Need a New Bag (Larger, Checked Bag) - Recommendations?

knick1959

Level 2 Member
Not a very popular area, but I see some informative older threads, mostly about carry-ons. And I've read these and appreciate the insight. This info may come in handy soon, too.

However, I am looking to replace a large (29") bag that I had to send to the permanent baggage check in the sky. I see lots of bags that look great. Reviews are always mixed; some claim the bag is too big and requires "oversized" fees, zippers or wheels breaking after first use, etc. My wife likes the new spinner wheels, and while nice, I wouldn't mind the classic 2-wheel system. I'm open to either, as long as total height remains reasonable and doesn't impact space inside.

Recommendations?

Ah, one other thing (perhaps a subject all on its own). My previous bag had a strap/clicky thing bolted right on that allowed me to easily piggy-back my carry on to it. THIS was a lifesaver, but it doesn't seem to be all that common. This would be a plus, but I'm also researching aftermarket gizmo solutions and would welcome recommendations here as well.

I checked. In 2006 I bought my previous bag for, at that time, our longest and biggest trip to date - 2 weeks in Alaska (cruise and car). It was my largest bag by Swiss Air and not really cheap, but not that expensive, either (it looked expensive, tho :)). I used it on various trips, but not every one, only the longer ones. So it saw some use, but not 9 years of non-stop travel. I did, however, expect it to last longer than it did. The main zipper was slighly difficult when I left in April for a 25 day South America trip. Of course it decided to really become difficult on our first night in Lima. It didn't help that the Galapagos Island bag handlers had to zip-tie the zipper tightly shut, forcing it into the area I had been avoiding. Oh well, the zipper could be made to work throughout the trip, but it sometimes took me 5-10 minutes to get it opened. However, leaving the Galapagos, the main handle busted on one side. And before we got home, another zipper was destroyed. It WAS a nice looking and previously dependable bag.

Funny, the cheap, junker bag I had long before the SwissAir and used more often is a bit bent at the backbone but still intact and functional. It is, however, a tad smaller than I want at times.

Thanks in advance.
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
I will say, avoid bags without zippers.

I had a hard shell (carbon fiber appearing) bag with an aluminum gasket and briefcase style fasteners holding things closed, and that went south in a couple of trips. No great loss, we got it for less than $45 in one of the little shops by the Yu Gardens in Shanghai (we had them down to RMB280, and then my wife pulls RMB260 out of her wallet and tells the shop owner, "this is all we have left").

In your position, I would do to my local TJ Maxx/Marshall's and look through what they have for Samsonite bags. Measure the inside of your old bag so you get the right size.
 

knick1959

Level 2 Member
In your position, I would do to my local TJ Maxx/Marshall's and look through what they have for Samsonite bags. Measure the inside of your old bag so you get the right size.
Thanks for the reply. I didn't even think of checking TJ Max for luggage. I'd browsed at Target and somewhere else ... and in some airport stores on the way home from SA. Samsonite seems to have Good Stuff (our 2 carry on roller bags are theirs), but picking out one of their 29" online and reading reviews ... well, they weren't bad, but there were enough stories to cause me pause.

I think I do need to (window) shop live to find a bag I like. THEN I'll read up online to see if it still makes sense, and to shop for the best price.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the reply. I didn't even think of checking TJ Max for luggage. I'd browsed at Target and somewhere else ... and in some airport stores on the way home from SA. Samsonite seems to have Good Stuff (our 2 carry on roller bags are theirs), but picking out one of their 29" online and reading reviews ... well, they weren't bad, but there were enough stories to cause me pause.

I think I do need to (window) shop live to find a bag I like. THEN I'll read up online to see if it still makes sense, and to shop for the best price.
Marshalls GCs are typically about 19% off on Raise.com too... the only snag is that they are physical so you need to buy and wait a few days. I think they work across the 'family' of stores.
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
Thanks for the reply. I didn't even think of checking TJ Max for luggage. I'd browsed at Target and somewhere else ... and in some airport stores on the way home from SA. Samsonite seems to have Good Stuff (our 2 carry on roller bags are theirs), but picking out one of their 29" online and reading reviews ... well, they weren't bad, but there were enough stories to cause me pause.

I think I do need to (window) shop live to find a bag I like. THEN I'll read up online to see if it still makes sense, and to shop for the best price.
My curiosity was piqued, so I did a bit of research.

Consumer Reports survey rates Tumi, Kirkland (Costco brand), Briggs & Riley and Eagle Creek the highest for durability, and they got decent to excellent ratings across the board. Samsonite, American Tourister and Delsey got only mediocre ratings. Ricardo and Travelpro got decent ratings across the board.

From looking on Amazon:
  • Briggs & Riley have a lifetime warranty and free repairs.
  • Eagle Creek is looking like the best bang for the buck.
  • Tumi has fallen into the hands of the MBAs who are busy monetizing the brand name by sacrificing quality (which is why you can get their stuff at any kind of a discount).
I'm in and out of TJ Maxx/Marshalls a couple of times a week because my wife likes shopping there, I got a whole kitchen full of Calphalon tri-ply cookware there. I don't think you will find any of the good brands of luggage there. However you will find Tumi gear at Nordstrom Rack and Sak's Off 5th Ave.
 

smittytabb

Moderator
Staff member
I have found some great luggage at TJ Maxx. I really like to have different size bags, so have quite a few various types. I also really like Rick Steves' luggage.
 

smittytabb

Moderator
Staff member
I'm in and out of TJ Maxx/Marshalls a couple of times a week because my wife likes shopping there, I got a whole kitchen full of Calphalon tri-ply cookware there. I don't think you will find any of the good brands of luggage there. However you will find Tumi gear at Nordstrom Rack and Sak's Off 5th Ave.
A bit of a Maxxinista myself. I actually have found some good brands there. I got a gorgeous colorful Britto bag and also some really nice National Geographic luggage.
 

MickiSue

Level 2 Member
Supporter
If you have Bon Ton or Herberger's in your area, check for their nearly constant sales. They frequently have coupons for $50 off a purchase of $100 or more...and, of course, seriously marked down items in the luggage area.

My current suitcase, a carry on size with lots of room, cost me $45, purchased along with a new neck roll pillow, in one such sale. I could have gotten a much more sturdy one, if I was willing to do two wheels. This one was on sale, marked down to $90 from $175. It's a Calvin Klein, of all things, but was light, sturdy enough and had four wheels.

But I knew I'd be walking it through three train stations, on my way from MXP to Vicenza, and wanted it to "walk" alongside me, rather than needing to be dragged behind.
 
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