By Terry Gardner, Special to Tribune Newspapers
7:51 PM EDT, October 23, 2012
Name: Briggs & Riley Baseline U122CX
What it is: A suitcase (8 by 14 by 21 inches and about 9 pounds) in Briggs & Riley's Baseline offering, which features expansion/compression technology that allows travelers to expand the bag's packing capacity about 25 percent. The bag's interior features two mesh garment panels that snap closed to cinch clothes down and minimize wrinkling. The top interior holds a trifold garment folder/suiter with a foam roller bar to prevent wrinkling. The bag's frame is a hybrid fiberglass for lightweight flexibility, and the exterior is made with a nylon fabric that resists moisture, dirt and rough handling. The bag has an exterior compartment designed to hold a laptop. There are custom outer pockets for holding plane tickets and other essentials to speed travelers through airport security. The bag is available in black or olive.
The good: I love the user-friendly expansion technology. You raise the two side expansion panels, then pack all the extra goodies you're taking with you or bringing back. After zipping the expanded bag closed, you compress it by pressing on the left and right sides. Pre-expansion, my bag's circumference was 45 1/2 inches. After packing souvenirs and compression, the bag's circumference was 50 3/4 inches. And I could have squeezed more items into the bag. The garment folder is easy to use and limits wrinkles. All doubts about whether the expanded bag would fit in the overhead bin of a 757 were dispelled when it easily slid in lengthwise with space to spare.
The bad: I wish it had spinner wheels so I could roll it sideways down a narrow airplane aisle, but spinner wheels weren't ideal for balance with the compression technology.
Available from: briggsandriley.com, amazon.com and nordstrom.com.
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