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Tray Table? USB Charger? In a Suitcase? Yes.

SmarterTravel

My grandmother—who is 95 and still feisty—recently told me a story of travel in the late 1920s. She and her family took a car trip, and lashed their suitcases to the outside rear of the car. There was a huge storm while they were driving, and when they got out, the suitcases (which were made of cardboard, which she insists was fairly standard then) had melted into a pulp that mixed with their clothing and glued everything to the side of the car.

Clearly, suitcases have come a long way in the last century. No suitcase I’ve seen lately makes that point more assertively than the Barracuda, a carry-on currently in its Kickstarter phase and scheduled to launch in Fall 2015.

It’s got a lot of unusual features. Most revolutionary is that it’s a hard-sided suitcase that can be collapsed flat for storage. According to the company, the bag can be collapsed down in 10 seconds. Even at double the time, it’s appealing to anyone who has recently sustained an injury while trying to remove a suitcase from a precarious stack of bags in a closet. (Me. Earlier today.)

My favorite feature is the built-in tray that folds out from the telescoping handle. Barracuda sells it as a laptop table, but to me it looks like the perfect picnic platform. There’s an ergonomic swivel handle that seems ideal for navigating the obstacle course that is the average airport. The bag’s top hinges so you can discretely get something out without flashing the entire contents of your suitcase. There’s also location tracking and a USB charger. The only downside I see is its weight, which is a little over eight pounds (though the company says it’s working to reduce that in the final version of the suitcase); but plenty of people find anything under 10 pounds a totally reasonable weight for a suitcase.

While you can’t buy the suitcase yet, by pledging $145 or more to the Kickstarter campaign, you can reserve one for its November launch. Barracuda is estimating the retail price at $480, so being an early investor clearly has its benefits. Note that with any Kickstarter campaign, there’s always a chance of the project failing to launch, so there’s an element of risk involved.

(Photo: Barracuda)

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