I’ve traveled over 100,000 miles with this carry-on — and it’s the best suitcase I’ve ever tested

Away Bigger Carry-On
(Image credit: Future)
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If there’s one thing about me, it’s that I always fly with carry-on luggage. I don’t care if I’m traveling for 10 days or 24 hours — I will fit everything I need for my trip into a bag that fits in an airplane’s overhead storage, no exceptions. 

I haven’t had this mindset forever. In fact, before the Away Bigger Carry-On, I didn’t understand the appeal of avoiding checked baggage. But now, over five years and 100,000 miles later with my Away suitcase, I’m convinced that it’s the single best piece of luggage money can buy.

At $295, it’s far from the most affordable suitcase you’ll find. But as someone who has bought and broken a lot of cheap suitcases, the way is the ultimate investment for any traveler. I’ve seen people who buy luggage that’s just as expensive, if not more, only for them to prioritize form over function.

I won’t name names, but anyone who’s in the know on trending luggage brands can surely guess which ones I’m referencing. I’ve even tried other bags myself on occasion. But almost from the moment I’ve left my house, I wish I had my Away Bigger Carry-On instead. (Honestly, the only exception has been the Monos Best Carry-On, but that’s because it’s a very similar style of bag.)

Away Bigger Carry-On: $295 @ Away

Away Bigger Carry-On: $295 @ Away
We tested all sorts of carry-on suitcases over the years, and the one that has held up the best durability-wise, over more than 100 trips is the Away Bigger Carry-On. If you’re a smart packer, it can fit a week’s worth of clothes — in fact, this is the bag that convinced us you can travel almost anywhere with just a carry-on. 

The Away Bigger Carry-On weighs less than 8 pounds empty and has a 47.9-liter capacity. Away estimates the bag is big enough to fit anywhere between 6 to 9 outfits, but with the help of compression packing cubes, the built-in double-buckle compression pad, and large mesh enclosure, I can fit much more with no problem. And, when I do overstuff my bag, the zipper never shows signs of busting apart. No, seriously, I have more trust in my Away bag zipper’s integrity than I do 99.9% of people. 

My packing skills aside, the quick-release trolly handle and 360-degree gliding wheels feel as well-made 100,000 miles later as they did when I first got the bag. I’ve hobbled the bag over cobblestone streets, dragged it up flights of stairs, and even once watched in fear as it flew down a massive escalator, ricocheting off every step before landing at the bottom — accidentally, of course. Despite the rough conditions my suitcase has faced over the years, the quality hasn’t suffered. Sure, the exterior has a few scars from our adventures, but on the jet black finish they hardly show.

I’ve hobbled the bag over cobblestone streets, dragged it up flights of stairs, and even once watched in fear as it flew down a massive escalator, ricocheting off every step before landing at the bottom — and the quality hasn’t suffered.

Oddly, the feature that made Away bags famous is one I care about the least. It has an removable battery pack nestled by the handle, offering a somewhat convenient way to charge your devices while you wait at the gate. That said, as someone with no shortage of portable chargers, I ditched the Away-provided one a long time ago. I think I removed it once when I had to gate check my bag (remember, no lithium-ion batteries allowed in the cargo hold) and never remembered to put it back. Either way, it’s towards the bottom of the list of reasons I love my Bigger Carry-On.

I’ve never had an issue with the Bigger Carry-On fitting in the overhead bin with the airlines I fly, but Away has a handy list of compatible airlines to review. If I were to start flying one of the incompatible airlines, I’d no doubt invest in the standard $275 Away Carry-On. Although it has a smaller capacity, I know I’d benefit from the same conveniences and high-caliber construction. I might consider one of the many different color options, though, including the seasonal/limited-edition version Away regularly launches.

Do I expect my Away Bigger Carry-On to last forever? Certainly not. But I plan to travel as many miles with it as I can before it's worn down? Absolutely.

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Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.