Ever since Away launched the DTC luggage renaissance, I’ve been in the market for a new suitcase to replace the one that I’ve used and abused. Buying a new suitcase is an investment, but something that I’m willing to spend money on with the expectation that it will offer longevity and convenience. That’s why I waited to see what other brands would enter the luggage market. I’m glad I did.
Monos is a luggage company that infuses care and attention into every detail that makes a suitcase stylish and highly functional. The scope of this care is what makes it easy to trust that a piece from Monos will not only live through years of travel, but make your time at airports less stressful—you’ll stop thinking of your suitcases as your baggage and start thinking of them as your belongings.
Tested Like No Other
Named after the Japanese idiom mono no aware, meaning to be aware of transient or impermanent things, the brand runs each of its products through a series of forty tests meant to examine their durability and utility.
Included in these tests are the tumble test in which a Monos suitcase experiences high drops and hard impact to simulate how it might be handled during airport travel, a mileage test that looks at how well the luggage fares while carrying seventy pounds of weight for almost twenty miles, and a telescopic handle jerk test to ensure the strength of the handle as the suitcase is pulled up and in every other direction. The exterior shells are made from aerospace-grade, recyclable German Makrolon polycarbonate and any interior lining that feels like it’s made from leather is vegan, made from ultra-fine microfiber bundles with high-grade polyurethane resin that resembles the microscopic structure of leather.
It’s All About The Details
Taking a close look at a Monos Carry-On ($245), it’s easy to see the small but thoughtful features that the company has implemented. The telescopic handle already beats those on luggage from other brands because it’s ergonomically designed, with the button to adjust the handle’s height placed underneath the handle itself for more natural access. The built-in, TSA-approved lock is located on the side of the bag to make zipping and securing your suitcase a quicker process, and the shell itself feels sturdier than any other hard-exterior model I’ve encountered. The attached compression pad that’s meant to assist in maintaining the organization of your items conveniently moves to the side of the suitcase so you can access all your items at once, and the Hinomoto Lisof Silent Run 360° wheels – one of my favorite features – are pleasingly quiet and able to move any which way you need them to (there’s nothing more annoying than a suitcase that can’t be as agile as you are while getting through the maze that can be an airport terminal).
If there’s still even the tiniest bit of doubt in your mind about whether or not Monos is for you, the Monos Pro options (from $285) are here to make it an easy decision. Though I’ve always preferred a hard-shell suitcase over any fabric offerings, it’s always been at the expense of having a compartment outside the suitcase in which to place items that you usually have to unpack while moving through any security line. The Monos Pro suitcase, available in each of the brand’s sizes, has a large, front-facing zippable pocket that fits not only your laptop and electronic devices, but any other item you need quick access to, like your keys, passport, sunglasses, and more. No more having to reveal your neatly packed underwear and other personal items to total strangers just because you need to take your computer out.
So Many Options, Only One Monos
Once you start perusing all the Monos color and sizing options, you might realize you’ll need a little help deciding which one will best serve your travel habits. Thankfully, there’s a very handy sizing guide to help you compare the Carry-On, Carry-On Plus, and Check-In options.
You’ll also notice that Monos offers two Hybrid products whose shells are made from aluminum and protected by corner guards. I appreciate that the brand offers two carry-on sizes, a smaller model ($245) that you’re able to fit in the overhead storage compartment of almost any airplane, anywhere in the world, and a slightly larger carry-on model ($265) that fits in the overhead bins of most domestic airlines (and that I definitely need since I tend to overpack). There are also two sizes for the check-in models, and if your travel plans involve a lot of shopping excursions that will require you to bring an extra suitcase to bring your purchases back home, you can nest Monos suitcases; the Carry-On and Carry-On Plus can nest inside both the Check-In Medium and Large, and the Check-In Medium nests inside the Check-In Large.
With Monos, you might just be inspired to book more trips for the sole purpose of taking your new suitcase on a world tour.
5 more reasons to love Monos
- Though Monos luggage is tested for durability, if you really want to extend the lifetime of your new suitcase or you’re especially concerned about how it might be handled during travel, try out the Monos Luggage Cover ($45), a waterproof slip that will protect the exterior shell from dirt, scuffing, and whatever else the open road threatens to do to your new favorite suitcase.
- Does the thought of packing a suitcase ever make you want to cancel your entire trip? Monos sells sets of Compressible Packing Cubes ($110) that will not only make it easy to keep your items organized, but will maximize space, which is a blessing for overpackers like me.
- Like most of the brands we love, Monos strives to be sustainable. Monos has earned a Climate Neutral certification, which means it achieved net zero carbon emissions and, additionally, the company donates 1% of its revenue to verified non-profit organizations aiming to restore the environment.
- Monos offers its customers a 100-day trial during which they can test their luggage and return or exchange it for whatever reason. However, make sure to read the details of this offer, which include making sure a returned suitcase hasn’t been used for an actual trip.
- Can’t get enough of Monos? Shop the brand’s other products, which include the CleanPod UVC Sterilizer ($90) to keep all your items germ-free during travel, the Metro Duffel ($230) for short getaways, and a stylish clothing line to keep you comfortable on-the-go.