THE GEAR • February 2018
A suitcase is just a suitcase, yes? Not any more – the once humble travel bag is getting wise. Avid tech traveller Derek Adams rounds up the most innovative luggage systems on the carousel
The new app-connected Bluesmart Series 2 Cabin 22in (£350) is already one of the most popular tech-laden, carry-on cases and features a remote locking system, GPS and 3G tracking, digital scales and an updated, airline-compliant LiPo battery for charging a multitude of devices, including new-generation laptops. This recently launched model loses the handy laptop front pouch, but gains 25 per cent more packing space (38 litres) and an excellent compression system. And, at 55.5 x 35.5 x 23cm, it meets most airlines’ cabin baggage requirements, including British Airways.
The makers of the TraxPack carry-on ($298) appear to have solved the issue of dragging a suitcase up stairs by installing low-profile tractor treads on the case’s underside that reduce friction and protect the shell from excessive scratches. The innovations don’t stop there: aside from the obligatory device-charging port, it also has a built-in luggage scale that displays the weight on the handle, and a unique tilting handle that helps when pulling the case upstairs and enables 360˚ manouevres with little effort. Available in early 2018.
The snazzy iOS-compatible Raden A22 Carry (£250) cabin case comes with a built-in device charger, location tracking and integrated scales, plus its minimalist design is pleasing to the eye. The Raden is made from tough but flexible material and fitted with smooth-running wheels. Granted, the telescopic pull handle is a bit rickety and there’s no handle on the side, but at just 3.8kg, it’s relatively light to carry and comes with two easily accessible USB ports.
If you want an attractive and tough cabin case with device-charging facilities and a superb compression packing system, look no further than the Away Bigger Carry-On (£245). A slightly smaller carry-on model is also available but, at 57.5 x 37 x 24cm, this version allows you to pack in enough gear for up to seven days of travel and, amazingly, it fits all international airlines’ carry-on sizing boxes. The small internal battery provides enough juice for up to five iPhone charges and can be easily removed if required.
The innovative LAT_56 Red-Eye (£249) shoulder case solves the suit-packing conundrum by using the tried-and-tested garment-rolling method. Its Saville Row-endorsed ‘Suit Packing System’ comprises a torso-shaped hanger and garment bag that hold the suit in place while you roll it up into a tight package. When you arrive, simply unfurl the bag and hang it up in the hotel room’s wardrobe. The rest of your clothes go into the additional kit chamber. The Red-Eye is 55cm long and weighs a shade over a kilo, but it’s easy to carry, superbly designed and tough as a boot. Arguably the most sophisticated and practical suit-carrying solution on the market.