Lightweight security friendly rolling case – Gadling reviews the Case Logic 22″ upright roller

Innovations in rolling luggage are pretty rare – mainly because there is very little left to innovate with. Thankfully, something new does pop up every now and then, like in the new Case Logic 22″ Upright Lightweight rolling case.

This good looking piece of luggage is two things in one – a lightweight rolling case and a TSA checkpoint friendly laptop bag.

The model I am reviewing is in the gold color version – which is a very striking color, and something that is bound to help make finding your bag much easier.

The checkpoint friendly part of this bag consists of a laptop sleeve that slides into the front pocket. The sleeve will hold laptops up to 16″, and when inserted into the bag, it provides a decent amount of padding for your computer. Because the sleeve has nothing obstructing the images of an X-Ray machine, you won’t have to remove your laptop for inspection (unless requested to do so). The top of the sleeve has 2 handles making it easier to pull out of your bag.

The inside of the bag is nothing special – there are several zippered pockets and the usual compression straps. The frame of the bag is made of lightweight EVA molded plastic, which helps keep the weight down to 7 lbs 13 oz. The wheels are positioned on the outer corners, reducing the space they take up inside the main compartment.

The zippered expansion system adds two inches of additional storage space, just keep in mind that a fully expanded and packed bag may not fit in the overhead, forcing you to check it.

A zippered water bottle pocket lets you pull your bag around, giving you a spare hand for making the obligatory loud phone call when strolling through the airport.

All in all a very well designed piece of luggage – the build quality feels good, the wheels are nice and smooth, and the retracting handle doesn’t feel like it’ll break after your first trip.

I’m especially enamored with the color and the laptop sleeve. Being able to store your laptop in a checkpoint friendly pouch, leave you with more room in your second carry-on item. Of course, the laptop sleeve will take up some space in the main compartment of the bag, but that is a trade-off you’ll have to make. Best of all – it’ll reduce the weight of your second bag, something your shoulders will thank you for.

PROS: Integrated laptop carrying sleeve, bright color, expandable, ten year warranty

CONS: Zippered expansion system instead of locking mechanism

The Case Logic 22″ Lightweight Expandable Upright Roller retails for $179.99 and is available in black, grey and gold. The bag is available directly from Case Logic or from your favorite luggage retailer (where you may find it for around $150). The bag comes with a ten year warranty.

Attractive laptop bags for the seriously paranoid (like me)

Loopbag Vanguard BackpackLoopbags is a line of laptop bags that really, really protect your laptop. And for some of us, that means being able to sleep on the plane.

Not that I need an excuse to be protective of my laptop computer — it’s a valuable little thing — but, you know, I travel, and it’s my job to write about it. And if I get to say, Puerto Rico, and my laptop is busted? I am screwed.

Loopbags has laptop briefcases, backpacks (shown), messengers, totes and sleeves in a variety of pleasing colors for men and women. What really impresses me about these bags, though, is the quality of the engineering. These bags have zippers which can virtually unfold the entire bag and give you an infinite choice of possibilities for where to keep what — except the computer of course, which has its designated, waterproof (even the zippers), and snugly padded pocket. And yes, all Loop bags fit under the sit in front of you and/or in the overhead compartment. The shoulders are adjustable ergonomic nylon with shock-resistant padding, and it’s also full of secret pockets for cash, passports and other stuff I get paranoid about.

I’ve gotta say, this is the first backpack I’ve seen in years that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear. You can browse the APLF Award winning bags by style or laptop size.

Pictured is the Loopbag Vanguard Backpack in Sand, Azure, and Lime — and wait until you see it from all sides! Check out the site for more views and zips/unzips, and click here to shop. These are currently on sale for $114 (from $142).

New from Tom Bihn bags – the Tri-Star

Darcy over at Tom Bihn bags has been teasing me for over 2 months about a new bag Tom has been working on.

The only speck of information they were willing to reveal about the Tri-Star was that it would be a three compartment bag, and that its size would fall between their Western Flyer and Aeronaut bags.

This afternoon, they finally revealed the product, and posted a bunch of photos (with Tom Bihn himself modeling his creation).

Thanks to its compartmental design, the Tri-Star can hold your laptop, and all the clothes and smaller items you’ll need for a short trip. Like the Aeronaut, the Tri-Star can be carried as a regular bag, as a shoulder bag, or as a backpack.

After reading the product description I’m convinced that this is a dream come true for the kind of traveler that carries too much stuff, and tries to avoid checking a bag. Pockets, some more pockets, and then even more pockets. In fact, the Tom Bihn blog needed 1390 words to describe all the various features found on this bag.

Also, as a first for Tom Bihn, this bag will be available in blue (they call it Indigo) ballistic nylon, which looks pretty damn cool if you ask me.

The new Tri-Star will start shipping in late June, but can be pre-ordered on their site right now. The basic bag costs just $240, but a fully tricked out Tri-Star with their amazing Absolute shoulder strap, internal laptop case, Freudian Slip organzier and waist strap will run you $370. Still, if it delivers the kind of convenience I think it will, that may be a small price to pay.

5 days 5 bags – day 4: ZUCA Business Backpack

Welcome to day 4 of our “5 days 5 bags” luggage lineup. Today’s spotlight is going to shine on the ZÜCA business backpack.

Last week I introduced you to what I described as “the best damn bag I have ever seen“. The ZÜCA Pro rolling case really did impress me that much. Of course, the ZÜCA Pro is designed as a bag for your clothes and other travel items – not as a rolling case for your laptop.

So, when I came across the official ZÜCA business backpack, I just had to take it for a spin, and see how well it goes with an already brilliant piece of luggage.

The ZÜCA business backpack does not require a ZÜCA Pro, but it is designed as an additional accessory for the rolling case. That said – I think anyone in the market for a business backpack could really benefit from it.

The ZÜCA business backpack has internal storage space for a laptop, 2 separate file/document pouches and a whole host of internal and external storage pockets. On the side of the bag is a large “office organization pocket” with space for everything you could ever need to take your office on the road.

The bottom of the bag is made of a rugged plastic, and no matter how full you stuff the bag, it is designed to stand upright in any situation. On the back of the backpack are or course the 2 padded backpack straps, as well as 2 adjustable straps for attaching the backpack to the ZÜCA Pro.

Once clipped onto the ZÜCA Pro, the bag hangs on very well, and doesn’t slide around like I’ve often seen with other bags designed to attach to the handle of a rolling case. Some of the other features of the bag include a cellphone pocket on one of the straps, and an opening in one of the side pockets to route your headphones to an iPod or other media player.

The ZÜCA business backpack costs just $95, making the entire combination of a ZÜCA Pro with backpack just $380 – under half of what I’ve previously spent on a premium luggage combination.

Of course, there is one thing not incorporated in the ZÜCA business backpack – the laptop portion is not “TSA friendly”, which means you will still have to remove your laptop at the airport checkpoint.

Other than that, I’m very impressed – it isn’t easy to take something as boring as a business oriented backpack, and turn it into a well designed bag. The ZÜCA backpack has pockets everywhere you’d expect them, something I noticed on their rolling bag as well.

Dimensions (W*H*D): 17*13*7.5
Weight: 3lb
Colors available: Black
Warranty: 1 year from date of purchase
Price: $95.00
Product page: ZÜCA

5 days 5 bags – day 2: Skooba Design Checkthrough Brief

Welcome to day 2 of “5 days 5 bags”. Today’s bag is the Skooba Design Checkthrough brief.

This TSA friendly laptop bag is designed to comply with the new TSA regulations that allow you to keep your laptop inside its bag at the checkpoint.

The Checkthrough features a “fold open” design with a clear window, and to prepare the bag for screening, you simply unzip it, fold it flat and place it on the X-Ray machine conveyor. To be sure their design worked as it should, Skooba submitted the bag for testing with Rapiscan, who make almost all the X-Ray machines at airports around the world.

The bag is very much a classic looking laptop bag. On the inside and out, you’ll find 20 different pockets and compartments, making it ideal for using as your office on the road.

The bag also features some very nice extra touches, like an elastic “pull out” ID pocket on the side, and an easy to read set of checkpoint instructions on the laptop portion, which make it perfect for when you run into a TSA agent who has not kept up to date with the newest regulations.

All in all a very nice and well designed laptop bag, especially if you prefer a classic look. The folding laptop portion is very easy to use, and should help keep your laptop nice and safe at the checkpoint. With its 20 pockets and pouches, you’ll have a hard time running out of space.

Dimensions (W*H*D): 17*13*7.5
Weight: 3lb
Colors available: Black
Warranty: Lifetime
Price: $139.95
Product page: Skooba Design