Dear Tumi: It’s Not You, It’s Me (I Guess)

Filed Under: Travel

Several days ago I wrote about how I was desperately in need of a luggage makeover. You guys had a lot of amazing suggestions, which I really appreciated. As I explained, I needed to make a decision by this past weekend, not just because both my bags needed to be sent for repair, and I have too much upcoming travel to be bagless, but also because I’ve spent the past year complaining endlessly to Ford and Tiffany about my luggage trying to decide how to fix my luggage situation.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent looking at options, getting frustrated, and then giving up.

Well, I have some good news — I have some new luggage, and I’ve also finally dumped Tumi. I’ll share this in two separate posts, because there were two unrelated decisions here — I decided I was done with Tumi before I actually knew what I was going to replace it with.

I’ve been a Tumi customer for years

I’ve had Tumi luggage for a long time… probably about 15 years? I’ve had various bags from them, and overall I’ve found the bags to be decent quality.

Do I think they’re the highest quality and most stylish bags out there? Nope, but for the most part they’ve been good enough. I’ve also been able to score some great deals on their bags over the years, thanks to sales and other promotions.

I’m not leaving Tumi, Tumi is leaving me

This weekend I went to a Tumi store in Miami. My old Tumi had issues (including broken zippers and a broken wheel), so I wanted to get those things repaired regardless. But I walked into the store with the intention of buying a new bag, and then would give the repaired suitcase to my dad (since he also needs a new bag, but doesn’t travel nearly as much as I do).

Inside the Tumi store I noticed a quote on the wall — “Innovation Is Our Obsession.” Unfortunately I didn’t actually see that reflected in their lineup of bags… at all.

To be fair, I travel a lot, and that’s probably also the reason I take my luggage choices so seriously. To me a bag is almost like a travel companion. I also have different needs in a bag than many (or even most) consumers, as my lifestyle is pretty hard on luggage, so I need things that are durable, but also have these bags with me nearly 24/7, so I want them to be decently attractive when possible.

As I played around with bag after bag after bag, I couldn’t help but think “man, these really aren’t for me.”

Regardless of the style/collection, I couldn’t help but feel like Tumi’s bags are being designed by people who don’t actually travel frequently — it’s sort of like the trend of hotels building “millennial” hotel rooms, with no focus on details or practical design.

Spinners are great for some, but not everyone

I have a strong preference for a two wheeled bag rather than a four-wheeled bag. That’s not because I think they’re universally better, but because they’re better for me. Why? Because I try to minimize impact on my wrists, rather than impact on my shoulder.

The sideways motion of pulling a four wheel bag is rough on my wrists, and every spinner I’ve tried puts too much strain on those joints in my case.

You know how many two-wheel suitcases Tumi has, at least that aren’t duffels?



That’s the Tumi Alpha 3 International. This wasn’t just the case of the store not having proper inventory, but the website confirms that this is literally the only carry-on with two wheels rather than four.

And even getting that one bag was a challenge. It wasn’t on display, but rather they had to reluctantly get it from the back, after the salespeople gave up on explaining why a spinner bag was definitely the better choice.

Other feature changes

The new Tumi Alpha 3 has stuff like combination locks, a pouch to insert a battery pack and loop cables through, and other more “modern” touches. Those are probably useful features for some, but to my mind they just add weight, and take away space from the things I do value in a bag.

For example, the old Tumis had “hooks,” so that you could strap a second bag to them. This is something I really value, since it makes the bag setup feel much lighter, and helps to minimize the impact on my wrists. When I asked about it, the salesperson responded:

“We stopped doing that a long time ago, but you can slide a backpack on the handlebars.”

I feel like the people designing Tumi bags nowadays don’t actually use bags. There’s a reason for the clip — clipping something on the back of the bag balances it, and minimizes the weight you feel like you’re pulling. With how I set up my carry-on, I can drag it with literally one finger and no impact on my wrist. You’ll often see flight crews with their bags looped this way as well, as it’s a pretty practical way to balance the weight of two bags.

Why is Tumi so expensive?

While I was frustrated about the suitcase situation, I was still thinking I might be able to make it work, so started looking around at Tumi backpacks.

And wow, I couldn’t help but feel like they were so poorly designed. The zippers weren’t smooth, the hardware had shiny metal finishes that seemed like they’d scratch and dent the first time a bag was stowed under the seat, the fabrics felt cheap, and the pocket allocation was awkward.

Finally I found one Tumi backpack that seemed decent, in that it had enough organization to be useful without being overwhelming. I didn’t actually think it was stylish or even that well designed, but I figured it was good enough.

Then I looked at the price, and this “meh” bag was priced at $725!

In that moment I concluded that Tumi is no longer the brand for me. Maybe Tumi bags work for some, but they don’t work for me anymore. I theoretically wouldn’t actually mind paying $725 for a bag or backpack if it was amazing, and perfectly met my needs. I get a lot of use out of travel bags, and use them nearly every day, so a durable bag is not that much of an investment when that’s all factored in.

My well-loved Killspencer leather weekender was about $500 when I purchased it in 2014 (it’s also listed for $725 now), and it felt like a splurge at the time, but that bag has flown over 2.5 million miles with me since then, and has been worth every penny. Sure, the zipper needs to be repaired, but otherwise the quality and craftsmanship have been incredible.

However, I’m not going to even consider paying top dollar for something where I basically say “well, I guess this doesn’t suck that much,” and where the new bag is a significant downgrade from my old one.

Bottom line

I walked out of the Tumi store frustrated. I desperately needed new luggage, and at that point I didn’t have a suitcase at all, since my old one was being repaired (for which Tumi charged me a $26 “processing fee” up front).

However, I had decided whatever I was going to get, it wasn’t going to be Tumi.

I’m not sure if quality has just decreased since Tumi was acquired by Samsonite luggage, or what.

I’m not even saying their bags suck for everyone. But I have what I think is a very realistic and basic need, as a frequent traveler. I need a bag and backpack combination that doesn’t put weight or torque on my wrist. A lot of Americans have wrist pain, other limitations, or even just preferences, and you’d think a mass-market brand like Tumi would try to cater to a range of needs, rather than “innovating” everyone into a single bag style.

The fact that in their entire lineup Tumi doesn’t have a single combination that works for that tells me that the brand simply isn’t for me anymore.

Adios, Tumi!

On the bright side, while I didn’t think I’d actually find a replacement that would actually make me happy, my gosh am I thrilled with what I bought 30 minutes later.

For the Tumi fans, what is it you love about their bags that you feel is unique from other brands?

  1. Next time just buy stuff from, “sold and shipped by Amazon”, deliver it to any EU address and use a form of payment of a non-EU country. You get full VAT refund, that is 22% off.

  2. @ Ben — Tumi is exactly as you describe, overpriced “meh”. I decided not to comment on your initial post, a, but I think Costco has the best luggage deals. However, they too are moving towards a line up of almost entirety spinners made by Samsonite (yuck and more yuck). I look forward to hearing about your purchase!

    More importantly, did they agree to repair your old bag for free? I would be surprised if they did, but if so, I have one with 7 of 9 broken zipper pulls that will be going in the shop ASAP!

  3. I was in the exact same dilemma two months ago….I used to be Tumi 4 life until the wheels started to give and the Tumi store fought me tooth and nail in refusing to pay for the repair…so I moved on to Briggs….well they lasted me less than a year of hard travel and although they agreed to repair it, it involved a fee plus paying to ship it to them…i finally took the plunge and splurged on two Rimowa spinners and so far it’s been game changing

  4. hi Ben

    I loved reading about your experience with spinners because it’s the first I’ve heard someone ELSE say that. I had a Samsonite spinner a few years ago and a business trip between the east coast and several stops in Germany & Austria.. my wrist was in pain. I presumed spinners weren’t for me but I couldn’t entirely shake how useful they were around an airport and especially during boarding.

    I recently got an Away spinner and while I don’t travel nearly (*nearly*) what you do – several trips in and I’ve not had the same wrist strain problems.

    Food for thought from another wrist-pain-from-spinners guy.

  5. My wife and I each got luggage ~10 years ago – she got Tumi and I got Delsey. I travel 4-5 nights a month for work, she just uses hers on vacation. We do 3-4 weeks a year of international travel and have been to 6 continents and numerous cities, remote islands, etc. My Delsey looks in better shape than her Tumi and finally I had a zipper go. She has had 2 zippers already replaced on her Tumi. Furthermore, with International Travel, ~50% of the time it is clear that they rummage through her luggage at the airport, mine has never been touched. We have stopped using her Tumi bags (she has 5-6 pieces) unless its a quick weekend getaway or its carry on and she just uses a few pieces from my Delsey collection. I agree, overpriced and also a target at airports at least in our experience.

  6. It’s a shame that there aren’t more two-wheeled bags. If you were able to purchase a four-wheeled bag, I’d tell you to get an Away bag. The bags are not only functional, but well priced and include a lifetime warranty.

  7. No doubt, I wholeheartedly agree! I was a tried & true Tumi fan for years, if fact still have & use my original garment bag I purchased 40 years ago. I‘ve inhanced my Tumi collection over the years rotating bags depending on the length of my trips. Unquestionably the Brand was stylish & durable however it seems their small carryon bags are designed by dimwhited knuckleheads who have never packed or used their products. Frankly the Brigs & Riley carryon suitcase & garment bag are far more suited for travel. I know this after agonizing over & recent purchase trying to find a carryon bag I could live out for a three week multiple stay trip to Italy, I opted you use my tried & true Tumi wheeled garment bag & check it.

    Dr. Sushi

  8. I don’t quite see the problem with four-wheelers. I have three four-wheeler Rimowas and they work perfectly fine as a two-wheeler if you so desire.

  9. Three words: Briggs and Riley.

    I’ve had my Briggs carry on (with two wheels I might add) for over ten years, and it still looks and functions like it is brand new. I cannot recommend it enough.

    I found mine at Bloomingdale’s, but I think Nordstrom carries their luggage as well.

  10. Eagle Creek, good product, good features, lifetime warranty, good quality. Utilitarian.

  11. I don’t understand the wrist issue Lucky – I use a (gently oversized) 4 wheel Rimowa Salsa Deluxe, and it just glides with me as I walk. No pushing or twisting necessary. Lower the handle a bit so your wrist isn’t too high and it’s golden.

    Whereas w/two wheel ones, you drag them behind you for 10 min and then I can feel it in my arm (especially heavier Tumis). And you end up running over peoples’ feet. Just more klutzy.

  12. Never understood the appeal of Tumi luggage – they are so expensive yet are sooooo unbelievably ugly. Lots of better luggage out there and cheaper too – my luggage from Muji have done me well over the last ten years and are nicely understated…

  13. I just simply hate Tumi. Overpriced, bad quality, awkward designs. Sometimes it’s like you are paying for every zipped compartments, so they put like 10 of those, for selling it for more expensive. In many cases, less is more.
    Its hard to buy any bag with the quality of those sold in 2010. Even travelpro became shit in the past few years. I do prefer travelpro flightcrew 22″ rollaboard.
    Even if tumi bags were sold for half price, I wouldn’t buy those.

  14. @Joachim

    Correct. I would be interested in an explanation of this. A four wheeler is not a four wheeler if you are rolling with only two wheels. It becomes a four wheeler when placed on all four wheels and rolled.

    It seems odd for a person to claim they don’t like four wheelers when all they have to do is use two of the four wheels and, voila!, you’ve got a two wheeler.

  15. @ Joachim

    Luggage is personal, so what works for you might be terrible for someone else, or vice versa.

    I hate spinners with a fiery passion. Yes, they’re great for the tiny fraction of my journey that involves billiard-table-smooth marble floors inside airport terminals. But take them outside onto the broken pavements of, say, London or NY – or turn up at the luxury country hotel and find the car park and paths are all gravel – and then see how utterly unfit spinners are.

    In fairness, most “big brand” 2-wheelers use similar wheels. It’s why I love G-RO. Huge wheels, that take any pothole in their stride. That can easily be walked up and down stairs. That are axle-less, so take up no packing room – giving the case 10-15% more interior space than the same size spinner. That have a higher centre of gravity, because the wheels are big, making it feel lighter when you pull it than any conventional bag.

    Blah blah. I’m a fan. But it’s fine if you’re not. 🙂

  16. I’ve been ranting about four-wheelers for years. Never a 4-wheeler because just look at the size of the wheels and the extra swivel. No way that’s as durable as a two-wheeler. Plus, two wheelers use rollerblade wheels (really, they’re the same spec) so you can get them repaired in a sports shop anywhere in the world in a pinch. Airline crews often use TravelPro’s “Crew” line, so I bought a TravelPro Crew 22″ 2-wheel rollaboard and a TravelPro Crew backpack. Yum! (especially the backpack). But my favourite luggage is my long-discontinued red Victorinox Tourbach 22″ two-wheeler. They can pry it from my cold dead fingers. Now made of 100% pure unobtanium, unfortunately. VSA gave up on their premium “Tourbach” experiment. The zipper grips are made of heavy chrome, the zippers comically large and heavy, corners reinforced with bumpers, the telescope glides like butter, the ballistic nylon unusually coarse and durable, this bag feels like an armoured Rolls-Royce.

    Naughty to leave us hanging like this. Karma will get you for that.

  17. Are people seriously suggesting replacing an overhyped, overly expensive, spinner heavy brand with an even more overhyped, even more expensive, and spinner exclusive brand? Rimowa makes Tumi seem like a utilitarian tool in comparison! All you Rimowa fanatics have to stop humblebragging about owning a Rimowa because their bags fit none of the criteria Ben is looking for. We get it, you have a Rimowa. It’s a luxury status symbol that sold out to LVMH with no reasons to get it over brands half its price other than to show the world that you’re rich.

    The other commenters not mentioning Rimowa are right. Briggs & Riley is the only choice you can count on for actually caring about quality. It’s what the pilots and flight attendants use, after all. Sometimes they show up at Costco for $220 but often times it’s the spinner. Yeah, spinners suck. You can never find good deals on rollaboards anymore because of spinners. If you find a good brand that isn’t Briggs and Riley I’ll be excited to read the post.

  18. Ever heard of the company “Nomatic” ? They made some great campaigns on Kickstarter and have grown a very interesting range of cleverly designed travell gear. Over the last two years i picked up some of their items and so far they never failed me during my travells.

  19. I used Ben’s original post to re-evaluate my own carryon situation before I embark on two trans-Atlantic vacations this year, and at least two more domestics. I don’t like the weight of my 22″ Travelpro Crew11 rollaboard so I hit the big department stores near me with an eye to buying something lighter-weight but still with more or less the same configuration.

    The upshot was that I didn’t like a single bag that I saw, except MAYBE the Platinum TravelPro 22″. But even that didn’t sing to me. The lightweight ones just felt cheap and didn’t have the exterior pockets I like on the TravelPro. Hated the Tumis, can’t afford a B&R, but I agree, they’re great quality.

    As for the luggage used by airline pilots and F/As, TravelPro has a line of heavier-duty bags for them called the FlightCrew bags that are insanely well built, but considerably heavier than the standard “crew” series. There’s also Luggage Pro, and I’ve seen a lot of these being carried by pilots. I’m considering the FlightCrew 5, but more likely than not, I’m going to stick with my venerable Crew11. I have nothing bad to say about it, other than it’s heavy.

  20. Maybe I’m uncultured but not sure why Samsonite is not getting much love here? My two wheeler is light, was reasonably priced, has all the functions I need and is in very good shape as it has been for the past 6 years.

  21. Don’t know how such an expensive bag doesn’t have a 10 year or lifetime warranty. Samsonite and AmazonBasics both have 10 year while Tumi has 5 year warranty. Makes no sense.

  22. Ben, your post encapsulates my situation with Tumi. In 2003 my husband bought me a red Alpha 22″ carry-on two wheeler, which I have absolutely loved, but he used it a little too much for traveling and it needs to be replaced. I too was shocked when I discovered they only have one two-wheeler in their collection. The salesperson informed me that it was user error when a customer isn’t happy with the way the spinners roll. Oh, and while I was checking out the two wheeler in the store, the zipper fell off! My husband bought a Briggs & Riley last year and he absolutely loves it. I suspect I will do the same.

  23. I left Tumi 10 years ago after realizing the price was not longer justified and the designs are more flash than function. I like the quality of Hartmann, but its less flashy which works for me. And they discount like crazy.

  24. I have a bunch of Tumi bags. Old, new, checked, carry-on, two wheel, four wheel. Have never had quality issues. People in the Soho NYC store are super nice.

    I have a bunch of their umbrellas. When they break, the store gives me a new one.

    And Briggs bags are UG-LEE.

    See? There is no single answer.

  25. The North Face Rolling Thunder 22″ – not the most glamorous brand, but it’s basically waterproof, the (two) wheels are off-road worthy, especially good for anything outside of smooth airport floors, and it has a lifetime warranty. Can easily be overstuffed if you need it too. I’ve been a huge fan of the line since 2010 and my rolling thunder has held up nicely for nearly 10 years now (~1.5 mil miles)

  26. I fly about 175,000 miles a year. I go through a bag every 12-16 months.

    I’ve had two Delsi 29-inch suitcases. Both have lasted barely a year. Great looking with lots of space, but eventually wheels broke or the case cracked. They were the more expensive Delsi models, too.

    I bought an Away suitcase in January and have put almost 100,000 miles on it since then. The TSA locks have broke and now I can’t secure it. Away is giving me a hassle about returning it. So far the suitcase has withheld everything else, but it is terribly scratched and bruised on the exterior, despite supposedly being scratch and bruise resistant.

  27. I will eat my Topas if Ben got an Rimowa. As much as I like the luggage, it’s quite obvious it’s NOT what Ben is looking for, based on his criteria.

  28. “… after the salespeople gave up on explaining why a spinner bag was definitely the better choice.”… does this salesperson travel a lot him/herself?

    Ever tried to drag your spinner bag over cobble-stones are a dirt track? No, probably not, spinners are designed for airports, not for what you do after you’ve left the airport. I also find it quite entertaining to watch tourists put there spinners in the luggage area of train. And once the train starts moving, these suitcases become projectiles. In my view spinners are useless.

    I started looking for a new bag (2-wheeler of course) recently, and noticed that the offer is significantly less than 5 years ago. Victorinox and Tumi discontinued a lot of their models. I will have a look at this Briggs & Riley for sure.

  29. I bought a carryon from kickstarter called Marlon. Two wheeler and bigger wheels but not as big as G Ro. So far worked really well … abt 10 International trips within 18 months or so.

  30. Thank you! Tumi bags are so astonishingly ugly to me. Only worth it if the function more than compensates for it, which it sounds like it doesn’t. Of course, everything is personal, but Tumi to me feels like the luggage equivalent of New Balance 608s. #normcore

  31. I have a Tumi carry on and although it is sturdy and fits a lot of stuff I simply hate a huge design flaw that makes the bag tilt forward if it is full. Yes, you cannot leave the bag alone or it will simply tilt forward and fall face down on the ground. WT.!!!!!! I also love the B&R bags and although I don’t have a carry on I have 6 big ones that my family has been checking in for over 10 years and they are flawless.

  32. Spinner goes in front, not on the side. Don’t understand the wrist strain issue, especially if you get a Rimowa with the infinitely adjustable handle. Away is not as well made (or stylish), but packs better.

  33. Check out Their Stealth two wheel bags are built like tanks, but they are heavy.

    I had to give mine up after I had back surgery, as the strain of pulling a heavy bag behind me was too much to handle. I now use spinners; currently a Rimowa but I’ve also had Tumi’s in the past. None of them last like the Stealth bags. I’m waiting somewhat patiently for them to come out with a spinner.

  34. You have no idea how body mechanics work, using a 2 wheeled bag means to load the weight onto your wrist. At least with the 4 wheeled bags, if you just pushed it in front of you slightly, the force will come from the shoulder.

  35. I still can’t talk myself into paying that much for luggage, though Briggs and Riley is weighing on me. However, to surprise my trusty Case Logic 18″ carry-on has been incredible, going on 8 years of fairly heavy use and still going strong. My Rossi laptop bag has been holding up well so far too, maybe going on about 6-7 years with that one.

  36. Other than their non-wheeled suitcases, Globe-trotter (the makers of luggage used by the Queen) only makes two wheeled carry-ons (and probably always will).

    They’re a bit bulky though

  37. I refuse to buy Tumi. I find their stuff bland, but more than that, they don’t stand behind the product anymore. They formerly had a lifetime, no matter what warranty – like Red Oxx and Briggs. They got rid of that and paying such a substantial premium had a huge downside risk. Even Rimowa covers their stuff for 5 years, and usually will even fudge that a bit, and their definition of wear is much more customer friendly.

    Meanwhile, have you considered switching to a wheel-less solution? Red Oxx makes absolutely awesome gear and is something I’ve flown 200-400k miles with for 7 years now. If you want to keep wheels, how about Rimowa? While LVMH is kind of an annoying owner, they have done a good job at letting Rimowa do their thing.

  38. I know you hate spinners however, you haven’t traveled with one or at least if you did, it probably wasn’t recently or a high quality one. The double wheeled spinners (8 wheels total) are much easier to roll than pulling a small wheel, two wheeled bag. That’s why you can’t find any decent high quality two wheeled bags out there – no one buys them!

    I update luggage often, not because it gets broken or worn but because there are always new and better options out there. It’s like updating your electronics – you’re not using a second generation iPhone, why are you traveling with some old dinosaur bag? I’m glad you’re moving on whatever the choice and don’t gift that old bag to your dad – you’re not doing him a favor. Get him something nice.

  39. I have a few things from the Tumi Alpha line. A few years ago it seemed that the Alpha line was the company. Now it seems it’s just another line.

  40. Another Briggs fan. In fact, just got a new B&R Accelerate backpack a few weeks ago and am amazed (as are my travel companions) with how much fits in such as small backpack – and it still looks small and not stuffed. Easy 3 day bag if you’re minimalist enough. My two wheel B&R has lasted several hundred thousand miles, including bush flights in Africa and an expedition in Nepal and Bhutan.

  41. Another Briggs & Riley loyalist here. Love my Transcend Int’l Carry-On Spinner!

    As for Tumi, have a knapsack of theirs that I love, but is unfortunately wearing at the seams. Have looked there to replace it on multiple occasions, but now all their backpacks have some leather or faux leather component, making them unwashable. I wash everything except my suitcase when I get home from a trip. That they no longer have at least one washable backpack, a big thumbs down.

    Agree with @Donna, a new bag for Dad. 🙂

  42. Spinners are great until they are not. As long as I am on a smooth hard surface, there is nothing easier than pushing a spinner, but as soon as I have to deal with a rough surface or even thick carpet, spinners suck. Sure, you can pull a spinner like a two wheeler, and that helps, but it still isn’t as good as the larger wheels of a two wheeler on rough surfaces.

  43. People tend to use spinners with the handle up. Use the handle that doesn’t extend instead.


    The few times you need to lean it and use the extended handle, roll it on 2 out of 4 wheels.

  44. On wrists: yes energy goes through the wrists whether you pull a 2-wheeler or a spinner, but if your wrist is locked, as when pulling a 2-wheeler, you don’t put that nasty strain that you get by pushing a weight that’s not in line with your arm.
    It’s good to see the spinner hate. For me, it’s the four tiny wheels. If you handle luggage the old-fashioned way: driver puts bags in car, bellhop takes bags from car to room, then you probly don’t even need a spinner. If you routinely drag the bags a couple of km, to train stations, in city centers, etc., then you need two wheels.

  45. I love all my LL Bean bags. I had a blackwatch plaid suitcase from them that was my favorite thing ever but I just absolutely wore it out over probably 10 or so years of travel.

  46. My wife got a Samsonite set over 10 years ago when it had a lifetime warranty. We had the Samsonite completely refurbished with no extra charge dropping it off at a store and it was shipped for free back to our door. I have a Tumi now because she wants me to be more stylish. It is not as useful functionally as the Samsonite and the rubber handle quickly frayed and looks horrid. Thankfully it is a two wheeler so will have to hang on to it as much as possible. Zipper pulls are still good because I haven’t had to check it at all, not even gate check it. When we travel internationally we take our second string luggage.

  47. G-RO 6 wheel spinner. (Kickstarter) Never thought l would want a spinner bag because the wheels suck up 8-18% of capacity, but I’m looking forward to trying this one out.

  48. @ J David Ballance

    Isn’t the new G-RO a “pusher” rather than a spinner?

    I took a look at it when they started the crowdfunding, but I couldn’t get over the plug-ugly aesthetics. Nah, that one’s not for me.

  49. I’ll add my hatred of four wheel ‘spinners’ but these days it’s difficult to find much else in full size.

    I’ve been traveling for business for thirty five years (now thinking of retiring) so I easily recall the days before there were any wheels at all on full size cases and the struggle with them when you couldn’t get a trolly to put them on.

    Two wheels were a great addition and made everything about dealing with luggage so much easier

    Four wheels made it worse again. Two wheels will stand still and mind their own business while you do what you need to, four wheels with a mind of its own will roll away on the slightest slope or if knocked by someone else passing so you have to keep hold of it and yes, I agree, it’s much harder on your wrists.

    I’ve stuck all the years with mid-range Samsonites, boringly blue or black and costing somewhere around €200 today. They’ve lasted me 5-9 years of bi-montly use with each trip involving 6-8 flights so I think I’ve always had value from them and I’ve never thought that trading up the brand would bring my any better value.

    I’ve only had two damaged, one by Iberia which they replaced with another from a store room at MAD, it was similar but not identical and one by Lufthansa which which was replaced within 48 hours by one that was identical in Sicily so maybe I’ve been lucky there too. I’ve never lost one for more than 24 hours so the luggage gods have treated me well over so many years.

    I’m up for replacement at the moment and did see Tumi in a sale so stopped to look, it was OK but at the very reduced price of €390 I thought it was poor value so left it, came home and ordered another Samsonite on line – easy and good value.

  50. Another vote for CostCo here. As someone who is “literally a millionaire” (to quote Adam Carolla from his Loveline days) just like you are Ben, I can afford any stupid expensive luggage up to LV and beyond. What do I use? My $100 22″ Kirkland suitcase from 2010, which was I believe the first model and came with a removal garment bag. It’s held up for almost a decade, and I’ve just had to replace one of the rubberized handles. My other go-to? The $30 Ful under-seat suitcase, which was also from CostCo – this one is amazing, and I’ve gifted it all my family and have a brand new spare waiting for when the first one gives out. For the $130 total, I can bring aboard the full size 22″ carry-on with the Ful “personal item” clipped behind it, which perfectly balances out the weight, creates a 4-wheel train, and allows me to pull with one finger.

  51. Looking forward to seeing what you land on!!

    On a related note, I’d love to see some more features about what y’all are using week to week (and maybe readers, too?). There’s a ton of good onebag content out there right now but I’m always curious what business travelers are using and what is holding up well.

    I rely on all Briggs but am always open to better options.

  52. The title of this article is “Dear Tumi: It’s not you, It’s me (I guess)”

    Is this a hint that your new bag is from Guess 🙂

  53. I’m surprised everyone is forgetting Pelican. That’s Defense Department-slash-military grade luggage. Not necessarily attractive, but it’s very durable.

  54. As I’ve said before… with Briggs and Riley, you are paying them upfront for a lifetime warranty. Period.

    So you can buy a travel suitcase of some sort that matches your needs – ONCE.

    I don’t understand the comments that glorify other brands with short warranties. B&R does a fine job with their products and will repair/replace any non/cosmetic damage FOR LIFE.

    But I doubt Lucky or anyone will ever read this comment being wayyyy down here.

  55. Rimowa is your to go (only downside is non-expandable), but honestly the number of time I have expanded my Tumi in the last 7 years (I have it) I can count with the finders of a hand.

    I do have a large Rimowa Topas to check in, with stickers all around and it is actually great. It rolls perfectly after being (i believe) consciously hit by the handlers many many times.

  56. As many mentioned above, Briggs and Riley is fantastic. (Rimowa is also really lovely, but much more of a spend…) I bought a Briggs and Riley via Bloomingdales when they had a ton of extra miles via the AA shopping portal and got a nice mileage haul, in addition to a great piece of luggage. 🙂

  57. I stand by all my TravelPro products for the many years they’ve lasted and the their features/utility. Crew series is one of the best. There’s a reason many in the industry have them.

  58. I travel approximately 35 round trips per year. Just “retired” a 6 year old TravelPro Crew 10 roller board (2 wheels). Went on line for a long research cruise. Finally found the new (out since April) TravelPro Crew Expert line. WOW! Flew home yesterday. Checked it out (Awesome). Packed this morning and off again. Really sturdy without the frilly crap. Just good sturdy soft sided luggage. I’ll keep you posted on results. Aloha

  59. Please don’t get Briggs. They’re so ugly. Rimowa dents and all is what you should go with.

  60. @DenB – I totally agree with you Victorinox Two Wheeler for carry on was the best thing I ever bought. I can’t complain because it just glides right behind me while going through airports and I love to wheel it along behind me. I do know that it is heavier than most other carry on luggage, but I think that’s due to the extra durability built into it.

    I also got really lucky and bought it at Ross Store for $59. I do advise making a stop in a Ross or TJ Maxx, you never know what you’ll find and sometimes you get really really lucky.

  61. What about LuggageWorks? There is a reason many pilots use them. They are extremely durable and their Stealth Premier line looks pretty sweet!

  62. Lucky, Try eBay. I have your exact Tumi bag and know what you mean. You may find a new old stock of your current bag. I do this a lot when an item I love is discontinued by the manufacturer, or the newer version is of lesser quality.

  63. I love my Tumi bags but I doubt I’ll buy another in the future. My ballistic nylon shoulder travel bag with no wheels holds 5 days of clothes and fits in any overhead compartment. My business backpack fits my storage needs like a glove. They were purchased 15 and 8 years ago respectively and they both look as good as new new. I bought my very first Tumi work bag years before that and gave it to my son when he started his first job. But their quality has declined, their service disappeared, and prices have skyrocketed since then. Alas.

  64. Maybe this an American thing but I still perplexed by the perception in the comments here that Tumi is somehow stylish…‍♂️

  65. Fascinating how we have the opposite experience! I’ve purchased 3
    Tumi bags in the last 2 weeks – a backpack, a briefcase and a duffel bag. They are PERFECT for me: stylish, perfectly-sized and well-equipped for my daily needs. The backpack in particular is amazing — despite looking small, it fit my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, Nintendo Switch, etc while maintaining a balanced shape.

    I live in Tokyo, therefore I commute on the train, but I also travel overseas 1-3 times a month. So far, I’ve flown transpacific with these three bags and I don’t have a single complaint.

  66. I won’t buy a spinner. I don’t like them. I bought three sizes of Briggs & Riley bags in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and all three are still in operation in 2019. I admit that two of them have required repairs, but I have an authorized repair facility within two miles of home, so that’s easy.

  67. I now only buy gently used Tumi bags on eBay for a fraction of the cost and have never had a problem with them. I am disappointed that you found that the new selection is less, and hope that my existing inventory of Tumi bags will last for as long as I need them! Can’t wait to hear what you purchased.

  68. Rimowa is awesome but their cabin luggage sucks because it’s too heavy. 4,5Kg when still empty, come on…..

  69. I thought I was the only person who felt this way about to me. I consider myself a travel bag connoisseur and I found through all of my bag that I purchased, that tumi bags are now designed for look and not function. They claim that they are for both, but they are not. I end up selling most of all of my bags except for a duffel which I’m close to selling that one too. I find that Briggs & Riley work better for me because they are functional bags at the same time. I really wanted to like tumi, however now they are just not the bag for me.

  70. OK I admit I only read half of these before I got bored which means no one will probably read this. I am also over Tumi luggage but still, prefer their briefcase. I like the expandable multi-pocket ballistic Nylon case. Their luggage is overpriced and not worth it, I had an expandable, my last Tumi because of weight its drug in the middle. I sent it back for repairs and it was sorry no can do. I like some others would like to know what Ben chose, most of my bags are Briggs and I prefer 4 wheeled bags. Especially for carry on, nothing like being able to roll that bag down the plane sideways.

  71. I know what works for one might not work for the other & everyone has their own tastes/preferences…but Tumi and some Briggs luggage are so ugly and BLAND. at least Rimowa, Away, Victorinox, Samsonite, LV, Gucci, etc have a cool design, look stylish…life is too short to buy something ugly just cuz it’s functional. Again, everyone has their preferences, but I would get something nice that would make me excited to go travel over a black boring bag that looks so generic and is just blah.

  72. I travel about once a month or so for work. TravelPro Crew 11 for my carry one. Two wheeled with the built-in garment bag.

    For my personal item, I took a chance on a crowd sourced bag called the Bento Bag ( I gotta say, this thing has been awesome.

    Just got back from a two week trip just using these two.

  73. Rimowa Rimowa Rimowa
    There isn’t anything better!
    Wait till you see how much better life is WITHOUT ZIPPERS!
    They roll so easy this is absolutely the very best!

  74. Check out eBags products. They are durable, stylish, hearty zippers, plethora of colors and have some if the best wheels I have ever seen. They also have a great warranty.
    Their site also sets other brands.
    Better deals than Amazon and much better quality.
    Safe travels

  75. I have TUmi for the expandable briefs (one wheeled and one not wheeled) and a briggs carryon and 24″ check in. And a costco carryon, which is my favorite.

    The advantage of costco over briggs carryon, for me, is my folded shirts fit sideways, allowing for two shirts per layer. The briggs dimensions are too narrow to allow that (even though the total dimensions are similar).

    I understand the issue with two wheels, I often use my four wheel as two. But as I’m not up front as often as I used two, the aisles are too narrow in back for two wheels, have to turn the four wheels sideways

  76. I’d had a Tumi carry on for years. Purchased it at Nordstrom with a “Lifetime” Guarantee. This time Tumi refused to repair for free stating their guarantee was only a two year guarantee. No more Tumi. Thankfully Nordstrom being Nordstrom, they still honored the guarantee on the article they sold.

  77. Strange how little love there is for G-RO. I think the classic two wheeler is the best blend of function, form, and durability.

    Rolls really easily and feels like a fraction of the actual weight due to the wheel design, and it does get heavy since you can fit so much more inside (again due to the wheel design).

    G-RO bags actually feel like they were designed by travelers and properly tested. They perform as they claim, cobblestone, uneven pavement, dirt paths, up curbs, all no problem.

  78. you’re right, spinners are really uncomfortable, i also prefer two-wheels, i have Briggs and Riley 25” and wide international carry-on, and those are the best

  79. Cannot agree more with Ray. I used a lot of Rimowa in the past for my travels and was shocked to see the low level of craftsmanship for the latest models. I could not believe that the wheels are just glued in and not fixed with screws! The handle for cabin size luggage is massive and not ergonomic. Customer service bad and unresponsive. Switched to another brand now and I’m very satisfied.

    Why to overpay for bad product with only nice brand image and game of past?

  80. Great commentary – I agree. I have many Tumi bags of various types, but they are all several years old since the new ones are not very functional (I’ve bought and returned a few in the “Arrive” series, since they are not well organized and too cramped). For luggage, I’m a fan of Briggs & Riley (who still offer 2-wheeled bags) but I’m still searching for the perfect laptop bag provider (backpack or over-the shoulder) – Tumi and others have not kept up with those of us who actually carry more than an iPad and a keyring.

  81. I also left Tumi two years ago. It is pricey and also I just don’t want be another person at the airport with a Tumi.

    I discovered Ebag as an excellent replacement brand for backpack. I own two now: Professional Slim and Professional Flight laptop backpack! Excellently made by people who fly a lot.

    I am a huge fan of the Costco Kirkland carryon rollers. I have owned four. The favorite is the hybrid spinner. I agree that extensive use by hurt your wrist, but I have found extra dosage of WD 40 on the wheels once a month has made the stress on the wrist go away. My hybrid spinner is 8 years old and it still working and looking new and I have flown about 400K BIS each year for the past 8 years.

    I also have the Kirkland 22-inch two-wheeler. It is so well made and have served me well.

    Too bad that Kirkland or Costco don’t make carryon rollers anymore.

  82. Over 13 years, 6 continents, 2 effortless repairs. Briggs & Riley. I don’t need pretty, shiny, overpriced bags that dent and don’t last.

  83. Tumi replaced the zippers and fixed some holes in my old leather knapsack. It was returned with really crummy replacements that lasted about a month. After that I bought the newer version that’s some tougher plastic (?) fabric. I like it but 2 zippers have broken in that many years.

    I also bought their smallest two wheel suitcase and within a few weeks the telescoping handle stopped working properly. No more Tumi for me.

  84. Been a Tumi customers for years. Started with hand me downs from my dad. The quality back then was so much different. I think quality and jnnovation changed when Samsonite acquired Tumi. The lifetime warranty disappeared as well.

    Nowadays start-ups like nomatic, peak design, tortuga have better innovation than Tumi, and are sold at a better price.

    Tumi’s quality degraded.
    It’s innovation isn’t there.

    Nowadays, buying a Tumi means you’re just paying for the brand.

  85. I work for a luggage store. We do sale Tumi, Briggs & Riley, Eagle Creek and Delsey.

    Tumi is a Samsonite company and only has a 5 year warranty. This was changed for all when Samsonite bought them.

    Briggs & Riley has a lifetime warranty that includes airline damaged. They started in 1993 and still owned by same family.

    Eagle Creek has the same warranty.

    For those who bought Away, you should have read the warranty. The wheels on the spinners are not covered. Several other items are also not covered for both 2 and 4 wheeled. They should be saying limited lifetime warranty.

  86. I’m a huge TRAVELPRO can They have a huge choice of 2 wheeler bags of all sizes and styles plus spinners (I’m don’t like them either). You can purchase directly from them, andAmazon, which has a great selection too. (Macy’s has a good selection too).
    I like their colors, and their warranty is superb. You can register the luggage with them no matter where purchased. They are beautifully designed inside and out, easy to pack. I like the fact that my soft-sided luggage is waterproof.

    Hope you enjoy your new luggage!

  87. “I’ll share this in two separate posts”

    Will we ever find out what you purchased?

  88. Hi- did you look at Away luggage? I’ve always purchased Tumi (gently used on Ebay, I’d never pay their retail prices, which are crazy expensive) but this past week a co-worker retired and we all chipped in for an Away suitcase with a matching “day backpack” as a gift, the bag was $225, it looked durable and attractive, and it’s hard sided with a charging port. I’m not wild about the softside Tumi since the last time I used it some electronics were damaged (my fault I guess for packing them) I’m thinking about replacing it with an Away slightly larger “bigger carry on” for $245. I still use my Tumi backpack (in black) which will look fine with a black Away (not that I care that much how they look together but as a middle aged male I buy everything in black). Anyway I like your article, thanks!

  89. No doubt, I wholeheartedly agree! I was a tried & true Tumi fan for years, in fact still have & use my original garment bag purchased 40 years ago. I‘ve inhanced my Tumi collection over the years rotating bags depending on the length of my trips. Unquestionably the Brand is stylish & durable however it seems their small carryon bags are designed by dimwhited knuckleheads who have never packed or used their products. Frankly the Brigs & Riley carryon suitcase & garment bag are far more suited for travel. I know this after agonizing over a recent purchase trying to find a carryon bag I could live out for a three week multiple stay trip to Italy, I opted you use my tried & true Tumi wheeled garment bag & check it.

    Dr. Sushi

  90. My wife had a very similar experience with Tumi several years ago. Her bag quickly needed a repair, and she was told it would take 4 weeks with no loaner. Proof that the bags & the system were designed for people who don’t travel.

    Sorry to hear it’s still that way. We’ve both been very happy with Briggs & Reilly for many years now.

  91. I used to LOVE Tumi; in fact for a while it was sort of my addiction. I traveled a lot for work and found myself buying quite a few pieces. The products were great and the service was better… and then they fell off a cliff. Gone was the amazing customer service where they replaced a bag after they couldn’t resolve the issue to today; it seems the bag I paid $$$$ for years ago has been discontinued and they are refusing / cannot fix the handle. In the old days, they would have figured out an acceptable solution, now, they are giving me a tiny credit which is basically 20% off the cost of a new bag. I’m not sure what to do; I might take the credit and buy something small, but there’s not a chance in hell I will buy another suitcase from them. The Tumi I knew and loved is gone.

  92. I love Briggs & Riley, like a lot of people have mentioned here, but wanted to something that looked better. Tumi feels like a slightly better aesthetic, but still doesn’t do it fr me. I love the look of Rimowa, but a bit too expensive. I feel like i’m too old for Away and don’t need the battery hook by them. I originally wanted a 4-wheel spinner, but after reading this and some other similar posts, I went with Hook & Albert. I’ve had their garment duffel bag for a couple of years, have loved it, but needed something with wheels. They recently came out with a wheeled garment bag and I’ve used it on a handful of trips. So far so good.

  93. I work and luggage sales and you need Briggs & Riley. The store I work at the best selling luggage is a 2 wheeled domestic baseline carry on. You will never have to pay for a repair and even though isn’t cheap it is still cheaper then a Tumi. Oh and go to a local dealer to buy one, they can help you figure out which suitcase is better and you can tough and feel everything.

  94. Tumi is trash. Everyone knows this; I can get superior unbranded luggage from the Hong Kong flea market. People that choose Tumi have quite bad taste. It is a company that gets by on connections rather than merit. My personal top choice is Rimowa for aluminium-magnesium alloy luggage or Ito ( for aluminium-titanium luggage; don’t bother looking at Away or Arlo Skye, they don’t use alloys and have a categorically inferior construction that shows clear R&D deficiency. For polycarbonate luggage I recommend Proteca above all other brands in existence, their technology, construction, patents are far above anything in their market today.

  95. I’m not sure what is with all the Tumi hate in the comments. I mean luggage, for the vast majority of people, is more of a personal preference than anything else. What is useful and functional for one may not serve the needs of another. I’ve had multiple Tumi pieces over 20 years+ and while this may not be a popular opinion, the quality of my current Alpha 3 pieces is much better than the Tumi I have from 10 years ago. I definitely agree the BEST Tumi stuff was pre 2004 when Clifford was still involved with the company however I think Samsonite is improving the quality from what Tumi was selling during its private equity days.

    The vast majority of high-end luggage is made with similar materials with similar construction. No singular company is vastly superior to the next, it all comes down to what works best for you as an individual. Some prefer B&R, some Tumi, others Rimowa- all of them are competing for the same target markets. And just by eyeballing other people’s luggage at various airports around the world, Tumi dominates the high-end market by a huge margin. I see Rimowa most frequently carried by wealthy (or at least wealthy-looking) Chinese and to a lesser degree, European tourists. Tumi seems to be used by almost every road-warrior/business traveler I’ve ever encountered. And B&R, while being popular in the comments, I hardly EVER see anyone using it. I mean I would say maybe 2 or 3 bags in a huge, intl airport.

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