I first heard about the Away brand earlier this year after numerous jet setters and bloggers raved about the intelligent design and reasonable price of their suitcases. I have always been a Tumi loyalist, but after my bag of 15+ years began to fade, I could not justify spending that amount on a suitcase at the moment. As fate would have it, Away announced a collaboration with West Elm about a month ago (after previous successful ones with Madewell, Pop + Suki and the Minions movie franchise), featuring gorgeous bags in metallic hues. I took it as a sign and purchased the Carry-On bag in brass. After a few trips, check out my review!
I am in love. Not only with the trendy brass color, but with the level of detail that went into the design.
The exterior is hard, waterproof and guarantees against damage (even if a sumo wrestler were to sit on it!) or scratching. There are 360 degree wheels that allow for a smooth ride.
On the interior, there are two different sides, with one meant for soft clothing. Located in this section is a foldable nylon laundry bag that provides an easy way to keep dirty or wet laundry separate. After you pack, there is a hard compression pad with adjustable buckles that helps condense the space. On this pad is also a zipper pocket to place laptops or iPads.
The other side is meant for hard objects such as shoes, toiletries and chargers.
There is a built-in battery under the handle, which can charge any USB device – already come in handy after flight delays! The battery is removable in case certain airlines (sometimes Asian carriers) have an issue. Around the outside, there are also two zippers that can click into a TSA-approved combination lock.
After just a few trips, I can confirm that Away lives up to the hype. Even though the bag seems physically smaller than my Tumi and features a hard shell, I was able to fit more inside thanks to the smart design and thought-out compartments. The suitcase is lightweight and travels well either on two or four wheels. Away will live beyond its trend and become a household name in no time.
*Note: Away collaborations seem to sell out in lightning speed, and the West Elm version seems to be no different. While the brass and platinum are no longer available, there are some amazing colors for sale!
The handle seems flimsy compared to the construction of the rest of the bag. I have yet to have any issues with it though and if anything were to happen, the bag also carries a lifetime warranty.
As well, the promise for a scratch-free exterior seems impossible. Around the bottom of the bag and the wheel well, there are small visible scratches.
The Carry-On vs The Bigger Carry-On
I purchased the carry-on, which is currently Away’s smallest bag at $225. Its dimensions are exactly to the specifications of the airlines: 21.7” x 13.7” x 9”. It weighs 7lbs and has a capacity of 38L. Since I very rarely check a bag, I had a hard time deciding between this bag and the “Bigger Carry-On” since both fit in the overhead space.
After speaking with Away’s customer service, I was told that they created the Bigger Carry-On as they found that even though the airlines specified a certain dimension, the Bigger Carry-On is what actually fits in those metal sizers. They recommended that because I am a frequent international traveler, to go with the original smaller size as sometimes those airlines are stingier than domestic carriers. As well, I liked the idea that I would be forced to pack smarter and leaner overall to keep within a slightly smaller size.
I am really pleased with the Carry-On I chose, which not only cleanly fits all my clothes, but also sits perfectly in the overhead space of smaller and larger planes alike.
About the Company
Away seems to really understand travelers, as it was created by travelers. Co-founded by Jen Rubio and Steph Korey, Away developed their product offering through customer surveys to see what the current market was missing. What they found was a sweet spot of tech-enabled luggage with a sleek, smart design at an affordable cost.
Rubio and Korey were some of the first employees at Warby Parker and employed the same direct-to-consumer model to keep costs down. With a fast rise and increasing sales, Away will continue to innovate with new products and transform into a lifestyle brand, launching a podcast and a print and digital magazine. I will be watching to see what they do next!
*Disclaimer: This review is entirely my own, and I was not paid or gifted to provide any feedback on the Away suitcase.
Do you own an Away suitcase? What’s your favorite luggage brand? I’d love to hear from you!
Jet Set Steph