In this Gadling gear review, I’m going to introduce you to my newest favorite piece of luggage. The Briggs & Riley Baseline 20″ wide-body expandable upright is a carry-on compatible rolling suitcase filled with some awesome features and brilliant design.
The first thing that stands out, is the color – the bag pictured above is their “chocolate” version, and I have to say, it looks stunning. The bag itself is made of ballistic nylon, and every part of its exterior has been designed with heavy travel in mind – the corners are all protected by heavy plastic bumpers, the YKK zippers are “self repairing” and it has fantastic leather handles on the top and side.
One of the best features of the bag (and the part I love the most) is that its handle is on the outside. This Outsider® handle design may sound boring, but anyone who has dealt with a rolling case where the handle mechanism takes up space on the inside of the bag, knows what a hassle this can be. By placing the handle construction on the outside, you reduce wrinkles and gain a couple of inches of extra space.
In addition to this, the wheels are on the outermost corners of the bag, giving you even more space on the inside.
The handle itself feels extremely sturdy, yet opens very smoothly with a single button. The handle has 2 different locking positions, making it perfect for shorter travelers.
On the back of the bag is a pocket large enough for smaller items you want to keep safe, as well as a retractable ID holder. The front of the bag features 2 pockets, including what Briggs & Riley call the SpeedThru™ pocket with an orange lining, to make it obvious if you leave it open.
On the top of the bag is where you can attach the SmartLink™ hanger, which makes it possible to drag one (or more) extra bags with you. The SmartLink™ is nice and compact, and when I tested it with my (insanely heavy) laptop bag, it handled the weight without a problem. The hanger can be extended, which means you can adjust it so your hanging bag sits on the ground when your rolling bag is upright.
Included with the bag is a sturdy combination cable lock, with TSA friendly unlock option and the main zippers have locking eyes.
The inside of the bag is where the brilliant design continues – the tri-fold garment sleeve is one of the best I’ve ever come across. It includes a foam “bar” to help neatly fold your clothes, and 2 velcro panels to keep things in place. Even the worst folder in the world will be able to neatly fold their clothes in this bag. On the outside of the garment sleeve is a large pocket.
In the bottom of the bag is a compression net with easy to snap closures, which is perfect if you regularly overpack (like I do). If you find yourself bringing more home than you left with, then you can add about 2″ of space by unzipping a single zipper on the outside of the bag.
The bag weighs 9 lbs and measures 20″ x 8″ x 16″. The expanding feature adds 24% extra storage space to the interior.
Final thoughts, price and retailers
All in all a perfectly designed rolling case. The 20″ Baseline upright looks and feels fantastic, and I loved all the little touches (like the metal inlays around the handles).
At $369 it’ll possibly scare away anyone used to paying no more than $40 for luggage. There is however a very strong case to be made for high quality luggage like this. For starters (and most importantly), the Briggs & Riley warranty is one of the best in the industry. The bag is guaranteed for life, and that includes damage caused by the airlines!
The only exceptions in the warranty are for cosmetic wear and cleaning or for lost or stolen bags. This is a bag you buy for the rest of your life – the build quality and warranty will most certainly make that possible.
PRO’S: Great design, excellent build quality, outer handle/wheel construction.
CON’S: Price could be a deal breaker for some
If you are regularly on the road, dump that cheap luggage and consider investing in something like this bag. If you treat it right, it’ll be the best investment in travel gear you ever made. Of course, this assumes you are not planning on taking it mountain climbing.
You can find the Briggs & Riley Baseline collection 20″ upright on their website, or at your favorite luggage retailer.