Earlier this week, Tumi formally introduced its newest line of hardshell cases, the Latitude Collection. The line consists of five sizes, from Slim International Carry-On ($645) to Worldwide Trip Packing Case (not yet available). Tumi’s pitch: the Latitude is the brand’s “most durable lightweight hardside case yet.” That benchmark is achieved by utilizing complex materials for the shells: “layers of specially woven self-reinforced poly-propylene ballistic material” are designed to flex and bend under weight and due to bumps and bangs, but not to break. On a recent 10-day European trip through multiple countries, I hauled along the largest of the four available cases, the Extended Trip Packing Case, to see how well it performed in the wild.
The Good: This thing is incredibly light and smooth. Truthfully, typing out “nine pounds” makes the case seem heavier than it feels in person. The sheer size of it compared to its lack of mass is really impressive. Even more impressive is how it moves under load — the casters roll without any discernible friction and maneuver effortlessly with barely any input.
It’s also cavernous: I had to work to fill the case, and even then I left enough room for another half week of travel. I’m also partial to the Latitude’s looks. the woven shell material creates a carbon-fiber-esque appearance, and the wavy texture, which I’m sure is partially structural, also adds visual appeal.
Lastly, the case really is durable and strong. After being loaded in no fewer than six planes, four hotels and countless shuttle vans, there’s nary a nick to be seen. I was also victim of airline delays, and the Latitude provided my light-ish but full-size adult frame with a comfortable seat for hours on end. (It’s fun to zoom around on too.)
Who They’re For: Travelers who set off often and for two weeks at a time, and who never want to buy another suitcase ever again.
Watch Out For: It’s possible the Extended Trip Packing Case is too big for most sojourns. I was traveling through multiple climates and had to dress for a wide variety of events, from formal dinners to relaxed, casual travel days and business meetings in the middle. And, knowing that I had a large case at my disposal, I packed liberally. Still, there was room. Copious space is, of course, what the case is designed for, but the bigger problem is how space is utilized — it’s simply a big, vast, open receptacle. That’s good if you use packing cubes and other containers (I like Eagle Creek cubes and a Mack Weldon dopp kit) to organize your belongings. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to unpack completely every time you want something at the bottom.
Alternatives: The luggage world features a large price-point spectrum. Especially with direct-to-consumer brands stepping up to the plate in recent years, the competition is heavy especially when the baggage is lightweight. Rimowa, often considered the king of luxury aluminum luggage, introduced a polycarbonate line called Salsa Air a couple years back. This particular example is eight liters more capacious than the Tumi but $250 less expensive. It’s also lighter by about a pound. Away, the popular internet brand, also makes a very big check-in-size spinner, appropriately called The Large. It’s a pound heavier than the Tumi but holds almost 10 more liters and at $295 is far more affordable. Lastly, you could go with the AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner, which is dimensionally similar to the Tumi but weighs three-ish pounds more. However… it’s only $90.
Review: At $795, the Latitude is a far cry from bargain bin status, but while part of the price can be chalked up to brand equity, buyers really do get substantial quality for their cash. Not to mention respect: I was complimented many a time by my travel companions, many of whom are on the road more than they’re home and, consequently, know their suitcases. The Latitude feels really lovely to move about, but it looks the part. I’d definitely opt for the silver colorway, which sets it apart on the luggage carousel.
The telescoping handle is a three-stage affair, perfectly tailored to travelers of varying heights who also wish to take full advantage of physics. I also really enjoyed the integrated TSA lock, strange as that sounds, because its texture and sturdiness are well considered. It’s actually kind of nice to lock and unlock the case. But my favorite moment with the Latitude took place in Portugal, as my companions and I gathered at the carousel to await our luggage and mine came out first: a shiny, new Tumi. One friend in particular was so impressed he didn’t believe it was a genuine article and set off searching for the company’s signature tracking code. I gained some jet-set capital that morning.
Verdict: I like the Latitude a lot. The only way I could justify purchasing one this size, however, would be if I traveled much more than I do. And I travel pretty frequently. However, as far as ease of use, looks and personal cachet are concerned, the Extended Trip Packing Case is a winner. If I were to be more discerning, though, I’d have to really consider its competition, especially The Large by Away. With the savings, I could buy most of a substantial airline ticket. Still, if prestige and having cutting-edge suitcase tech is your goal, Tumi’s Latitude is the answer.
What Others Are Saying:
• “Each piece’s exterior shell is crafted through a manufacturing process called “layer method,” meaning these suitcases are hella strong, thanks to Tumi’s weaving process featuring their innovative Self-Reinforced Poly-Propylene fibers — the same material used in the auto industry.” — Kim Duong, Travel and Leisure
• “It gets squeezed between a hull and a dock. It rolls around in the back of a van. It rides on the back of a camel through a sandstorm. It [gets] tossed unceremoniously into the dirt at the top of a remote mountain—home to a humble monastery. It survives all these trials, proving it is both luxurious and durable. You will be persuaded, the camera insists.” — Gabriel Beltrone, Adweek
Height: 30 inches
Depth: 11.75 inches
Weight: 9 pounds
Capacity: 90 liters
Material: “TUMI Self Reinforced Polypropylene Ballistic”
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