In the Bag

Madeleine Moore is packed and ready to go

When experienced traveler Madeleine Moore takes monthly business jaunts around the country, she brings along her trusty black overnighter. As co-founder of National Professional Network, Moore, 63, has business travel down to a science. As a former industrial designer, Moore has “an appreciation of a product that’s functional,” she says.

Makers of travel goods, such as Hartmann Inc., are responding to the newest desires of business travelers like Moore. These designers offer everything from shock-absorbing laptop carriers to lighter, sleeker luggage geared toward women. L.C. Corp.’s AirCell suspension bag cushions laptops, and travel retailer HTH offers up its Hard Case, a wrinkle-free rolling garment bag that holds suits, shirts, and other clothing without folding.

McNett is offering mesh packing cubes that organize clothing and travel accessories to make spot security inspections a little easier. In addition, many manufacturers are moving away from basic black, with new luggage materials, including cowhide, canvas, herringbone, and ostrich, in a variety of colors.

Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, offers these tips for high-quality luggage:

Look for a light and well-designed bag. The Influence Collection from Travelpro is 20% to 30% lighter than conventional travel bags. Tumi’s T3 line features luggage with ergonomically correct wheels and handles that alternate for left-handed and right-handed use.

Check materials. Top-grain or full-grain leather is ideal because of its strength and durability. For nylon bags, consider its denier, or thickness. Nylon luggage should be a minium of 400 denier for durability and woven in a tight construction.

Watch the handles. Choose one that is mounted using metal or metal-reinforced bases with rivets, screws, or prongs attached to the frame of the case. Handle systems housed inside a bag are least likely to be damaged. Shoulder straps should be strong, yet gentle on your shoulders. Look for grips to keep the strap from slipping off your shoulder.

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