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Samsonite Wheeled Carry-On Luggage reviews

Two distinctive products from an industry pioneer
 

 
Samsonite manufacture a broad range of travel luggage items

Samsonite is probably the largest of the companies reviewed, being the only listed public company and multi-national enterprise out of the various manufacturers reviewed.

Originally founded in 1910 in Denver as the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company, the Samsonite brand name first appeared in 1941.

Nowadays the company makes luggage under a variety of different brand names, including American Tourister, Hedgren, Lacoste, and Trunk & Co, as well as Samsonite.

 

 

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


Sahora Spinners Hybrid

Ultra 3000 XLT Expandable Sideroller Carry-on Upright Suiter

 

Samsonite Sahora Spinners Hybrid

Carry-on Upright model 337xxx220

Samsonite Sahora Spinners Hybrid carry-on bag
 

The Samsonite Sahora Spinners Hybrid is visually distinctive and has four wheels that can swivel in any direction (hence the name 'spinner').

This - and its slightly smaller than maximum size - make it easy to maneuver in the tight space down an airplane aisle, and its lighter weight makes it easier to manhandle up into an overhead when fully loaded.

Capacity-wise, it is fairly small and it is difficult to over-pack it due to its somewhat rigid construction.

Overall, we were a bit disappointed with this bag, feeling that 'look good' design had over-ridden issues of basic functionality.

Price and availability

$120

With a 110% low price matching guarantee, comprehensive product range, and excellent service, we recommend eBags.com for purchasing this suitcase.

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

Warranty

Samsonite offer a limited ten year warranty, which excludes wear and tear or abusive treatment.

A positive feature of their warranty is that Samsonite have world-wide repair facilities, although the chances are very unlikely you'd have enough spare time while traveling to arrange for repairs to your bag.

The warranty politely says 'retaining the following items would be helpful' and lists proof of purchase, product tags, shipping carton, and, strangely, the warranty certificate which is just a standard mass-printed sheet of paper with no specific data on it, but doesn't imply it is mandatory to keep these things.

Official size

19.5" x 15.5" x 8.5" (43.5" total)

Measured maximum external size

21" x 15.5" x 8" (44.5" total) - an unusual mix of larger, exactly the same size, and smaller (note my measuring is not absolutely exact).

The bag is legal in two of its dimensions and total of all three dimensions, but its 15.5" width places it outside the typical requirement for this dimension not to exceed 14".  You're less likely to have problem with this bag being accepted on a plane than with some of the others that are clearly way over the size limits.

Measured internal size

19" (or less) x 14.75" x 7.5" (or less).

The bag has fairly wide radius corners, reducing the amount of free space inside and the internal carry handle takes up a large amount of space in the bag base.

Expandability

No.

Weight

8 lbs claimed.  Tests to about 8.5lbs, maybe slightly more.

Construction

The bag is constructed of polyester fabric over a lightweight ABS frame.  It is semi-hard sided, with a rigid base and sides.

All parts were screwed rather than riveted.

Although the corners were generously rounded, and with a bead running on both sides of the main zipper seam, there was no additional edge protection.

The zipper pulls have loop holes in the through which you could place a padlock hasp if you wished to lock the bag.

The bag is lined inside, although the outside pocket linings aren't very smooth.

Color choices

Black or Grey

Handles

Two handles and feet opposite the handle on the long side.

Note there are no feet on the main bottom of the bag, just its four wheels.  Conceivably, if leaving the bag on a slope, that might mean it would roll away if unattended, but in such a case, you can simply put the bag on the other side which has four feet.

Towing Handle

A three piece telescoping handle, which locks in two positions at 31" and 40.5".

The handle seems reasonably solid and has no more than a normal amount of wiggle in it.

The handle is mounted inside the bag and is well protected when closed.

Wheels

One of the distinctive features of this bag are the four wheels on its base, all mounted on castors that can turn in any direction.

When towing the bag by its handle, two of the castored wheels act as you'd normally expect fixed wheels to act, giving a reasonably directionally stable tow experience.  But if you need to do in-tight maneuvering, this is possible while angling the bag onto two of the wheels on the short side, or with the bag resting on all four wheels.

The wheels are all completely exposed, and measure about 2" in diameter and 0.75" in width.  They spin freely, and have a slightly curved profile.

Stair skids

No

Outside compartments

There is one compartment on the base, measuring about 9" wide and 12" deep, with two zips closing the top of it.

There is very little room inside this compartment for thicker sized objects and all in all, it is of little practical use.

The lid has two compartments.  The first measures about 8.25" x 13" and has two zips around its top and upper sides.  This compartment also is limited in terms of how thick an object can be easily stored in it.

Above this is another compartment, measuring about 8.5" wide and 7" deep.  This is a very puzzling compartment - its opening is very tight and narrow and it is hard to know what you'd choose to store inside.  It has two zips across its top.

In summary, the bag's outside pockets are less useful than on most other bags reviewed.

Inside compartments in base

The base has no compartments inside it, although the lining is zipped in the middle so conceivably you could put things on the other side of the lining if you chose to.

Inside compartments in lid

The lid, which is of almost identical dimensions to the base, has a divider around its entire opening.  This zips open or closed with two zips opening three of the four sides.

There are no extra compartments inside the divided space, but on the outside of the divider there are two zipped compartments - a clear plastic waterproof compartment measuring about 14" x 6" and a mesh compartment measuring about 14" x 9.5".

Suit carrier included

No

Other Removable holders inside

No

Waterproof compartment

Yes, one, about 14" x 6".

Packing Straps

Yes, one set of elastic straps in the base and another set in the lid.  Each form an X with a single point of attachment in the middle.

External carry hook/strap

No

ID holder

Yes - somewhat hidden in a gusset of the back outside pocket.

Other features

Includes a free junky little padlock and keys.  Don't use this as it shows no sign of being TSA approved.

 

 

Samsonite Ultra 3000 XLT Expandable Sideroller Carry-on Upright Suiter

Product 383XXX301

Samsonite Ultra 3000 XLT Expandable carry-on suitcase
 

This is a large bag and well constructed.

It does have an unusual and innovative six wheel base.  In addition to the two large wheels normally found on these types of bags, it has two sets of two small wheels on each side, enabling it to be tilted onto its narrow side for rolling in tight spaces such as the aisle of a plane.

The bag has a vaguely old fashioned feel to it - or perhaps it feels more like a downsized suitcase than a custom wheeled carry-on, and there is nothing much in the way of packing aids inside.

Price and availability

$130

With a 110% low price matching guarantee, comprehensive product range, and excellent service, we recommend eBags.com for purchasing this suitcase.

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

Warranty

Samsonite offer a limited ten year warranty, which excludes wear and tear or abusive treatment.

A positive feature of their warranty is that Samsonite have world-wide repair facilities, although the chances are very unlikely you'd have enough spare time while traveling to arrange for repairs to your bag.

The warranty politely says 'retaining the following items would be helpful' and lists proof of purchase, product tags, shipping carton, and, strangely, the warranty certificate which is just a standard mass-printed sheet of paper with no specific data on it, but doesn't imply it is mandatory to keep these things.

Official size

22" x 14" x 9" (45" total).

Measured maximum external size

24" x 15.25" x 10" (49.25" total) - this is illegally large for most airlines.

Measured internal size

21.5" x 14.25".  Depth of base is about 6.25" and depth of lid is about 3".  Can slightly overpack the lid but not the base.

The bag has large radius corners on its top, slightly reducing the overall space inside.

Expandability

No

Weight

10 lb 6 oz claimed.  Actual weight about 12 lbs, maybe slightly more.

Construction type

3000 denier Polyester Fibreloc in a thick weave.

The sides and base are solid, made from honeycombed plastic, covered with the fabric.  Similar material is used on the sides of the lid, with the front of the lid being fabric.

Almost all components are screwed rather than riveted.

There is ribbing on the outside edge and this thickens around the corners.

The main zip pair to open up the bag has locking eyelets and all zip pulls have holes in their handles that can also have padlock hasps passed through.

Compartments are all lined.

Color choices

Black, Dark Green

Handles

Two.

Has four feet on the long side opposite the carry handle.

Towing Handle

Two section telescoping handle that extends to 38".

The two part handle feels sturdy and has little wiggle in it.

Mounted internally and well protected from external forces.  It also has a protective fabric cover than can be zipped over the handle when stowed away.

When the handle is up, there is what appears to be some sort of almost cup holder in the recessed area where the handle otherwise would rest.

Wheels

The bag has six wheels.  Two of them are the main wheels - these are solid wheels that turn with slight resistance.  They measure 2.75" in diameter and 1" wide, with a curved tire shape so only a small part contacts the ground.

These main wheels are about half recessed and well protected.

The other four wheels are very small - about 1.25" in diameter and 1" wide, with a flat cross-section, and about one quarter recessed.  These are fixed two on each short side, so the bag can be tilted in the normal direction (for the main wheels) or on either side (for one pair of the side wheels) enabling it to roll with either its wide or narrow side facing.

This is helpful when going down narrow airplane aisles.

Stair skids

Yes, and assisted by the recessed wheels.

Outside compartments

There is one compartment on the back of the bag, measuring about 13.5" wide by 10.5" deep, with a zip across its top.  This compartment is not gusseted at all so can't hold anything very thick.

There are three compartments on the front.  At the very top is a small zip compartment that seems to be good only for storing the external carry loop when not in use.

Below that is a compartment about 10.5" wide and 6" deep, with two zips around three of its sides and side flaps to stop items falling out.

Below that is a larger compartment, with an opening about 10.5" wide and 12" deep, but extra space inside, about 13" wide by 14" deep.  Two zips go around three sides and it too has side flaps.

This compartment isn't gusseted but is large enough to allow a certain amount of overpacking.

Inside compartments in base

There are no compartments within the base of the unit.  However, there was a very nice surprise inside - a separate travel organizer kit, discussed below.

Inside compartments in lid

The lid has a mesh cover that zips over it with two zippers running around three of its sides.

Inside the mesh cover is the suit carrier (see below) but nothing else.

Suit carrier included

Yes - a very basic tri-fold carrier.

It has a loop rather than hanger at the top and nothing inside and no pockets.

It has wire stiffening around the four sides of the inner most of the three folding sections to help it keep its shape.

Other Removable holders inside

Samsonite include what they refer to as a 'Travel Organizer Kit' in the bag.  This bag measures about 10" x 9" x 2", and zips closed.  Inside is a waterproof pouch (about 8.5" x 6.5" with a zip three quarters of the way up it, and a pouch in the bottom part with three large elastic loops, perhaps to hold shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, and something else.

This kit is stiff to zip and unzip, and is not something I'd choose to buy if offered for sale separately, and probably is something I'll discard rather than keep.  I already have a toiletries bag (who doesn't) exactly the size and shape I want.

There are also three drawstring grey plastic bags provided.  Two are recommended for shoes (one pair in each).  These would be more helpful if they were two different colors, so one could remember which pair of shoes were in which bag.

The third bag is a large 13" x 20" bag that Samsonite suggest could be used as a laundry bag and also as a divider.

Waterproof compartment

Not as part of the bag, but included in the 'Travel Organizer Kit'.

Packing Straps

Two elastic straps that go cross-wise over the items in the base.

External carry hook/strap

Yes.  Instead of a clip on/off item, there is a permanently affixed webbing strap inside the top compartment of the outside lid.  Unzip the compartment, pull it out, and slide the loose end's tongue into a loop on the top of the bag to form the carrying loop.

Its length can be adjusted, and it is nice that you'll never lose or forget it.  But the sliding in and out of the loop at the top is not as easy as just clipping something onto something else, as is the case with most competing bags.

ID holder

Yes, on the back of the base.

Other features

Also comes with a combination lock with cable - this would be a useful accessory, but unfortunately it is not TSA approved - so you shouldn't use this.

 

Back to Top

 

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 17 Sep 2004, last update 02 Jul 2017

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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