Review: Briggs & Riley 20″ Carry-On Baseline

Briggs & Riley sent me one of their bags to try out on my recent trip to Asia. Given that I’m always in search of the perfect carry-on, I was happy to try it out. Specifically, they sent me the 20″ Carry-On Expandable Wide-Body Upright Baseline bag, which retails for $369. That sounded to me like it was a bit on the high side, but quality comes at a price.

First, let’s discuss some of the positives. The bag is small from the outside, yet incredibly spacious from the inside even without “expanding” it. When my bag was full of clothes it weighed around 40 pounds, yet it looked like a bag you could sneak onto even the strictest airline when it comes to carry-on regulations. With the expansion the bag is huge. Second of all, the handle goes quite high. It seems basic, but it amazes me how many bags have handles that don’t even make it to my waist. Next, the interior compartments are thoughtfully designed and laid out. There are all kinds of compartments for toiletries and there’s even a mini-garment bag type thing.

What I wasn’t impressed by were many of the materials. For example, the wheels made that “clinky” noise, something I wouldn’t expect from a bag that’s this price. Furthermore, even from a one week trip my bag already shows some “wear,” from stains on the outside to the handle being a bit loose. Maybe this has to do with the fact that this was my first non-black bag in a very long time (or maybe not).

So to me the bag seems to be a bit overpriced. If someone gave me this bag without telling me the price, I would have guessed it retailed for $200. Something that’s worth noting, however, is Briggs & Riley’s warranty. I don’t have any firsthand experience with it, but if it is in fact as good as it sounds, then it’s worth quite a bit. I don’t know any other company with that type of a warranty, not even Tumi.

If your Briggs & Riley bag is ever broken or damaged, even if it was caused by an airline, we will repair it free of charge. Simple as that!

Lastly, here are some pictures of the bag:

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Comments

  1. I’ve got a different Briggs & Riley bag but the warranty is really the main reason I have it. I send it in once a year and get new wheels, new handle, and whatever else is broken/damaged fixed up. They fix it pretty quickly and I get it back.

  2. I think the Tumi Alpha line is the best for durability. Tumi TTech is also good, and both of these can be found at Costco at time for about 40 percent off which makes it a good deal.

  3. I own both Tumi and B&R and love them both. Generally it’s the case I prefer Tumi’s larger pieces (checked luggage) and B&R’s smaller pieces (carry-ons). This is how good B&R’s customer service is…

    My primary carry-on is a B&R Vertical Computer Brief/Backpack. It has several sets of zippers, but only one set has those small metal loops that can accommodate a travel lock. The other zippers are just normal types. I wanted the lockable ones on all compartments. B&R did it for free.

  4. I’ve bought some hardcase suitcases in VietNam for $25 that have taken care of my needs; though since flying to VN everytime you need a back is ridiculous, I just went to TJMaxx and bought a Chaps 20″ for $49.99, its stylish, expandable, lots of different pockets and honestly it would have to break 7 times before I hit the $369 level… and I honestly the B&R bag is ugly looking too.

  5. Thanks for the review, Lucky. I’m in the market for a larger carry-on (I only have a very small one), so this review is very timely!

    Out of curiosity, what’s your current carry-on bag of choice?

  6. Why pay over $300 when you could get a similar quality bag at Costco for 1/3 of the cost? Plus with Costco you can bring it back anytime, yes, anytime for a new replacement.

  7. @ Tim — Right now I use the Tumi T-Tech, which I bought for $300. I’ve been very happy with it, although the one thing that annoys me is that the handle has only one bar, as opposed to most bags that have a handle with two bars. This is annoying because it makes it difficult to place a laptop bag on top of it.

  8. I have 3 B&R bags. They last forever (one for me, one for my wife, one for carry-on). I rarely use the carry-on, but my garment bag has about 300 trips on it.

    One time it was returned with a fork-lift having gone through the zipper. Clearly the airline’s fault. USAir said that they’d fix it and have it back “in a few weeks”. I sent it to B&R and had it back good as new in less than a week. Same bag (stains on the fabric). They replaced several other worn parts while they had it. My only cost was one way shipping. Had I lived near a city with a repair center, even that would have been zero.

    When I bought the first one, they were advertising a two word warranty: “No Excuses.” That’s my kind of company,

  9. On some pictures I have seen of the BRX Uprights it looks like it is very “soft”. By that I mean that it looks like the “lid” doesn’t have any frame or rigidity at all, like for example the Baseline range. It also looks like the bag doesn’t have a rigid frame around it.

    Is this only the way it looks, or is it so? A short descripition of the structural properties and/or more pictures showing it would be greatly apreciated. Extra much so if you can make som notes comparing it to the Baseline range, which I know well.

    I live in Sweden, and as B&R doesn’t have a retailer here my only option is web-shopping and then I would really like to know a little more about the bag before making a purchase.

    Regards,
    Mike

  10. I have one large B&R bag. They are pricey but like others have said it is due to their warranty. Looking at the specs for your bag it seems fairly heavy (9.6 lbs). Personally I stick to lighter and cheaper bags like my current one from eBags I don’t expect it to last a long time but I’d rather take my chances with a lighter and less expensive bag. It was around $100 and weighs around 6 or 7 lbs.

  11. Briggs & Riley is an excellent luggage brand and the fact they offer lifetime warranty is a no brainer!

    I’ve got a Baseline cabin spinner in Olive (the same one I think) which is great because I can spot it quickly and can easily haul it off the luggage belt thanks to the fact it’s lightweight and has convenient carry handles. Fits no problem in the overhead compartment of every flight i’ve been on. Would highly recommend.

    http://www.charlesfordlondon.com/briggs-riley-baseline-international-two-wheel-wide-body-expandable-iata-cabin-case-508cm-baseline-olive

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