Station wagons are named after the behemoth-sized vehicles that once carried passengers and their almost-as-large trundle suitcases to train stations. Vintage station wagons also often had unlatched bench backseats. If heavy suitcases in the cargo area were suddenly jarred, they could quickly knock the rear bench seat forward and jolt passengers sitting in the forward seats.
Trundle suitcases are still made, but they’re no longer en vogue. The term station wagon is rarely used by carmakers describing their vehicles. And back seats in cars are secured. Suitcases are still transported in cars and trains and on airplanes. But efficiency has replaced bulk in suitcase preferences, notably with increased airline restrictions for weight and shrinking overhead bin space. Less is more.
“A lot of people are carrying on [luggage] when they used to check in,” says Ann Chavez of the TUMI outlet store in Estero. “They’re trying to pack in as much as possible in a backpack and personal item combo.”
Fancy new materials abound—aluminum, ballistic nylon, Cordura, polycarbonate and polypropylene. Lightweight means everything, including, perhaps surprisingly, sturdiness.
If you’ve got traveling on your mind, here’s a look at four suitcase styles.
The second-largest global luggage company, Delsey began in 1946 after two French families, which previously made camera and record player cases, combined names.
Delsey luggage is available in Southwest Florida namesake locations, as well as in Belk and Dillard’s stores. New is the Pluggage line of “smart suitcases.” Available in several sizes, including the 28-inch Spinner Upright, the technology-enhanced luggage includes a dedicated mobile app, USB-port and dedicated power bank sleeve, international tracking, digital scale, battery charge, alert mode and three options for opening—fingerprint, the app or a three-digit combination. The Spinner Upright is constructed of polycarbonate and a scratch-resistant matte finish. It includes soft-touch lining, removable shoe and laundry bags and security and connectivity.
Dimensions: 30.75-by-19.75-by-11.75 inches; 12.6 pounds; $719.99
The Horizon lineup (pictured above), sold at the Louis Vuitton store at Waterside Shops in Naples, includes the lightweight 55. It’s a four-wheeled carry-on about as far removed as possible from the original trunks made in 1854 by the company headquartered in Paris.
A large external double case allows the interior to lay completely flat and offer a surprisingly large capacity for a cabin-friendly suitcase. It’s made from Taïga leather with a mesh lining and a cowhide leather trim. It has a zip closure with a lock system, four double compact wheels, leather corners and aluminum metallic pieces. And it’s TSA-cabin-friendly.
Dimensions: 15-by-21.7-by-8.3 inches; 7.5 pounds; $4,700
The Armage II Carry-On Spinner is new from the world’s best-selling suitcase company. It’s part of what the 112-year-old company founded in Denver calls “road warrior luggage.” Constructed inside and outside from fabric using 100% post-consumer recycled PET bottles, the 22-incher’s features include a TSA-approved cable lock that threads through each zipper pull to secure external compartments. There is also a telescoping Right Height handle to reduce back strain and a TecKit for charging electronics wirelessly.
The FlexPack+System features removable padded packing cubes. They offer uniform compression and modular organization for varied packing styles.
Dimensions: 22.5-by-16-by-10 inches; 9.83 pounds; $259.99
Functionality meets fashion with the International Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On TUMI I Missoni. The Italian motif is the classic zigzag printed onto the Tegris case that includes gold-tone accents. Geared toward weekend getaways and international travel, the carry-on has a 2-inch expansion and printed compression straps. A zippered garment bag, hanger bracket, two mesh pockets and three zip pockets are all tidy.
Exterior features include a split case zip entry to the main compartment with a security zipper, retractable top and side grab handle, bottom grab handle, three-stage telescoping handle, four dual spinner wheels and a built-in TSA combination lock.
Dimensions: 14-by-22-by-9 inches (expanded to 11 inches); 9.2 pounds; $975