Hardside luggage is growing in popularity both for its durability and its style. Speck Travel has an impressive range of luggage that meets the needs of business travelers or those taking long adventures. Despite not being able to travel overseas for long periods of time, I was able to use the Speck Travel 29-Inch Upright bag on some regional road trips. It offered impressive space and organization, especially for the kind of bag that you would have to check when traveling by air.
Experienced travelers know that when you check your luggage, it is going to get beat up. Bags are exposed to all kinds of forces: the elements like rain and snow, constant handling as it gets tossed from conveyor belt to conveyor belt, and brunt forces as other bags slam against it. The hard-shell, polycarbonate exterior can handle a beating, and I would imagine that the eventual scruffs and scratches this bag could get from constant travel would give it a sort of well-worn character.
The bags come in three sizes: a 22-inch carry-on and two larger 26-inch and 29-inch checked bags. For someone who is not used to large bags, I was surprised at how much space it had inside. It measures 29 inches high by 21 inches wide by 13 inches deep and weights just over 11 pounds when empty.
This weight is not out of line with what other hard-shell bags weigh, but it does mean that you will have to balance the protective bonus of a hard shell with the heavier weight that they usually have (we’re looking at you heavy packers). While I was worried that my bag would become overweight quickly, it did not (although that does not matter on a road trip anyway). I was able to fit multiple pairs of shoes, clothes, books, and other snack items reasonably filling the bag to its maximum without it being over 50 pounds. Crisis averted!
I really liked the matte finish look that the exterior of the bag has. It also has a TSA-approved lock in case security needs to rummage through your dainties after you have checked your bag in for a flight. Bag locks are also especially important when traveling by train or public transportation.
It is easy to roll this bag along the sidewalk or through an airport terminal thanks to its four sturdy wheels and a retractable handle that can be adjusted based upon a person’s height. The wheels spin 360 degrees (a feature I really love in a bag) and are designed to absorb the shock of bags being thrown or tossed around. Since wheels are usually the most common thing to break on a bag, Speck offers a lifetime warranty on damage due to quality issues.
The bag unzips to the side with a deep main compartment and three zippers for organizing smaller items. I like to separate electronics, medication, and other small items that can easily get lost that way. It also makes it easier to grab something in a hurry (like when you get to a hotel and your room is not ready, but you need something from your bag).
A mesh divider separates everything so you can still see what is in your bag even when things are organized into compartments. I like to keep shoes and dirty laundry separated from the rest of my belongings.
One of the dividers inside the Upright bag has clasps that attach to the other side of the bag. This helps to keep things from shifting around in the bag, especially helpful to avoid wrinkled clothes when you arrive.
The Speck Travel 29-Inch Upright bag retails for $250 on the Speck Travel website. Its smaller versions are priced lower, and there are many different color options.