go anywhere", we often discovered significant limitations in reality. Sure, you could drag any suitcase through anything if you're strong enough, but probably not without causing damage. The best performers, therefore, were those that wheel well on most surfaces but can also easily be carried. For the most part, these are two-wheeled options as their wheels are much larger and more adaptable. They also don't tip over as easily if packed in an unbalanced fashion.

The Osprey Sojourn offers great travel options. As a backpack-roller suitcase  you can choose whether you roll it or carry it. On this trip  we felt especially strong  simply putting it on our back while heading towards check-in.
The Osprey Sojourn offers great travel options. As a backpack-roller suitcase, you can choose whether you roll it or carry it. On this trip, we felt especially strong, simply putting it on our back while heading towards check-in.

Shining in functionality, the Osprey Sojourn is a cross between a backpack and roller luggage. When you simply can't roll it anymore, unzip the back and strap it on like a backpack. The only other case that came close to this functionality was the Black Hole. Unlike the Sojourn, it's not designed for this function, but because it's engineered as a duffel, you can use the handles like a backpack. It's not quite as comfortable, but it works.

The large skateboard wheels of the Timbuk2 Copilot offer great travel  even over more technical terrain. Here we test it while crossing a pine-laden field riddled with rocks and dirt.
The large skateboard wheels of the Timbuk2 Copilot offer great travel, even over more technical terrain. Here we test it while crossing a pine-laden field riddled with rocks and dirt.

If you're seeking a gentle ride that won't vibrate your arm off when navigating cobbled streets, look for smooth wheel construction. For example, the Copilot uses skateboard wheels — they feature a broad, stable base and offer a very smooth ride. The Magna 2 also provides a super smooth ride, but the base on these wheels isn't as wide as the Copilot. Both move easily in and out of crowds, however, and transition nicely from linoleum floors to uneven sidewalks.

Here we test the rolling capabilities of two different spinners (four-wheel). These  you can either push or pull behind you. The Away performed better in these tests with its much superior wheel construction.
Here we test the rolling capabilities of two different spinners (four-wheel). These, you can either push or pull behind you. The Away performed better in these tests with its much superior wheel construction.

All the luggage options we tested really do perform well over most terrain. However, those with a lower clearance from the bottom of the bag to the floor, like the Away Large, can get held up by large rocks, either stopping movement or causing them to lurch forward. Others with a higher clearance like the Osprey Sojourn and AmazonBasics Expandable pass over these obstacles much more easily.

The cases with a higher chassis like the Osprey Sojourn (right) offer more clearance from the ground  even when fully packed. Look for this feature so it can surmount rocks or other obstacles fluidly.
The cases with a higher chassis like the Osprey Sojourn (right) offer more clearance from the ground, even when fully packed. Look for this feature so it can surmount rocks or other obstacles fluidly.

Of the four-wheeled options out there, the Away Travel and AmazonBasics Expandable offer the best ride, whether on four wheels or two. The AmazonBasics does a little better simply because it has a higher clearance, as mentioned above. The other spinners in our review are fitted with super small wheels that do great on hard, perfect surfaces but stick and waver when the going gets tougher.

Overall, if you want a checked luggage item that travels well over all surfaces, look for these things: large, smooth and oversized wheels, two-wheel construction, and high clearance between the floor and the bottom of the case. Keep in mind that spinners can travel over all sorts of terrain, but they are more prone to wear and tear under a full load.

Weight


Weight is an important consideration for just about any product we review, but it's particularly critical when it comes to air travel. Airline rules often restrict checked bags to a maximum of 50 lbs, which includes the bag itself. Every pound that a bag weighs is thus another pound of gear you'll have to leave behind — it's either lighten your load or lighten your wallet with hefty overweight baggage fees. We found that the sweet spot for most bags is right around the 10 lbs mark. Any lighter, and you're seeing a real loss of durability and storage capacity. Any heavier, and you're losing valuable payload capacity. To test this metric, we weighed each contender on our own scale. The lighter the bag, the higher the score.


The lightest piece of luggage in our review, the Patagonia Black Hole, is a roller duffel that offers bare-bone features and a simplistic traveling experience. It's a great option for those who can't decide between a duffel bag and a roller bag. Coming in second was the Osprey Sojourn. Of these, the Sojourn offers the most storage capacity. Even though there are a couple of pounds of difference between each luggage article in this review, all options feel relatively lightweight. Those that can store more, like the 110-liter Away Large, also weigh a little bit more, which isn't surprising.

Here we hang each case from a spring scale to measure the weight. The Patagonia Black Hole pictured here is the lightest and simplest suitcase as a roller duffel bag.
Here we hang each case from a spring scale to measure the weight. The Patagonia Black Hole pictured here is the lightest and simplest suitcase as a roller duffel bag.

Style


Looks heavily influence product perception. In general, folks float towards the most appealing first, hoping and praying that performance can match the allure. Because of the subjective nature of this category, it isn't very heavily weighted in the overall scores. To test style, we evaluated features, asked our friends what they preferred, and compared that to what's fashionable online today.


When you approach the luggage claim at the local airport, you've probably noticed the large number of generic-looking bags on the conveyor belt. While there are a few of those in our review, such as the black AmazonBasics Expandable, there are many others that stand out for features that we appreciate.

Simple and far from stylish  this generic suitcase might be hard to find in a crowd.
Simple and far from stylish, this generic suitcase might be hard to find in a crowd.

Hard cases seem to be a favorite among the fashion-forward. Both the Samsonite Winfield 2 and American Tourister Moonlight spinner offer great patterns and colors that should appeal to the tastes of any tourist ready to go and explore. While these lack performance, they earn high points in this category, garnering accolades from friends and fellow testers that tried them out.

The American Tourister Moonlight Spinner is pretty cute and best for those that appreciate a feminine look.
The American Tourister Moonlight Spinner is pretty cute and best for those that appreciate a feminine look.

Of both the hard and soft cases in this review, the Away Large stands out as one of the most stylish options, appealing to everybody that tested it. Its matte finish and fantastic color options should allow you to express yourself fully. It has a broadly appealing look that seems equally appropriate for casual or business use.

We love the simple stylings of the Away Travel Large that is great for both casual and formal travel missions.
We love the simple stylings of the Away Travel Large that is great for both casual and formal travel missions.

The Travelpro Platinum Magna works well for business travel, in part due to its thoughtful and classy finishes, including leather handles and unique zipper pulls. Given these features, it's a perfect piece to take directly from the plane into a boardroom or your vacation condo in Fiji.

Other contenders in this review offered a more outdoorsy or casual look, such as The North Face Stratoliner. The most technical and tactical looking bag in this review is the Eagle Creek ORV. This soft-sided option isn't fashionable in an urban city sense, looking instead like the bag you'll take on your next big expedition. Whatever your style, be sure to look at the features you want and make sure the performance won't let you down.

Whether you're headed to wine country for the weekend or planning a multi-month trip around the world  you need a great suitcase that'll keep all your personals protected and organized. While the market is brimming with options  there are a few that stand-out as better than the rest.
Whether you're headed to wine country for the weekend or planning a multi-month trip around the world, you need a great suitcase that'll keep all your personals protected and organized. While the market is brimming with options, there are a few that stand-out as better than the rest.

Conclusion


In the travel world, it's easy to see different luggage options everywhere you look. In this review, we take a critical look at these useful companions. First, determine if a roller bag is best for your travel purposes. Then, to help you navigate this massive marketplace, determine your budget, and think about if there are any "must-have" features you need. Keep an open mind and, with our help, we're sure you'll be able to find a suitcase that is worth its weight in gold.

Amber King