There are three things in this world that you just can’t have too much of: vacation days, Cape Cod barbecue-flavored chips, and suitcase pockets.
I have yet to find a company that can provide me with items one or two, but there is a suitcase company that can help me with number three. Genius Pack is a retailer that produces extremely functional, super-modern luggage for tech-savvy travelers. I’d previously tested and enjoyed their High Altitude Flight Bag, a smart seatback-attaching bag with great compartmentalization. But what about their actual luggage?
I tried out the Genius Pack Carry-On, a 22-inch airline-friendly carry-on bag, to see how it measured up to the High Altitude. The carry-on appears traditionally simple, with a soft-sided business-like black exterior. No frivolous bells or whistles appear at first glance—not terribly impressive. But it’s what’s inside that counts.
What I Love:
Holy organization, Batman. In addition to a pretty roomy interior, the Genius Pack features an integrated garment suiter that folds neatly into the main part of the bag. There is also a pocket for a miniature travel umbrella and another for a water bottle and yet another for magazines; an exterior compartment on the top includes space for a smartphone and the Genius Pack mobile charger as well. Inside the bag are several more compartments of varying size: perfect for electronics, cords, socks, or other small items. But the Genius Pack’s neatest feature is a compressable laundry pocket. The pocket and its contents (hidden in the interior wall of the bag) can be compressed with a small air valve, meaning no more balled-up dirty laundry for return trips. Other suitcases contain laundry bags, but this unique laundry technology is novel—and space-saving.
Additionally, the bag seems to be very high-quality. What it lacks in, say, fancy leather finishing or bright candy colors, it makes up for in the “actually useful” category. Again, that laundry pocket.
What I Could Lose:
I have two gripes with this bag, neither of which is a deal breaker but are still important to note. First of all, the bag is just over seven pounds, which puts it squarely in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to carry-on bag weights. The truly lightweight models come in at three to five pounds, and most bags seem to fall somewhere between six and nine pounds. Seven pounds for a carry-on isn’t bad but it’s not ideal if you’re looking to travel truly lightweight.
The second tiny gripe is more a matter of personal preference. Ever since I got a four-wheeled spinner bag several years ago, I’ve become an ardent fan. They roll easier in airports and I like not having to tilt my bag to drag it behind me. Every in-line-wheeled carry-on I’ve tried since pales in comparison to its spinner-wheeled counterparts.
This Genius Pack has, of course, in-line wheels. And they’re fine. They’re quiet and smooth and seem sturdy after two trips. (In fact, the whole bag seems pretty durable at this price point.) But they’re not spinner wheels, and if you’re like me, that’s a small checkmark in the “con” column. There is a spinner model called the Genius Packer but it’s significantly heavier at 8.6 lbs.
At its full price of $318, this carry-on bag may be a little bit pricey, and if you’re not likely to travel with lots of technology, doodads, and odds and ends, you may not be interested. But if you find yourself in need of a little organization, the Genius Pack is a great option. (It’s also currently on sale for $218, if that sweetens the deal.)
(Photos: Genius Pack)
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