I travel quite a bit for my business, which means I'm constantly packing and unpacking and that my luggage us usually a carry-on suitcase. And while I don't do many product reviews here, when my friend Erik Deckers reached out with an opportunity to try a Travelpro suitcase, I thought it was a good fit, given my business lifestyle. *
On the road againDuring my busiest time, I can be on the road nearly every week of the month. Even so, the trips rarely last longer than three days, which means I usually don't have to pack too much. There are two caveats: I always pack an odd jacket (that's a sportscoat to those unfamiliar with sartorial-speak) and if I'm speaking, I'll generally pack a suit — with my trademark bow ties, of course.
My requirement in a carry-on bag is that it must have some way of accommodating my suits and jackets, both in terms of size and storage. I'm not the type that simply folds or rolls his suits up and places them in a rectangular box of a suitcase. With such a requirement, I'm fairly picky and haven't found too many carry-ons that actually help me accomplish that.
So when Erik suggested the Crew 10, I was a little hesitant, given its 21" size, which is smaller than my current carry-on. But I was intrigued by the Spinner wheels and Travelpro's claim that they would magnetically align. I've never owned a bag with Spinner wheels, so this was going to be something new.
|The Travelpro Crew 10|
Using the Crew 10The first thing that struck me about the Crew 10 was how light it was. The official specs show it as 7.8 lbs. Without any of my stuff, it was refreshingly lightweight. And yet the material itself felt durable. With three zippers on the outside (one for expanding the main compartment, one external lid pocket, and one smaller compartment for accessories), there are plenty of options for where and how to pack everything you might need.
Inside the bag, I was pleased to find a folded garment bag (more on that in a moment), as well as two zippered pouches and an internal lid pocket. The usual compression straps were there, but there's an interesting innovation with these: you can adjust their location to accommodate whatever it is that you're packing. All too often, I've had straps that didn't quite fit my items, and as a result, clothing wasn't properly secured. With these customizable straps, I don't need to worry about this any more.
Packing the bag really wasn't too much of a problem. My current bag is slightly larger, so I had a little less room to work with, but if done right, it's a matter of fitting all of your items together, not unlike a game of Tetris. For me, one of the secrets is rolling items like undergarments, socks, and even jeans.
I carry a Dopp kit, so my toiletries go in one and and my shoes typically go in the opposite end, with clothes sandwiched between them. On my next trip, I may leave the Dopp kit at home in favor of the side zippered bags — one mesh and one waterproof — that the Crew 10 comes with. I didn't use those on this particular trip.
As I mentioned before, the garment bag inside was a pleasant surprise. On this particular trip, I traveled with one suit, one odd jacket (which I wore on travel days) and three dress shirts. A nylon strap with a snap ensured that the hangers remained together, and the bag neatly zipped up around all of them. When it came time to fold it up, there was a horizontal wire across one section of the bag to help keep the clothes in place.
It was then fairly easy to fit the garment bag into the Crew 10 and secure the compression straps. The only thing I found was that my hangers were nearly too wide for the vertical opening of the suitcase. But the expansion zipper allowed me to fit things in without too much fuss.
Wheels upThe next test was to haul the bag around with me. I found the telescoping handle (officially, the PowerScope aluminum extension handle) to be extend quite smoothly, with a number of adjustable heights. As I pushed the bag alongside me, the handle felt sturdy and the Contour Grip was quite comfortable.
I found the heavily-marketed MagnaTrac self-aligning Spinner wheels to be extremely smooth on hard surfaces. There was absolutely no "autonomous driving" (aka drifting) of the Crew 10 as I made my way through the airport — that is, the luggage remained on course and didn't require constant steering. On carpeted areas, it was a little more difficult to push, but pulling it was no problem. The wheels worked exactly as advertised.
Travelpro says that it is "The choice of flight crews and frequent fliers" and I can see why. Lightweight, durable and easy to use, it was a pleasure to have the Crew 10 along for my trip. I look forward to using it on other similar trips.
* [Disclosure: I was given the Travelpro Crew 10 for this review. No other compensation was provided.]
Product specifications (from the Travelpro site):Crew™ 10 21” Exp. Spinner
Dimensions: L9" x W14" x H21"
• New patented Contour Grip design with TPR touch points specifically engineered for spinner model use.
• Patent-pending MagnaTrac system has self-aligning magnetic dual wheel spinners that ensure luggage rolls in a straight line.
• Patented PowerScope aluminum extension handle minimizes wobble and has multiple stops at 38” and 42.5”.
• High quality nylon fabric with Duraguard coating.
• A unique bottom tray aligns and stabilizes wheels.
• SUPRA™ Zippers Heads have been reinforced to ensure they work reliably over the long haul.
• “Intelligent” compression straps slide the entire length of the bag to suit you packing needs.
• Side wet and mesh zippered pockets.
• Tapered expansion capability of up to 2” on spinner models.
• Leather top and side carry handles.
• Full length front pocket.
• Full length interior lid pocket.
• Limited Lifetime Warranty.
The Crew 10 is available at your local luggage retailer or on Amazon.