Welcome to Skimm Tested, where we put products to the test and then give them a report card. (Check out all of our tried-and-tested faves here.)
To test two popular luggage brands for their suitcases’ durability, maneuverability, and spaciousness. Since luggage can be quite expensive, are these bags worth investing in?
July Checked Luggage ($325)
Straight A’s in…
Durability. Our editor bumped, tossed, and hauled this piece of luggage across airports, and damn, did it perform. Maybe there were a few minor scratches here and there, but overall it proved it could sustain blows with grace and dignity.
Maneuverability. The spinner wheels on this bag are impressive. The luggage can pivot, pick up speed, and glide across uneven sidewalks with ease. Our editor even walked the bag through the bumpy streets of New York City and had zero issue with potholes.
Spaciousness. Since this is a check-in bag, it can easily fit clothing and essentials for a two-week trip. Our editor filled it with shoes, toiletries, and outfits for two weeks abroad and still had room for extras like books and hair tools.
Weight. Interestingly enough, the July checked luggage feels so incredibly lightweight, it could be mistaken for being flimsy. Trust us — it’s not. It’s made with a German polycarbonate shell and weighs 8.3 pounds. The outside is crush-proof with aluminum corner bumpers.
Multistop handle. Something our editor truly loved: the handle. It can stop at over 20 heights so you can pull the bag at a comfortable angle, whether you’re 5 feet tall or 6 feet tall.
Integrated TSA lock. A more minor benefit, but an integrated lock means you don’t need to worry about carrying around a tiny key you’re bound to lose. The contents of your suitcase will be secure wherever you go.
Room for growth…
Honestly, not much. Our editor tried to find something wrong with this bag…and really couldn’t come up with something of note.
Roam Carry-On Luggage ($550+)
Straight A’s in…
Customization. Ever wanted a bag that’s entirely custom to you? Roam lets you pick the colors of the front shell, back shell, zipper, binding, wheels, handles, monogram patch, and lining. The result is a piece of luggage you’ll instantly recognize at baggage claim. PS: We don’t know of any other luggage brand that does personalization to this extent.
Maneuverability. Our editor had no issue with wheeling it around. It can move smoothly over surfaces and makes turns like a pro. A very big plus since you’re taking this bag onto the flight itself.
Durability. While our editor has noticed scratches on her suitcase, she’s reported that it’s held up quite well after months of use, calling out the wheels specifically.
Size. This carry-on is on the smaller size — it weighs 7.3 pounds and is made from American-made polycarbonate. One thing to note: Because of its size, our editor recommends it for shorter weekend trips or overnight stays.
Integrated TSA lock. Like the July suitcase, Roam has a built-in TSA lock so you don’t have to carry a key. The combination lock is quick to set and will keep your belongings safe.
Bonus features. Like a waterproof zipper, interior compression boards to provide more room, and antimicrobial lining made from recycled materials.
Room for growth…
Price. Yes, the $550+ price tag is hefty and that is something we can’t ignore. However, luggage is an investment piece that, when done right, can and should last you years — so we view this purchase as a one-and-done.
Expandable feature. For this carry-on, Roam does offer an expandable feature, but when the bag is expanded, it no longer qualifies as a carry-on. Therefore, you’d have to check the bag, which seems to counter the purpose of a carry-on to begin with. This has us scratching our heads.
More thoughts on these brands…
Plays well with…
Frequent travelers who need a solid piece of luggage that’s roomy, built to last, and has a few bonus features (July includes a hidden laundry bag, for example).
Those who appreciate an aesthetically pleasing suitcase and want something they’ll quickly be able to recognize.
Someone who hates having separate locks for their luggage; both pieces have built-in security.
Gets extra credit for…
July suitcases are designed to nest inside each other, making storage easy for those who live in smaller spaces.
Both suitcases come with a dust bag for storage (which is especially helpful if you need to store it under your bed).
How we did our homework…
Two Skimm editors tested their respective luggage over the course of a few months, using them on vacations from shorter weekends away to two-week getaways. They paid attention to ease of packing, how much they could realistically fit without going over a weight limit, maneuverability while walking through an airport, and more. How did their luggage perform over the entirety of the trip? Could it withstand carousels, baggage claim, and being lugged in and out of cars? How did the handle respond to quick movements? Were items entirely out of place once they arrived back home and peeked inside? Both editors took detailed notes and rated the personalization process as well.
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