Yes, Speck Makes Luggage… and It’s Great

“What’s in those?” My wife Raina asked me when two large boxes arrived at the house. “Oh, that’s review samples of Speck’s new luggage.” “Speck?” she asked, looking at me strangely, “Don’t they make iPhone cases?” “They make some of the best and now… Speck makes luggage.” So let’s check it out.

Speck moving into the luggage business might initially seem like an odd play, but when you step back a bit, it makes a lot of sense. Speck has spent years developing designs and technology that merges style with protection with the least amount of added weight and bulk possible. That’s pretty much what you want in luggage, too. You want something light. You want something protective. And if you can get luggage that is light and protective and also looks good… even better. So Speck took everything they have learned over the years and applied that knowledge to luggage. Then, because they know their customers place a high priority on function, they explored what the best features they could include might be. Then, to top it off, they decided to sell directly to the consumer to keep the pricesvdown. The result is three different sizes of luggage that are each available in a variety of colors.

Now, of course, Speck moving in this direction shouldn’t be a total surprise considering the fact that Samsonite acquired the company in 2014. Still, seeing this type of synergy between Speck and their parent company is pretty neat.

So let’s check out Speck’s new offerings but, before we do, let’s get a better understanding of why Speck decided to enter this space as well as their philosophy as the world’s newest luggage company. Here’s what they have to say:

The Speck Travel tale… It’s simple, really. Traveling is tough. That’s why we wanted to design luggage and backpacks with a greater sense of purpose. Resfeber is a Swedish expression about travel. It translates into a feeling. How your heart races before a journey. How anticipation and anxiety are battling for dominance. We found out, when we create backpacks and suitcases that give you the confidence and freedom to leave that anxiety at home and focus on the anticipation of travel, we were not only innovating luggage, we were starting to innovate the travel experience.
We were onto something. That’s why we decided to do more than just craft luggage, we knew we had to create a community of like-minded travelers, all looking to explore new places and experience new things. Our suitcases and bags transcend ordinary luggage and will become your ultimate traveling partner, for life. While our travel community will help you find new places and experiences that allow you to squeeze every last second out of each trip.

Imagine if Speck got their hands on technology from the Transformers movies and applied it to one of their grey iPhone cases. That’s what the suitcases look like. And they look great.

Speck’s new luggage comes in three sizes; There is a 22” Carry-On for $200,h there is a 26” Upright for $225, and there is a 29” Upright for $250. Each is available in your choice of Macaw Blue, Black, Hyacinth Pink, and Concrete Grey. I was sent the 22” Carry-On and the 26” Upright. Both came in Concrete Grey, and I must say they look fantastic.

The approach Speck took when designing their new suitcases is rather smart. Instead of coming up with three entirely different designs for their luggage, the company designed the best luggage they could and then simply applied the same design approach to each of the three sizes. So while the Speck Luggage website lists three different suitcase offerings (they continue to offer backpacks as well, but those have been around for a bit), the differences in size are the only difference. Each has the same features, each includes the same organizational items, (Speck did an amazing job here), and each is shockingly light. The 22” carry-on us under 7 1/2 pounds, while the larger 26” Upright is still under 9 pounds.

Since the bags have the same design and features, I’ll focus my review on the 22” Carry-On. My thoughts on this smaller piece in the collection also applies to the larger 26” Upright. Both have impressed me enough that they will become my go-to luggage for the foreseeable future.

The 22” Concrete Grey Carry-On measures 22” H x 14” W x 9” D. As previously noted, it weighs just 7.47 pounds and has a capacity of 41.29L. For comparison sake, the 26” Upright measures 26” H x 17” W x 11” D, weighs 8.86 lbs and has a capacity of 73.55L.

Both pieces of luggage came in large boxes and, when I pulled them out, I was pleased to find each wrapped in a protective cloth sack especially designed for this purpose. The cloth bags open at the bottom, have a drawstring to secure them in place, and  a they have a slit at the top through which the handle can be accessed. The bags are a small thing that might not warrant mention, except for the fact that we keep our luggage in a space beneath the stairs. Wrapping the bags in these protective sacks when they aren’t in use will keep them from getting additional wear when not in use. After all, they’ll get enough abuse when used and abused while traveling won’t they?

The perfect piece of carry-on luggage for those short work or play trips. Lightweight, compact, and durable. What else do you need?

 

The 22” H x 14” W x 9” D size and 7.47lbs weight of the carry on means the bag is optimized for the current size and weight allowances on most major airlines. Of course, the airlines are constantly making changes that optimize their profits so there’s no guarantee the size and weight requirements won’t change at some point.

The bags are made from a lightweight, durable polycarbonate shell. It weighs next to nothing but still feels substantial. The color is “clean” and permeates the material. That means when the inevitable scratches start to appear, they will be less noticeable than if the color was simply applied to the surface.

At the top, there is a handle that sits flat when not in use.

There is a second such handle on the side so you can m carry the bag in a horizontal position.

There’s also a retractable 3-position handle so you can wheel the luggage through the airport while you run for your flights. The 3-position handle means the suitcases work just as well for someone like me (who is 6- 1”) as it will for someone who is vertically challenged. The mechanism extends and contracts easily and, overall, the handle feels substantial. I expect it will hold up well over time. I’ll report back once I’ve used the luggage a few times.

Speaking of wheeling, your luggage through the airport, at the bottom of the bag are four “360 shock dampening double spinner wheels.” The wheels are tough, create a stable base that won’t tip over and rotate easily and should be as durable as the bags. Of course, only time will tell.

At the top is the ubiquitous lock you’ll find on every suitcase. Speck’s offering, however, may look typical, but the locks are TSA approved. The zippers are solid and can easily be opened or closed.

The integrated TSA lock easily secures your belongings inside the bag but can be accessed by TSA without their needing to break the locks. Yes, the TSA does spot checks or opens bags that show anything suspicious during X-ray so having locks that keep crooks out while letting TSA have access is key these days.

Inside the bag, there is quite a bit going on.

One side has a zippered cover that holds its content inside.

The space below the cover is substantial, and it should be great for holding the bulk of your clothing in place while you travel.

The other side of the luggage is a large open space that is ideal for bulkier items. To the left, there is a small zippered pouch. It’s ideal for small items or even a lot of sandals.

At the bottom is another small zippered pouch. It ships with a removable laundry bag so you can keep your clean clothes away from the soiled ones you’ve been wear all week. I love the fact that Speck included this laundry bag in every piece of Speck Travel luggage.

But there’s more. Sitting between the two sides of the suitcase when open is a mesh divider panel.

Permanently attached in the right side, the plastic clasps on the left release so the panel can flip up and to the side, so it’s out of the way when you pack. The divider has a 3-pocket organizer that lets you pack in a far more organized manner than usual. The organizer is one of those nice little extras that make using this luggage a pleasure.

Finally, there are the organizing cubes the company includes with each suitcase. I didn’t expect anything like this, but when I unzipped the left side of the suitcase’s interior, there was a small cloth packing cube inside.

Inside I found two more packing cubes of different sizes. That means each suitcase comes with an interior organizing pouch, an internal zippered pocket, a second zippered pocket with a removable laundry bag AND three sizes of packing cubes. That makes this luggage an organizational superstar and might even let me, the worst and most disorganized over-packer in history, be more thoughtful in my packing. It’s these little “extras” like the packing cubes and laundry bag that take some nice new luggage to an entirely new level of awesome. And yes, I think this new luggage from Speck is pretty awesome.

Moreover, because Speck sent me their new luggage in two different sizes, each coming with three packing cubes, I now have more than enough ways to keep myself organized on my next trip.

Features:

  • Light & durable polycarbonate outer shell: Our rugged rolling luggage is designed to protect your belongings against turbulence and the TSA. So, go ahead, travel gods. Give our bags your best shot. They can take it.
  • Mesh divider panel w/ 3-pocket organization: Our sturdy mesh divider is proven to transform even the most unorganized traveler into an organized one. Your inner neat-freak will rejoice. Ours does.
  • 360 shock dampening double spinner wheels: These wheels were made for rolling, and that’s just what they’ll do. We put an end to suitcase tip-overs when combating the concrete jungle. They even roll effortlessly when you’re late and running to your gate.
  • Integrated TSA lock: Our dependable and secure TSA lock easily zips and locks into place so you can secure your belongings even if you’re trying to rush through security.
  • The Speck Travel Promise- Quality Above All: At Speck Travel, we guarantee that every piece of luggage and every backpack is made with best-in-class materials and extraordinary quality control to ensure you’re always receiving premium luggage that’s built to lighten the load of your business travels. Life is about the quality of travel, not the quantity, so is our luggage.

Finally, in addition to carrying Speck’s promise and guarantee of quality. The company is offering an impressive “100 Day Risk-Free” guarantee. Purchase a piece of Speck luggage or two (or three) and use them on your next trip. If you don’t love your new acquisition you can return it and go to Macy’s to find something else. But trust me, the odds of finding luggage that is this well-built, comes loaded with extras and for a price as reasonable as Speck’s offerings is highly unlikely. Sure, there plenty of good luggage out there but nothing I have tried offers as much, or is as light, as my new luggage from Speck Travel.
Check out their offerings here.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Speck Travel Carry-On and 26” Upright

What I Like: Well-built; Light; come in three usable sizes; Come in great colors that will help you identify your luggage without the need to put ribbons or pompoms on the handle; Lots of extras built-in and included with each piece of luggage

What Needs Improvement: Nothing yet, but I have not yet had a chance to travel with them


About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.