Getting into a spin over baggage

Our members often muse about baggage, and what makes a good purchase. If you only travel once in a blue moon, spending good cash on a suitcase may not make sense. For instance, if you have looked closely at a Japanese tour group, you will not their baggage often looks similar. That’s because they often just rent a bag for that big trip, saving not only cash, but storage space back home. For the frequent traveller however, it is very much different story. When it comes to selection of a piece of luggage that will do the trick, the devil is often in the detail.

I have always used 2-wheel “upright” type bags (both for larger checked bags and wheel/carry-on. However, most manufacturers are now concentrating on the 4-wheeled “spinner” type designs.

I understand that the 4-wheel design generally means the space inside the bag is more “open” than with 2-wheel design where the wheels take up space inside the bag. However, I am concerned that the wheels on the 4-wheel spinner cases look vulnerable to breaking off when treated the way airline baggage handlers often treat checked bags. I am also concerned that the small wheel size can make it difficult to navigate uneven or rough surfaces, or high-drag surfaces like carpet.

So should it be steer clear of the 4 wheel spinners, or am I just stuck in my old-fashioned ways and need to get onboard with current trends and the future of luggage design?

If luggage is carry on size, having four wheels is probably going to add excess weight while not providing much convenience. Given the weight limits of carry on, you are more likely to carry the bag everywhere than wheel it. Going for a bag without wheels will result in having more of your weight allowance usable for what matters, your actual clothes, toiletries etc.

When it comes to check in size bags, their weight is going to be less of a factor compared to their ease of movement. For many, the freedom of four wheels has come as something of a breath of fresh air in their busy lives.

Four wheeler, any day. Easier to push around on most surface, but less controllable on cobbled streets. I agree that plush carpets can be a bit of a problem, largely because of lower wheel diameter, but more than made up for by generally easier handling.

That newly gained freedom of movement can also have unintended consequences for those new to the experience.

Three of us travelled in Europe with two 2-wheels and one spinner. The spinner was easier around airports, the 2 wheelers easier (and more robust) for streets/subways etc. Also on the tube in London (more than once) have seen spinners end up at the opposite end of the carriage to its owner.

Have you purchased any luggage lately or perhaps your are just contemplating a new purchase? Has a particular design caught your eye, or are their pitfalls to look out for, join the conversation HERE.


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