Fodor’s Expert Luggage Reviews: Herschel Trade Luggage Power Carry-On

PHOTO: Herschel

This tiny beast boasts a battery!

The Tester: Rachael Levitt, Managing Editor, Fodors.com

The Bag: Herschel’s Trade Luggage Power Carry-On

The Trip: 5 Days in the Canadian Rockies, from the snow-topped mountains of Banff to the crisp fall days of Vancouver

 

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Herschel

 

The Case

Praise emoji for Herschel–a brand I wholly trust. I travel a lot and I. Beat. Bags. Up. The gear Herschel makes is quality stitched or constructed, and that really matters when it comes to the thing that holds your stuff.

I’m not one to check a bag but I’m also not a one-size-carry-on-fits-all kind of girl. I carry-on to trek Patagonia, I carry-on to review luxury hotels in Seoul. But different types of travel–even short-trip travel–requires different types of luggage. So when I got the invitation to fly to Canada to take a train from Banff to Vancouver, it seemed the perfect opportunity to fit an array of apparel into a bag that would be handled by a variety of customer service agents, from valets to bellmen to train station agents.

The Trade Luggage Power Carry-On is clearly designed for airport travel, what with its incredibly convenient removable device charger with external USB-A port and its inset TSA lock. I can’t imagine anyone buying a carry-on bag that doesn’t have 360-wheels at this point in time, but it’s nice that these aren’t shoddy or weak (Hinomoto wheels are considered “the gold star standard” of luggage wheels). I’m dragging a roller-bag over sandy sidewalks and potholed asphalt, so it better keep up.

Herschel understands its carry-on fanatics–those of us who simply refuse to check–and does its part to accommodate. The Trade Luggage Power Carry-On opens clam-shell style, with one side separated by a mesh pocket and the other freely accessible, though managed via a garment compression belt. To further help you organize, Herschel offers a variety of accessories (sold separately) to help you organize–everything from packing cubes and laundry bags to dry bags for your camera and bag slips for your shoes.

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Herschel

 

What I Packed

It was still early fall in the Rockies, but I’m no fool and I was vindicated when my second day of travel came with a blanket of snow. For the weather, I packed rubber-soled shoes and snow booties (worn on the plane), a hat, gloves, and jacket (not a full coat, which I wore on the plane), as well as my regular outfits, undergarments, toiletries, and swimsuit (don’t ever travel without!). On this trip, I was also gifted a rain jacket and an umbrella, and I managed to shove those in as well.

Extra Credit

But the superlative feature of the bag is a removable battery with built-in easy access, ensuring you’ll never be fighting for an outlet at the airport. Who doesn’t love the peace of mind that comes with a fully-charged device? (Don’t buy a bag that doesn’t allow for battery removal; it’s a headache to deal with the procedures and allowances. Basically, the battery has to fly in the cabin—not the cargo hold–even if the bag gets checked, so it must be removable. This is to ensure any fire that might catch due to the lithium-ion batteries can be extinguished by cabin crew. Flying is an extremely weird technological wonder.)

Herschel

The Catch

The Trade Luggage Power Carry-On is a great bag with one big caveat–it’s tiny. It’s completely TSA compliant and accepted on all airlines, a hard standard to meet for many models with built-in batteries, but that’s because it’s small. Even with the brilliantly compact compartments and packing cube accouterments, I had to sit on it to close. That said, I acquired a few gifts along the way and still managed to keep getting it closed (more sitting)–thanks to stretchy zipper fabric. So it’s a tight squeeze, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t keep swallowing my purchases.

The Verdict

You’ll never need to sneak this past the gate agent looking for volunteers to check their roller bags–its truly compact and forces the traveler to really consider essentials. The battery bonus suggests that the Herschel Trade Luggage Power Carry-On would be best utilized at the airport, but due to its size, for most travelers (i.e. not compulsively organized editors who do this for a living), it’d be a great supplement to your checked luggage rather than your sole bag. If you can’t stand the weight of a duffel on your shoulder, prefer to stay extra organized on truly short trips, or only use your phone as entertainment on a flight, this is absolutely the bag for you.