On The Professor's recent 66-day tour to Paris, Normandy, Ireland, Scotland and Norway, he packed up his trusty REI Wheely Beast model. Upon arrival in Paris, the wheel broke. Although it could still be rolled through the airport and through the streets of Europe it was now known as the "Noisy Beast".
When The Professor returned home, he called REI about having it repaired. To make a long story short, it could not be repaired. Then he asked about the "Lifetime Warranty" under which the luggage was purchased. It seems "Lifetime Warranty" pertains to the lifetime of the luggage, not the person owning it. That sounds like hardly any warranty at all. In The Professor's opinion, the term "lifetime warranty" was used by REI in a misleading way. On the other hand, my Eddie Bauer backpack has been replaced once, with no questions asked, when some of the fabric tore. So, with that said, I can't recommend any REI products if they are purchased with the impression that they are warranted for the owner's lifetime. Eddie Bauer products, in The Professor's experience, have a true lifetime warranty.
So, it was time to search for luggage. After much searching The Professor decided to purchase the OGIO Layover Travel Bag on Amazon.com for $199 (now on sale for $159). This is what appealed to The Professor:
- Storage Capacity: It is expandable, it has two large outside pockets. Inside it has 2 compartments to separate things like dirty and clean clothes.
- It is Classifed as a Carry-On: The Professor put it in the overhead bin on 5 recent flights he took.
- Easy to Handle: There are handles all over the place on this thing. It's great for pulling it out of spaces like airline overhead bins, closets, and car trunks. The wheels make it a smooth, quiet and easy roll. It weighs about 8 pounds. The Professor rolled it through airports and hotels, on cobblestones, and up and down concrete steps.
- Comes in Five Great Colors/Styles: Some are kind of funky (makes it easy to find your luggage and less likely for someone else to mistakenly grab it) or in standard colors.
- Pricing: The OGIO Layover Travel Bag was priced well at $199. However, some models can be found for $159 on Amazon.
The only thing that it was missing was a sleeve to put documents like itineraries, hotel reservations, pamphlets, and flyers in.
Now since The Professor was in the mood for a new carry-on luggage, it was time to ditch the old Eddie Bauer backpack. The Professor was happy with it, but it was kind of roughed up after so many years of travel. It was decided to purchase the matching color OGIO International OGIO Gambit Pack. The Professor loved these features:
- Large main compartment. The total storage is more than 30 liters. About 10% more than the Eddie Bauer model.
- The dedicated fleece-lined top loading laptop compartment fit The Professor's 11-inch laptop, but it can easily do a 15-incher.
- Integrated foam panels keep your electronics and other valuables protected
- Padded iPad/tablet/e-reader pocket
- Crush proof Tech Vault pocket with soft tricot liner. This is great for storing eyeglasses and other delicate items.
- HUB (Hybrid Unibody Backpanel) for ultimate comfort
- Padded mouse/digital camera pocket
- Increased shoulder strap foam padding creates Sweet Spot comfort zone
- Fully adjustable ergonomic shoulder straps with molded protection zone
- Two zippered side utility pockets
- Dual side water bottle/accessory holders
- Deluxe organization panel with zippered stash pocket
- Soft touch padded neoprene grab handle
But the best part of this backpack is the luggage handle pass through. That means the pull handle from the OGIO Layover Travel Bag can be placed through a sleeve on the OGIO International OGIO Gambit Pack so that they can both be pulled easily and securely as shown in this blog post photo. But even better, when I am at the airport or hotel counter, I don't need to take a backpack off to sort through it for travel papers, it securely stands on top of the backpack and makes it easy to access everything in the outer pockets like papers, eyeglasses, pens, etc. It is the best feature of the backpack.
Buy the backpack here
Buy the luggage here