The 3 Best Lightweight Luggage Choices This Month

Luggage

The 3 Best Lightweight Luggage Choices This Month

Looking for the best lightweight luggage? You’re in luck: advances in manufacturing and material technologies now permit luggage brands to put out ever lighter products that still have sufficient strength to deal with the rigors of travel.

Whether it’s polycarbonates, nylon, or aluminum, today’s luggage components use surprisingly light but durable materials. As such, getting a bag that weighs well under 10lbs but still capable of taking a 250lb weight sitting on top of it when full is no longer impossible.

The picks below represent our favorites for the lightweight-but-strong luggage category this month. They’re all low on heft but high on value and toughness, and they won’t break the bank either for most consumers.

US Traveler Rio Two-piece Expandable Carry-on Luggage Set

Crafted out of 1200D rigid polyester, this luggage set includes a 21 by 13.5 by 8.5/10.5 inch upright wheeler (the last figure depends on whether you expand it or not) and a 14 by 10 by 6 inch travel tote.

The upright weighs a mere 6.6lbs, easily making it among the lightest in its size class, and the tote adds only 1.3lbs to that figure. A push-button handle is mounted on the upright, which also boasts 2 wheels with corner guards.

The interior features lined interiors, clothing straps, and a padded front panel. There is a side-mounted handle as well. There are four color options for this set: purple, green, blue, and orange. All versions have a black trim.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Pretty good quality considering the price
  • Expandable
  • Very light

Cons

  • Handle feels a little flimsy
  • Upright tends to fall over

The first item in our list is for the buyers who don’t want to spend more than $50 on their luggage because they don’t travel often enough to merit a higher expenditure—but still want something strong and lightweight at that price. The US Traveler Rio set is the answer.

This 2-piece kit offers lightweight travel storage at a price that also stays light on your pocket, and it’s a little bit surprising to see the quality it provides.

It’s rather more durably made than one would expect from its cost, in fact, and even has handy features that many costlier bags skimp on: a side handle, properly recessed wheels, exterior pockets, and expandability.

It might not satisfy the really frequent fliers, especially because of its weak handle and balance, but most others will love it and consider it a fantastic buy.

TravelPro Luggage Maxlite 2

The Maxlite 2 is made of lightweight but strong 100% polyester on a honeycomb frame, and it belongs to the category of expandable spinner carry-ons. EVA foam adds strength and protection for your belongings while protective guards ensure that you get the most out of your wheels.

It has a telescoping handle with stops at 38 inches and 42.5 inches up. It also has a fabric-lined interior under its zippered closure. It measures 20 by 14 by 9 inches and about 7lbs. It also has a front zip pocket and a side handle for easy grabbing from the overhead compartment.

Pros

  • Very light and smooth rolling
  • Good, relatively sturdy-feeling handles
  • Durable

Cons

  • A touch tippy depending on the way you pack
  • Could use more outer pockets

The Maxlite 2 actually already has a successor in the Maxlite 3, but most people still prefer this earlier version to the new one. This Maxlite is a great, very light bag with surprisingly strong materials given its lack of heft when empty. It can hold a lot of things in it too, and even has the option of expanding if you really need to store more than usual inside.

It’s rather more suited to regular and rougher usage than the US Traveler we were talking about before, but that’s to be expected given that it costs more as well.

The spinners on it work well, taking to uneven ground ably. It’s also fairly good-looking—although in a subtle, contemporary way.

Samsonite Luggage 22-inch Andante Wheeled Duffel

Another of the lightweight budget offerings, this bag is a 100% polyester, nylon-lined duffel with a zippered closure and a U-shaped access panel. It measures 22 by 12.5 by 12 inches and weighs only 6.4lbs. It has a pull-out handle at the top and 2 wheels at the base.

Pros

  • Very light
  • Fits a lot of things
  • Great access panel
  • Very cheap

Cons

  • Not as sturdy as the other two in this list
  • Handle is a little difficult

This is the cheapest item here, again representing an option for those who have to buy their travel bags on an extreme budget. It’s surprisingly well-designed for its bargain buy status, though, being hardy enough to survive several trips without too much damage.

That said, it’s totally soft-shelled status does make it intrinsically less hardy than the other two. If you don’t take too many trips anyway, this would be a smart choice, though.

It has two decent wheels, a great (and very large) U-shaped access panel, carry straps that come from both sides, and a decent look. It won’t handle as well as the other pair we discussed here, but it will please most people and fits in most airlines’ carry-on limits too.

Conclusion

Of the three super-light and affordable bags we rounded up here, the best has to be the Maxlite 2. It’s sleek and good-looking, made of amazingly high-quality materials considering what it costs, moves around easily, and generally just gives you more peace of mind about your things than the other two bags. It’s also the most durable of the three.

If you absolutely can’t pay what the Maxlite costs at most stores, though, your best alternative would be the US Traveler Rio. It’s just a bit more expensive than the Samsonite, anyway, but still offers drastically better performance on the whole because it actually includes a rigid-framed upright instead of a totally soft-shelled duffel bag.

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