TravelTravel Advice

The Best Luggage of 2018

(Photo: Inga Hendrickson)
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Packs, duffels, and rollers that shake off abuse.

luggage
(Photo: Courtesy Victorinox)

Victorinox Swiss Army Lexicon Hardside Global Carry-On ($460)

VSA’s 34-liter carry-on is the ultimate hard-sided, four-wheel roller. For those who value their belongings (and who doesn’t?), the 100 percent polycarbonate shell is virtually indestructible. The Lexicon is slim, so it fits easily in overhead storage, yet it doesn’t sacrifice interior space, thanks to efficiently designed handles and wheel wells. Compression straps and mesh pockets keep toiletries and other small items secure, and a waterproof divider pocket is useful for damp bathing suits and yesterday’s skivvies. The Lexicon has plenty of bells and whistles, including a hardy lock and a USB port you can connect to a third-party battery pack for recharging devices on the go. Not to mention that your purchase includes free registration in VSA’s bag-tracking program, which assigns your suitcase an ID number and provides a 24-hour, toll-free number that whoever finds it can call to have it routed back to you. Naturally, since it’s a Swiss Army bag, there’s a multitool hidden in the handle. (We used the toothpick-size pen to fill out paperwork at customs.) But more than anything else, we were sold on the Lexicon’s puncture-resistant zippers and polycarbonate construction. This bag will be with you for decades—it’s that well made.

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luggage
(Photo: Courtesy Filson)

Filson Dryden 2-Wheel Carry-On ($295)

Best weekender

In step with Filson’s Seattle origins, the Dryden is at once rugged and sophisticated, weatherproof and handsome, city-worthy and adventure-ready. With 36 liters of capacity, this roller combines lightweight, water-repellent ballistic nylon with leather accents and off-road-capable, molded plastic-composite wheels that rolled with equal ease across rocky driveways in Hawaii and the snowy resort towns of British Columbia. Nylon cinch straps on the front ­allowed us to compress and expand the bag’s size as needed, and the large ex­terior pocket was perfect for stashing last-minute items without having to open the main compartment.

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luggage
(Photo: Courtesy Timbuk2)

Timbuk2 Quest Rolling Duffel ($199)

Best soft roller 

On an eight-day trip in Kauai, the 48-liter Quest stood up to everything we threw at it while oozing quality craftsmanship. The coated-nylon exterior is water-resistant, and the bag tips the scales at just 5.5 pounds—even with burly zippers, reinforced handles, and double-stitched seams. Handles on all sides help it function perfectly as a duffel. But if you don’t feel like toting it around, the Quest has two large wheels that rumble over anything and a sturdy double-pole handle system. A shoe pocket fits a pair of sneakers and two pairs of flip-flops, and mesh inner pockets swallow smaller items. If that isn’t enough, the Quest also comes with a lifetime warranty.

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luggage
(Photo: Courtesy Douchebag)

Douchebag Carryall 40L ($179)

Best duffle-pack crossover

The 40-liter Carryall is both the perfect oversize pack and, with a tuck of the straps, the quintessential duffle. Mesh pockets inside the back plate and at the top (for headphones and other accessories), plus a separate spot for shoes, give it nearly the same packing capacity as a bag 30 percent larger. Testers liked the durable construction, comfortable straps, padded back plate, abundant pockets, and sleek, minimalist styling (the brand was founded by Jon Olsson, a Norwegian product designer and professional skier). Despite the company’s unfortunate name, this has become our favorite bag for everything from short, gear-intensive trips to longer jaunts that call for traveling light.

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