TravelPro Maxlite 4 Expandable 21 Inch Spinner Suitcase Review
TravelPro is known for making great suitcases at an affordable price. While they may not carry the name or warranty of a Briggs & Riley, this doesn’t mean you should count this suitcase of out of your search just yet. The Maxlite 4 weighs in at just under 6 lbs, easily making it one of the lightest carry-ons on the market. If you find your current bag is too heavy, or are looking for a weight-efficient alternative, this should be at the top of your list. Let’s take a look at some more of its great features.
Benefits of the MaxLite 4
Total Weight < 6 lbs.
It’ll be tough to find a bag that’s lighter and more durable than this one. At 5.9 lbs, that’s almost half of what a 12 pack of soda pop weighs. Think about that, your empty carry-on bag is equivalent to 6 12oz cans of Coca-Cola. After packing your shirts, pants, shorts, and anything else, you’ll be glad your bag isn’t the heaviest item you have.
Secondly, combined with the 360 degree wheels, you’ll find maneuvering this bag around the airport is effortless. Once on the plane, lifting this bag into an overhead compartment should be a piece of cake as long as you packed appropriately!
360 Degree Spinners
Along with its 5.9lb build, the MaxLite 4 also features 4 spinner wheels mounted to the bottom of the bag. These wheels create 4 points of contact with the ground and can rotate in any direction offering a smooth, almost frictionless, travel experience.
If you’re thinking you don’t need spinners, think again. Eventually you’ll run into a situation where one flight lands on the opposite side of the airport from where your next one is planned to take off. You’re jet lagged, you’re tired, and this is the one time you decided to pack a few extra items, because you know… “just in case.”
Now what? You can’t miss your flight, so you hurriedly struggle to get to the other side of the airport, phone in one hand, wheel-less carry-on in the other. Stopping to catch your breath isn’t optional here since you’re already sweating through your dress shirt and about 3 steps away from a heart attack.
Now you’ve missed your flight. Was it worth missing a flight, coming to the realization you’re actually not as in shape as you thought you were, to save $30 on a bag? Probably not, get the bag with wheels every time.
4 Ways to Handle
Every bag has at least 2 ways to handle it, most have 3: the top, the side, and the adjustable handle. However, this bag actually has 4, which, although seemingly insignificant, can make a big difference later on. There is a handle on the side, top, the adjustable handle, and one on the bottom. The most important 1 is the bottom one.
There are going to be times when you or a baggage handler puts your bag in top first. If in a confined area, it can be difficult to retrieve the bag later when there are no handles on the bottom. Where’s the next logical place to grab? The wheels. Unnecessary stress on the wheels can cause them to bend, break, or otherwise become unusable.
So in short, the placement of this handle makes a big difference in the lifespan of your bag. There are few, if any other carry-ons that have this feature, so be sure to check as this will make a big difference in the long run.
If you ask me, the price is just right on this bag if you’re purchasing it from Amazon or another site where it’s around $70 to $80. Any more than that, and I would try to wait for the price to drop or find it on another site. The point here is, you can get a reliable, lightweight carry-on from a reputable company that will last you for at least 2 or 3 years considering you’re a casual traveler.
If you’re able to get a sleek bag for $75, that will do what it’s advertised to do and last for a couple years or more, I think that’s a good deal. Considering normal wear and tear, no abnormal abuse or overpacking, then you won’t have to worry about having a reliable carry-on for years to come.
Disadvantages of MaxLite 4
Measurements are Slightly Misleading
Although this is advertised as a 21” bag, that number is misleading from the actual measurement. Yes, the bag itself is 21”, however after adding in the wheels and handle, it actually measures 22.25”, an extra 1.25”. This usually won’t be a problem for most airlines, but if you run into Mr. Rule Book, then this could pose a problem.
The width and depth of the bag, however, do not appear to be a potential problem. The width measures 13.5” and the depth is 9.5”. Unless you’re really overpacking, I highly doubt there will be an issue here.
Can Tip Over if Too Top Heavy
If you plan on putting your laptop or another heavy item in the front pocket, be aware this will make your bag top heavy and prone to tipping over. While it won’t tip over just standing there, it makes it easier to fall forward if you have a heavy item in the front.
If you’re beginning to travel more, or its time to upgrade your luggage from a cheaper set, this is your next step. I wouldn’t consider this on the “high-end” side of luggage, but it’s somewhere in the middle. Perfect for someone who only travels for leisure, family-related events, etc. and wants a well-made bag that won’t break the bank. The bag doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of higher end, flashier models, but it will reliably move your belongings from point A to point B.
If you’re purchasing your first set of luggage for a trip, this is not a bad option. Personally, I try and start out with purchasing the most affordable option and then progressively upgrading as needed. However, if you see yourself traveling more frequently in the future, it’s not a bad idea to skip lower-tier luggage and go straight to something that will handle many trips.
This bag is not for the frequent business traveler (15+ trips per year). If you’re traveling this often, whether domestically, or internationally, then you will want to purchase a Briggs & Stratton. As good as TravelPro usually is with their warranty, Briggs & Stratton will almost always be better in the long run. You’re paying for a $500 bag, and part of that goes to the customer and repair service they provide.
Originally published at Brian M. Fischer.