Briggs & Riley Touts Stylish & Elegant Bags With Effortless Navigation

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I’ve been wanting to expand our luggage reviews for awhile now. We first started out doing a lot of tech products (and well, we still do given my 20 years of experience in the tech world), but when you think of the kinds of products (and accessories) which can be transformative on the road, luggage is certainly high on the list for most of us. Truth be told, luggage never used to be important to me. In other words, it wasn’t a priority as long as it was big enough and didn’t have a hole in it.

I love luxurious products and am a fan of all things elegant and yet, with luggage, it was always purely functional for me for some reason. Purses…..well, that’s an entirely different story! Now that I’ve experienced and am using high end luggage lines on a regular basis, there’s no question that it matters….and, it matters a lot.

Older style wheels are pathetic and draining to say the least. Imagine walking the full length of Dallas, Paris or Chicago airports dragging two heavy pieces of luggage on small non-rotatable wheels. It’s not only laborious, but by the time you arrive at your gate, you’re exhausted and possibly even sweating from the effort. Travel needs to be seamless and the more airlines and product companies targeting the travek industry can do to make the traveler’s life seamless, the more likely we’ll be brand loyal.

Most of the top end luggage brands today have made major upgrades to their wheels. I discovered Briggs & Riley one day by accident well over a year ago now when I was doing some research online about something not pertaining to travel OR luggage. Elegantly designed colors jumped off the page and I fell in love with a red commuter bag in their Transcend line; it had four double swivel wheels for effortless 360° navigation too.

As I then started flipping through their luggage choices and other collections, it was the Transcend line that made the biggest impression, at least initially, because, hey, I’m a fan of glorious color. I had been wanting to test out a few carry on roller bags since my earlier reviews primarily focused on large and small accompanied checked bags. Alas, Transcend also had a carry-on wheeler bag in RED, but the carry-on didn’t have those easy-to-navigate swivel wheels. It’s a beauty regardless….

Then I came across the Rolling Cabin Bag from Briggs & Riley’s Baseline collection and they had an elegant soft olive green, perfect for a woman who loves clean streamlined design, sophisticated colors and functionality. Their rolling cabin bag has effortless 360° navigation of four double swivel wheels, all rolled into one. It’s perfect for carrying on board and laying flat under your seat or in the overhead compartment. And so, I opted for this one because of its state-of-the-art wheels and neutral but pretty color choice. If I had my druthers, I’d love to see them come out with the above design from Transcend in a rich Victorian Blue with the four double swivel wheels as a carry-on roller. Even as a fashionista luxury travel gal, I love having a side stretch pocket for a bottle of water or juice while running to my gate.

The height and width is 15.5 inches, its depth is 10 inches and weight is around 7.5 pounds. It comes with those self-repairing, extra durable YKK Racquet Coil zippers that are sturdy from overuse — they even tout ergonomic zipper pulls and lockable main compartment zipper pulls. The fabric is ballistic nylon which is abrasion resistant, water repellent, color fast and apparently self healing. It can hold up to 28.8 liters and its current price point is around $400.
Inside, there’s plenty of pockets for chords, which is a growing concern among travelers – it seems as if every trip I go on, I have a new power charger or adapter of some sort, making it increasingly important for bag manufacturers to adapt to the growth in tech devices we all carry from point A to B. There are side pockets, a massive main area for carry-on items and a zipper side (on the inside and out), where you can store chargers, keys, notebooks, iPads or laptops.
I personally like that there’s a side pocket with a “slide” where I can put my laptop, making the larger main compartment area empty for all the camera gear I lug around with me. Everyone who reads this site or follows me on Twitter knows how much I love my Canon 7D!
Their two elastic mesh pockets can also serve as additional space for things like belts, toothbrush and paste and other accessories. You can use the wide elastic back pocket for socks and undergarments if you’re one of those travelers who carries an extra change just in case you get stranded and your checked bag is nowhere to be found. On the far exterior, there’s also a zippered mesh pocket on the lid for additional peripherals and flatter things like small files or business cards. And then, there’s those magical seamless spinner wheels — your bag follows along with you as more of a companion than a bag you’ve got to slog behind you.  This is a huge highlight for me and a major two thumbs up feature, especially as a female traveler.
The bag has an aircraft-grade aluminum handle system with 3 stop heights and while most of the newer bags include several height “stops,” the design is often malfunctional and often sticks. Anyone had that experience? This one actually works!
They also have this very cool HideAway ID tag so your personal information can be concealed — it always surprised me that luggage manufacturers never considered that until very recently. There’s also a SpeechThru pocket which allows for quick storage of items at security checkpoints and V-groove handle tubes which are stronger and guarantee less jamming. Sweet!
Let’s face it — traveling is all about flexibility and having durable gear with you to alleviate the discomfort on the road. Briggs & Riley also has a new line of products that combines hard cover suitcases with a soft companion piece. While I didn’t go for the hard checked luggage (my preference has always been soft but durable exteriors), I did gravitate to their accompanied shopping totes which come in a soft burgundy and a fun blue.
Sympatico is a coordinated collection that combines a hard spinner case with a a more flexible piece you can toss over your shoulder. You can use them together or remove one and conveniently carry it with you. The shopping tote conveniently fits the roller bag so you don’t need to carry it if you choose to combine the two while you’re doing a fast walk to your destination. Oh yeah, of course black is an option too, but why do black when you have two gorgeous color choices instead?

I opted for the more flexible blue color which can go with more outfits and match more bag combos — I have a few checked luggage in blue that I love! Be sure to check out some of the other great performing luggage brands I have reviewed: HeysSamsonite, TravelPro and Kipling.

While we’re talking about “blues” and great colors for female travelers, I have to be honest – I LOVE the vivid blue of the new Briggs & Riley Sympatico shopping tote.  It makes for a perfect personal piece when headed to your next destination and is ever so stylish. While it does coordinate perfectly with the same color Sympatico hard spinner, you could also mix and match and go with one blue and one burgundy piece and let’s be honest, either color goes really well with black as well.

The tote is made out of a lightweight Micro Nylon outer fabric which resists wear, water, dirt and abrasion, is 13.5 inches by 18.5 inches by 7.5 inches in size and is priced at $119.00. It only started shipping to the public in mid-July of this year, so it’s a newer line and oh so fun! I feel fortunate to have gotten one of the first ones on the market.



For the male travelers among us, the blue and black make great options for hard spinner options and Briggs & Riley has plenty of options with a variety of bold colors and if you’re not as courageous as us fashionistas, you can always get a more neutral or black color from nearly any collection they have.



Note: the folks at B&R sent me product to review but all opinions expressed are my own.

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