July’s Carry On Suitcase Bucks the DTC Luggage Trend

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The last time I upgraded my carry-on luggage was right before I moved to a remote cluster of islands. I had to pack my entire life into a small collection of bags, rebuilding from the ground up. Over the past two years or so, it’s gotten scuffed to hell, with a collection of black and gray marks marring its light pink surface. While the Away Carry On is a classic, my Instagram ads recently yielded a suitcase with similar features that piqued my interest: the Carry On Pro ($345) from July. Seeing that 6,000+ people had joined its waitlist, I signed up to join them.

When I got the chance to test this new bag, I eagerly booked a flight, preparing to put it through a new round of scuffs and scrapes.

Meet July

Founded in Australia in 2019, July hopes to make longer-lasting luggage that doesn’t cut corners (literally, thanks to each bag’s unique eggshell shape!). This curved design creates more reinforcement at the corners of the suitcase, the weakest points of any polycarbonate shell. Custom anodised aluminum bumpers further fortify the bag, and a distinctive scratch-proof texture covers the entire surface of the carry on. 

It’s all in the details.

While the aesthetic appeals to me, the durability is what won me over. Although I take care of my belongings, something about a suitcase invites trouble. As one in a family of six, I’m used to my luggage being knocked around quite a bit, or squished in the back of a car underneath a pile of other bags.

As many brands now do, July offers a 100-day trial that allows you to travel with its offerings and return, no questions asked, if they’re not for you. You can also personalize your carry on for free, enjoy free shipping to the U.S. and Canada, and a lifetime warranty.

My First Impressions

The Carry On Pro ($345) from July boasts an attractive hard shell packed with features like a removable built-in charger, compressible nylon laundry bag, inner straps, separate netted pocket, stain-resistant lining, integrated TSA lock, and 360-degree spinner wheels. But it has some bonus items too, making it the perfect bag for business trips, weddings, vacations, and more.

Airport ready. Credit: @wlsgrace.

My suitcase arrived encased in a canvas sack for protection. As soon as I pulled it out, I wheeled it around my driveway, enjoying the flexible loop-de-loops of the silent wheels. This, I decided, would be absolutely delightful to maneuver within the airport.

Despite having a 42L capacity, the suitcase itself is so lightweight that it made me nervous. While everything about July luggage screams sturdy, I was skeptical of the Carry On Pro’s ability to withstand force. Its design centers around the detachable laptop SnapSleeve™, meant to carry your devices. When you pull up to remove the case from the outer shell, the underlying suitcase looks concave. 

In practice, I would detach the laptop case from the main suitcase while on a flight. After all, it fits my laptop, tablet, and e-reader – all things to which I want easy access. To my surprise, the Carry On Pro is shockingly durable in that without the heft of the SnapSleeve™; it didn’t collapse further or become misshapen when packed in among other luggage – that’s what I call impressive engineering!

Traveling With The July Carry On Pro

I am unfortunately an overpacker by nature, but was able to fit my usual (read: excessive) haul into the Carry On Pro with no problem. It checks the ‘spacious’ box without requiring a checked bag.

Since you have room in the suitcase… Credit: @misswinniewonder.

Others online have noted that the Carry On Pro may be slightly too large for some airlines. It weighs in at 7.9lbs, while the external dimensions with wheels are 21.5" H x 15" W x 8.5" D. I flew Southwest and it didn’t seem to be an issue, although perhaps I’ll run into that trouble later on. As always, look carefully at your preferred airlines’ sizing requirements.

While I hadn’t thought about it while unboxing or ordering, the SnapSleeve™ was incredibly convenient while going through security. With such long lines this summer, that peace of mind (and ability to speed through the queue without fumbling through a backpack) meant a lot to me. I felt immensely polished throughout my airport experience, which I hadn’t expected.

My favorite feature might just be the 20-height multi-stop telescopic handle, allowing extra flexibility for every travel scenario (and heights, should someone else wheel it for you at any point). Whether hauling my suitcase onto an escalator or navigating piles of luggage at the gate, the handle felt solid and easy to adjust.

Admittedly, I rarely used my ejectable phone battery in my previous suitcase. In airports, I’m generally concerned that my phone will die because of the prevalence of QR code menus and digital boarding passes, so I only ever use my device for those necessities. Still, I’ll actually use the July version because it has a laptop charger. This is such a bonus for long-haul flights in which the plane might just have a USB (if you’re lucky). For those rolling straight to meetings, passing time in a café before a hotel check-in, or simply on-the-go, that portability is oh so convenient.

My Final Thoughts

Before trying July, I assumed that most suitcases look and feel essentially the same. With such “ubiquitous” offerings across direct-to-consumer luggage picks (each promising thoughtful design that allows you to focus on the good parts of traveling), the jargon generally feels similar from brand to brand. Consider me proven wrong.

As promised, the edges of the suitcase are uniquely durable. By this stage in my previous buy, I’d already noticed marks and scrapes across the surface, but my Carry On Pro still looks brand new. The extra lightweight feel was alarming to me at first (did I forget to pack something?), but I immediately felt more polished and together during my travels because I didn’t have to struggle with my suitcase so much. Small detail, big difference. 

The unique gadget sleeve, battery, and aesthetic drew me in. The durability and weight ultimately won me over. The brand’s function perfectly follows its Australian ethos: “tough to break, beautiful to look at.” I’m looking forward to many, many more trips with this beauty.

5 Reasons To Love The July Carry On Pro:

1. Its unique eggshell construction and aluminum fortification ensures the corners are extra protected – keeping it looking brand new for much longer than other brands.

2. The quick-snap laptop sleeve makes security much easier, along with running to make your next connection. You can also use it in your day-to-day life.

3. No charge? No problem. The ejectable battery contains USB and FastCharge USB-C ports.

4. The 20-height multi-stop handle works for all heights and all situations. That extra maneuverability feels divine in crowded airports, planes, and that stretch of twenty escalators in a row.

5. Despite its light build and relatively small feel, this carry-on bag fits a surprising amount of stuff, with compression straps to keep it all packed in neatly.

Shop the Carry On Pro at July.com!

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