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.