What's New in Luggage & Leather Goods?
By Emily Tipping
For those who take packing light seriously, the Briggs and Riley BRX Explore 22 Upright (left), available through Incentive Concepts is built to maximum carry-on dimensions, with capacity to grow. It weighs only 7.5 pounds and is more than able to withstand the rigors of travel. With a handle system and bars designed to create more interior space, you can easily pack all your gear. The inside top lid features a wet/dry pocket and essentials compartment for additional organization. Quick-access front pockets and two exterior zippered front pockets offer even more space for accessories, and a front zip compartment can store a laptop up to 16 inches.
Another lightweight choice, the Hartmann 20-inch Mobile Traveler, available through Rymax, is part of the high-performance-driven Zoom collection, constructed of super lightweight materials. It features durable nylon fabric with a twill weave, water-repellant interior textured lining, comfortable top and side carrying handles, aluminum telescoping push-button locking handle system, and durable in-line skate wheels.
For those who tend to overpack, or who pick up lots of souvenirs when they're away, lightweight is important. But it's still possible to overshoot the weight limit and pack too much. This is making tools like mini scales more popular. "We all try to get the best deals on the planet all the time. …The worst thing is when you take the sharpest price and then you have 51 pounds and you're only allowed 50. Then, hairy as it is, you've got to take the pound out," said Cassius. "That being the case, people are buying the mini-scales so at least they'll know how much it weighs before they get to the airport."
Knollenberg highlighted this trend as well, adding, "Our new Delsey Helium Fusion collection has a built-in weight indicator."
She also emphasized an increase in travel accessories, such as "neck pillows, blankets, eye masks, noise reduction headphones, portable laundry hampers and TSA friendly locks." She added, "As airlines continue to charge for or eliminate travel accessories and comforts, more consumers are purchasing them."
It's not just the airlines that have complicated travel. While frequent flyers know the drill by now, many travelers still struggle with various TSA guidelines. Companies that manufacture luggage and travel gear have adjusted even for frequent flyers by offering items that ease passage through those security checkpoints.
"This whole TSA-friendly category is a big deal now," Landry said. "TSA has encouraged luggage makers to make business cases—both male- and female-oriented—that were more scanner-friendly so people didn't have to take their laptops out of their bags."
Tumi's T-Pass is one example that meets the requirement. "The TSA is encouraging this out of concern for the traveling passenger and to make it that much more convenient. The T-Pass allows you to butterfly the bag, put one flap on one side and one on the other, with the laptop only on one side. It goes through the scanner, no problem," he said.
Rivolta agreed that this area is on the upswing. "We are receiving a lot of requests for laptop cases—particularly cases that are designed for TSA Pass Through. This has helped cut down on the number of people leaving their laptop at security, and also protects laptops from being damaged in the security screening," he said.
Locks for luggage that gets checked have also adapted to regulations. "A lot of people are still not aware that you can put a TSA-approved lock on luggage," Cassius said. "We even have a lock that shows you when they open it. It flashes red."