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July 05, 2011

How to Pick the Perfect Luggage

by Denise McCluggage

Mobility, flexibility, expandability, compatibility, packability.

All those “abilities” should be your guide when you choose your travel equipage. And that goes for both luggage and what you put into it.

Let’s start with exteriors for now - your luggage, part one.

If you haven’t yet taught your bags to heel, get with the program. It’s far easier to roll a bag than lug it by its handle or dangle it from your shoulder.

The wheel has been invented and found good. So either buy a bag with built in wheels or get a luggage cart of some sort.

Those devices of collapsible tubing, large wheels and bungee cords are inexpensive and do the trick, but they pose almost as many problems as they solve. Airlines do not permit them to be carried in overhead bins, they are awkward underfoot and are easily damaged when checked.

Try instead the lightweight, flat-folding ones that fit in a carry on. One such is the CompacCart by Moveasy. The 100 model weighs three pounds and carries 40 pounds, the 200 weighs five pounds and totes 110 pounds. (Try EzShop.com. Similar carts can be found at eBags.com and one called Roleasy at Magellans.com)

When wheels first appeared on bags they showed up on four corners at the bottom of conventional suitcases. These were pulled with attached leashes. This arrangement - still around - is notoriously unstable tipping easily in corners, making for a high annoyance quotient.

Airline personnel were the first to adopt the now ubiquitous dual-wheel vertical cases that are towed by a pullout handle, wide side at your heels. Variations quickly hit the market and now some are even pulled narrow side. These are obviously easier to tow down narrow airline aisles, but their narrow wheel base makes them inherently less stable when dodging about busy airports.  [Read full story]

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