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I wanted to offer a comparison of the TLS Mother Lode series and the eTech 2.0 Mother Lode bags which seems to be sorely lacking on eBags site. When I tried to get some kind of qualitative comparison from a phone rep, he clearly had no familiarity with the bags other than the same information I had access to.

I ended up ordering a few bag in different sizes so I could make my own comparison. Here's what I learned:

Handle on short end: TLS stronger, retractable -- eTech 2.0 much more comfortable.

Handle on front surface: etech centered, TLS close to top - TLS better for lifting into a trunk, but etech better for general carrying, especially in a carryon size. (In the larger size, people have reported strap latch failures on the etech series).

Retractable metal pull handle -- TLS seems a bit more solid, but I don't think it's a big difference.

Overall construction - TLS definitely more rugged - heavier material and semi-solid botton and back. If you're checking your bags, this is a distinct advantage. For carryon size, maybe lighter is better.

Access while rolling: TLS has an extra slit pocket on side, and the top opening opens flap down - better if you need to grab something at the airport without everything coming out. On the other hand, the etech has a bigger top opening - the TLS one felt too small for serious access - you'd really need to unzip from inside. (In the 25" TLS, the opening is much better in size, while retaining the better orientation).

Inside mesh compartment: TLS has it split in two, etech has one larger one. In carryon size (21"), the two TLS ones feel too small - but in the 25" size, they work better.

Distribution of storage:
The etech splits space between top and bottom fairly evenly. The TLS has much more in the bottom and the expander is also on the bottom - so you're going to see this as a conventional suitcase with an extra smallish-compartment up top - rather than two distinct areas. However - in the 25" TLS the compartments work much better.

The TLS has the expansion ability - but in the carryon size - I'm not sure this is so valuable. In the larger size, this feels more important, as you're going to check this bag if you fly. Similarly - the compression straps (TLS only) don't seem as useful in the small TLS as they would in the 25" model.

Strap for carrying another bag in front - TLS only.

Wheels: TLS has larger ones, but the etech 2.0 has much quieter and smoother ones. On pavement, the etech was considerably quieter.

Internal structure: I like the wings on the etch 2.0 better than the fiberglass rods on the TLS. In addition, the position of these rods on the 21" TLS doesn't seem quite right - but much better on the 25".

Carrying handle: NEITHER of these bags has a handle on the long side - which you really need if you have to carry your bag up/down a flight of stairs. This seems like a really big omission, particularly in a 25" or larger bag. You can't always count on an elevator or working escalator.

Overall: in the carryon 21" size, I like the etech 2.0 much better . The TLS seems to work better in a 25" size, and its construction is more important in a bag that will get checked, or dragged up and down stairs since it lacks the side handle.
44 comments| 87 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 20, 2016
Update: I've been using this now for over a months worth of work travel. Fits in all my overhead bins except for the smallest commuter regional planes I fly. I bought this bag after having a rollaboard die on me after 7 years of service. This was a MAJOR purchase for me, as I got my last bag at Goodwill and spent maybe $10 on it. :) I knew that I wanted a bag that would fit in overhead bins, move smoothly, not tip over when upright, and look good. So far, I have been pleased with the purchase. I am only 4 flights in, but this bag has fit into a couple major airlines bins and rides super smooth. The buckles on the sides allow me to overpack and then cinch it all down tight. The interior is roomy and has multiple storage areas for me to be more organized. I would recommend this bag. It fits!
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Disclaimer: I received a free eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini to review and to use and here is my honest review.

A little back story: My other bag is a TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior which I bought here on Amazon and loved it so much that I made a light packing video and put it on YouTube. It went crazy viral and eBags was very kind to send me this new bag to review and to pack with - and I just made a video of packing it for 3 weeks in Japan.

You get a long black rod when you get this bag and it's supposed to be used inside the suitcase in such a way that it gives it better frame and structure so it can easily stand up by itself - we followed instructions and inserted the rod no problem.

So first off, this eBags weighs about 7 pounds empty. That means you have to take that into account, not to mention the room that the wheels take up in order to pack in such a way that it fits comfortably in the overhead compartment of your seat in the plane. I have to say that the junior eBags had more room than this but this is much nicer, higher quality, still both have the same orange interior which I love, and the wheels and the material of the bag is very nice quality.

Packing was interesting but I was surprised by how well I fit everything in. So you can see in the pictures I also used eBags's packing cubes which I'll review next, but with the help of those and always rolling my clothes, and using as much of the space in the corners and sides and around the wheel rods as possible, I got everything in. I had the expanded compartment opened but then I was able to close it and after zipping it all up, I used the side straps to cinch it up even tighter and I would say it looks pretty darn smart and ready to go after all that. I am excited about taking a new bag and not having to carry it on my back - that was the main reason I wanted to have a wheeled luggage to take it easy on my lower back.

Even though I'm a wee bit disappointed at how much the luggage weighs when empty, I love eBags, the company, the make and feel of the luggage and all the compartments and straps and design so much that I'm giving it a heart-felt 5 stars. I hope this helps you pick the right luggage for you.
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on November 26, 2016
Received the bag one week ago. Upon first use, I the expansion zipper did not align correctly, and did not close properly. Returning.
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on October 7, 2016
I love this bag. I had an older eBag that was the same size for several years. It was great and the only reason I had to get a new one is because a cat urinated in my old bag and nothing short of nuclear exposure could get the smell out!

Anyway, this bag is compact but expandable and feels just as sturdy as my old bag. It fits in the overhead bin on airplanes, and is easy to wheel around. I just wish it had a handle on the side. But other than this minor complaint, it's an excellent bag. You won't go wrong with this.

Also, I recommend getting the eBags Pack-It-Flat Toiletry Kit. I ordered it when I ordered this bag. It's amazing! eBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kit (Black)
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on February 21, 2017
I've used this bag several times since receiving it for Christmas. It is fantastic! I love all the pockets, the adjustable storage, the heavy zippers and especially the clip locks on the sides, keeping everything tucked in securely and safely, no more worrying about my bag popping open and spilling "unmentionables" out! Will probably be ordering another bag, as I am planning an extended-say vacation and can't even imagine taking any other bag.
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on August 29, 2016
This bag was perfect as a carry-on for a long international flight. Plenty of easy access pockets on the outside for stuff I wanted to have within reach during the flight, with lots of room on the inside for the things I don't like to pack in my checked luggage. For the trip back home, it expanded to hold the extra things I purchased on vacation. I checked it for the return trip and it held up beautifully. Better than the much more expensive large bag that I also checked. A great purchase and I will likely order a larger size to go with it.
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on May 16, 2016
Great suitcase! Lots of actually useful features. Dividers that can be unzipped, rolled and buttoned up out of the way or un-Velcroer to open up
compartments. Handle that can be adjusted to height of person. Lightweight, good compact proportions. Multiple pockets for storing items. Like the color.
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on September 18, 2014
I am going into a medical program and have many heavy books and supplies to carry, for which my husband thought this would work well. It also has to be able to fit into a locker on campus and I think it will fit just fine. At first I was unsure if it would work as a bag to get into and out of frequently through my classes, but now that I have it I can see that not only is this product up to the weight and wear challenge it will face, but also it is going to be great for what I need to use it for. All my books (8 in total), binders, and even my laptop and medical supplies has room.I will even have room to take a snack for in-between classes. I am super happy with my eBag.
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on January 2, 2013
I bought this wheeled duffel for its smaller size than other carry-on wheeled bags. I've used this on one trip so far and love it! It easily fits in a plane overhead (have not tried it in the expanded mode). The retractable handle is smooth to operate and more than long enough for a tall person. I love the divider option in the main compartment. Although I use the eBags packing cubes, the divider is great for keeping items from shifting too much. I also like that the main compartment can be accessed from the front large zippered opening if desired. I kept my travel liquids there, ready to pull out during airport security. The bottom is sturdy hard contruction and the remaining fabric is heavy duty. The compression straps on the sides are great for cinching down the packed duffel.
This duffel is exactly what I hoped for! I plan to replace my larger suitcase with the 25" wheeled bag as well.
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