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Well here's proof the MINI has made it into the mainstream lexicon....an article from today's WSJ on luggage with the abstract Spending Mini Cooper money on something you're going to lug around airports might be a bit excessive, but you can part with a lot less and still take advantage of some of the new materials and designs used by suitcase makers.

Brand-New Bag
By MIELIKKI ORG
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
December 3, 2004; Page W24


Recently, we learned about a new carry-on suitcase, from a company called Henk. It's made out of carbon fiber, has a case designed by the people responsible for the look of the original Sony Trinitron, and is only made in annual batches of 3,000. The cost: $20,000.

Spending Mini Cooper money on something you're going to lug around airports might be a bit excessive, but you can part with a lot less and still take advantage of some of the new materials and designs.

To find out how, we talked to luggage stores and online retailers around the country about best-selling new models. We focused on carry-ons with wheels (though you should check with your airline to see if your bag will fit overhead); most can be found at a discount.

Louis Vuitton


Louis Vuitton


MODEL: Damier Geant Conquerant
PRICE: $2,520
SIZE: 26" x 18.5" x 13"
WEIGHT: 11.5 lbs.
COLORS: Dark brown, beige

DESCRIPTION: Instead of the oft-knocked-off "LV" monogram, this new suitcase from Louis Vuitton has "Louis Vuitton Paris" quietly embossed on the front of this hard-sided case. Another of the Conquerant's selling points: The retractable handle and wheel housings lie outside the main compartment. That frees up space inside and creates a reasonably flat surface for packing. The Damier Geant line also includes matching shoulder bags, a duffel and a golf bag.

Briggs & Riley


Briggs & Riley


MODEL: Transcend transformable upright
PRICE: $319
SIZE: 22" x 14" x 9"
WEIGHT: 9.5 lbs.
COLORS: Blue, green, red

DESCRIPTION: Released this fall, this 22-inch rolling carry-on can separate into two bags -- one wheeled upright and one duffel (good for those who return from a trip with more items than they left with). It's 2 pounds lighter than the company's best-selling 21-inch model (thanks to a lightweight fabric called Tuff-Lite) and comes in vibrant colors. Another popular feature: The duffel has backpack straps and can slide over the upright's telescoping handle.

Tumi


Tumi


MODEL: Turn Transporter
PRICE: $395
SIZE: 22" x 14" x 11"
WEIGHT: 10.5 lbs.
COLORS: Black, silver, blue

DESCRIPTION: An ergonomically designed telescoping handle is this suitcase's biggest selling point. Inside, there's a fold-out, zippered suit bag that can keep items in a less-wrinkled state. All Tumi luggage is covered by the company's Tracer program: Each bag sold is affixed with a small metal plate that displays a unique, 20-digit identification number and a phone number. If the bag is found, the discoverer is directed to call Tumi, who can match the bag to its owner, once it has been registered after purchase.

Swiss Army Victorinox


Swiss Army Victorinox


MODEL: Werks Traveler
PRICE: $229
SIZE: 22" x 14" x 10"
WEIGHT: 8.8 lbs.
COLORS: Black, red, blue

DESCRIPTION: Like the Tumi bag, this model has a removable suit bag and an ergonomic handle. In this case, the telescoping pole arcs toward the person holding it, so the bag itself is rolled at a more comfortable angle, the company says. The 22-inch case can have its depth expanded by 2.5 inches if travelers need more room mid-trip.

A new model is in the works, so if you're not set on the latest product, you may be able to find this model discounted as its replacement starts arriving in stores. The bag comes in the usual black and blue, as well as the company's trademark red and black.

Samsonite


Samsonite


MODEL: Sahora Spinners hybrid carry-on upright
PRICE: $240
SIZE: 24" x 17.5" x 9.5"
WEIGHT: 9.8 lbs.
COLORS: Red, black, grey

DESCRIPTION: Launched last month, this 24-inch bag features wheels that can rotate 360 degrees. The company says this gives better control and helps when trying to slide sideways though tight spots (like an airplane's aisle). This model is a "hybrid" which means that it combines a hard-sided frame with softer panels. The goal, says the company, is the protection of a hard-sided case along with the flexibility of a soft-sider.

Inside, there's a waterproof compartment that can store toiletries or a semi-dry bathing suit. Unlike many other soft-side cases, the Sahora opens from the center -- as opposed to only one side -- so you can secure flat-folded items on one side and rolled garments on the other.

Write to Mielikki Org at [email protected]1
 
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