Finding the Right Suitcase

Everybody has their own favorite type of suitcase. A few months ago, I decided I needed to get a new one. I have a small 18″ Lipault that I like…


Lipault 18″ 4-wheel bag

…but once my trip went beyond a week or so, it became too jam-packed. My other bag, which I thought was small when I went on my round the world trip…which was this 27” Victorinox…

Victorinox 27" bag (seems huge to me now)

Victorinox 27″ bag

…now seems huge to me!

My requirements for a new bag were…

#1. It had to be small enough to meet the carryon requirements for both domestic and international flights.

#2. I didn’t want a lot of compartments in the bag. They take up room, add weight to the bag, and never quite work for my needs. I prefer to instead pack with packing cubes and other packing containers that work specifically for me.

#3. It had to be lightweight….because I’ll now need to lift it into the overhead while everyone sits and watches to see if I can do it (I hear some of you laughing….been there, huh?)

#4. It couldn’t be Black, or hot pink.

I first searched online looking at as many different brands as I could find. I read and compared each bag’s specifications, narrowing it down to a Briggs & Riley 21 inch bag. Their bags used to be sturdy, but too heavy (I had a few of those in their time, and loved them), but they were now making more light weight bags (but read on…).

I then went to Altman’s on Orchard Street in NYC, an iconic discount luggage store which carries just about anything. The purpose of my trip there was to actually get a feel for the different bags and to price compare.

They had a new bag that I had not seen online which was made by the same Paris company, Lipault, as my 18″ bag.  I hemmed and hawed because it didn’t look much bigger than the one I had. But the “capacity” indicated it would hold 25% more.

Side by side (new bag on left)

Side by side (new bag on left)

I didn’t believe it, so I asked for a tape measure, got out my calculator and did the math myself. And, yep, it came out to 25% additional capacity. So I bought it at Altman’s, at a price that was lower than anything I’d priced online. (No, neither Altman’s nor Lipault is a sponsor of my blog).

All packed and ready to go!

All packed and ready to go!

And here is how it lined up to my needs:

#1. Its dimensions are 20.5”x16”x9” (45.5 total linear inches), which meets most airlines carry-on requirements.

New bag next to larger Victorinox bag

New bag next to Victorinox bag

#2. It has a minimum of zipper compartments…one on outside and one on inside of flap, which I’ve found useful, and one little zipper compartment on the back wall of the bag which I could do without.

#3. It weighs a mere 5.25 lbs…less than anything else I’d looked at…even lighter than their smaller bag that I already owned. (The Briggs & Riley weighed in at 9.3lbs, and, in person, it actually felt awkward).

#4. Well, it is black…at the time, the only other color they had was purple, which was too much like hot pink.

I love it.   I took it on my three week trip to Greece, and together with the new smaller, slimmer backpack I bought last year…

New suitcase/smaller backpack

New suitcase/smaller backpack

… I had everything I needed.

So determine what you require in a bag; do some research; try the bag out before buying it; and Bon Voyage!


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