We've Got Baggage: The DTC Luggage Guide

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After many editor pre-trip Slack threads, we’ve got baggage, y’all. Our team has tested and traveled with the best hard shells, duffels, weekenders, and more to ensure that your next journey is a vacation rather than a trip, no matter how many connections or transit switches you have to make. 

Read on for the DTC brands that we’d actually be pleased to see rattling down the baggage claim belt, organized by length of trip.

Weekenders

For under-seat items and quick trips (or overnights), a weekender bag is excellent in keeping you organized and optimized. Some brands offer duffel options, while others are more like a tote you can take out on the town with you if you won’t reach your final destination until after your event.

We’ll take a weekend here, thanks. The Béis Weekender bag captured by @aloha.krysten

Dagne Dover
Dagne Dover is the über trendy neoprene bag of your dreams. This coloring? To die for. The material? Ensures that it’s a lightweight carry. We’ve seen the Landon Carryall everywhere lately, and for good reason. TBH, the brand’s product imagery makes the sizes all look the same online, but we recommend starting with the medium ($170) for a fully-stocked weekend getaway; the extra-small and small sizes are more for daily use.

Vooray
Vooray has a solid variety of sporty duffels and weekenders built for functionality. Each comes with custom-sized packing cubes (double-sided to keep dirty and clean laundry separate) designed to fit each bag perfectly, ensuring that you’re taking advantage of every bit of space. Shop the Adapt Weekender Duffel here for $85.

Lo & Sons
This family-founded brand originated to alleviate one mother’s back pain – and look good doing it – while she traveled. These roomy weekenders are made from recycled poly, organic cotton canvas, and washed canvas (with a helpful side-by-side comparison of durability, water resistance, and structure). A pass-through sleeve and bottom pocket add extra ease to this classy option. Try The Catalina Deluxe in Organic Canvas for $215.

Béis
Actress Shay Mitchell’s bag brand Béis goes above and beyond with useful features. The top zipper of the brand’s beloved The Weekender ($98) opens the top extra-wide, so you can pack it like you would a suitcase. It’s also water-resistant, has a bottom compartment, helpful pockets, multi-wear strap options, and even a key fob. For that price, it’s a steal.

eBag
eBags gets clever with its convertible 2-in-1 weekender, available for $199. A sneaky garment carrier wraps around the interior duffel, making unpacking for a business trip or event wrinkle-free and convenient; you can also travel piece-by-piece. As a bonus, the linings are made of 100% post consumer recycled PET bottles.

Carry Ons

There is little more versatile than a great carry on. Whether you’re on a weekend jaunt or on a longer trip, fitting everything into your carry on makes you feel on top of the world. Here are some favorites that keep you prepared for everything -- and stylish. 

The iconic Aviator style from Paravel. Credit: @lifestylebymarco.

CalPak
If you’re an aspiring minimalist, have accessibility needs, or long to stow your carry-on under your seat, the Hue Mini Carry-On ($165) from CalPak could be your perfect companion. It has that polycarbonate hard-shell construction we love at half the size of a standard suitcase and it’s on wheels. 

Away
Away is the OG direct-to-consumer luggage brand. With thousands of customers and reviews, Away is vetted by all your friends. It has effective interior organization, 360 degree wheels, attractive colorways, and (optional) built-in charging. Before moving and traveling, the Carry On ($275) was a splurge that marked my foray into adulthood – which is why it’s featured prominently in our gift guides. Over the past few years, the pink has gotten pretty beaten up, but it remains sturdy, stylish, and reliable.

Paravel
Paravel is all about the vintage vibes, a nod to days of postcards and voyages. Timeless details, like leather and hand-painted detailing, add an elegant touch that elevates even the most undignified parts of traveling. (These bags make a wonderful gift for moms and those seeking the “coastal grandmother” aesthetic.) Better yet, the bags are sustainable and carbon-neutral for conscious luxury. Shop the Aviator Carry-On for $350.

July
Founded in 2019, Australian-based July has been my latest crush, with a “tough to break, beautiful to look at” philosophy. The brand’s textures are supposedly scratch-proof, with helpful bumpers to keep jostling to a minimum during travel. The Carry On Pro in Moss ($345) – which at one point had a waitlist of over 3,000 – contains an ejectable battery (with multiple ports for different devices), 360-degree wheels, a compression strap, pop-out laptop sleeve, and interior organization.

Solgaard
Solgaard makes a carry on made for digital nomads: the Carry-On Closet ($275), accepted by all international airlines. Its built-in shelving system eliminates the need for packing cubes: you just pull out the straps at the top and immediately have your full closet stretched out and organized over six shelves. If you live out of your suitcase, this – or the Carry-On Closet Plus ($295, accepted by all US airlines) – is the option for you.

Checked Bags

Checked bags vary. Some you’ll want to stuff full to bursting, while others easily veer into the overweight if you take advantage of every crevice. With that in mind, balancing a checked bag is an art, one that each of the following brands aims to alleviate.

The limited edition Arlo Skye x Dunsen Dunsen collaboration. Credit: Arlo Skye

Monos
Monos is a crowd favorite, with considerate details that make the entire travel experience smooth. All of the brand’s suitcases nest inside each other, which makes storing a full set less of a hassle. Monos’ lifetime warranty, polished color matched appearance, size options, and vegan leather detailing make it a thoughtful buy. It was was also the first luggage brand to be on the Climate Neutral Certified list. Try the Check-In Large for $356.

Roam Luggage
If you’re aesthetically oriented, or want a bag to stand out from the carousel, ROAM Luggage is the brand for you. With eight different sizes and premium customization, you can pick colors for the front, back, trim, and optional monogram of your suitcase, ensuring an individual look. The Check-In starts at $595; the brand is founded by two former TUMI execs, so you’re definitely paying for quality.

TUMI
On that note, TUMI is a high-end staple for global travelers; some of the brand’s checked options will set you back up to $1500. However, their design is engineered to minimize weight, allowing you to pack more and worry less. Each bag’s quality should last you years, through hundreds of trips. With dozens of styles and options, you’re guaranteed to find a configuration that works for you. Invest in the Short Term Expendable 4 Wheeled Packing Case for $895.

Arlo Skye X Dusen Dusen
Arlo Skye is award-winning and design-forward, known for its colorful luggage. The brand’s latest collaboration with Brooklyn-based Dusen Dusen, known for her bold textiles, is a bright lemon case ($425) with a secret: a funky print lining the inside. (Yellow is a dream for locating luggage – I own several yellow bags myself.) I also love the innovative front pocket in The Zipper Carry-On Max With Front Pocket ($375) because there’s little I hate more than realizing you need something from your checked-bag while you’re in the baggage dropoff line.

Check out your old bag then check your new one! Missed any we should know about? Let us know at @thequalityedit or hello@thequalityedit.com.

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