State of the Art


May 15, 2006
Outside Magazine

Air travel has rebounded since 9/11, and the increased handling due to extra security measures borders on abuse. Manufacturers are responding with molded corner protectors, curb plates, and other wear-point reinforcements—as well as cleaner designs that reduce straps and webbing that can snag on carousels.

Stop losing half your weight allowance to lead-bottom luggage. Taking a cue from the outdoor industry, designers have shaved pounds off old-school duffels with lighter handles, wheels, and chassis systems.

High-tech weatherproofing—better fabrics and welded seams—is migrating to luggage. Now, the best of these duffels can ride out a rainstorm. The technology jacks up the price, but as popularity grows, look for the cost to drop below the current $300 base.

The best new all-conditions wheels go way beyond curb-to-gate duty: They're a boon to travelers who like to drag their duffels to spots normally reserved for mountain bikes.

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