Known for its high-quality travel bags that can stand up to even the most rigorous of crazed airline baggage handlers, Briggs & Riley has developed a more casual line of bags with a more rugged look. The BRX collection is meant for high, active performance while still keeping a sleek, durable look.
I tested the 20″ wide bag. It is wider than other carryon bags by a couple of inches, but it is also shorter giving it the edge for a variety of airline overhead compartment sizes. The bag weighs about 7 pounds when empty, which makes it light although not as light as others out there. What this bag packs in an extra pound or two though is more than worth it.
Inside there is a unique type of compression panel that keeps clothes wrinkle-free and separated from other things inside the bag. A series of pockets keep things organized including an easily accessible laptop sleeve pouch that is padded for extra protection. There is also a wet and dry pocket that keeps damp clothes like bathing suits or even umbrellas separated from the rest of your items. An exterior zippered pocket is great for quick stowage of all kinds of things from jackets and sweaters to newspapers and magazines.
These days, I am a fan of the rolling four wheel bags because they can pivot and swirl at the flick of a wrist reducing the effort it takes to pull a heavy bag. This bag has two wheels (although Briggs & Riley has its own series of four-wheeled bags on its website) that are both very sturdy and encased in a solid shell that prevents them from breaking or fusing together like the Brookstone Dash bag tends to do with frequent use (on one occasion, the wheel on the Dash bag jammed within 24 hours of removing it from its box).
The soft exterior gives this bag a classic, cozy look that differentiates it from the standard black bags many people use. It comes in a variety of colors including slate, ocean, amber, and lava and has handles on the top and side. In addition, the retracting vertical handle is very sturdy (some bags’ handles jiggle to the point that I think they are going to break at the worst possible moment). An external buckle also allows travelers to snap a small briefcase or duffel bag to roll alongside this larger bag. There is a tapered expansion that zips off allowing more space or less weight as needed.
Priced at $240-300 available at Briggs & Riley’s website, Zappos, or Amazon, it is a great option for a high-quality bag that can be used everyday making it a competitive choice against equivalents from Tumi or Hartmann.