Spot Cool Stuff never checks our luggage if we can avoid doing so. Like most frequent fliers, we travel with a wheeled bag that will fit through the airport security x-ray and into an airplane’s overhead compartment. Unlike most frequent fliers, we also run a travel review blog and are fanatical about travel gear. So we’ve spent a lot of time researching the best wheeled carry-on bags. A lot of time. From conception, through research and writing, this post has been 11 months in the making.
Why so long? Partly because the market is flooded with rollaboard luggage options. But mostly because no single wheeled carry-on stood out to us as better than all the others — as with so many products, the “best” option depends on what an individual consumer is looking for.
Given that, we focused on the best wheeled carry-on bag in five different categories. Factors we considered in making our selection included build quality, value for the price, looks, weight, cargo capacity (while staying under the 22-inch maximum height requirements that many airlines set for carry-on luggage) and bag features.
Read on. Or click on the category that appeals to you most:
Best Organizational System Wheeled Carry-On
Best Compression (and Expandable) Wheeled Carry-On
Best Hard Side Wheeled Carry-On
Best Lightweight Wheeled Carry-On
Best Wheeled Carry-On For Laptops
Many expert travelers — and those who fancy themselves as such — exalt the virtues of packing light. Yet few expert travelers — or those who fancy themselves as such — seem to care much about having a light pack. To Spot Cool Stuff, this is inexplicable. Your primary piece of luggage might be the heaviest single item you bring on your trip!
For the last few weeks we’ve been working on a review of the best wheeled carry-on luggage. That will publish later this year. But we couldn’t wait until then to write about one of the bags we’ve been trying out, the Osprey Ozone. That’s because, in addition to having several fine attributes, the Ozone has one superlative one: it is super lightweight.
A handful of companies have been working on bags with built-in batteries capable of charging gadgets on-the-go. Most of those efforts have relied on slow and fussy solar panels to charge the bag. A few others are either very expensive or don’t work well. One very promising battery bag from Quirky, a cool online store of crowdsourced products, spent a year available for pre-order but never went into production.
Which is why Spot Cool Stuff is thrilled that there’s one company is getting the bag-with-built-in-battery right: Powerbag.
It might be the ultimate outdoor concert backpack. That’s because Keen Springer Backseat Pack doubles as a lawn chair.
Basically, a rear panel of the backpack flips down. Side straps form the rest of the chair.
The idea is ingeniously simple; so much so that we are surprised that it took Keen, more a cool manufacturer of active footwear, to think of it.
In one of our first travel posts, Spot Cool Stuff took a look at the best wheeled convertible backpacks.
Wheeled convertible backpacks are hybrids between an overnight hiker’s backpack and a rolling suitcase like so many travelers wheel through airports. Having such luggage versatility can be hugely helpful on trips that mix luxury and outdoor travel.
Heading to Thailand, for example, you may well want a backpack for roaming across beaches and through mountain jungles but wish for a wheeled bag to navigate the airport and for when you arrive at your luxury Bangkok hotel at the end of your trip.
What do you get when you cross a travel bag with a kid’s scooter?
That question isn’t the set-up for a (likely terrible) joke. It’s what Samsonite, a century-old luggage company, and Micro Mobility, a European scooter specialist, asked themselves when they sought to develop a carry-on bag with built-in mobility.
The result of the companies’ three-year collaboration: the Samsonite Micro Suitcase Scooter.
Have you—like us—ever had a container of liquid or gel confiscated from you by airport security? Or have you—like us—had a bottle of shampoo explode in your luggage?
If you have, then you—like us—can appreciate the value of a durable, carry-on friendly travel bottles.
Travel bottles are not the sort of WOW! factor products we usually review at Spot Cool Stuff. But they are the sort of product nearly everyone brings on an overnight trip.
And so we thought it was worth mentioning what will become a staple of our own travels: the PakUrDerm travel kit.
At Spot Cool Stuff, almost all our reviews cover products and places we love. Sometimes, though, a product can be so mind boggling terrible that, well, there’s something good about the horribleness of it.
With that attempted explanation we take a break from our usual routine of writing about genuinely cool things and present you with a collection of travel gear you would almost certainly never bring on your next trip—unless you lost a bet.