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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2011
Suitcase Reviews (Samsonite Litespeed 25", Leisure Lightweight collection 25", Eagle Creek Hovercraft Upright 25"):

Background: I am a small female who has trouble with heavy luggage. I went to France in 1998 with a 25" suitcase that had very small wheels on the back (smaller than any I've seen this time), and I had a lot of troubles because it would fall forward and it weighed too much. I'm now headed to France again for 3 1/2 months, so these issues are top in my mind as I look for a better suitcase.

I went around town and tried out all the 24-25" suitcases I could. I wanted to try rolling them and carrying them by the handle, because I remember that there were times in France where I couldn't just roll the suitcase. I walked all over the store, and most of the suitcases were either too heavy OR the pull handle would not extend easily or retract easily, OR the carry handle was extremely uncomfortable, either due to size or material. I took the two that remained home to look at in more depth. They were the Samsonite Litespeed and the Leisure Lightweight collection. Due to very positive reviews about the important issues, I also bought an Eagle Creek Hovercraft online and had it sent to me. The reviews are in the order that I received the suitcases.

Major issues: weight, maneuverability, and no falling forward or backward. I was not able to test durability because I wanted to retain the ability to return them if they didn't work out. I was able to see which ones seemed more durable, though, based on the construction of the wheels, handles, and overall feel of the bag.

Minor issues: Location of the side handle (I prefer it on the right when I stand behind it), color, pull handle ease/length, expander.

Reviews:
The Samsonite Litespeed looks very durable, but it is not tapered. Once I was home, I found that despite my thoughts at the store, it is going to fall forward just like my old one did. In fact, just running into it by accident, while it is empty, causes it to fall forward. It's also very wide, making it bigger than I really need, and likely to be less manageable as a result. The pull handle and the carry handle on the top of the suitcase are great, but the side handle is on the wrong side.

I was not able to bring the Leisure home on the same day as the Samsonite, so when I went to pick it up, I made very sure that it wouldn't fall forward. It also was much lighter and of better dimensions than the Samsonite for my needs. In addition, I really liked the purplish maroon color, which I thought would stand out more than the red that the Samsonite was in. On the other hand, it seemed much less durable than the Samsonite. The wheels are smaller, too. The side handle is on the correct side for me, and the pull handle and top carry handle both work well, with no problems. In particular, the pull handle is excellent: I can even extend it to the second length while walking. I wasn't able to do that with the Samsonite. Once I got it home, I realized my mistake. Oh, sure, it will never ever fall forward, but it falls backwards at the slightest movement! And again, the construction made me dubious as to its durability.

I was beginning to despair a bit that there just wouldn't be a suitcase for me. And then the Eagle Creek arrived. Without having tried any of them out with actual packing, the Eagle Creek wins hands down. It is very light -- at least as light as the Leisure. It also seems very durable. The wheels are much sturdier and of better construction than either the Samsonite or the Leisure. It has a very solid feel to it, but is not heavy. The carry handle is comfortable, and the side handle is on the correct side. When I ordered it, I didn't realize that it had an expander, so I was delighted to discover that it did. It does not tip either forward or back. The only problem is that the pull handle is a little short (which may be an issue for taller people) and it doesn't extend to the longest length as easily as the other two. That said, it doesn't stick; you just have to deliberately open it further. It doesn't happen just with a press of the button. So, that's a pretty minor thing compared to falling forward or backwards, having unwieldy dimensions, or seeming to be less durable. I was in a hurry to order it, so I forgot to pick a color. I ended up with the blue one, but I think I'd like the black with blue accents better.

Overall
Major issues:
Weight: Samsonite was a little heavier. Eagle Creek and Leisure very light.
Maneuverability: Leisure is the best, but Eagle Creek is also very good. Samsonite is unwieldy.
Falling forward or back: Samsonite falls forward, while Leisure falls back. Eagle Creek stays upright.

Minor issues:
Location of side handle: Good on Leisure and Eagle Creek, bad on Samsonite.
Color: Leisure is best, then Eagle Creek, then Samsonite.
Pull handle ease/length: Leisure, then Samsonite, then Eagle Creek.
Expander: all 3.

Samsonite was by far the worst for my needs due to its unwieldiness, heaviness, and location of the side handle. Leisure was next, because it had a serious problem in that it fell backwards with just a thought. There were some features that the Leisure had that I preferred over the Eagle Creek, but that falling was a real deal breaker for me. The Eagle Creek has a somewhat difficult pull handle, but no major problems and it feels very durable.

Since I am going to keep this bag, I will update this review after I've had experience about the actual durability.

Edit:
I have since been to France and back, and stand by my review. This is a great suitcase! No problems with durability at all, and while all of my companions were struggling with heavy, unweildy bags, I felt just a little smug about my own bag. No issues with going over the weight limit, good maneuverability, and solid construction. I will be going with Eagle Creek for my next suitcase purchase, whenever that will be.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I just got this bag after looking at hundreds of bags, I mean I spent 3 full days going to every luggage shop and department store that carries luggage in and around Portland Oregon. This medium sized bag is great; weighs in at 8.7 pounds (for at 25" bag; that's pretty light). The wheels roll over coblestone smoothly and the extending handle is tall enough to put my carryon bag on top of it and it won't tip over. I've been to france a couple of time and this bag will work great there...it doesn't hold anything on the top of the lid inside so you don't have to have an extra bed to put your suitcase on to open it up (I hate that!) and the pocket design is well thoughtout. They have a lovely blue and this bright orange available for colors. Eagele Creek hit it out of the park again and all the packing cubes I bought to travel with works like they were made just for this bag. I am a bit of a bag fiend so I'm just letting you know that if you want to get a great bag that should last you years; this one should do the trick just fine.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackSize Name: One SizeVerified Purchase
Lightweight, versatile, ergonomic bag!! The 25" size is perfect for an efficient packer like me, and when a carryon roller bag won't do. Has a low center of gravity (carries more weight at the bottom, near the wheels) and great wheels, so the handle never felt heavy. A great ergonomic choice for anyone with hand, elbow or shoulder pain, or for older travelers. Unlike a spinner-type bag, this one rolls easily over cobblestones and carpet, so I was willing to go back to a 2-wheel bag. Sling a small carryon over the handle and down the front of the bag and it's even easier to pull (more bottom weight).

I did a lot of research about lightweight luggage before making this purchase. Finalists were the Eagle Creek Hovercraft and Tarmac and a Delsey Helium Fusion. The Hovercraft won because of the great price on Amazon (close to the price of an economy bag) and the deep outer pockets. Tarmac has no outer pockets, so if you're like my husband and want a traditional bag, this is a good choice while still lightweight and ergonomic. I found the Delsey less ergonomic. I am a zipper stickler and love Eagle Creek zipper quality. An unexpected bonus of thoughtful design is that the black bag has attractive light blue highlights on zipper pulls and down the back of the bag, so it's easy to spot in a sea of black bags.

We bought two to replace our larger spinner-type bags before a 10-day European trip. We needed to carry casual and formal wear and gifts, so the carryon size wouldn't do. A little heavy carrying on and off trains (because of all the stuff we packed), but the bags made it doable. The bag has handles on three sides, so it's very easy picking it up to put on a bed or luggage rack, or to stow behind seats on the train.

I am a very efficient packer, so exceed the weight limit with larger or heavier bags. At 8.8 lbs. the Hovercraft gave me about 7 extra pounds of packing density over our old bags. The large outer pocket is very deep, so is ideal for separating the clothing you'll want immediate access to, or to keep laundry separate. Even without opening the expansion, this bag held all we needed. And, the 25" size stores more easily between uses.

We are now Eagle Creek converts and will love using these bags for many years to come, given their durability and the Eagle Creek lifetime anything warranty. We loved all of the Eagle Creek gear we bought for the trip and found the slightly higher costs to be well worth the added years of use and satisfaction we're sure to get out of them.

Note--While we were skeptics at first, we also purchased an Eagle Creek Pack-It System double cube and sleeve for each bag, and love them!! (We figured we could easily return them if we didn't like them.) My husband bought the 20" sleeve to pack his suit jacket and other formal wear. It fit this bag perfectly. I bought an 18" sleeve, which will also fit into a carryon roller bag. A great investment in making life easier!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2010
Color Name: CrushSize Name: One SizeVerified Purchase
Great bag -- larger than I thought it would be and light. Eagle Creek makes an excellent product and stands behind it.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2010
I got a 4 bag set of nylon luggage for $100 about 10 years ago and they lasted 9.5 years. My next, more expensive set ($400ish) lasted about 3 trips. They were ballistic nylon, but the placement and quality of the zippers meant they got rubbed a lot and failed quickly. The nylon itself was fine, but intact zippers are kind of important (the zipper pulls also came off almost immediately). I decided to spring for better (more expensive) luggage and researched for a long time. I expected to be really impressed with this luggage after all the great reviews I read in Amazon and other places. I couldn't find much difference in price among retailers, so I figured it was too good to be discounted (!). I ordered four sizes. Only one came in its original packaging. Two came looking like they had already flown around the world and hit every airport. I returned them (Amazon handled the exchange expeditiously, as usual) and either got one of the same ones back or another just as scuffed. I gave up and kept it. I was also disappointed to receive one of them on which one of the rivets attaching the name plate to the bag had broken. They are not as sturdy as I expected, but they haven't failed yet--after one cross-country trip. I was also disappointed to receive one of them on which one of the rivets attaching the name plate to the bag had failed. The wheels and handles seem pretty sturdy, and I am pleased with the small roller bag. It fits, wheels first, in the overhead bin of even a small commuter plane, and its handle allows me to wheel a briefcase on it. All the bags have a lot of pockets--maybe too many. So far so good, but I'd feel better if I hadn't paid as much for them as I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
Verified Purchase
I'm a frequent flyer and wind up having intimate relationships with my luggage. Little annoyances get exaggerated. Quality shortfalls can become disasters when you're still a week and four flights away from home.

Until this bag, I'd been a confirmed Briggs and Riley user. Those bags cost the earth but they are nearly bullet proof. When I started doing longer, multi-week, multi-climate trips and needed a bigger bag, I borrowed a friend's 25" B&R. It worked like a champ but weighed a ton and would have cost between $300-400 to buy one for myself.

After a lot of research, multiple luggage store visits and hours of reading reviews, I picked the Eagle Creek Hovercraft 25. It has now been on several international trips over the past three months and has been a joy to use. It has more space than the B&R so packing always feels like car camping (you know, where you can throw anything you want in because there's so much space). Even with the bag stuffed to max capacity, the zippers have glided shut without complaint. The wheels appear to be strongly attached. (Wheels are a real weak point. Even one of my B&Rs got a loose wheel after a year.) The corners are protected.

Then there is the delight factor of how light, streamlined and maneuverable the bag is. Super easy to wheel or carry.

Another payback from the lighter weight: Jammed full with additional presents, books and two bottles of wine on the leg home, the bag still weighed in at only 22.5 Kg. Just under the 23 Kg limit.

I like this bag enough to consider buying the 22" carry on size.

My one small nit (not enough to take away a star) is the mesh zip pockets in the lid. When the lid is open, the zippers run vertically. The pockets would be easier to use if the zippers were horizontal.

Let's see how this bag holds up. If I get two years at the current rate of travel, it will be a good run making the bag an excellent value. If the bag lasts longer, then that will be a bonus!

Additional comments after 10 months of steady use:

The bag is still holding up and doing exactly what it is supposed to do. I did buy the 22" bag and love it, too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2010
Color Name: BlackSize Name: One SizeVerified Purchase
I love the fact it is light weight and sturdy, easy to carry and travel with, and bigger than i had expected. One defect though, was a damaged inner pocket zipper that is inside the luggage. I know Amazon would have replaced it (great customer service) but we needed the luggage since our trip was only 2 days away.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2011
It was so disappointing to purchase a brand like Eagle Creek to only have the retractable handle break during first time use while on vacation. No matter what we did the handle would not raise. At the same time i bought the HC2 25" model I purchased a 22" bag -- only to return both of them because I lost all confidence in the make/model. Does anyone know if/when Eagle Creek will redesign the retractable handle, as I am sure others must be experiencing the same thing, #eaglecreekfail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2011
Color Name: BlackSize Name: One SizeVerified Purchase
Great luggage it has already been to South Korea and back and traveled great. Light too which is a big plus with the airline weight limits.
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on November 2, 2011
Color Name: Pacific BlueSize Name: One SizeVerified Purchase
Excellent quality. Wheels a good size for dragging over cobblestone streets! Love the size of the bag. It's perfect for a 10 day trip or weekend.
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