Traveling can be either a joy or a pain, and the luggage you use to tote your stuff is one of the biggest factors in determining which. While manufacturers have made advancements in materials and design, suitcases really haven’t changed much since their modern inception in the early 1900s. But luggage is finally getting smarter, and the options for connected suitcases are beginning to take hold.
From built-in scales to GPS tracking and mobile apps, these innovations won’t make luggage any lighter, but they could make the traveling experience less harrowing. Below are some of our current favorites, starting with the ProConnected 4 from the always-reliable Incase.
Incase ProConnected 4 Wheel Hubless Roller
For its new smart luggage series, Incase focused less on smart and more on power — 20,100mAh of battery power, to be exact. With a USB-C and two USB-A ports, you can recharge a MacBook Pro, or your mobile devices for several days. The bag, made of polycarbonate and strong polyester, meets current TSA guidelines on
Samsara Aluminum Carry-On
In addition to the tough aluminum exterior, this 21-inch travel suitcase is packed with all kinds of useful smart features for frequent travelers. There’s a USB-C port, which is especially welcome for those with newer devices (since it’s still hard to find any luggage that supports USB-C), and it connects to a 10,000mah battery for recharging. The flat top is designed to be used as a laptop desk if necessary, and the inside of the bag has an LED light system that automatically switches on in dark conditions so you can always find what you’re looking for. Finally, the suitcase comes with a detection system paired with an app that alerts you when your suitcase is being carried far away or when it is being opened out of your range. It’s the smartest luggage we’ve found!
Genius Pack Supercharged
The Supercharged comes with a removable 10,000mAh battery that supplies power to two external USB ports, but those aren’t what makes this carry-on smart. What’s genius (pun intended) are the dedicated compartments for tech accessories, socks, and underwear, as well as one for dirty laundry and a hook for hanging shirts and blazers. There’s even a checklist to help you cross off items you’ve packed. For those who aren’t great packers, this system is a godsend. The rest of the bag has enough room for a long-weekend travel, or even up to a week if you’re a light packer.
Genius Pack sent us a pre-sale sample to try, and along with a backpack, we were able to easily pack for a half-week trip. The Supercharged is very lightweight when empty, and its 360-degree, eight-wheel design allows it to glide over a variety of surfaces, as we discovered. It’s made of a tough polycarbonate shell, and a built-in TSA-approved combo lock keeps things safe. Our complaints are minor: We wish the battery compartment was more easily accessible for quick removal, and the telescoping handle easily collapses while in use, due to the button that can be easily pressed. Otherwise, it’s a nicely designed carry-on bag with a different kind of smart.
You’ve probably seen ads for Away’s hard-shell smart luggage in your Instagram feed or subway ads, but you’ll also see quite a few of the bags on the streets. They have become a hit with consumers, thanks in part to nine different color options and celebrity fans. But popularity aside, the Away luggage is well-made, and comes with a lifetime warranty. We also like that you can try it out for 100 days before committing — a great way to experience whether you truly need a smart bag. Available in five configurations, including one just for kids and two carry-on options, the bags are stylish yet simple, regardless of which size you opt for. And, to comply with regulations, Away has created an ingenious method for easily ejecting and removing the battery.
Want to add some security to a bag you already love? That question inspired Airbolt, a Bluetooth-enabled lock that works with almost any bag. Controlled via a smartphone, AirBolt offers a slew of security features, like a proximity alarm that can ring when your luggage gets too far away. Like some other location devices, AirBolt relies on a crowdsourced GPS network, pinging bags based on the last location within range. However, the success of such systems depends on how many people are using it — the more users, the more effective the system.
Horizn Studios M5 Cabin Luggage
This extra-tough luggage is made with aerospace-grade polycarbonate, and includes an even more water-resistant pocket that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop. There’s also a built-in compression pad and laundry bag that are great for longer trips. But our favorite feature is the “one-click” removable smart charger, which makes it incredibly easy to prepare your luggage for inspections and shipping when necessary.
Why carry your luggage when your luggage can carry you? It can when the luggage is Modobag, a suitcase that doubles as a motor scooter with a sweet set of features. It has a built-in seat and footrests for travelers who would rather sit as they make their way through the airport or the long lines at the Panda Express. The scooter maxes out at a speed of 8 miles per hour, and can go about 6 miles on a single charge. Steer with the handle, or pull it up and pull the suitcase on its wheels like a normal bag. Whether ridden or dragged, it has two USB ports to keep devices charged, and an optional GPS system to keep track of the Modobag itself. The only problem with the Modobag is the weight — it weighs a hefty 10 pounds when empty. At least it has brakes to avoid ramming fellow commuters.
Arlo Skye X
Like the smart luggage from Away, Arlo Skye includes a removable charger. The 10,050 mAh charger has two USB ports, one for your phone and one for your computer. Unlike most luggage, however, the Arlo Skye doesn’t have zippers. Instead, the polycarbonate shell relies on two TSA-approved combination locks to keep your contents safe and sound. Created by a set of Tumi and Louis Vuitton alums, the Arlo Skye is not only smart but also very stylish. The five attractive color offerings, durable aluminum frame, and interior compression system are just an added plus.
The apt-titled Marlon Carry-On features USB charging, so you’ll never have to fight over an airport outlet again. Said charger is also removable, meaning it’s TSA-approved and allowed on all airlines. The roller features padded sleeves to help protect your wears, too, not to mention quick access to both your laptop and tablet and two all-terrain wheels that make navigating the airport less of a slog. The Carry-On can even expand by 35 percent, so you can fit everything you want when it comes time to pack for the road.
XD Design Bobby
Another intuitive backpack, the water-repellent Bobby is good for short trips or your daily commute. It’s designed to be theft-proof, with a recessed zipper that’s impossible for thieves to find and unzip quickly. Made of a material that can’t be easily cut, the Bobby features an integrated USB charging port, rear reflectors, and a transit card pocket in the front strap to make the daily grind both easier and safer.
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