Briggs & Riley Baseline 20″ Carry-on

Back in August, Lucky reviewed the Briggs & Riley Baseline 20″ Carryon. What caught my eye was this:

Briggs & Riley sent me one of their bags to try out on my recent trip to Asia.

So I admit, I shot an email off their to rep and said I’d love a free bag, too. And I gave it a spin on my Thanksgiving trip to Paris.

Like Lucky, the bag seems pricey to me at a retail price of $369. But they’re running it at $100 off currently and that seems much more like it.

They market their Simple as that warranty, which I’ve only heard good things about, they really will fix any problem with your bag for free for life if you bring it or send it in.

To many, that makes the price worth it. I admit, I’m a “$25 leather carryon from Nathan Road” kinda guy. Those don’t come with any sort of guarantee, I burn ’em up and toss ’em. And even at $100 off, I could buy 10 cheapie bags for the price of this Briggs & Riley bag. That’s hard for me to swallow. And yet I’m hooked  It worked perfectly for my four night stay in Paris, with room (and weight, given Air France’s generous carry-on rules and an overzealous checkin agent) to spare.

Best part of the construction is the wheels on the outer corners of the bag, my $25 bags always tended to tip easily but this bag never did. There’s a large pocket on the back of the bag for small items, and though they market their “SpeedThru pocket” on the front I used this back packet for my freedom baggie. The interior of the bag is extremely well laid out. There are compartments for toileteries and a garment sleeve for packing a suit, and velcro attachments to keep things in place.

It still feels pricey to me, but comparable Tumi and even Travelpro bags will cost as much. I travel enough to get value out of a more thoughtful design, and this bag fits the bill. Is it better than a ($595 retail) Tumi Alpha? Probably not. But I’ll be using this bag regularly going forward.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Except for the fact with Tumi, and retailers will back up this statement, their warranty isn’t very good, and they have a lot of undocumented exceptions!

    I have a Briggs & Riley briefcase, rolling computer brief, and a carryon! Zippers and wheels and handles function as good today, as when they were new… And they wear very very well, even as checked luggage!

    Worth the money in my mind, the first time a wheel falls off a cheap bag, while running for a tight connection!

  2. > Is it better than a ($595 retail) Tumi Alpha?

    I own both bags, and I prefer the Briggs & Riley. The pop-up mechanism on the Tumi (which increases the carrying capacity of the bag) is difficult to operate, and has a mind of it’s own. It pops up when the bag gets full.

    The Briggs & Riley is lighter (by 2-3 pounds) and it’s suit holder is simpler and takes up less room. Subjectively, the Tumi is much “busier” (more zippers and compartments) and has more features, but I now see this as a disadvantage. I want a bag to hold my stuff, not organize my life.

    On the other hand, the warranty on the Tumi is great. I took it to a Tumi store, paid $25 for shipping, and they shipped it back, fixed, a few weeks later.

  3. @ Robert F.

    Isn’t the “Great” Tumi warranty only 5 years long? & the B & R Warranty is a full on, “lifetime” warranty?

  4. Briggs & Riley looks like a good alternative to Samsonite whose quality has gone downhill in recent years but makes some fair luggage.

    With regards to Tumi, I only buy their Alpa or T-Tech bags on sale and usually through Nordstrom because of their customer friendly policies. Nordstrom can even order Tumi items directly from Tumi and ship them to your house, even if they do not have them in stock or carry them. I do like the Tumi Messenger and laptop bags, so give them a view.

  5. I’m hooked, too. Outstanding quality! I bought 3 from Sierra Trading Post in September at the rock bottom prices of:
    22″ : $177
    20″: $158
    18″: $125
    These were for discontinued models in the Baseline series.

  6. I really enjoy your weblog and your travel tips, but I must say, your terrible photography really detracts from the points you’re trying to make.

    If you’ll spend a little time with the manual for your camera, and suss around online a bit, you’ll learn how to take photos which aren’t blurry, even indoors. An improvement in your photos would do wonders in helping illustrate the great advice you provide.

  7. thanks for the report. i’m in the market for a new bag. i’m on the tall side, any idea how high the handle comes up? one of the features i’ve been comparing is the height of the extended handle, among others.

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