Suggestions for small piece of luggage I could check
September 6, 2012 5:18 PM   Subscribe

What is a small piece of luggage I could check and reasonably expect to survive the journey? Looking for brand suggestions as well.

I want to carry-on most of my items for a trip to the Middle East, but certain things, including my pocketknife and some extra toiletries, will need to be checked due to TSA regulations. Maybe some extra clothes or a little-ish pillow will go in the bag too, but that part isn't so important. I would like to keep to a small, soft-sided or semi-rigid bag, with no wheels.

The bag needs to be sturdy, probably a duffel. I'd rather not pay more than $50. I have some very expensive carry-on bags, which are actually suitable in size but too nice to subject to the conveyer belt. So I would like something that will protect my things but not so nice it would make me cry if it comes out rain-soaked, streaked with grease, or even ripped. (All of these things have happened to my checked luggage on previous trips.)

Any suggestions? Thanks!
posted by bchaplin to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
LLBean's duffle is a nice but not too expensive solid piece of luggage. It comes in small and medium, the latter just hitting your $50 limit. The shoulder strap is removable (and you should probably remove for when it's checked). Overall, it would be my recommendation.
posted by brainmouse at 5:26 PM on September 6, 2012

Have you checked the warranties on your expensive bags? Many brands offer lifetime guarantees and will repair/replace damaged bags regardless of cause. For example, Briggs & Riley do this and their stuff is pretty much bombproof to begin with.

Before you spend any money, it's worth checking out. I have to caution you, though, there is a value curve to baggage, and sub-$50 may be lacking in the quality department. (On preview, LLBean has a good guarantee, so that should be fine, if it's big enough for your needs.)
posted by ambrosia at 5:28 PM on September 6, 2012

My apologies in advance about the prices, but after purchasing my first product from Saddleback, I won't buy any other type of luggage/bag/briefcase/etc again.
posted by matty at 5:35 PM on September 6, 2012

I was going to recommend a duffle. That LL Bean one looks nice, I got a cheap one from Eddie Bauer many years ago that worked out pretty well. It was similar to this.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:41 PM on September 6, 2012

Seconding LL Bean's duffle. I've had one for fifteen years that it's been my primary piece of luggage.
posted by supercres at 5:53 PM on September 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks so far! I was eyeing the L.L.Bean one and am glad to hear the recommendations. I'd forgotten about Eddie Bauer and am also checking out their stuff.

Matty, the Saddleback bags look beautiful, but a little too beautiful! This is my problem. I become too protective about the bags I buy and then I don't want to check them.
posted by bchaplin at 5:57 PM on September 6, 2012

The best carry one duffel I ever had was about 12 dollars and came from Target. It was just some random duffel they had for sale and that thing took a beating. I finally got rid of it because it looked so awful though it was still functional. Take a look at similar stores, because at 12 dollars, I never worried about if it got ripped or torn. Who cares, just throw it out.
posted by raccoon409 at 6:28 PM on September 6, 2012

Mod note: Folks OP is not anon. If you want to lobby hard for something that doesn't fit this criteria, feel free to MeMail them. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:32 PM on September 6, 2012

Everest 20" duffel. 14$ (before shipping), is extremely sturdy except for the outside mesh pockets (I might just cut them off in advance, they are non-essential), comes in other sizes if that's not the exact one you want.
posted by anaelith at 6:34 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have one of this Samsonite set and bought individually on sale, you can get them pretty cheap. I do not take care of my luggage and overfill it, chuck random things in and drag it around potholed streets etc. I have as a result over the years bought a lot of cheap luggage, replacing them. An ex-air stewardess friend told me to try the Samsonites and it is awesome. I love it so much. I am slowly replacing the rest of our crappy luggage bits with Samsonite, and would seriously consider them for an ordinary day bag.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:09 AM on September 7, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks again for the great suggestions!! Going to the L.L. Bean store (and maybe Target too) to look at some of the offerings.

(I don't like marking 'best answers' to questions. I appreciate all the advice.)
posted by bchaplin at 4:34 AM on September 8, 2012

Response by poster: Yep, definitely the L.L. Bean small duffel. I saw it in the store and was very impressed. Ordering online because they have more colors available.
posted by bchaplin at 8:37 AM on September 8, 2012

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