Smart Luggage for Smart Business Travel


NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Who knows where the hideous black luggage thing got its start. Sure, thick, heavily woven synthetic fabrics are indestructible. And keeping everything the color of coal hides the bumps and bruises of business travel. But there are plenty of great business luggage options out there.

Here is what I plan to be lugging this travel season:

1) Chrome Backbone Messenger Pack ($160)
Bike gear maker Chrome got its start in Boulder, Colo., 16 years ago making gear for messengers, but its gear definitely has a wider place in American business travel. I especially like the Backbone Messenger Pack, basically a full-sized satchel that works as a backpack, with almost no dork factor. Wrap in great details such as pencil holders, bomb-proof buckles and great use of silver as a design touch -- yes, you can clean it -- and this is the business travel bag of the moment.

2) Golla Dip Laptop Sleeve ($35 at Best Buy)
Finland-based Golla has its issues. Items appear and disappear seemingly at random both in bricks-and-mortar and online stores. And all the coolest stuff seems only on the company's overseas website and is not available here in America. Plus, watch out, there are some simply hideous Golla bags in the retail pipeline. But when this company gets business travel right, it gets it right. Exhibit A: the Dip Laptop Sleeve -- big enough for a 16-inch notebook, this protective cover looks great and doesn't add tons of bulk to your carry-on. Basically it turns any piece of luggage into business luggage, which is absurdly handy.

3) Ogio Phantom Wheeled ($120 at
I confess, I am a rolling luggage bigot. I have a deep, irrational hatred of bags that roll. I carry my own water and my own bags. But even as max wheelie-hater, I am impressed with what Bluffdale, Utah-based Ogio is doing with rolling luggage. Besides having some of the most efficient rolling wheels on a bag I know of, the Phantom comes with nice organizational pockets, a telescoping handle and -- wait for it -- a surprisingly useful cooling pouch. Don't laugh. How handy would it be to keep stuff from getting baked on a long flight? Just do me a solid here: Considering all the interesting color and pattern options, don't get the boring black one. It's just that. Boring.

4) Tumi Alpha Tri-Fold Carry-On Garment Bag ($395 at
I realize I am the last man standing on planet tri-fold. Who really has the patience to roll all their stuff up in what amounts to a carry-on clothing burrito? But Tumi just might convert you with this go-anywhere, do-anything bag that can carry a spare suit without turning it into a wrinkle farm. I love the details: zip-up inner sleeve, hanging hook and tough, top-carry handle. It not only comes in a lovely espresso brown, but can be accented with custom-colored tags, labels and a monogram. And you can easily spot it on the luggage carousel. Come on, how nice is that?

—Are you a business traveler who travels business class? Check out MainStreet’s look at which airlines give the best business-class perks!

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