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Away Luggage Review

A Modern Alternative to Traditional Luggage

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Away Luggage

The Away luggage lineup offers a variety of poly-carbonate, nylon, or aluminum shell travel suitcases. All Away luggage comes with 360° spinner wheels, a combination lock, and a removable laundry bag. In addition, the carry on bags include a rechargeable battery bank. In our travel test the Away bag was easy to pack and glided effortlessly through the airport. It showed no signs of damage or wear after making it through checked bag security. Check Price

Pros

  • Modern aesthetic with simple lines and durable materials
  • Optional electable battery for charging electronics (carry on bags)
  • 100 day trial period
  • 360° spinner wheels

Cons

  • Carrying handle is a little tight to the side; a bit of a pinch hazard
  • On the pricey side

Travel Log

In our minds, a luggage review involves more than simply specs and photos, although those are certainly important aspects.

To really put the Away luggage to the test we want to take it on a trip… and then another… and then another.

Seeing how this suitcase performs in real-life travel situations helps to create an informative and transparent review process.

Here’s the log of where our Away has been so far.

Trip #1

  • Destination: Phoenix, AZ to Kansas City, KS
  • Travel Method: Flight
  • Model: The Large

Overall, the Away bag performed exceptionally well. For this trip we were headed home for the holidays. The Large suitcase easily fit our family of three’s stuff.

Away luggage - packed for the trip
My wife’s side of the suitcase fully packed

In fact, we ended up needing to add a pillow and some extra fluffy cloths to help fill out the suitcase. Perhaps my biggest complaint is simply the size.

Our Biggest Complaint

We tested The Large for this trip and it definitely lived up to the name. However, we found it simply too big for the typical trips we take. The Medium size would have been more than sufficient.

Away Suit Case packed with stuff
My side of the Away fully packed…with my wife overflowing a bit with her stuff

The large size meant it was just inside of the 50 pound limit. It would be easy to go over the 50 pound limit without trying hard.

Our Favorite Feature

The biggest pro to the Away luggage, at least for this trip, was the wheels. Incredibly smooth and omni-directional. Not having to lean the suitcase back at an angle, especially for such a large suitcase is a huge win.

The construction / design of the wheels and height of the telescoping handle made it easy to maneuver through the airport.

Here’s a few more things we noticed on our first trip with the Away suitcase:

  • Durability – no noticeable damage on the first trip, looked as good after the trip as it did before
  • Interior – the dividers and netting are a nice addition, as is the laundry bag
  • Wheels – by far the biggest pro; Away seamlessly glided everywhere we went
  • Zippers – feels well made, easily zipped and unzipped. Having the zippers themselves locking the suitcase is a nice touch.
  • Handles – the extendable handle was great, however, the body and side handles I found hug too tightly. As a result, it was easy to pinch a finger. I would guess they probably loosen up with time.

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Away Design

The Away suitcase is a semi-rigid suitcase collection designed for short weekend getaways or longer international trips. Away suitcases come in a variety of sizes, materials, and various features like an expanding accordion, charging battery for your devices, 360° spinner wheels, etc.

Away wheels after one trip
Away wheels after one trip

Before we hit the collections, let’s go over some overall similarities between the different offerings.

All Away suitcases have:

  • Subtle horizontal striped texture on exterior
  • Top and side handles
  • Slip handle on base
  • TSA-approved combination lock
  • 360° spinner wheels
  • Leather luggage tag
  • Interior compression system
  • Hidden laundry bag

Additional optional features include:

  • Expandable middle
  • Ejectable battery (for charging accessories and other electronics)
  • Various shell materials; polycarbonate, water-proof nylon, or aluminum
  • Exterior pocket

The Flagship Collection

The flagship collection is the most-popular collection from Away and comes in 5 different sizes. There are 9 standard colors as well as a few special edition colors (colors vary between each model).

You can get the carry suitcases with or without an ejectable battery. This battery can charge your phone or other small electronics and also complies with all airline policies and is TSA-approved.

The Models

  • The Kids’ Carry-On
  • The Carry-On
  • The Bigger Carry-On
  • The Medium
  • The Large

For the sake of this review, this is the style we purchased, tested, and photographed. Let’s dive into the details before hitting the other Collections.

The Exterior

The outside of this bag is made of semi-rigid polycarbonate. It has more flexibility than a hard shell suitcase, but less flexibility than a piece of luggage with nylon exterior.

Away luggage front view

The outside feels a bit like a textured plastic. It has smooth rounded corners and the Away brand tag subtly located in the corner of the bag. There are also horizontal ridges that go across the whole bag. These lines provide a modern matte aesthetic and add to the overall recognition of the brand.

Corners of the Away luggage set
Corners of the Away luggage set

The Interior

The interior of this luggage bag is essentially an open shell. There is a mesh divider that zips over one half of the bag to keep the contents from shifting when you open the bag. There is also a removable panel that divides the other half of the bag.

Away luggage - large suitcase interior
Away luggage – large suitcase interior

There is also a waterproof laundry bag that comes folded up inside a smaller bag in the suitcase. During your trip, as laundry begins to accumulate, the bag expands and you can fill with dirty laundry to keep the bag organized.

laundry bag detail shot - away suitcase
The Away bag has a removable laundry bag that helps you stay organized during your trip.

Combination Lock

The Away bag comes with a combination lock located at the top of the suitcase. The zipper simply locks in and prevents people from unlocking the bag.

Away luggage combination lock
Away luggage combination lock

If you are flying with the suitcase, there is a universal TSA unlocking feature that allows TSA to search your bag without breaking the lock.

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The Handle

There are handles located on the top and sides of the Away bag. These rubberized handles lay flat against the suitcase when not and use, and pull away from the suitcase when you want to carry it.

The handle of the Away suitcase
The handle of the Away suitcase

While these certainly have a sleek look to them, I will add that they are possibly too low-profile for some users. I found that this style of handle hugged the suitcase a little too hard and made it difficult to lift the bag without pinching my fingers.

The Wheels

The Away luggage wheels are 360° spinner wheels, allowing you to roll the bag in any direction without having to tip it first.

The Wheels on the Away luggage suitcase
The Wheels on the Away luggage suitcase

Build Quality

The overall Build quality of the Away luggage is phenomenal, in my opinion. It has a simple look to it, but the entire bag feels very “intentional” and designed a certain way for a particular reason.

All of the fasteners and stitching feel secure and snug. Even the metal zipper comes stamped with the Away namesake.

Zipper detail on the Away suitcase
Zipper detail on the Away suitcase

As you travel, dings are bound to happen and for that, Away provides every purchase with a magic eraser of sorts. This eraser is designed to eliminate surface damage from the body of the suitcase and help it to stay looking its best.

Away luggage magic travel eraser
Away luggage magic travel eraser

Other Collections

Outside of the flagship models, Away offers quite a few other collections with special features or various collaborations. Other Away luggage collections include:

The Pocket Collection

LEARN MORE: Click here to check out the Away Pocket Collection.

There are also a few models that closely resemble the look and features of the flagship suitcases, but also include a zippered nylon pocket on the exterior with a lockable zipper.

Away suitcases – Pocket collection

The pocket is designed for storing quick-grab items (like a phone, passport, or boarding pass, but can also fit larger items like a 15″ laptop, magazines or tablets. There is also a secondary pocket on the interior for smaller items.

The interior of the main suitcase is otherwise identical to the traditional flagship suitcase models.

The Expandable Collection

LEARN MORE: Click here to see the Away Expandable Collection.

If you’re looking for a suitcase that can grow or shrink as needed for each trip, you may want to check out the Expandable Collection. These suitcases have a water-resistant nylon that has a bit more flexibility than the semi-rigid polycarbonate from the Flagship model.

Away luggage - expanded vs. original

There’s a front pocket (like on the Pocket Collection) and an expandable interior, allowing for 1.75″ of added thickness.

The Aluminum Collection

LEARN MORE: Click here to check out the Away Aluminum Collection.

The aluminum collection is exactly as it sounds. It has the look of the flagship collection, but with a rigid aluminum shell. This collection also has other upgrades like slow-release handles (to avoid pinching), and a clip-in pocketed panel for more organized packing.

Away suitcases – Aluminum Collection

Similar to the other models, you can get any suitcase in the Aluminum collection with or without an ejectable battery (carry on sizes only).

Pantone Collection

LEARN MORE: Click here to check out the Away Pantone Collection.

Are you a jetsetting trendsetter? This could be the collection for you. Each year, Away releases one set of Away luggage in the Pantone Color of the Year. For 2020, that’s Classic Blue.

Away suitcases - Pantine Collection - classic blue
Away suitcases – Pantone Collection – classic blue

The Pantone Collection features a full-color suitcase and is available in the main flagship sizes (excluding the Kids’ Carry-On).

Away x American Express Collection

LEARN MORE: Click here to check out the Away x AMEX Collection.

The last collection we’re going to highlight is the collaboration collection with American Express. This collection was designed to celebrate the new AMEX Green Card which earns 3X points on travel.

Away suitcase with Amex collaboration

The suitcases in this collection are classic charcoal polycarbonate with mint green accents in the expandable middle.

How Heavy Is An Away Bag?

One thing to keep in mind with any of these materials is the weight. The Aluminum collection is the heaviest material, but also the most durable.

There is a 50 lb weight limit for bags to fly without extra fees, so this may be something you want to consider when choosing the best material for your travel needs.

Below are the respective weights for the flagship suitcases:

  • The Carry-On – 8.1 lbs.
  • The Bigger Carry-On – 8.4 lbs.
  • The Medium – 9.9 lbs.
  • The Large – 11.6 lbs.
  • The Daily Carry-On – 8.1 lbs.
  • The Kids’ Carry-On – 6.5 lbs.
  • The Expandable Carry-On – 9.3 lbs.

Is the Away suitcase a good value?

Depending on how much you travel, the Away luggage could be a really good value. It is designed for years of use and abuse, while still maintaining the modern aesthetic.

Of course, if you don’t plan on traveling much or just need the luggage for one trip, you likely won’t get the full value of the Away luggage.

The bag is not cheap so for the best value, try to pick a size you can use for the most amount of travel.

For instance, the Large may be too big for some trips, but the Expanding Medium is a bit more manageable (with the option to go big when needed).

Which suitcase is right for you?

Need help deciding which Away suitcase is right for you and your travel needs? Check out the tips below to help make the best decision.

The Carry-On is best for:

  • Carrying on small items for a flight
  • Short overnight trip
  • Packing small items for a child

The Bigger Carry-On is best for:

  • Carrying small to medium-sized items for a flight
  • Short overnight trip
  • Packing small items for a child
  • 2-3 day work trip

The Medium is best for:

  • 4-5 day trip for 1-2 people
  • Family suitcase for a shorter weekend trip

The Large is best for:

  • 7-10 day trip for 1-2 people
  • Family suitcase for 3-5 day trip

Final Thoughts

Overall, I was really impressed with the Away luggage lineup. It traveled well thus far, was easy to pack, and has a number of nice features. If you’re looking for a suitcase that can stand the test of time and the TSA, the Away suitcase could be a great option.

Click here to learn more or check the price of the Away luggage.

Well Built, Easy to Roll
  • 96%
    Design - 96%
  • 97%
    Performance - 97%
  • 96%
    Quality - 96%
  • 96%
    Usability - 96%
  • 95%
    Value - 95%
96%

Summary

The Away suitcase performed well in our travel test. The 360° wheels rolled smoothly throughout the airport, as well as outside it. The bag was spacious and easily fit all of the belongings we needed for a family of 3 for 4 days (if anything it was a little too big). Feels well made and uses quality materials. Overall, a great bag that we’ll continue to test over time and update our results periodically with new information on durability and usability.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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