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

Product review – ZUCA Pro rolling luggage

Before I introduce you to the ZÜCA Pro, let me open with an admission – I am a luggage junkie. I have a closet completely devoted to all the various bags I have collected over my many years of traveling.

Now that is out of the way, let me introduce you to something I can only describe as the coolest bag I’ve ever come across – and this is coming from someone who has often spent over $1000 on a set of matching bags.

The ZÜCA Pro is a rolling bag with a twist (several in fact). The bag is built around an aircraft grade aluminum frame, with rollerblade style shock absorbing wheels and a sturdy aluminum retracting handle.

What makes the bag different, is how the frame has been made into an integral part of the design – many bags feature some kind of metal or plastic inner frame, but the ZÜCA Pro has been designed with enough strength that you can actually use the bag as a seat. No longer will you have to battle with your fellow passengers in the departure lounge, you simply roll your bag into a nice corner, and take a seat on it.
The inside of the bag is where the design gets even better – instead of your usual empty cavernous space, the ZÜCA Pro comes complete with 5 color coded packing cubes and a TSA compliant toiletries pouch.

These packing cubes force you to pack wisely. ZÜCA even includes a helpful “how to pack” guide, recommending which garments to pack in each cube. In real life, this works amazingly well.

The largest packing cube is 9.5″x10.5″x5″, making it large enough for 3 pairs of pants or a couple of bulky sweaters. Each pouch is made of durable and nylon mesh and has a handle on the front, making it easy to pull out of the case. To put the space to a real test, I first packed what I normally would inside my usual 22″ rolling suitcase, then I repacked all the items in the ZÜCA Pro.

All my garments and toiletries fit without a hitch, though the bag did not have much space left, and adding an extra pair of shoes would have been tricky. Because of the metal frame, there is not much room for expansion. The toiletries bag fits in an elastic pouch in the top, so once you reach the checkpoint you can pull it out for inspection in a matter of seconds.

Hidden away in the front of the bag is an expandable wet garment storage pocket, which is great if you end up with a lap full of orange juice on your flight and have to make a quick change mid-trip. On the outside of the bag are several zippered pockets, and on the rear are 2 more pockets, and a name tag/business card holder, covered with a Velcro flap, to keep prying eyes off your personal information.

There is one other feature you won’t find on most other rolling cases – the entire bag can be detached from the frame, and washed. Of course, if you are like me, you want your bag to be grimy and dirty, it’s how people can tell you’ve seen some real roadwarrior action.

The bag weighs just 8.75lbs, which means it is the same weight as many other premium rolling cases. The wheels are recessed, making it easy to slide in the overhead compartment without the poor flight attendant having to use all her weight to get the bin door to lock. On the top of the case is a large handle. If the boring black wheels don’t impress you much, you can pick up a set of blinking LED wheels for just $10.

I know luggage is a really personal thing, so I’m not going to try and convince you to go out and order one of these bags, but I feel safe saying that the ZÜCA Pro is the best damn piece of luggage I have ever reviewed.

When put up against my trusty $700 Tumi rolling suitcase, the poor Tumi loses in every battle, and that is a piece of luggage that has traveled close to a million miles with me.

The ZÜCA Pro costs $285, which includes the bag, the 5 packing cubes, the toiletries bag and a nice ballistic nylon cover, which is perfect if you are forced to check the bag and want to give the poor thing a little extra protection. The ZÜCA Pro comes with a lifetime warranty.

You’ll find the ZÜCA Pro at their web site, where you can also learn more about the design. Of course, this is also where you’ll find their online store.