Building strollers is conducive to designing luggage systems, as Bugaboo’s Boxer Luggage demonstrates — and it’s just as feature packed as their premium baby carriers. A four-wheeled system makes the set easy to both pull like a traditional wheeled suitcase or push it in front of you for quick maneuvering, and its two large wheels fold in when the wide-grip handlebar is pushed all the way in (the smaller front wheels fold in and out in an equally clever, lever-powered way). The system is modular, allowing the chassis to work with both the black cabin case and the larger white travel case, and the two cases clip together to make running through a crowded airport a touch easier. Also included are a liner in the luggage that doubles as a daypack and a slim organizer to keep your laptop, passport, phone, and other gadgets within close reach.
Learn more at Bugaboo – $1,030 to $1,490
You’ll have to check this one since it’s way too big for overhead compartments. Still, the Crumpler Vis-A-Vis Clear Trunk is as unique and expressive as luggage gets, carry-on or not. Its shell is made of durable polycarbonate that also happens to be crystal clear, showing off the entirety of its contents on all sides, so consider stashing your flashy undergarments in an opaque packing cube. A heavy duty zipper divides the case and two beefy zip safety straps take the strain off the zippers during travel. It’s also got an integrated TSA lock, cushioned fabric handles for comfortable carry, a clothes compression system to keep clothing secure, and smooth glide wheels plus an extendable handle for smoothly dragging it all along en route to your flight.
Learn more at Crumpler – roughly $560
You might know Nomatic from their ultra-compact Basics Wallet that cleverly makes contained cards accessible. Now they’re tackling a different carry with their Nomatic Travel Bag, a carry-on designed for trips up to one week in length and that’s packed to the brim with features. First, the straps: switching from backpack to duffel modes takes literal seconds thanks to a unique design that eliminates dangling straps. A flap with both laptop and tablet pockets lets you fly through security checkpoints without removing them from the bag while also granting full access to the bag’s contents for optimal packing. And if you’re into putting everything in its place, you’ll appreciate the umpteen other pockets, including individual ones for your chargers, cords and backup batteries, a book, a water bottle, hell even an RFID shielded one for your passport and wallet. Each also comes with a vacuum bag that compresses and seals to squeeze the volume out of your clothes, a hangable laundry bag, a shoe compartment, a sock and underwear compartment to keep essentials close at hand, and a roller bag sleeve to fit over your other luggage as you’re wheeling them — that is, if this bag wasn’t enough.
Find it at Kickstarter – $150+
Stick to the road, or don’t. The Bruder Expedition EXP-6 will follow either way. With Four Corner Independent Air Suspension its wheels have double the travel of conventional independent systems and can be controlled on the fly to better suit current conditions. Once you’ve arrived adjust the height to your stature before enjoying its full amenities, including a flat screen TV with surround sound audio, a queen sized bed, a rest room with shower, a whole lot of storage, and several optional bunk beds — not to mention an extendable awning outside that covers a slide out kitchen and fold down external table. The tapered chassis is also air tight to keep out mud, sand, salt, and water, so you won’t need to worry about your trailer any more than you do about the vehicle pulling it.
Learn more at Bruder Expedition – $TBA
It’s a little unconventional, but this sort of change is more than welcome. The Tashtego Roll-Up Dopp Kit is crafted to resemble a tool roll more than a traditional travel kit, which are typically simple bags with one or two compartments full of haphazardly strewn stuff. It’s made of durable #10 waxed cotton canvas and features ten pockets with various widths and depths to hold everything from your toothbrush to a bar of deodorant, plus an eleventh zippered one at the end to be filled with miscellaneous smaller, easy-to-lose goods. Once packed, fold the flap down to prevent items from touching each other (or falling out), roll it up, and secure it with the thick 7 oz vegetable-tanned leather strap. And once at your destination unrolling it gives you plain and simple access to all your stuff, no digging around required.
Find it at Kickstarter – $35,
Van life is now a real possibility with nigh any vehicle thanks to the BlackFin Camper Box. This hard shell camper tent mounts to your car, van, or SUV by way of a roof rack with either round or square bars and pops up in, quite literally, five seconds, providing shelter from the elements and a warm place to catch some shuteye. A fiberglass hard shell repels water both when driving and when popped up while wind resistant materials make up the walls to stand up to strong winds. A full-sized high density foam mattress comes included and the box measures in at nearly seven feet long to easily fit two adults comfortably, or even up to three adults (though we’d presume somewhat less comfortably). It also includes an adjustable aluminum ladder for climbing in, roll-up windows and screens, plus internal pockets and hooks to keep from losing your gear within the fray of blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags.
Find it at Kickstarter – $1,500+
Whether you live out of your bag or just use it to carry your gear to your next destination, Triple Aught Design’s Meridian Transport Case will elevate your expectations of what a good carrier should be. Both sides open in clamshell style to grant immediate and full access to your stuff within. TAD’s Helix attachment system allows for mounting their Transport Cubes and Control Panels (both used for organizing and carrying equipment) to either of these panels in whatever conformation best suits you while its center compartment, equipped with padding on all sides, safeguards the bulk of your gear. It’s also small enough to slip into the overhead bins of even regional flights, comes with a non-slip shoulder strap for easy carry, and remains protective despite the absence of a hardcase-like outer shell which, in turn, boosts compressibility.
Find it at Triple Aught Design – $425
Most carry-on designs are relics from a different past. Away Travel’s Away Carry-On is instead on-point with your modern day needs. The pack weighs 7.2 lbs and features, on the outside, a Bayer Makrolon polycarbonate shell, a removable 10,000mAh battery pack that outputs to two USB ports for recharging devices on long layaways, a TSA approved combination lock that secures the zippers, and four 360° Hinomoto double-wheel spinners sitting on custom insets that boost packing space by 10%. Open one up and you’ll find their patent-pending compression system as well as a removable and washable laundry bag to keep soiled clothes separate from clean ones. And it’s available in four understated colors that add a retro twist: blue, black, sand, and green.
Learn more at Away Travel – $225