Summer travel peak season is officially here, and that means longer lines at the airport, overbooked hotel capacity and competing with the masses to nab the affordable getaway.
Whether you’re flying internationally for work, taking a quick weekend roadtrip with friends or simply unplugging and relaxing in the comfort of your own city , finding the right luggage is vital to having a pleasant travel experience.
As airlines continue to increase fees for checked luggage (not to mention the likely possibility of getting stuff lost), carry-on bags that can fit nicely in overhead compartments have become the only alternative for travelers. Check out some of this summer’s most stylish carry-on luggage.
The International Jetsetter: If you’re spending a solid amount of time this summer in airport terminals, then Antler’s Cyberlite Suitcase ($200) is bound to become your best friend. This ultra-lite suitcase weights just over 5 pounds and is designed with the international jetsetter in mind. The built-in TSA fixed combination lock keeps your most important stuff safe while still accessible to air safety inspections. The Cyberlite also has silent “easy glide” wheel mobility to help you dash across the terminal, although this makes the suitcase prone to sliding from side to side and out of your control, so make sure to keep a firm handle.
The Urban Explorer: Want to escape from the city’s hectic schedule by exploring grand urban forests like Central Park in New York or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco? Stroll in style with Fjällräven’s Kanken backpacks ($55 – $110). These colorfully bright bags can hold anything from a picnic blanket to a 17-inch laptop. The company is based in Sweden, and it’s easy to see their design sensibility across all their casual outdoor gear. Although it’s easy to see why Californians would fall in love with the Kanken collection. The backpacks certainly make a street style statement but are also great to bring along with you for a day in Yosemite, a beach bonfire in Santa Cruz or a desert storm at Coachella.
The Versatile Backpacker: I always feel bad for teams on Amazing Race who opt for bringing wheeled luggage bags. Sometimes you just need to strap that thing on and run. Even if you’re not participating in a globetrotting reality show, imagine rolling a wheeled suitcase through the cobble stoned streets in Europe (or even in NY’s Bond Street)? Eagle Creek‘s latest The Morphus 22 ($395 – available in stores on July 1) solves the problem by giving you two bags in one. You can unzip the rolling tote, pull it in half and tah dah! You’ve got yourself a hard-backed wheeled suitcase and a separate backpack.
The Stylish Techie: If you’re looking for a fashionable way to carry your iPad across town or around the globe, then look no further than HEX’s Laptop Duffel Bags ($100) and Messenger Bags ($80). HEX has several stylish collections to choose from. Personally I prefer the Fleet collection (left) because of the genuine tan leather accents and cool school look. However, the recently-released Cabana collection (right) with the canvas straps is definitely more fitting for summer. All of HEX’s Messenger Bags come with a water-resistant “PadPort,” so you can use your iPad or tablet without having to remove the device from the bag.
The Heavy Duty Adventurer: Although it fits nicely in overhead compartments, Filson’s Wheeled Carry-On Bag ($535) was built for heavy duty travel. I’m talking treks through the Grand Canyon and up Mount Everest. “Built like a tank,” Filson claims. Last time I was waiting in the airline security line with this bag, the woman behind me asked how I liked it. “It looks like… it will last a lifetime,” she said. Pretty soon, strangers were all admiring my tank of a carry-on. When I mentioned that it was made by Filson, the crowd nodded in non-surprise. Filson is a brand that, just like the gear, has been built to last.
The Carefree Staycationer: Sometimes you don’t need to jump on an airplane to have some time to yourself. My work schedule has become so hectic that I just appreciate some time off to unplug and relax. Even going to the gym has become a thing of weekend leisure. Crumpler’s Rainy Season duffel bag ($75) is simple, lightweight and doesn’t overwhelm you with useless compartments. It’s perfect for carrying around the city carefree, or tossing in the back of the trunk for the casual roadtrip. If the pink is too manly for ya, the bag will soon be available in single colors.
BOY TOYS TALK BACK: What are the bags, backpacks or carry-ons that you can’t live without this summer?