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Travelpro Crew 5 Luggage Review

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LEFT: Front view of the Crew 5 22" expandable rollaboard suiter. The bag is available in three colors: ivy, marine blue, and black.

Construction

The Crew 5 #7422 rollaboard has solid top, bottom, and side panels of a light but strong honeycomb material, creating a semi-rigid box that protects the bag's contents. Heavy screws are used to assemble the components.

 In contrast, the frame of my wife's 22" discount-store suitcase is just a narrow rectangular hoop with end panels of thin board riveted to the top and bottom. (Rivets are generally a sign of cheap construction, because they hold and seal less securely than threaded fasteners do.)

The bottom of the Travelpro Crew 5 has a large wraparound skid plate for protection when dragging the suitcase over steps or curbs. Further protection is offered by skid plates around the recessed Rollerblade-style wheels. (My son, the luggage guru, pointed out the difference between the Crew 5's armored bottom panel and the base of the cheap generic bag, which has cheap-looking wheels and a couple of plastic feet riveted through a layer of unprotected fabric.)

Travelpro's telescoping handle is also better than most: At 40" or just over one meter in height when opened, it's more comfortable than the shorter handles on cheaper bags, especially for taller users. Just as important, the grip is recessed and locked into the top of the suitcase when the bag is closed. (Opening and extending the handle is a one-handed operation; you just press a button and pull.)

The Crew 5's Dupont Teflon-coated microballistic nylon shell fabric is said to be stain-resistant, and the bag is lined with water-resistant fabric throughout the main compartment. The main zippers are oversize, with curved (i.e., corner-free) tracks for smooth, jam-resistant operation. Ribbed seam and zipper guards protect the corners and lid of the suitcase.

Finally, the bag has padded, spring-loaded leather handles on the top and side, plus a grip that's molded into the full-width plastic foot panel for added safety when lifting the bag down from luggage racks or overhead compartments.

Packing features

The main compartment of the Crew 5 22" Expandable Rollaboard Suiter is big enough to hold enough clothes for typical European vacation, assuming that you make good use of your hotel sink during stops. (If your clothes are bulky or you're taking more than a basic wardrobe, I'd suggest stepping up to the 24" model, #7424, although the larger bag will be slightly clumsier when using buses, trains, and luggage lockers.)

The Crew 5's main compartment is designed for the post-9/11 era of air travel, with built-in packing organizers that help to keep the bag's contents in place during security inspections. Packing features include:

  • A long, narrow zipped pocket in the bottom that's perfect for neckties.

  • Two small mesh pockets in the bottom, where you can store small items such as nail clippers, a sewing kit, or a travel alarm.

  • Deep elasticized side pockets for shoes or slippers.

  • An expandable zippered fabric pocket on the inside of the lid for shirts, dirty clothes, a bathrobe, etc. (On top of this is a zippered mesh pocket that extends the full length and width of the bag.)

  • Two sets of wedge-shaped flaps with elastic straps and snap buckles to hold clothing against the bottom of the suitcase.

  • A removable suiter, which doubles as a garment bag/divider and has four more large zip pockets (two of fabric, two of mesh).

  • A hanging toilet kit/divider with transparent "wet pockets" and a mesh pocket. When you unpack, you can unsnap the divider from the suitcase and hang it by a hook from the bathroom door.

If you need more storage, you can use the three outer pockets on the lid (one is nearly full-length, with a large gusseted opening) or a pocket with a U-shaped zipper on the underside of the bag. And for your trip home, you can unzip the expansion gusset, which adds two inches (5 cm) of depth to the main compartment.

As a bonus, the Crew 5 comes with a document wallet for airline or cruise tickets, passports, traveler's checks, foreign currency, etc.

To read about my experiences with the Travelpro Crew 5 22" bag in real-life travel situations, go to the next page.

Next page: Field reports, Web link, related articles


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