June 3, 2010

Luggage Love: Briggs and Riley's BRX Explore Upright

If you're like me you have a lot of packs. Backpacks, day packs, hydration packs, and more. Packs are great for excursions into the wilderness but navigating airports or weekend trips that don't involve camping call for something else. So when I was given the chance to try a bag from Briggs and Riley's new BRX line I jumped at the chance.

With the current state of travel and checked bags costing an additional $25+ each way on most major airlines it seems that carry-on is the way to go. However after carrying my pack from the main terminal to the end of Concourse A at Denver International Airport on a trip a few months ago wheeled luggage seemed like a nice little luxury. So I opted for the BRX Explore Upright 19. The bag is a great size for weekend trips and comes in Amber, Ocean, and Slate. When I got the bag I could tell it was different than traditional luggage.

Since the BRX line is Briggs and Riley's "Adventure" line I wasn't sure what to really expect then I realized it's designed intelligently with great features like you would expect from "Adventure" gear. The first detail I really noticed was the outer slash pocket. So many times you have this pocket on a piece of luggage but you would be lucky to stuff a newspaper in there, they're just not designed to be functional. The pocket on the Explore is generous without being bulky and you can easily fit a magazine, a book, or even a light jacket in it.

In addition, the outer slash pocket there is a full organizer pocket that is lined in bright orange (on the Ocean bag at least). This may seem like a silly detail to love but most items are lined in black or dark grey and it's hard to find items inside. With the bright orange I easily located hair bands, pens, bobby pins, my black wallet, any of it. The pocket is also set-up well with enough interior pockets to hold a laptop and be useful but not so many that you feel overwhelmed by the need to over organize. Other great features on the exterior of the bag include compression straps (it's about time we see this on a wheeled bag) and a strap to attach an additional carry-on or purse, which tucks away in it's own zipper compartment when not in use.

One other item you'll notice on the bag is the exterior handle system and wheels. They're of good quality and feel rugged but light. Even better the exterior handle systems means more usable space in the main interior compartment and if you're bringing along gear the more room the better. The interior features a built-in compression system to help keep gear and clothing in place as well as a roomy lid pocket.

I found the bag to be easy to roll, easy to take corners, and easy to lift when full. Being 5'2" a bag that can be hoisted over my head with ease when full is very important during air travel and storing luggage so this is a major win for me. While the bag works great for someone at my stature I believe someone taller would also find it appealing because the handle system expands to a generous length.

At $260 I believe the bag is priced right. It has a lot of great features and it offers a Lifetime Warranty which is good for manufacturer defects, as well as airline damage and "any reason" damage. Where else are you going to find that? Seriously.

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