Since my earliest business travel days almost a decade ago I’ve been a big fan of Eagle Creek packing cubes. I’d also always heard good things about their luggage, a perennial reader favorite, but never had any experience with it myself. Then last fall Eagle Creek sent me one of their newest bags to try out—the Adventure Pop Top Carry-On. Here are my thoughts.
The concept. The idea behind the Pop Top Carry-On intrigued me from the moment I saw it. It can be a full sized rollaboard that fits within most US airline size requirements. Or it can be half the size, basically a wheeled tote that fits under the seat in front of you. There is a pocket where the top compartment basically collapses and is zipped up, creating the smaller size.
Size and weight. Even with the extra zippers and compartments required for a bag that partially collapses, this bag weighs around 5 lbs—a full two pounds less than my beloved Victorinox (which I always thought was incredibly light). When both compartments are fully utilized it is 22inx14inx9in. I haven’t had any trouble fitting it into overhead bins so far. It also fits underneath airline seats, even in smaller planes.
(Note: the official Eagle Creek specs list the suitcase as weighing 5lbs11oz, but when I weighed it at home it was only 4lbs8oz. Also, while the Eagle Creek website lists the dimensions as 22x14x9 Amazon lists them as 21.9×15.3×10.9.)
Capacity. There are two short compartments that each take up half of the suitcase. As a rolling tote the capacity is 1700 cubic inches, and when expanded fully it’s 2750 cubic inches. I have been able to pack for three days in the rolling tote alone when I use a packing cube. The main way I have utilized the top compartment is as a place to hold my boots and winter coat when I’m on a trip but not using them.
Pockets and interior. There are more pockets than I expected. Two external pockets and two internal—more than enough for my needs. I also like how the bottom compartment (the one I use the most) can be accessed both from the front and the top, allowing you to use every inch of space efficiently.
Handling. I would rate the handling on this suitcase a B+. It works perfectly fine for normal travel, but is not as smooth as my Victorinox.
Bonus. I love that if you are using it as a rolling tote in addition to another full-sized suitcase there is a strap for sliding it over your suitcase handle. Also, the handle extends to longer than what I’m used to, which as a tall person I really appreciate.
Bottom line: For 2-3 day trips, or trips where how much stuff needs to go in your suitcase varies by the day, I could not recommend this bag more. I’ve also found that it’s great for conferences, where you know you’ll be bringing back more stuff than you left with. For the past four months or so I have used this suitcase on almost every trip and could not be happier. It’s available in blue, navy, and olive for $235 on Amazon and the Eagle Creek website.
Readers, what kind of suitcase are you using these days? Anything new you’ve found that you really like?
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