Aluminum carry-ons seem purpose-built for protecting your belongings — and for making other travelers jealous. But for all their hard-sided beauty, they can be tremendously impractical. Most options ding easily, aren’t expandable and weigh a hefty 9 to 12 pounds. Still, if you want to look more like a Bond villain than, well, every other person at the check-in desk, there’s no better option than one of the five here. Get one before your next trip and wear all the inevitable scratches with pride.
Rimowa Original Cabin S
Boasting one of the most recognizable luggage silhouettes in the world, Rimowa’s fluted aluminum carry-on features leather handles, a system of adaptable dividers and four ball-bearing mounted wheels that help it roll with ease.
Tumi 19 Degree Aluminum Continental Carry-On
There’s a kinetic beauty to the fluid lines of Tumi’s aluminum luggage — it looks like it’s moving even when it’s standing still. With a 35L capacity, it can comfortably hold everything you need for a few days away.
Away Bigger Carry-On
If you tend to go on longer trips and avoid checking bags, turn to the roomy interior of Away’s Bigger Carry-On. Both its size — and its removable battery, which will keep your devices charged — are airline and TSA approved.
Arlo Skye Aluminum Carry-On
Founded by former execs from luggage specialists Tumi and Louis Vuitton, Arlo Skye brings luxurious touches to its approachably priced bags. Its aluminum carry-on features an anti-microbial lining and the quietest wheels of all the bags we tested.
Zero Halliburton Geo Aluminum 3.0 International Carry-On
Zero Halliburton has is one of a handful of American-made brands whose wares have been to space. It’s latest edition features the same hard-sided protection as the bags it started making in 1938, and carries a 10-year warranty.
A version of this article originally appeared in Issue Seven of Gear Patrol Magazine with the headline “Worth the Weight.” Subscribe today.