The days where it was acceptable to lug your beaten, fifteen-year-old Samsonite bag into the overhead locker are gone. Luggage is now an important part of any trip for both business and leisure. If you have already invested in that slick new travelling suit or superb noise-cancelling headphones, but are accompanied by some ghastly bag, it is time to change.
A good carry-on bag can make or break your travelling experience. Get it wrong and you’ll be searching through your entire bag to get your boarding pass, pulled up by security without knowing where your laptop is or looking like a fool trying to lug around a week’s worth of clothing in a bag made for an overnight trip. Getting your luggage right will make travel far more enjoyable and impress not only your colleagues or partner, but you’ll be the envy of other travellers, too.
It can be overwhelming to decide what kind of luggage you want (or need), so to help simplify your choice, we have selected rolling, duffels and backpacks to enhance the experience of your next trip.
If you’re spending a little longer abroad or need to carry a lot of kit (we all like to have options) your best bet is rolling luggage. Rolling luggage bags tend to be bigger than their soft shell cousins – and naturally, rock wheels to make drifting through the terminal a breeze – and will allow you to pack more and carry it easier. These are perfect for business trips as you’ll be able to roll through the airport into the board room with ease, as well as looking badass.
You might have a bad perception of the rolling carry on, but, brands like Rimowa, Away, Valextra and Brics have proved that you can roll in style for any budget and taste.
Duffel and Weekender Bags
The duffel bag has long been a staple for men. Their versatility, practicality and aesthetic appeal leave them unrivalled in the bag department. There is a vast array of materials, sizes and styles available today ranging from the waterproof Rains weekender bag to the iconic Mulberry Clipper Leather Holdall. No doubt, there is a bag for you.
A great leather duffel bag is a good investment, care for it properly and it could outlast you. An heirloom if you will.
If you’re the kind of guy who considers himself more of a ‘traveller’ or ‘adventurer’ than someone just going on holidays, a backpack is likely to be your weapon of choice when it comes to carry-on luggage. You might not look like Steve McQueen with a duffel bag slung over your shoulder, but at least you’re saving your back. Function over form, right? It can be easy to get the humble backpack wrong and end up looking like you’re a thirty-year-old who’s still travelling with his parents. Get it right and you could look cooler than McQueen himself.
So, which brands should you be looking out for when it comes to securing yourself some stylish new carry-on luggage? Allow us to reveal all.
The Carry-On is a no-nonsense suitcase that will fit into the overhead compartment of most major airlines. A slightly bigger version that’s also overhead cabin compliant is also available. Inside you’ll find two sections for storing clothes and shoes, along with a hidden laundry bag for worn clothing. Outside, you get this suitcase’s main feature, a zipped pocket, to store the essentials when travelling such as boarding pass, passport and headphones. You also get 360-degree spinning wheels and the optional of speccing a built-in battery to charge your portable devices.
The M5 Smart Hardshell Cabin Suitcase is dinky enough to fit into overhead lockers, but large enough inside to gobble up a week’s worth of clothing. A built-in removable charging station will keep your electronic devices fully-juiced, while the German-engineered aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell keeps your belongings safe and secure. An external zipped pocket will take your laptop, documents and any other essentials you need to breeze through security.
The Spinner Trunk is available in a range of sizes and colours, but the 21-inch Carry On is ideal for a weekend getaway. Now in its second-generation, this latest model benefits from larger Hinomoto wheels to help you glide through the terminal, a revised handle design for better comfort and the interior lining now matches the exterior. That exterior, by the way, still gets the leather treatment, allowing you to let other travellers know you’re better than them.
The Essential Lite Cabin S is the company’s lightest ever model, shaving 30 per cent off the weight of the Essential range. That doesn’t mean Rimowa has scrimped on quality, it has a reputation to uphold after all. It does substitute the classic aluminium build in favour of a polycarbonate shell (saving you money) but retains the iconic groove design.
The Pursuit Aluminium International Carry-On Case not only looks great with its anodised aluminium shell, but that shell also provides a tough barrier for the contents within. The company’s patented Concave Edging helps deflect any bumps and knocks, while the lined interior complete with airflow mesh will cradle your clothes in supreme comfort.
The International Expandable 4-Wheeled carry-on bag does exactly what it says: it’s both expandable by way of a zipper and has four recessed dual spinner wheels to help you transition from security to your seat with ease. Handles on virtually all sides allow you to fling it into the back of your car or a taxi, or into an overhead locker without having to bend to contortionist like levels.
The Bank S collection is a sportier take on the company’s already-established Bank series. Bank S cases are made from 100 per cent aluminium to provide extraordinary protection to whatever you have inside. An integrated TSA-approved lock only adds to the security. The interior lining can be completely removed to aid with cleaning, and elastic straps on both sides keep everything in place during your journey.
The Rains Weekend Bag is made from the company’s iconic matte, waterproof fabric – up to 8,000mm pressure – and finished with water-resistant zippers. You only get one large main compartment, so no external pockets, but the lack of them helps to refine the design and provide something that can easily accompany you from the boardroom to the aeroplane.
Such as this Leather Weekender bag. With more pockets than you may know what to do with, this weekender bag has more than enough space to store everything you'd need for a few days away. Super-soft and incredibly comfortable leather married to a German microsuede lining will carry your clothes in supreme luxury while both chestnut and black colour options will help to complement the rest of your airport outfit.
The Damien Weekend Bag is made from 100 per cent organic cotton, with handles and other subtle accents finished in fine grain leather. You’re given a large 35-litre main compartment with an inner laptop compartment that will cradle up to 15-inch laptops. An adjustable shoulder strap can be completely removed if you so wish.
The Hartsfield Weekender Tote is made from organic cotton and provides just enough space to carry everything you need for a few days away. The large internal compartment has an integrated slip pocket to keep essentials to one side. A simple bag for sure, but one that exudes a premium look and feel.
Barbour’s expertise with high-quality materials has been carried over to this leather Travel Explorer bag. A soft and supple chocolate brown leather covers the entire exterior, which will wear over time to give a unique look, while the interior is lined with Barbour’s iconic tartan print.
The Sartorial duffel bag is part of Montblanc’s Sartorial collection – so you can match it with other bags and accessories – and is the perfect bag for the luxury traveller who wants to go away for a few days. The corners are finished with cross-grain leather, while the main shell is both water and scratch-resistant. You’re not just paying for a name here.
The Ludlow Zip Guard Travel Bag utilises calf grain leather and a crossgrain textured design, not only provide a more premium look but for its hardwearing benefits too. Handles are finished in smooth calf leather, and internal and external pockets let you keep the essentials close.
The Clipper Leather Holdall is finished in a naturally vegetable-tanned leather, meaning it will patina with age to leave you with a unique-looking holdall as the years go by. The large main compartment houses a second inner slip pocket, and the external leather pouch holds a padlock for keeping the bag locked and secure.
The standard Rains Backpack is, as expected, made from the company’s matte, waterproof fabric. Its 13-litre volume is surprisingly spacious, and you get the addition of an integrated laptop compartment, as well as a hidden phone pocket on the back.
The Studio HS6 backpack takes an already established Herschel design and gives it updated design features, such as oversized zippers, bold colours and seatbelt webbing details. You also get a laptop compartment, two water bottle pockets and a small storage pocket on the front complete with integrated key clip.
The Blade 6 backpack is more for the city-slicker than the snow-bomber, rocking a slim profile design that won’t bump into other commuters on the train. Quick access to the main compartment paves the way to the integrated laptop and tablet pockets, and when it’s on your back, a thermoformed back panel offers supreme comfort.
The Transit backpack has been designed specifically for travel and is essentially a suitcase for your back. Intuitive features such as a fully-opening front section complete with compression straps will keep your clothes organised, while easy to access external pockets will hold your must-have items such as a water bottle and your passport.