Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 21 Inch Expandable Spinner, Blue, One Size
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- New patent-pending Contour Grip design with rubberized touch points specifically engineered for spinner model use. 4-wheel spinners rotate 360 Degree providing superior maneuverability and a smooth glide in every direction.
- Airline-grade aluminum handle locks in 2 positions (38 inch and 42.5 inch) to ensure a comfortable roll for users of different heights.
- Honeycomb frame system provides lightweight durability
- Full length interior lid pocket, side accessory pocket and adjustable hold down straps offer intelligent packing flexibility
- Size 21 x 14 x 9
- Manufacturer defects warranty
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The MaxLite3 21 inch Expandable Spinner Upright Luggage is Ultra lightweight, and features a 4-wheel Spinner system that provides a smooth glide with 360 degree maneuverability. A Honeycomb Framing System and EVA foam construction provide exceptional durability while keeping it super light. The built in Protective skid guards, corner guards and crash-guard wheel housings protect against potential damage during travel and the Airline-grade Telescoping aluminum handle with two stops at 38 inch and 42.5 inch ensures a comfortable roll for users of different height. Limited Lifetime warranty
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I tried both hand carry and roller bags and there is no doubt that roller bags can't be beat for long times at airports when you always need to be taking your bag with you everywhere. Maybe a month backpacking around Europe would require a non-wheeled bag but even then it's hard to beat wheels!
My requirements are that it, of course, had to meet carry on requirements, but had to be the max size possible within those guidelines. A great bag has to be durable, roll well, and be stable when at rest even with another bag on top attached to the handle.
For years I've been using a very well made 2 wheeled drag-behind bag from LL Bean. It was good but I never felt that pulling a bag behind me was very comfortable and I still had to carry part of the weight. It also sometime wanted to fall over--but mostly it was good. While happy with the bag I increasingly thought that perhaps spinner would be better.
I'm very picky so spent several weeks looking at bags (money was not really that much a concern) before deciding to order Travelpro over far more expensive bags. I ordered both the Maxlite 3 and the Crew 9 versions to compare and return one. What appealed to me about the Maxlite is that, well, it was light. When flying internationally I've had to check bags a few times not because of size but because of weight and the Maxlite is half the weight of the Crew 9 and my LL Bean bag--seems to me the weight would be better put to use for the cargo and not the bag!
However, Maxlite 3 was new with no reviews and the Maxlite 2 had some complaints of tipping (as did the Crew 9)--so I got them both to try with the intention of switching to the traditional Crew 9 if the Maxlite 3 didn't cut it.
To make a long story short I had no problem with the Maxlite 3. It is basically the same size as the Crew 9. The Crew 9 had more external pockets (which if stuffed would probably take you over the carryon limits). The Maxlite was fairly ridged and well structured with durable seeming materials, while the Crew 9 had much thicker material probably accounting for the weight difference. Having said that the Maxlite seemed plenty durable and heavyweight and after all I did want a lighter bag and the difference in weight is just amazing (i.e. nearly HALF the weight).
The Crew 9 comes with a folding suiter bag. I don't wear suits so this had zero value to me (plus I have at least 2 of these from other bags I have). For non-suits I learned that rolling properly is best for nearly wrinkle free clothes anyways so I just don't use it, but if you do then this is a consideration.
In terms of wheels the Crew 9 wheels seemed thicker and more solid and are replaceable, but I've never had to replace a wheel on a bag and they both seemed to roll just as well on my wood floors & carpets fully loaded, so again, I found the Maxlite to be acceptable for the weight savings.
The Crew 9 also had a strap you could add to the top for holding the handle of a bag that hanged off the side which the Maxlite did not have. I think if you did hang anything other than a very small light bag that tipping would be an issue so I didn't miss it.
The Maxlite swallowed all my stuff with ease (again it is basically the max carryon size). The pull handle seemed just as rugged and well made as the Crew 9 but was significantly smaller (the Crew 9 seems overlarge in my opinion) but didn't seem less strong, so more packing room! Note that the handle is inside the main compartment for both bags so you don't get a flat bottom inside which is a common design for many bags so if this is a deal breaker then move on (I roll clothes so this actually is fine) .
But the best part was it rolled like a dream. I had never used a spinner before and the difference was just a revelation--how did I live so long without a spinner bag? First it rolls so smoothly it's like silk. And, well, it spins in any direction so that you can roll it sideways at your side instead of dragging it behind at an awkward angle. The most important part though was that you bear NONE of the luggage weight. I never realized before how much dragging my old bag took effort and affected my posture, and the difference with a spinner was like night and day.
The handle supported 2 heights (just like the Crew 9) one being extra tall. Since I am 6 feet tall and put a very tall computer backpack on top I appreciated the extra height since the computer bag reached the top. It was a very comfortable height for me. If you are shorter you'd need to use the shorter height and that would limit the height of the bag you could put on top (but the Crew 9 would have the same issue)
It did take more effort over carpet but that issue seems over exaggerated in reviews of other spinner bags. I had no issue but note it because I read it in so many spinner reviews. Plus, you can always revert to dragging it like a 2 wheeled bag so in my book this is not an issue, a no brainer really since with a 2 wheeled bag you ALWAYS have to drag it!
The ability to roll in any direction makes navigating a crowd a snap and being able to roll sideways meant I was able to roll right down the plane aisle without snagging every other chair on the way. It fit in the overhead no problem. There is a handle on the bottom that is very handy for removing.
In terms of tipping I had no problem (the bag was fully packed but I didn't pack in any special way). I also put a very heavy Crew 9 computer backpack (with a 17 in Dell monster computer and CPAP machine in it) over the handle and it rolled just as easily. Tipping was not an issue unless I tried rolling it front first at a very specific angle so that when I pushed it started to tip...no problem I just rolled it sideways (frankly that is the way everyone would roll it anyways).
At rest the bag was perfectly balanced and didn't tip or sag, etc. Again it was a dream to use. I was actually very impressed at it's performance and I'm not easily impressed.
I had a 5 hr wait in the Miami airport and it you know that airport it is huge. To get exercise I walked its length for over an hour and it was just a fun experience with the Maxlite rolling at my side. I cannot imagine enjoying such a walk pulling my LL Bean roller--nothing but a chore.
Experimenting at home I think the Crew 9 would have done well also, but I just didn't see that it offered enough to justify it's greater weight and cost. Maybe if you are a road warrior that is on the road all year then durability might be more important, but really the Maxlite is only $100 so if it wears out after 5 years of crazy heavy use then just buy a new one--again I'd rather have a lighter bag (and at the risk of repeating myself the Maxlite seems very durable to me, just not as durable as very thick materials of the Crew 9).
So, for me the Maxlite 3 seems perfect and I've tried to explain my reasoning for you to make your own decision. I'll update this review if after using a while it merits any edits. Right now I'm very happy with my choice (especially in that I also got the Crew 9 backpack which worked out especially well as a pair)
Update: After 8 months of regular use I have nothing to add to my review. I'm very happy with my purchase. Some people have said that the bag doesn't seem to meet airline dimensions if you include the wheels and I believe they are technically correct although I'm not sure if you should count the wheels or not. In my experience no airline has looked twice at the bag and it fit in all overheads except for small regional airlines (which no full size carryon would fit). If this is a major concern for you (I know some people fret over these things) then I recommend the international version which is a bit smaller.
As to the quality of the bag, it is rather flimsy compared to other TravelPro bags, but this is the price you pay for its ultra light weight.
As a light weight, wheeled, carry-on this would be great if it meet carry-on requirements. Since it doesn't you would be better served by a sturdier bag.
Other reviewers have pointed some of us towards the Travelpro International, which appears to be 22" with wheels.
If you don't mind the extra height, this does seem like a good bag, all things considered. Just make sure you're considering the actual height.
For me, the handle a big deal. Everything I've ever had in the past ended it's life because of a crappy handle. This one seems the most durable I have ever had. The rolling is super smooth, even on carpet. The front pocket unzips all the way to the wheels and also has an inner pouch that zips inside it. The mesh on inside of the case is tough and a great idea. I wish the case were a smudge bigger, but if it were I would likely have issues with using it as a carry on. All this said, I really like the Maxlite 3 and feel that you would be hard pressed to beat this deal. I have been using this bag for several months at the time I write this. Quality, comfort, design, and durability are the aspects that this case really shines.