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Product Review: Briggs & Riley’s Expandable Carry-on Suitcase

SmarterTravel

What Is It: Briggs & Riley’s Baseline Domestic Carry On Expandable Upright.

Price and Where to Buy: $499 from Briggs & Riley’s website.

Pros: Ever packed all your stuff to fit perfectly in a carry-on, only to realize you left no room for souvenirs on the return trip? Enter the Baseline CX bag from Briggs & Riley. This upright wheeled suitcase has a special system that lets you pull two levers to expand the bag by 25 percent when you need more space, and compress it again with the push of a hand when you don’t. Even when it’s expanded to full capacity, the 8″ x 14″ x 21″ bag fits within most airlines’ carry-on limits. The four-wheeled bag glides easily and stays upright no matter how unevenly you pack it, and the retractable handle easily slides to three different heights.

Inside the suitcase are a seemingly unending number of pockets and compartments to keep everything organized. Plus, there are a number of features to keep everything wrinkle-free, including a built-in garment folder with a foam roll bar to keep suits crisp, a mesh panel to compress clothing and stop them from moving around, and a specially designed flat bottom surface (the handle retracts into its own compartment).

Cons: At 8.9 lbs, this bag starts your luggage off at almost 10 lbs. This is something to consider if you’re flying an airline that weighs hand luggage. I used this bag on United and Air New Zealand: It passed as a carry-on for the domestic United flights and the international Air New Zealand flight, but it was weighed and gate-checked for a domestic Air New Zealand flight, and I was chastised for trying to sneak on a bag that weighed more than twice the carry-on allowance. (Okay, yes, that’s partly because of what I packed, but the bag’s weight is not insignificant!)

Also, $499 price tag is definitely a con. However, you get what you pay for. The luggage line comes with a lifetime guarantee, and Briggs & Riley will repair the bag forever even if it is damaged by an airline.

How it Rates:

  • Usefulness: 10/10. I can’t imagine ever using another suitcase again. The expandable and retractable part of this bag is very handy, and the pockets keep everything well organized.
  • Portability: 8/10. Wheel this bag everywhere, from a plane to a train, and it will glide along smoothly without tipping over. However, when it’s time to heft it up stairs or into an overhead compartment, you can feel that 8.9 lbs.
  • Value: 9/10. Pricey, but there’s a lifetime guarantee. The bag will probably pay for itself over a lifetime—plus, you’ll be saving on checked bag fees since this carry-on really holds all you’ll ever need.
  • Durability: 10/10. Every part of this bag, from the aircraft-grade aluminum handle to the self-healing zippers, fiberglass frame, and stain-resistant fabric, seems built to last. And if it doesn’t? There’s always that lifetime guarantee!
  • Cool Factor: 10/10. My travel companions were impressed by my magical expanding bag!

Final Verdict: Worth every penny.

Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at editor@smartertravel.com.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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