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The Best Suitcases of 2020

By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Tuesday January 21, 2020
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On the hunt for the best suitcase in 2020? In just 3 years, we've bought and tested 23 different options with 11 in this current review. We looked at over 100 to determine our testing pool, considering many different design options and layouts. Once narrowed down, we traveled and trekked for several months, pushing each bag to its limit. From Las Vegas to Canada, every suitcase was packed to capacity and pulled through as many obstacles as we could find. 200+ hours and many adventures later, we offer you this review full of detailed information and photos. Read on to find your next ideal piece of luggage.


Top 11 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 11
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Best Overall Roller Suitcase


Timbuk2 Copilot


Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller
Editors' Choice Award

$201.75
(33% 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 offers a variety of options to aid you in your travels. This case is our favorite two-wheeled suitcase for 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 allows you to 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'll go anywhere with you.

We really couldn't find much wrong with this durable and reliable product, 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 of it is not conducive to bulkier items. If you need more space than 80 liters, be sure to check out the Copilot's 108 liter bigger brother. 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 color options
Simple and thoughtful organizational features
Durable hard-case architecture
Drags over larger rocks and rougher terrain
On the heavy side

This beautiful suitcase stands out as one of the most stylish, offering functionality for all formal and informal affairs. Built with a super durable polycarbonate shell, this hard case staves off scratches and scuffs to ensure a great look throughout your adventures. Its four-wheel design allows you to easily push or pull it along through the airport and when surfaces get a little rough. 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 are exceptionally buff and durable, even after being dragged over dirt and grim for three months. Its ample amount of storage and simple features make it perfect for any vacation or extended travel experience.

Unfortunately, like most four-wheeled designs, the crux of the construction comes when encountering bigger cracks or rocks in the road. It has a lower clearance than most, so it can't navigate obstacles that stick up too high.

Read review: Away Travel Large

Best Bang for the Buck


AmazonBasics Expandable Softsided 29


Best Buy Award

$82.49
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

This super-affordable option is simple and straightforward. We chose it for one of our Best Buy awards because of the beefy wheel design and crazy low price. Even after numerous durability tests, this bag continued to perform well, offering great travel over hard surfaces with the ability to move over objects more effortlessly than other spinners. We love its thoughtful storage with a large enough capacity to allow you to pack everything from bulky gifts to clothing.

However, there's something to be said for getting what you pay for. You may have noticed that 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. The overall craftsmanship is also mediocre, as you might expect for anything cheap and generic.

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

$232.00
(36% 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

With amazing organizational features and a great look, this savvy case is perfect for the frequent flyer or business traveler. It's sleek, stylish, and retains its shape even when empty. The oversized wheels are smooth, offering a vibrationless ride over cracked sidewalks and scuzzy side roads. And, it features a removable suit and dress holder that detaches when you don't need it! While it has the best organization features for business travelers and flight attendants, its functionality also extends to those who appreciate unique storage features.

As one of our top scorers, there's not much negative to be said about this case. Aside from the fact that the zippers can be a little sticky around the corners, we've got no qualms with this contender. 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

$253.93
(25% 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

If you're somebody who likes to switch between wearing your luggage and rolling it, depending on the terrain, this bag is for you. The back has a hidden full-suspension backpack system so you can hoist everything up when you simply can't roll anymore. Most people that use roller bags for their travel have probably encountered times when rolling isn't possible, and you find yourself dragging your bag instead. This option negates that entire situation. We also appreciate its ample storage options and water-resistant compression system that make it great for traveling in all sorts of weather.

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. Also, while it does roll quite well, it has a history of flipping on curbs and other surfaces when not packed appropriately. The aluminum frame construction is questionable, but in our experience, it held up for over three months of travel. Given its decent performance and unique capacity to go anywhere, it deserves our Top Pick for Cross-Country Travel. You can truly take this roller-luggage anywhere, just understand that it has some limitations.

Read review: Osprey Sojourn 80L

Best for Adventure Travel


Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 30


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 aren't sensible
Bulky and large

Built like a beast, this tactical option is filled with tons of features. While it advertises roughly 100 liters of storage, we fit even more inside. With its super durable outer fabrics and sturdy architecture, this is a bag for those that need to transport bulky items like outdoor or tactical gear, camera equipment, or everything you require for months of travel. It features thoughtful storage that allows you to keep your stinky and dirty stuff separate from your clean items. It has many external webbing loops for attachment, so this case can be lashed easily to the top of a car or even a donkey! If you're looking for a standard piece of luggage to check at the airport, this is not it. This is built for those that need to take a lot with them and appreciate a tactical and outdoor-focused look.

The biggest downfall of this suitcase 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 is not as easy to navigate at the airport, and it is far from stylish.

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 central 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. Making a living as a full-time gear tester, she 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, almost always with roller luggage in tow.

Testing roller luggage is far from being a drag (sorry for the dad joke). During our testing, we explored the cobbled streets of Canada and the high mountains of Colorado. In our testing process, we looked at over 100+ different candidates before handpicking a small group of the best. Testing for three months, 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 handle a light rain, and which couldn't. In total, each case has seen at least 2000 miles of travel and close to 100 hours of objective 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 have an option that comes with a built-in backpack! We compared 11 suitcases across five key metrics and evaluated both in the field and in our at-home lab. Our five key metrics include; 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 suitcase 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. Typically, you get what you pay for. Very rarely have we found a super high-quality roller case that is low priced. You may notice that some super high-end suitcases can be thousands of dollars, while others are just a few hundred. If you want luggage of quality, be ready to spend at least a couple hundred dollars.

We do provide some suggestions for those on a budget that won't cost an arm and a leg. For example, the AmazonBasics Expandable Softsided is our Best Buy Award winner because it offers the lowest price while still maintaining decent performance. While it is generic, not particularly stylish, and has some significant flaws, 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's handled. Therefore, buying a case that is manufactured with the most 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. To test this, we evaluate the craftsmanship of each, test them with at least three months of travel, and put them through the worst "stuff" we can.


General Wear and Tear

If you're going to drop hundreds of dollars on a super bomber product, you need to start by looking at the outer materials. There are two main groups of suitcases that we like to compare. Hard and soft shell options.

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 are made out of different grades of polycarbonate or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic. Of them, the polycarbonate plastic proves 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, and the Away is heavier. After pulling each through the dirt and, quite frankly, treating them like trash, the more heavily-graded polycarbonate of the Away Travel offered more durability.

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 injected and offers some level at 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 can be susceptible to being cut or punctured. All the suitcases 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 both excellent water resistance and incredible 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. 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 correlates to 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 still be 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 proves to be the best amongst our hard-case competitors while the Eagle Creek ORV offers the best 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 water resistance with 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, did 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 North Face Stratoliner also did well in this test, with their recessed construction and awning-like fabrics that wick the water away from the zippers. Overall, none are waterproof, but if you need this feature, 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 are the skateboard wheels on the Editors Choice-winning 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, REI Tourwinder, and Eagle Creek ORV. All 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 appreciate the well-crafted wheels on both the AmazonBasics (our Best Buy Award winner) and the Away Travel Large (our other Editors' Choice winner). Both have a double wheel on a single axle, which makes the ride smoother than a single wheel design, with a better overall capacity to take on a heavy load. The AmazonBasics suitcase sits higher above the ground, though, so it's able to navigate obstacles more easily. However, the Away wheels have a rubberized layer (instead of a 100% plastic make-up of the AmazonBasics), making it far more durable and less prone to knicks and scratches. A more reliable wheel 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-wheeled construction 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 the axle 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 offer great resilience. Those that seemed to be the burliest include the REI Tourwinder and North Face Stratoliner. Handles that provide only one level of height and are thicker in construction don't wobble or jiggle at all, which is a good thing. Other models with telescoping abilities, like the Travelpro Magna, jiggle more and flex out under pressure, though sometimes the varying heights 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 bangs the backside of the case. If you're strong enough, it's ideal 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 REI Tourwinder and The North Face Stratoliner exhibit this feature, protecting 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 super scratched up. Still others have 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.

The REI Tourwinder offers easy travel up and down even the roughest of stairs with its full-plastic bumper construction and oversized wheels.
The REI Tourwinder offers easy travel up and down even the roughest of stairs with its full-plastic bumper construction and oversized wheels.

While we evaluated all parts 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, North Face Stratoliner, Patagonia Black Hole, and REI Tourwinder. All have larger wheels that provide reliable travel and excellent water-resistant 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


When considering storage and organization, we looked at the volume and organizational capacity of each option. 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 both non-bulky items like regular 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 offer either thoughtful organization or ample storage capacity scored higher in this category.


One of our favorites in this category is the Travelpro Magna 2, our Top Pick for Business Travel. 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  earning a Top Pick. With many storage options  such as a zip-out suit or dress holder  this case is far from simple in its design.
The Travelpro Platinum Magna offers some of the best features, earning a Top Pick. With many storage options, such as a zip-out suit or dress holder, this case is far from simple in its design.

The Eagle Creek ORV 30 is our Top Pick 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 long travel missions. 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-shape design where you can load your gear into both sides of the case evenly. Many other products offer this same layout, such as the Away Large and the The North Face Stratoliner. All of these bags are simple in design without a huge number of pockets and offering just a few compartments for organization. This smart and 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 great for packing away both bulky and 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 of the suitcases we tested offer suitable storage for missions that can last anywhere from a week to months. When you're considering storage and organization, consider if you prefer a bag that you can throw everything into, like the Black Hole wheeled duffel, or if you'd prefer more built-in organization like a special area to keep your suit wrinkle-free.

Ease of Transport


Any wheeled checked luggage can navigate the polished floors of an airport. But, as we all know, your luggage rarely gets to stay on pristine obstacle-free floors. Luggage will always 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 fared, 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 technical terrain, you're bound to find yourself carrying your luggage. While some manufacturers advertise their wheeled bags to have "oversized wheels that can go anywhere" it simply isn't true. Sure, you can drag it along behind you, but not without some durability liabilities. The best performers are those that wheel well on most surfaces and 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 a front-heavy 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.

Earning a Top Pick for its 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 load it up like a backpack. The only other case that came close to this functionality is 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 just like a backpack. It's not 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 smooth 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 have 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. However, both move easily in and out of crowds, transitioning 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 of 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 REI Tourwinder and Away Large, can get held up on large rocks, either stopping movement or lurching forward. Others with a higher clearance like the Osprey Sojourn and AmazonBasics Expandable can move 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 have super small wheels that do great on hard, perfect surfaces but stick and waver when the going gets tough.

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 from the floor to 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.

The oversized wheels of the REI Tourwinder makes rough and rocky surfaces a breeze.
The oversized wheels of the REI Tourwinder makes rough and rocky surfaces a breeze.

Weight


Weight is a factor in just about any product we review, but it's particularly critical when it comes to air travel. Limited by the airlines, a checked-bag is often restricted to a maximum of 50 lbs, including the bag itself. For every pound a bag weighs, that's another pound of gear you're leaving behind, so you're left lightening your load — or your wallet with hefty overweight baggage fees. We found that the sweet spot for most bags is right around the 10 lb mark. Any lighter, and you're seeing the degradation of durability and/or 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 is the Osprey Sojourn and REI Tourwinder. Of these three, the Sojourn offers the most storage capacity, while the Tourwinder has the most storage features. 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 will match the allure. Because of the subjective nature of this category, it isn't very heavily weighted in our overall score. To test this, 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 amongst the fashion-forward. Both the Samsonite Winfield 2 and American Tourister Moonlight spinner offer great patterns and colors that appeal to the tastes of any tourist ready to go and explore. While these lack performance, they earn high points in this category, getting many 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 will allow you to express yourself fully. It has a broadly-appealing look that can be used casually or for business.

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 won our Top Pick for Business Travel award for, in part, 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 board room or your vacation condo in Fiji.

Simple and sleek...perfect for the business traveler.
Simple and sleek...perfect for the business traveler.

Other contenders in this review offer a more outdoorsy or casual look like the North Face Stratoliner and the REI Tourwinder. The most technical and tactical looking bag in this review is the Eagle Creek ORV. This soft-sided option isn't fashionable in any 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.

Conclusion


In the travel world, you'll see different luggage options everywhere you look. In this review, we take a critical look at these worldly 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 what your "must-have" features are. 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.

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.


Amber King