Worth the hype? We put Away bags to the test

From bestreviews.com
Jacob Palmer

What started in the wave of companies that aimed to "disrupt" entrenched markets in 2015, the Away brand has seen its profile rise significantly over the last year-plus.

Away bags were one of the hottest gifts during the holiday season in 2018, and they promise to be another hot-ticket item on wishlists this December. But how do you know if these are quality products or if they're overly reliant on gimmicks (like a suitcase with a built-in charger)?

We tested two of Away's most popular bags -- the Medium and the Bigger Carry-on -- to see how they stack up.

(Look at Away luggage's full line of products if you'd like to check out their sleek website design for yourself.)


Here's what we found: If you are a frequent traveler and you don't have a set of luggage that you love, they're worth the investment.

Here's what we thought of all the key features:

The capacity: What initially stood out was how easy it was to fit a two-week vacation's worth of stuff into the Medium. It makes it easy to travel with confidence that you will be able to fit all of the things you bought along the way into the luggage (should you leave a little extra room).

The design: Additionally, the way it's designed makes sense and is helpful for those of us who aren't naturally organized. The two large compartments inside of the bag are useful -- one for clothes, the other for shoes, toiletries, and any other products you'd like to bring. We also love that it comes with a laundry bag, so you don't have to rely on the hotel to provide you with something to put dirty clothes in when you pack to go home.

The flexibility: The flex design around the zipper allows you to really shove things in there and trust that it will still close without extra effort.

The maneuverability: It also sits at the top-of-the-line in terms of maneuverability. So, for example, if you live on the third floor of a building with no elevator, you can manage quite well. Due to the bag's rectangular shape, there are no weird angles or awkward grips when you're lugging it around. 

The mobility: The spinning wheels allow you to glide around the airport -- no matter how heavily you packed the bag. Even when traveling on a bum ankle, it wasn't too much of a hassle getting the bag to the check-in counter.

The storage: Finally, they're great for storing in small living spaces with limited closets. The different-sized bags are easy to place within each other and can be tucked away neatly.


So what's wrong with it? Of course, these bags aren't perfect. 

TSA woes: If you fly with any regularity, we highly recommend skipping the bags with the built-in charging ports. TSA won't allow you to fly with them in the luggage -- and their agents are clearly trained in spotting these bags. It seems like more hassle than it's worth. But if your preferred method of travel is by train, maybe it would be a useful feature.

Cosmetic damage: Another drawback of the bag is that it gets scuffed really easily. One trip through the baggage claim process and the bag came away with marks all over it. 

Hard to spot: And the issues at baggage claim don't end there. Due to the brand's popularity, it's highly advisable to do something to your luggage to customize it so you can easily spot it as yours.


Pro tip: Avoid the Large unless you basically plan on moving all of your things in it. It's so big, it quickly gets over the airline's weight limits with little-to-no extra effort.


Alternative options: If you want spinner luggage but aren't sold that Away bags are worth the hype, you can always opt for a classic name like Samsonite. This model costs less than Away luggage and features a similar locking mechanism. 

And if you want to go even more affordable, try this model from AmazonBasics. The brand name won't wow your friends like some of these other options, but it will certainly get the job done for years to come.


Jacob Palmer is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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