Have you ever stood at the baggage conveyor after a flight and wondered which black rolling bag was yours? I sure have. We have half a dozen in the attic in various sizes and weights, so when our Benevolent Gadgeteer Overlord offered the Genius Pack, I wondered if it might somehow be different. I had a two week trip to Italy planned, so thought it may be a good chance to test things out, just to see if it was different. (We go all out for you, dear readers!) I was sent their 22″ carry-on to test out.
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The Genius Pack suitcase is, of course, a black ballistic nylon roll-aboard with a telescoping handle and roller-skate wheels on the bottom. Outside dimentions are 22″ x 14″ x 9.5″. There are, however, several little built-in surprises in store for the user. First, let’s look at the outside. Rather than a bulky, dangley name badge, there’s a retractable ID card on one side, which can hold a typical business card or other ID. On the same side, there is a waterbottle fold-out net pocket, which has no entrance to the interior. (This way, your sweaty, leaky water bottle won’t get into your clean clothes!)
Above this, on the top corner, is a lined umbrella holder, which unzips to pop-out the official Genius Pack unbrella (not included, but available at additional cost), or one of similar dimensions. While I liked the idea of this, I didn’t have much need for it, but did carry an umbrella that would fit, should it be rainy during the trip.
Across the back there is a large, flat magazine pocket, with a jacket wrap: an elastic band with a hook that affixes under the top handle. You just lay your jacket across the top of the bag, next to the telescoping handle, pull this band across, and your jacket is securely strapped to your luggage as you rush down platforms, and haul your bag up stairs because they can never decide which platform the train is really leaving from until most of the passengers have moved to a different one at least once. But the trains are always on time. (Except when they aren’t.) The single irritation I had with the bag was that this strap, useful as it was, had to be retracted by unzipping the magazine compartment and pulling it back inside. But it’s still a very useful feature, and this issue never stopped me from unhooking it to secure my jackets.
On the other side is a large panel that unzips into a segregated carry space within the main compartment. It’s designed for dirty clothes. More on this once we move inside. On the front are the usual two pockets, one small for travel documents and one mirroring the size of the magazine pocket on the back, but deeper for slightly bulkier items. Interesting addition to the top pocket is the “Power Up” pocket, a net pouch designed to hold the Genius Pack Portable Mobile Charger (not included, but avaliable at extra cost). While I did carry a charger or two, neither was of the correct size for this pocket, and, since I checked this bag for all flights, it wouldn’t have helped much. There’s also a strap that clips in here to hold your carryon.
The top, side, and bottom handles are quite strong and molded of neoprene for extra comfort. They made moving the bag into and out of racks and cars a much easier task, for sure.
Moving inside, there are several interesting developments. First, there’s a zip-out Garment Suiter for hanging clothes.
Despite my Geek Status, I rarely wear tshirts. I grew up in a culture where oxfords with a pocket were the norm, and, even though most of the patterns now in my wardrobe would not pass muster, they are still in the same basic style: full collar, six-button front, breast pocket (or two), long tail, which I usually tuck in. Blame my mother and Mrs. Isler, my 6th grade teacher, who both threatened to sew lace on shirttails if they saw them untucked. These shirts require hangers. I was able to fit a half-dozen on easily, along with the fleece I decided to take along. (It had snowed two weeks before our arrival!) The Suiter then zipped around the whole, and you’re able to tri-fold the lot into the body of the suitcase. Printed on the outside of this unit is a checklist for traveling. You may think this is a bit of overkill, but there can never be too many checks to make sure you have your medicine or your camera battery charger.
Inside the main body of the case is the laundry bag. This has two cinch straps, so that it can be compressed to the side of the bag when going home. I opened the bag’s “laundry chute” side, and stuffed dirty clothes into it as they became soiled. It was great to have a single place to stuff those things. When I got home, I unzipped the bag, carried it to the laundry room, and dumped it in the washer. Robert is your mother’s brother.
There are other accouterments on this bag, to be sure. It managed two overseas and two domestic flights without a single scuff. This on top of about a dozen train and car trips of various length. I found the little things like the jacket strap and the water bottle pocket especially useful, as the temperature would range from the 50’s in the mornings and evenings while being 70-80 during the day. When you leave the house at sunrise, take a train for two hours, walk around some ancient town for most of the day, then get back in a train, and hunt down your car and drive the 40 km home, you’ll need a jacket but have to schlep it around through the middle of the day.
I’m sure there are pieces of luggage with some perks similar to this suitcase, but this is a great collection of little enhancements to a standard high-end travel bag. I found it fully functional for all my needs on this trip, and I’d recommend it highly.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Geniuspack. Please visit their site for more info.
|Price:||$318.00, on sale for $218.00|
3 thoughts on “Genius Pack 22″ Carry On review”
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I travel at least once a month, sometime twice, and I feel I am a good judge of what the frequent traveler needs.
I’d put another “con” on the list. Weight: 7.8 pounds. That’s much too heavy to start with an empty bag that’s going to be lifted up into the overhead for carry-on. Kipling (my favorite luggage brand) has many items at 6.6 or even 5.3 pounds.
And regarding not knowing which one is yours, the GeniusPack has only black, grey, or red. Three colors that are way too common on the carousel. Kipling has Aqua, Bubble Gum pink, and patterns that you can spot halfway across the Baggage Claim hall.
If GeniusPack wants a really useful feature, add a set of zip on/off fabric stripes in dayglo, neon, and vibrant colors that would go all around the sides and front and back of the bag. There could be three that come with the bag and additional sets that could be bought extra. That would help the basic luggage stand out much better than the ubiquitous black luggage tags (actually hidden by the GeniusPack) or the silly red ribbons, fluffy bands, and rainbow straps that all fall off the luggage. (Just look at the detritus left on the baggage carts used to haul luggage on the tarmac.)
Even Kipling’s wheels are smaller and lighter. Yet I’ve never had a single one destroyed in over 15 years of using their luggage.
Kipling doesn’t have all those fancy extras. But with the exception of the jacket strap, I’m not too sure I really need them for the extra weight and cost.
I didn’t explicitly state it, but I felt that having a unique item on almost every side made it easier to identify. The large laundry chute, jacket strap, pull-out luggage tag, umbrella pocket and the drink pocket all made identifying it much easier. And yes, it’s a heavy beast, but 2.5 pounds between the lightest one you mention and this one doesn’t seem to be a huge deal, at least to me. And mine gets loaded with a 5.5 pound CPAP machine, in addition to my clothes and such.
I’m sure if I was traveling all the time I might shop for a lighter model, but all the ones we’ve bought before weigh in pretty heavy, either due to size or materials.
I have a number of suitcases/carryons/home-away-from-home. The reason I’m writing this about a piece of luggage I’ve never seen is this: My first Delsey was a titanium with almost all of the extras you listed. Even though I have all kinds of whiz bang pieces of luggage, some of them ultra light and all that, I keep coming back to my scuffed up 2005 Delsey Titanium carry-on because I love things like an umbrella holder, magazine pocket, water bottle holder, etc. People who don’t travel a lot or don’t for many consecutive days don’t understand what a life saver these features are. I found your article specifically looking for a piece of luggage with an umbrella holder. I live in Atlanta, but most of the world I like traveling to is much wetter than it is here.
Regarding another poster’s remarks about this weighing a pound more than another piece of luggage, my response to that would be to remove one piece of clothing, and you’ve just evened that score and gained the use of a lot of features.
I’m putting this piece of luggage on my short list. Right now, I have a Delsey Helium that is still in the box, but it’s not my heart-racing-can’t-live-without-it luggage as it is missing an umbrella holder, a magazine holder, heck, there’s nothing even on the back side at all. I was even considering taking it and my old one to a shoe shop and saying, “This is what I want.”