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High Sierra Carry-on Luggage Reviews

A 'cross-over' company becoming more mainstream


The High Sierra Sport Company was founded back in 1979, under the name 'H Bernbaum Import & Export Company'.

Now known as High Sierra, the company claims to be the tenth largest outdoor company in the US, a claim it bases on an article in a magazine back in 1999, so who knows what their size is now.

They are a good sized company, however, employing 40 people and with their products widely distributed throughout the US and in some international locations too.

High Sierra Sport Company is the official supplier of bags to the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding teams.

Their bags are evolving from being primarily 'sporty' to now having a more general appeal for ordinary people (as well as Olympic skiers and snowboarders!).

 

 

Scroll down or click these links to jump to the review you wish to read


ATQ AT404 Carry-On Computer Upright

 

ATQ Carry-On Computer Upright

AT404

This is High Sierra's version of a traditional wheeled carry-on bag.

With a special protected computer pocket, and with holders for office/business things, it gives a nod to the traveling needs of business travelers while still retaining an air of sporty casualness.

Weighing only slightly more than 8lbs, this is a wonderfully lightweight bag.

Price and availability

$240 list price

With a 110% low price matching guarantee, comprehensive product range, and excellent service, we recommend eBags  for purchasing this suitcase.  They offer this bag for $160.

Special Note :  eBags are now giving Travel Insider readers 10% discounts off many products and free shipping too.

Warranty

Five year standard type warranty - ie, it covers manufacturing defects but not wear and tear or abuse.

Official size

21 x 13 x 9 (43" total)

Measured maximum external size

23.5" x 14.5" x 10.5" (48.5" total)

The bag significantly exceeds all three of the standard dimensions (22 x 14 x 9), although note that the 10.5" dimension is a bit variable due to the soft sided nature of that dimension of the bag.

Expanding the bag adds 2" extra to the 10.5" dimension.

Measured internal size

21" x 13" x 6.5", unexpanded, for the main internal compartment.

There are also extra compartments in the bag lid, adding to the total storage space.

Expandability

Yes - you can unzip a 2" expansion gusset for the main compartment, which increases this dimension from about 10.5" (more or less depending on how full you've packed the bag) up to 12.5", at which point you'll definitely have trouble sneaking this bag onto a plane as a carry-on, but which wouldn't pose any problems as a checked piece of luggage.

Weight

8 lbs claimed.  Tests to about 8.4 lbs.  Either which way, it is a wonderfully light weight making the bag very appealing to travelers in these days of increasingly reduced weight limits.

Construction

The exterior of the bag is covered in a densely woven water repellent polyester - it has the appearance of a ballistic nylon, but polyester is a less expensive material.

Inside the bag there is a relatively soft foam material to stiffen the sides, and extra reinforcing on the corners and top.

Construction seems to be mainly with rivets rather than screws.

The bag has less rigid sides than is often found on a carry-on bag (perhaps hinting at what I guess to be a design origin rooted in a back pack concept), but this is not necessarily a problem - the contents of the bag will give it body, and less rigid sides save weight and make it easier to squeeze the bag into awkward spaces.

All zips are designed so padlocks can be passed through their pull handles.

All compartments are lined.

Color choices

The bags are usefully distinctive and it will be easy to spot your bag on the carousel if you check it.

They have two colors on them - a gray (called 'Tungsten') and a second color, either Leaf Green, Pacific (ie Blue) or Carbon Gray (darker than the other gray, but much lighter than black).

Handles

Three handles (plus towing handle)

There are no feet opposite the long side carry handle - indeed, quite the opposite, there's space on the opposite side for a water bottle, meaning the bag should rest on the ground only with the narrow base down.

Towing Handle

Extends to 41" from floor to bottom of handle.

Telescoping design with three sections.  Appears reasonably strong and doesn't wiggle.

Mounted internally.

Wheels

Two wheels, about half recessed into the body of the bag.  They measure about 3.25" in diameter and 5/8" wide, with a round cross-section on the tire.

The wheels could be user replaceable (the complete assemblies can be unscrewed from inside the bag and replaced) and give the impression of being only average rather than super strong.

Stair skids

Not really.  There's a bit of protection extending 3" above each wheel, but pulling this bag up or down stairs is likely to stress it somewhat.

Outside compartments

None on the back (other than a space to put a name tag).

On the long side opposite a carry handle there's a zip compartment into which you can place a water bottle.  This can be zipped closed if you don't have a water bottle inside, and depending on the bottle size and how fully packed the bag is, may possibly be able to closed with a bottle inside as well.

There are multiple layers of compartments on the front of the bag, as you can see in the picture, above (again hinting that this bag may have evolved from a backpack to start with).

The outermost compartment at the top is perhaps intended for placing an MP3 type player in it.  It has padding on the front to protect against impacts, and, as a clever idea, has an overlapping couple of pieces of fabric at the top through which you can thread a headset cord (what High Sierra refers to grandly as 'an integrated headphone port').

This is an interesting idea, but impractical in the real world - who wants to have their MP3 player (which is usually very small and easily carried) zipped up inside their carry-on bag, and even if you wanted to do this, most headsets don't have a long enough a cord to enable you to sit comfortably next to the bag, rather than crouching over it with the headset cord stretched tight.  I'm not quite sure what else you could use the compartment for - it is quite roomy inside, but has only a small 6.5" zip opening and is tight.  If you kept loose coins in there, they'd be hard to retrieve, and it is too small to easily put itinerary information and tickets in and take them out again.

Behind this little pocket is a much larger pouch type compartment, with two zips that run in an oval track down one side, along the bottom, and up the other side.  A waterproof pouch/compartment inside is about 12" wide, goes down the bag about 8", and - depending on what else is packed in the bag, could go into the bag as much as 5" or so.

The other main opening on the front of the bag is below the other two pouches.  It is much larger, with two zips running around three sides (the top and two sides) almost but not quite to the bottom of the flap, which has fabric gussets at the bottom to limit how far it falls open when unzipped.

This compartment measures about 12" wide by 13" tall, and is perhaps 2" deep.  The front (exterior) flap is padded to protect the contents inside.  Inside are a series of pockets and loops and flaps, designed to give you places to put pens, business cards, office equipment, maybe some files, and other such things.

In particular there's a clip which is useful for mounting keys on, and a zippered mesh pouch that can be good for putting small little things in that might otherwise get lost if left loose in the bag.

Behind all the pouches on the front is a double zipper that goes around the top of the outside of the bag and down 13" of the 21" of the exterior bag's dimension.  Opening this up reveals two compartments - an outer one that is the full size of the bag, but without much depth capability, and an inner one with extra padding that is designed to carry a laptop.

My 14" screen Dell laptop fitted very easily into the generous space available, indeed, it was loose on both sides and at the top, even though a strap comes down to hold the laptop in place, and if I were easily worried about such things, I would worry that the laptop could bounce around inside the carry compartment.

High Sierra needs to better reflect on the issue that one size doesn't fit all laptops and come up with a better way of making the laptop fit snugly in its carry compartment.

Inside compartments in base

There are no compartments built in to the base of the bag.

Inside compartments in lid

There are no compartments accessible from the inside of the lid - instead, all the lid compartments are accessible from the outside of the lid.

Suit carrier included

No.

Other Removable holders inside

No.

Waterproof compartment

Yes, on the front of the bag.

Packing Straps

Yes - two adjustable but not elastic straps clip together, running across the inside of the bag one quarter of the way down, and again three quarters of the way down.  The straps are about 3/4" in size.

External carry hook/strap

Yes - An adjustable webbing loop clips onto the top of the bag and then clips onto itself.

ID holder

There's a little thing sewn on to the back of the bag that you can slide a normal sized business card into.

In theory, the business card could slide out on its own and get lost, but that is probably unlikely.

Other features

None.

 

 

Review methodology

Please note that weights and measurements are approximate.  Measurements in particular are surprisingly subjective, and almost no bag/case has even measurements across every part of the bag.

External measurements are usually taken at the largest possible part - like an airline would do if trying to negatively prove your bag was illegally oversized.

 

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Originally published 11 Mar 2008, last update 19 Dec 2013

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
Related Articles
List of Carry-on Bags Reviewed
Our Favorite Carry-on Bags
How to Choose a Carry-on Bag pt 1
How to choose a bag pt 2
Reader comments on their carry-on luggage experiences
Reviews pt 1 :  Briggs & Riley
Reviews pt 2 :  Heys USA
Reviews pt 3 :  High Sierra
Reviews pt 4 :  Samsonite
Reviews pt 5 :  Swany
Reviews pt 6 :  Travelpro
Reviews pt 7 :  Lower priced bags
Reviews pt 8 :  Unusual and specialty bags

See also

Series on larger checked bags - reviews, buyer guide, reader comments, etc

Other related topics

Domestic Airline Carry On Luggage Policies
International Airline Carry On Luggage Policies
Domestic Airline Checked Luggage Policies
Your Rights if your bags are delayed or lost
Luggage Locator review
Distinctive MyTag Luggage Tags
Luggage Transportation Services
Packing Tips
 

 



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