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Besides your passport, your most valuable possession when you’re constantly on the go should be your suitcase. Take it from the electronic trio, A R I Z O N A, who spend more than a third of the year on the road, playing festivals and shows.
“We’re currently on track to be on the road about 129 days for 2019, probably more in 2020,” says keyboardist David Labuguen. “I need to know that the suitcase will take a beating.”
Labuguen, who’s a fan of the Dakine Split Duffel, says the main thing he looks for is durability. Look for suitcases that are made from ripstop material (I.e. it won’t tear or fray easily) or pick up a hardcase, made from durable yet lightweight plastic. The hard siding will protect your stuff, and prevent your bag from collapsing.
Another thing to consider? The ability to expand. “Will the piece be versatile enough to take on multiple types of trips from one-offs to long-term touring?” Labuguen says. Look for suitcases with fabric that can stretch, or find a hardcase that unzips to open up more room for packing.
Organization is also important. “I appreciate suitcases that have a bit of compartmentalization,” Labuguen says. “It helps me stay organized and sane when everything else on the road can be hectic.” The most popular luggage brands all take storage and organization into consideration, with the addition of zippered pockets, hidden compartments and straps to keep everything tied down and secure. This way, your dirty clothes won’t mix with your clean clothes, and your valuables (think: ID, wallet, passport) have their own place in your suitcase as well.
The best luggage and suitcases these days will all feature four wheels, for easy, 360 degree motion. You no longer have to carry a duffel over your shoulders or tilt and drag your luggage at awkward angles and positions. Four-wheeled or “spinner” suitcases also take the strain off your arms, as there is less pulling needed. The wheels should glide easily with just a light push. “I used to tour with a duffel and lugging it around was not only tiring, it ended up breaking the bag,” Labuguen says.
Moving from town to town every night on tour can be exhausting, but with a good piece of luggage and some packing hacks, Labuguen manages to stay organized. “If I can, I tend to pack little by little during the week leading up to travel,” he says, “which minimizes the overwhelming feeling of having to pack for a long run. Recently I began to organize my closet like how I organize my bag — even though it takes longer when I put clothes away at home, it helps me grab things on the fly without having to think too much.”
We’ve rounded up the most popular luggage you can buy online, based on durability, storage capacity and ease of use. Having a reliable suitcase takes the stress out of travel, and lets you focus on the adventures ahead. For the guys in A R I Z O N A, that means less time fussing on packing and more time focusing on bringing their music and stage show to the fans.
“Playing live creates an experience and connection between the audience and the performer that you don’t get when you just listen to music at home,” says guitarist Nathan Esquite. “Live shows aren’t about the stage but the collective energy and passion that fills every corner of the room – the real show comes from the fans not from us.”
“The best part about touring is being able to see your fans connect with the music in-person,” adds Labuguen. “Understanding that our music can affect someone’s life even in that one moment live is humbling and makes you realize you’re not creating in vain. An additional touring perk – I get to see a lot of family and old friends along the way that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.”
1. Samsonite Omni Expandable Hardside Luggage
Samsonite is one of the most trusted names in travel accessories, with over a century of experience in producing high-quality luggage. We like this popular Omni Expandable Hardside Suitcase, which features a “micro diamond” polycarbonate material that is strong yet lightweight, and extremely scratch-resistant.
Available in a ton of colors (we like the burnt orange to help pick out your bag easily at baggage claim), the 24-inch suitcase has 360-degree spinner wheels for easy movement, sturdy zippers, water-resistant nylon lining and an interior zippered compartment and straps for easy organization.
PROS: The built-in combination lock is TSA-approved, meaning only you or a TSA agent will be able to access your stuff when traveling.
CONS: Some found the wheels weren’t great on uneven surfaces.
2. COOLIFE Luggage Expandable Suitcase
Don’t let its handsome looks fool you, this COOLIFE Expandable Suitcase is packed with a ton of features to help you pack for your next trip. The combination ABS and polycarbonate hard shell is durable yet lightweight. With the suitcase’s versatile construction, you can open up and expand the sides to add 15% more packing space. The 360 degree spinner wheels are smooth and quiet, and users say they were able to roll through streets and airports with ease. An adjustable telescoping handle locks into three different positions, to accommodate your height and preferred grip.
Inside, the bag is fully lined with water-resistant nylon, with a ton of mesh pockets for easy organization. Use the included straps to keep everything organized and secure. A built-In TSA combination lock keeps your valuables safe and secure.
PROS: Elegant, streamlined design.
CONS: Some say the locking handle takes a few tries to lock into place.
3. AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage
This no-frills set from AmazonBasics gets you 21 inches of space (interior capacity of 39 liters) for all your stuff. Weighing just seven pounds, it’s easy to maneuver thanks to its four spinner wheels and comfortable handle.
The hardside suitcase has a protective outer shell made from extra-thick ABS with a scratch-resistant finish. The expandable design creates up to 15% more packing space.
Inside, find three separate zippered pockets that work well for storing smaller items of clothing and accessories. The polyester lining is durable and easy to wipe clean.
PROS: Sized for carry-on for most international flights.
CONS: This is the smallest option on our list. Some users say the wheels felt cheap.
4. Dakine Split Roller
If you want more flexibility — literally — than a hardside suitcase, consider this split roller bag from Dakine. Known for their rugged and durable accessories, Dakine’s luggage bag is made from super strong 600D polyester, an industrial strength material which holds up to all conditions. The urethane wheels are sturdy and grippy, making it easy to pull your bag no matter the terrain.
The split-level design means easy access to your stuff — no more digging around or unpacking everything to find something at the bottom of your bag. The interior mesh dividers help keep your stuff separate and organized, keeping dirty clothes and shoes say, away from your clean clothes and accessories.
PROS: Dakine’s Split-Wing Collapsible Brace folds flat for storage.
CONS: This is a soft shell case so your contents won’t be as protected as a hardside suitcase. Only two wheels instead of four.