Like winter coats on a New York City subway train, it seems that 99 percent of rolling suitcases are all black everything. No matter if they’re nylon or poly, cheap or sturdy, the blend-in colorway is completely ubiquitous on luggage. ROAM, a luggage brand that launched today, was founded, among many others, by a couple Tumi veterans — folks who absolutely know their way around the suitcase world. The main hook here is that each case — four sizes, from carry-on to “large check” — features a boatload of customizable components: “the outer shell colors, wheel caps, stitching, zipper and zipper pulls, binding,carry-handle, monogram patch and telescoping handle rods.”
Constructed from “US-made virgin polycarbonate,” the cases are supremely lightweight (5.8 to nine pounds) but also quite strong (see: the website’s gif of a cinder block bouncing off a case). Moreover, each case comes with a five-year warranty and ships for free. Carry-ons start at $350, and top-dog checked cases at $475; there’s also an option to purchase a set and save some dough. The best part of the deal is that, like other direct-to-consumer models, Roam offers a 60-day trial period.
I’ve been using a ROAM carry-on for recent travels, and I’m quite satisfied. The case is super lightweight but flexible, and the interior compartments feature maxed-out dimensions and pockets for all manner of clothing and gear. I went with a rather loud blue-with-orange-details look, so mine certainly stands out in a crowd, and I’ve received many a compliment. It may be a function of its weight savings, but the handles, when not fully extended, do tend to wobble slightly. But overall, it’s a great case that rolls smoothly and does the trick for a short jaunt.
I always compare carry-on luggage to options from Raden and Away, which are both less expensive but weigh more. Raden’s A22, with its battery pack, weighs in at 8.4 pounds and costs $295; the Away Carry-On is seven pounds and costs $225. Neither are customizable, of course. For my money, ROAM’s weight savings and personalized looks are definitely worth it.
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