Luggage of all shapes, sizes, shades and styles made their debut at the 2018 International Travel Goods Show, presented earlier this year in Las Vegas by the Travel Goods Association (TGA). Among the hundreds of new cases seen on the showroom floor, here are a few that will upgrade your luggage wardrobe to fashion-forward, style-savvy status.
The Lancer Series by JS Calkins is the Better Back Backpack ($171.95) with its suspension technology. This is a shock-absorbing system that counteracts the downward force of a bag loaded up with the day’s essentials by its upward bounce motion. It’s all in the science of the suspension system, which slows down muscle fatigue, improves posture and balance and lowers the risks of musculoskeletal injuries. It also helps make a packed backpack feel significantly lighter.
The bag feels good against the back, too, with EVA back padding kicking both comfort and protection up a notch. Inside are padded laptop and tablet pockets and a special slip pocket for stowing a smartphone. Find plenty of storage, inside and out, including water bottle pockets on both sides of the exterior.
This water-repellent bag can travel from outback to boardroom with its herringbone pattern and leather-like accents. The Lancer Series also includes a messenger bag ($139.95) with anti-gravity shoulder straps to alleviate shoulder fatigue. Also available is a Sport Casual series that includes the bestselling Roll Top ($164.95) and Tuck ($159.95) backpacks and incudes the built-in shock-absorbing system.
Wine lovers, rejoice! A new company based in Houston, Texas, has made it safe to bring home a bottle or three of that wine you sampled and loved in the world’s great wine-making regions in your checked luggage.
The patent-pending Bottleguardian ($15-$20 per guardian), a case of a different sort, accommodates most 750 ml wine bottles in a thick-walled protective shell that mimics the shape of a wine/liquor bottle. Slide your wine into the bottom half; pad with bubble wrap or even your dirty socks; and screw the top on. The space-saving funnel-shaped top stores within the bottom of the guardian.
A threaded connection fits the two pieces snugly together. If the bottle within somehow breaks (hello, baggage maulers!), the liquid will remain inside Bottleguardian. Sadly, you won’t have the wine, but your clothing won’t be stained or covered in glass, either.
Ultra-strong and ultra-lightweight – the best luggage scenario for cases that stand up to rigorous travels without weighing you down. Add style and savvy and the Etherius Gradient Global Carry-On by Victorinox ($299.99) is the total package.
Tough-stuff in virgin polycarbonate, the case weighs just over 6 lbs for a buoyant carry and is a real eye-catcher with its shiny black or bronze exterior. It’s smart, too, with a 1-touch dual trolley handle system, smooth and silent Hinomoto wheels, zippered expansion and fully lined interior with two roomy zippered compartments, including one with mesh liner.
An integrated 1-touch TSA-accepted combination lock can be registered with Victorinox’s Access Lock Combination Recovery Program, should you ever forget the setting.