on April 21, 2011
I bought my first Tarmac 22 in 2007. I've now purchased a total of five Tarmacs, three for our own use (two 22s and a 25), and two as gifts for others.
These suitcases are very well made. They are quite lightweight, roll easily, and are durable in my experience. Eagle Creek provides a lifetime warranty. I had one problem with a handle, and Eagle Creek quickly fixed it by sending me a new handle and help over the phone to install it, all at no charge. Great customer service!
The older Tarmac 22 was a brilliant design. The inside of the lid contained two very useful compartments, each about 3" deep and covered by a mesh lining. The larger of these compartments kept my shirts and slacks in a neat stack, protected from wrinkling. The smaller of the compartments held my sox and toiletries. The outside of the lid had two more compartments, the large of which could hold a bulky fleece jacket, even when the inside of the lid was fully packed.
I have never had a suitcase that makes it so easy to keep clothes from wrinkling. The 2007 design made it easy to organize your clothes inside the suitcase and easy to access things from the outside as well.
Unfortunately, Eagle Creek couldn't leave their design alone. The 2011 Tarmac 22, which I just bought for a daughter, is no longer special. Eagle Creek removed their earlier compartments. The main compartment is now bigger, so the lid is much thinner (less than half its former depth), and those useful compartments in the lid almost disappeared. There is now one inside compartment and one outside compartment on the lid. You can still put some clothing on the inside to keep it wrinkle free. But if you use that depth (about 1.5" or perhaps 2" if you stretch it), you'll be unable to stuff anything as bulky as a fleece jacket in the outside of your suitcase. Basically, the inside and outside compartment on the lid share the same space, so you can use one or the other, but not both.
The result is that the new Tarmac 22 works best for those who want one big main compartment in which to put everything. If that's what you want, you'll like this better than the earlier design.
For my money, Eagle Creek has pulled a "New Coke" here. The Tarmac 22 used to be a distinctive product, with a design different from the crowd. Now it's pretty much like any other rolling carryon.
It's still lightweight and durable, so four stars for that. Look for the older model if you can find it.
on July 25, 2011
I've critically reviewed various Eagle Creek products before, but I always keep buying them. The quality of manufacture (in Vietnam) is excellent, but the constantly changing product specifications are bewildering and annoying. Two other reviewers have gone into that, so I won't repeat it. I just want to point out that the product dimensions advertised on the Eagle Creek website and on Amazon are incorrect. The product size advertised is the carry-on legal 14 x 22 x 9, however what arrives is clearly labeled 14 x 22 x 10, which is not strictly legal for airline carry-on. If you feel strongly about playing by the rules, knowing that your luggage is over carry-on size is vexing, even if the airline usually lets you get away with it. The Pack-it cubes really don't fit as the Eagle Creek illustration suggests. The cubic inch interior space advertised is also different than shown on the tag attached to the luggage. The 18" shirt folding Pack-it is really excellent, but it doesn't fit against the back wall of the luggage as shown. It sits much higher on the interior tubes which contain the handle. The tubes are very solid and create three long rectangular spaces, on either side and between the tubes, useful space but not as shown. The ad copy needs to be updated, and the Pack-it illustration needs to more fairly show how the Pack-it cubes fit. That aside, I like the bag and kept it. The redesigned lid that opens book-style contains about 2" of space that is perfect for carrying a raincoat or dirty laundry. I'm glad that EC eliminated the dedicated "shoe box" because I think one open compartment is more versatile than a lot of little spaces presumed to be useful by some luggage designer. The Tamarac 22 is not overburdened with many little exterior "pockets" that compete for space with the interior luggage compartment when calculating the overall carry-on size. Much of what goes into the little pockets is better kept in the "personal item" (second bag) allowed as carry-on, whether that is a computer bag or a big purse. So, I'm okay with just the flat travel document pocket and the top-entry zipper to the lid compartment, which is big enough to carry a light coat or raincoat. The Pack-it cubes (although they don't fit exactly as shown) solve a lot of organizational problems, eliminating the need for dedicated interior spaces. I like the new, bigger wheels, as they give the piece more ground clearance than the older in-line skate wheels. The retractable identification tag is well protected beneath the side carry handle, keeping it from being accidentally torn off. The corner protectors and skid plate between the wheels protect the wear points very well. So this bag is well-built, simple, versatile, but the size is not as advertised.
on January 12, 2012
I purchased this bag to replace my six-year-old Travelpro Crew 2 bag which had finally given out after about 600 flights. The Amazon reviews of the new model Travelpro indicated that it had lost some of what made it so useful, so I decided to try the Eagle Creek.
The bag is well made, but has a basic design flaw that surprised me. My goal with bags in this class is to be able to get as much into them as I can, enough so I can take a three or four day business trip and still avoid stowing luggage. Instead of being rectangular, the Eagle Creek bag's sides narrow toward the top. This results in a tapered look your might like (more tapered than the Amazon photo might suggest) but means you give up cubic inches inside. The bottom of the bag is 14 inches wide, but because of the tapering, the width at the top is only about 9 inches. The result: Folded shirts, for example, get crumpled, and there is just less room inside.
Additionally, if, like me, you like to put your soft briefcase/laptop bag on top of your rollaboard, looping the briefcase handle over the telescoping handle of the rollaboard so you have a single tall unit to pull through airports, etc., forget it. The tapered top means that instead of having a nice flat, stable surface onto which to place your briefcase, you've got a rounded surface that automatically makes your briefcase tip over either left or right.
I returned it, bought the new (Crew 8) Travelpro 22, and regained the space, stability and utility I'd enjoyed before.
on May 23, 2011
I ordered this suitcase and was disappointed to discover that the "built-in Pack-It System Shoe Box and Stash Cache organizers" described in Amazon's ad copy were missing from the unit. I called Eagle Creek and was told that the Shoe Box and Stash Cache were included in last year's version of the 22" Tarmac, but have been omitted from this year's model, which is the one I was sent. Also, I had ordered the black case, expecting the interior lining to be black or gray, but the interior is actually red. Other aspects of the suitcase seem great and as advertised -- telescoping handle, zippers, and wheels all seem sturdy, and I especially appreciate Eagle Creek's "No Matter What" guarantee, Amazon's easy returns procedure, and the promotion currently in effect allows free returns: makes for no-worries ordering.
on July 12, 2012
Amazon website states dimensions of this bag as 22x14x9, and the Eagle Creek luggage tag clearly states that this bag is 22x14x10, which is NOT acceptable to current airline carry-on regulations.
We SO much wanted to keep this luggage - it's beautiful quality and has plenty of room in it. But we decided that it's not worth taking the gamble EVERY time we go to the airport and getting snagged to have to check the luggage.
We returned it and went with the Eagle Creek Tarmac 20" wide body, which offers almost as much room as the Tarmac 22 model (check out the Eagle Creek website for accurate dimensions on their luggage)
We also tried out the following, in case you are trying to decide what to go with:
EAGLE CREEK EASE 22" 2-WHEELED UPRIGHT (WITHOUT SUITER):
Gorgeous bag. Great quality. The Pewter color is really nice. You lose a bit of space compared to the Tarmac since the interior is more plush and padded - this takes up space. You can put your laptop in the outside pocket, which makes this nice for business travel. If you go with the 4 wheeled spinner model or the suiter model you lose even more packing space inside. This bag is 22x14x9 and so meets airline requirements.
EAGLE CREEK CROSSROADS 22" UPRIGHT:
The quality isn't as good as the Tarmac or the Ease models, however, this is a really nice bag to use if you are looking for something very lightweight and simple and are using the cube packing system. And the fact that is still stands under Eagle Creeks "No Matter What" warranty, I would have no problem keeping this bag. We were able to get just about the same amount of luggage into this as we were the Ease model. Also 22x14x9.
Oh - and anyone who isn't yet "sold" on the idea of the cube packing system - I urge you to reconsider. I wasn't a fan (and my husband and mother weren't interested) but after reading so many positive reviews I decided to order some "just to see for myself." Oh my goodness - it will change your world in packing. My husband and mother are also now sold on them and we are thrilled we decided to try it out.
on January 6, 2012
The Eagle Creek 2011 Tarmac 22 is a great bag. It is sturdy and well built. The wheels roll very easily and are held firmly in place. It has held up great as a checked bag for several trips that I have taken since purchasing the bag. I bought this bag thinking of it as an investment and a serious upgrade to my former suitcase, so in that regard I have been extremely pleased. I also find the "pack-it" system to be very helpful. I think that some cubes used to come with the old version of this suitcase, but not with the new version. I had to buy the cubes separately but it has been worth it - I seem to fit way more into the suitcase using the cubes than I ever thought I could!
The only reason that I am giving this bag 4 stars instead of 5 is because it is advertised as a carry-on but in my experience I have not found that it works well as a carry. I usually end up checking it or trying to sneak it through. The advertised dimensions of the bag might technically meet carry-on dimensions, but once it's packed there is NO WAY that thing is fitting into the metal frame "baggage checkers" that most airlines have to test the size of your carry on. Sometimes you can get by, but the last time I traveled I actually had the bag taken from me and added to the checked bags right before I was about to step on the plane because it was too big. Not a huge deal, but with checked bag fees as they are these days, it can really start to add up when you are traveling.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the quality of the bag and I would certainly recommend the Eagle Creek brand. If you are looking for a no questions asked carry-on size bag, however, I would go with a smaller model.
on October 26, 2012
Perfect size for 2-3 day trips. In combination with the packing cubes, etc... I can fit 2-3 days of business casual clothes and workout clothes. I have only had the bag for about a month so I cannot speak to durability, but the quality of build looks/feels very solid.
I've read some reviews complaining about not enough pockets, not sure what the advantage of multiple compartments/pockets is vs. overall space that you can put the same things in without size shape being dictated by pocket shape/size. There are pockets that provide more than enough space options.
Also, I've read some reviews that laptop bag does not fit on top due to narrowing of bag. I did not find this issue at all, in fact my computer bag fit better on this bag than on my full size luggage bag. I think your computer bag/straps will determine how well this works, but it has been a plus for me.
The only reason I gave it 4 stars and not 5 is it is billed as airline overhead compliant. I've only had four flights and I'm shooting 50/50% on allowing me to carry on or check at the ramp. The bag easily fits into the overhead compartments. Will depend on the crew, flight, etc... With this said I would not want a bag any smaller than this and my bag was waiting for me in the walkway/ramp when I got off each time.
Bottom line: Great bag, solid construction, and perfect size for 2-3 days of travel. I would not want/need a bag any smaller. However, some airline crews will make you check it at the gate, real hit or miss. Did not inconvenience me but if you want a true carry on consider a smaller bag.
Update; 2 years later and moderate to heavy use, holding up great. Still about 50% chance of not allowed as carry on. But love this bag.
on January 30, 2012
I am a long-time fan of TravelPro, so when I needed a new suitcase I looked there first. What I found was a series of bags that seemed to be of much lower quality then the bags I have bought previously. I got on the internet and did a fair amount of research, and found myself with the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22. I just took it on its first trip, and I have to say I was very impressed. There are multiple exterior pockets (wish the smaller one were a little bigger, but it's a nit), and lots of space in the interior including three zippered compartments in the lid and an expansion capability. One comment for those who are wondering about the color: the pictures on this site and every other site make the bag look sort of a muddy brown. In reality, the color is a nice orange-red. Just enough to stick out on the luggage carousel.
on October 20, 2011
This is [UPDATE - "WAS"] a great piece of luggage. It is light, feels strong and wheels smoothly across bumpy sidewalks. I'm 6'4", so one of the things I like most about it is that the telescoping handle is several inches longer than some other wheeled bags I tried.
I chose Eagle Creek in part because it is supposedly great quality with a great warranty. I thought that, too, until one of the zippers malfunctioned and got stuck, rendering one of the pockets unusable. I called the company's warranty hotline, and learned the "warranty" process involves me driving to a UPS store, shipping it off, and waiting a month or so (including shipping time) to get my luggage back. When I told the customer service rep I was unsatisfied with that she transferred me to a supervisor.
I with a supervisor in the warranty department in San Diego, explained that I needed a different solution that didn't involve so much time and inconvence for me. His solution: I was welcome to buy a new one (with a discount)...that's right - my first piece of luggage broke, so I should buy a new one. Wow!
Save your money.
on July 22, 2011
We own two larger bags in this series from Eagle Creek and love them. They've been around the world with us twice and still look great. We've stuffed them, over stuffed them, and under stuffed them and still they perform to expectations and look good. I bought this bag for a series of short trips I will be taking and needed a carry-on that was on wheels. As always, Eagle Creek did not disappoint. It fits neatly into the overhead bin and is slim enough to roll down the aisle. I am notorious for over-packing, but this little think took all I could give it. All in all, a great investment.