Two years ago I got a new piece of luggage. I was really excited about it, and I loved it. Go, go read about it if you don't remember.
Well, I noticed pretty early on that my beloved pink travelling companion wasn't as sturdy as she needed to be. Threads in the fabric came loose, and she looked dingy. Also, her wheels were too close together and she had some stability problems, particularly when loaded down. At the time I bought her I didn't think I traveled much, and I didn't spend a lot of money, and I didn't worry about it too much as long as she continued to hold my belongings together through the adventure that "checked baggage" must go through. (I'm pretty sure they put the bags in a big cement mixer with giant boulders at some point. Pretty sure.)
Well, Stitches Midwest 2007 rang the death knell for Classy McSassy (seriously, read the old post.) One of her wheels is broken. It hasn't broken off, but I doubt it will survive another competition with a boulder, and I don't want to take the chance of being stuck carrying it since it has no shoulder strap, and can get pretty heavy when it's full. Besides, I never got around to buying the matching pieces, (and they would have been crap, too, anyway) so I don't have a tote bag or a larger piece for times like spending a week in Seattle with the Princess and the Peanut, or heading to Chicago with all my knitting supplies in tow.
So. The rule is that if you wear out something cheap, you can justify spending a bit more money on the replacement. When my soldering iron from Wal-Mart quietly exited stage left, I bought a nice soldering gun from Sears. Now it's time to invest a bit more in luggage. But not too much. Geez. Luggage can be expensive! And I still don't travel that much, but I do check my bags a lot (for reasons outlined in the old post).
I've done a lot of shopping on line lately, and decided to (try to) buy three pieces: small, medium, and large. I've come up with two options. I refuse to have black or gray luggage; it must be a color of some sort, preferably bright. This narrows things down considerably.
First: LLBean Quickload Duffle Set
Second: American Tourister iLite collection: what you see here is the 21" expandable carry-on. I'd also get the 25" expandable upright, but it looks remarkably similar, only larger.
Look, they're pink!
To get either set will cost me approximately the same amount of money. Full price on the AT is considerably more however, thank you Internets. The LLBean will probably hold more stuff, the AT is pink and sleek (btw, the AT also comes in apple green -- bright!). Both companies produce higher quality lines than these (and more expensive), but both have good reputations for quality regardless.
Any seasoned travellers out there? I know Gwen has a faithful set from Atlantic, but I couldn't find any colored pieces. Samsonite proved to be too spendy or not my color. I considered the bags with four wheels, but that adds a lot of expense and I'm strong and agile, so it's no big deal to wrestle a little bit. Besides, I'm concerned for who would win in the boulder wars; those little wheels sure do stick out.
[Update: I lied. I found an Atlantic pink set in the same price range.]