The Good: Ummmm….carry more aboard for starters?
The Review: If carrying-on is your thang, The Briggs & Riley widebody carry-on from their Baseline collection, is a thang of beauty. The first thing that surprises about this carry-on is the weight. It appears to be built like a tank (nice big zippers, dense nylon, corner protection where it counts, and beefy wheels & pull handles system) and yet when you pick this beauty up, it is barely 9 lbs! Again, pretty impressive for how it has been constructed. On the outside of the bag, the main front pocket zips open really wide, has an interior divider that could be used for a file or magazines, maybe a laptop (as the zips are lockable), and is large enough that you might be able to fold up a rain jacket in front of that. The small zipper at the top of that pocket is a brightly colored “short pocket” to help you organize yourself going through security. It is a great place to drop in your watch, pens, coins or passport when you are being screened. The add-a-bag strap on this case is a permanent fixture, so no more forgetting or losing it around the house, as they have it hidden nicely at the very top of the bag where you can pull it out of its pocket, and then clip it to the anchor on the top frame for maximum weight hauling. The back side of the bag has a nice little pocket between the exposed handle system, which seems custom made for power cables & adapters. Like all of Briggs & Rileys suitcases, this piece packs flat making it very easy to organize. The interior mesh packing straps, synch down your folded clothes and are really well done. The mesh covers your clothing completely (waaay better than crisscross straps) and are both elasticized and adjustable, allowing you to keep your clothing neat if you ever have a less than full suitcase. Briggs have included a shirt packer in the lid of this bag that has been configured a little differently. The shirts/blouses you travel with that you’d like kept on hangers (ideally 4 items), can be taken out of your closet, kept on hangers, and placed in the suiter which folds out over the clothes that have been folded into your suitcase. This is different as it allows you to place this carry-on upon the luggage rack in the hotel room, open up the suiter, and not have your clothing touch the floor. Hard to visualize I’m sure, but trust me when I say it make really good sense, and is a wonder no other carry-on does this. The last feature I’ll mention is the Briggs & Riley CX expansion system which is included in this bag. It is the best version of a framed expansion I have seen in a suitcase, as it allows you to essentially pack snug, as much or as little as you need into a bag. By packing it expanded and then compressing the shit out of your stuff, you can get alot aboard a plane! I recently witnessed a traveler, (flying out of Boston) who’s Briggs was fully expanded and was attempting to carry it aboard. The TSA agent at the gate politely told the him it was to large to carry aboard, as there was no way it was going to fit into the “sizer”. The gentleman did pretty much everything he could short of jumping up an down on the bag in order to compress the expansion, and…and lo and behold, he was then allowed to carry it on.