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Briggs & Riley Explore 20 Wide-body Upright

By Chicago Tribune /


» What it is: A new wheeled bag that is part of the trend toward wider but shorter carry-ons.

» The good: If you have played carry-on roulette lately, you know the traditional 22-by-14-by-9-inch bag often has to be turned sideways to get the overhead-compartment door to close. That means there's room for fewer bags. Not the case with this 20-by-15.5-by-8.5-inch bag. It slips into that overhead space wheels-first, and it tips the scales at just 7 pounds versus up to 12 pounds for a traditional-size carry-on. The main compartment has plenty of room, plus compression panels that can snug down your gear. There is a large zippered pocket that can hold shirts, your dirty clothes or up to a 16-inch laptop. On the outside is a zippered pocket that opens to give you various compartmentalized storage spaces, and there is an open-top pocket for slipping in a light jacket and/or newspapers, magazines or guide books.

» The bad: Unlike many bags, the handle system is on the outside. That's good, because it makes for a flatter packing area inside. But, if the bag is slightly overpacked, the handles might prevent it from fitting into those bag sizers at the gate.

Also, some people might wince at paying $290 for a carry-on. On the positive side, though, Briggs & Riley's lifetime warranty promises free repairs regardless of the cause of the damage.

» Cost: $290

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