Looking for Luggage That's EMPTY Before I Put Stuff In It
February 7, 2017 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Seems to me the best luggage would be an empty rectangle, without all the pockets, straps, dividers and other space-taking doodads that pretty much all luggage has. I.e., more room for my stuff. I'm in the market for such a thing. Preferably two-wheeled and U.S. carryon size. More often than not, though, it will be checked or gate checked. Bonus points if it has a little buddy box that slides down over the handle. That's what I'll really carry on.
posted by justcorbly to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I really like eBags hardsided spinners, in combination with their packing cubes.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2017

I have a 14 year-old Briggs and Riley carry-on, similar to this current model. It has been absolutely bullet-proof, has an outside handle to maximize interior space, is expandable, and you can remove the suiter so you essentially have an empty rectangle inside.
posted by Vek at 8:11 AM on February 7, 2017

I have several Briggs & Riley bags like the linked one. Can confirm most everything inside can be removed so you are left with just a box. The inserts are nice too if you want them. Briggs & Riley are expensive but they genuinely honor their lifetime warranty.

(Avoid Tumi. They used to be good but are not any more.)
posted by Nelson at 8:16 AM on February 7, 2017

I have an Eagle Creek no matter what carry on. And the larger one too. Doesn't come with a slide on bag (and you can find it waaaaay cheaper than the eagle Creek website
posted by atomicstone at 9:10 AM on February 7, 2017

The Samsonite F'lite suitcase is basically an empty shell with no liner or anything. The older one I have has nothing but two straps inside it but it seems to new ones have a single divider to hold stuff in the lid. The one I have is a seriously sturdy case. And it's pretty empty.
posted by GuyZero at 9:28 AM on February 7, 2017

nthing Briggs and Riley. I treated myself to one with an exterior handle when I got a gig that required 20 international flights in a year, and it never let me down.
posted by Beardman at 9:53 AM on February 7, 2017

My Briggs and Riley is 20 years old, and this past weekend was the first time I've ever had trouble with it. (The handle needs jiggling to retract). I bought a 2nd cheaper one at some point, and it's already dead.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 10:06 AM on February 7, 2017

I also prefer the kind of luggage you describe. I buy it by going to a discount retailer, like Marshall's or Ross and looking through their selection. I can find them for about $25-$30 or less. The last one I had lasted 8 years. The current one I've had for 3 years. I bought the kind of bag that slips over the handle separately from the same store for about $10, because I don't care if they match. At these prices, I don't care how long the pieces last, but I've generally found them to be durable.
posted by OrangeDisk at 10:27 AM on February 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

LL Bean's duffle bags are just bags with wheels, no pockets (maybe one exterior one) or doo-dads.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:04 AM on February 7, 2017

My carry-on from Costco is pretty much what you ask for. Hard shell, no dividers. The whole thing is lined in shiny polyester fabric, one side has a zippered cover over it largely so you can close it without dumping the contents of that side. The other has some straps at the top and bottom to hold the stuff on that side down. If you really wanted to, I suppose you could tear all that out and have a plastic box. Doing so wouldn't really gain you much aside from removing that barrier at the halfway point.

It came with a bigger version of the same thing, and when I busted the handle of the big one the first time I used it flying to NYC, I went to the Costco in Manhattan and they gave me another one.

I also use the eBags packing cubes, and some other things that squish my pants and shirts into flatpacks.
posted by chazlarson at 5:33 PM on February 7, 2017

The best luggage I ever had for the sort of thing you describe had the extendable handle on the outside of the bag, rather than the inside. The bag opened such that one of the large sides basically unzipped, none of this unzipping in the middle thing that's so common. This was especially nice because not as much floor/shelf space was needed to open the bag. I miss it.

I wish I had an example of one for sale to link to, but keeping an eye out for those general features may help. You might want to try Ross or even thrift stores -- I imagine many people have gotten rid of them for the more modern four wheel spinner bags.

Keep in mind that if there are interior pockets you don't want, they can always be removed. If you want this to look professional and not like you just cut them off with scissors, any decent luggage repair shop should be able to do that.
posted by yohko at 9:52 PM on February 7, 2017

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