Time to pack your bags for 2023! A new piece of luggage or backpack makes the perfect gift for the traveler in your life.
From classic suitcases to hybrid packs that can be used both at home and on the road, we’ve compiled a list of the latest and greatest choices for travel luggage.
The Mission Rover ($225) combines the best of two worlds for travelers: the convenient mobility of a backpack (hands free!) with the space and organization of a roller suitcase.
Square in shape, it appears to be a normal backpack at first glance. But instead of loading from the top, it opens up into a full suitcase when laid out, allowing for better organization and a more traditional packing experience than typical backpacks.
Just like a roller, it has an “open book/clam shell” design with two large sections for clothes, two mesh compartments for organizing small items, a dirty laundry/shoe compartment, and a paddled laptop sleeve in the front pocket that makes it easy to remove your computer when going through airport security. It’s a great design for those who prefer the backpack method of travel but need a suitcase that can keep business clothing neatly folded and wrinkle free (regular backpacks often require you to stuff things in unconventionally, for example).
Bonus: Another new product from Mystery Ranch we like is the High Water Flip. It’s not an everyday travel pack like the Mission Rover, but it is completely waterproof and a nice choice for people who commute in wet areas, like the Northwest.
Almost as important as your main suitcase is your accessory backpack. When checking a suitcase, many people carry on a backpack as a personal item (and may do so even when carrying on their main suitcase). What travelers are looking for in this regard is a backpack that is comfortable to wear for many hours, can hold a laptop, organize small items, and, preferably, fit easily under the seat in front of you.
The Gregory Rhune (starting at $110) fits this bill perfectly, beloved for its style, performance, and functionality. Made of recycled fabrics, it has an AirCushion mesh back panel that prevents back sweat during those long airport transfers, and it has an integrated shoulder harness pocket, top zippered quick-access pocket, and a laptop sleeve – sometimes internal, sometimes external, depending on the size (the Rhune comes in 20L, 22L, and 25L).
Great for travel, it can also double as an everyday commuter bag, earning it high marks for value and versatility.
All suitcases share the same basic mission as a device to transport your clothes and possessions from one place to another. However, they differentiate themselves here today by their accessories and design traits.
The Gregory Quadro Pro Hardcase ($230) shows its meant for active and adventure travelers with its ActiveShield compartment, meant to keep dirty clothes, shoes, or gear separate from clean clothes, encasing the compartment with anti-microbial technology that prevents odors from building up (or, at least, from being transferred to your clean clothes). The compartment can be removed and cleaned between uses.
It also has a tough polycarbonate shell and TSA approved combination lock (for transporting expensive outdoor gear) and a high-speed USB charging port on the outside of the suitcase, so you can charge your device while waiting for your flight (and laugh at those huddled around the few and far between airport charging stations).
Four wheels allow it to be rolled by your side, removing the need to “drag” it behind you, and it fits easily in the overhead compartment.
One downfall of backpack travel is that makes it difficult to bring along a day pack. When using a roller, you can simply wear your daypack on your back through the airport. But when traveling with a bigger backpack, you’re forced to leave your daypack at home, carry it awkwardly in front, or, some how some way, stuff it into the bigger pack.
A brand-new travel pack from Osprey solves this problem. The Osprey Farpoint 55 ($220) actually incorporates two backpacks into one. A smaller daypack is built into the frame of the bigger pack, allowing you to disconnect it once you reach your destination. This is a great selling point for anyone who likes to travel with a daypack, but especially for those going into outdoor areas for hiking or biking.
The Farpoint 55 meets carry-on requirements, and it comes outfitted with everything you need, including internal organization pockets and laptop sleeves.
If you’re one that likes to be super organized at all times, or gets frustrated having your clothes spread about the hotel room floor, check out the Carry-on Closet ($249) from Solgaard. It has a patented “shelving system” with myriad pockets that allows for optimal separation of clothes and items, making it one of the more unique luggage products on the market.
Here’s how it works: You fill each shelf with your items – maybe one level for undergarments, another for t-shirts, and so on – and then compress them down so they are layered inside the suitcase. Then, once you reach your destination, pull up on the handle to stand up the shelving unit. It will stay upright on its own, allowing you easy access to all your belongings and to avoid having to unpack them into hotel room drawers.
Another interesting option for those living out of their suitcases and prioritizing organization is The Castle ($595), featuring a set of shelves underneath the top lid.
These shelves aren’t packable like the Carry-On Closet above, but they do provide a way to keep items handy without spreading them throughout the hotel room. Four 360-degree wheels make it easy to push alongside you, and the polycarbonate hard shell provides durability.
“I never like to unpack on vacation because I don’t trust the cleanliness of the drawers,” one user said. “The design of this suitcase is amazing. It takes only 2-3 minutes to set up when you get to the hotel and you live out of your suitcase in style. It’s simple to see all of your belongings at a glance.”
If you travel often for work and need to transport both clothes and documents, the Daily Carroy-on ($245) from Away gives you more than a simple laptop sleeve.
It boasts a removable three-compartment accordion filing system that can keep your papers and documents organized, protected, and accessible during travel.
“I was traveling on business and was able not only to carry my files but also pack a complete suit change and toiletries,” one user said. “It opens from the top so I could slide it in front of me and work on the plane.”
The front exterior pocket holds your laptop, making it easy to access when going through security or working on the go. It also has a removeable laundry bag to keep your clean clothes fresh throughout the trip.
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