I can’t usually be trusted with nice things because I destroy them. My cement coffee table had rings after two days, I take white sneakers out in the rain and my “undentable” luggage has a giant cup-like dent in the corner; you could fill it with cereal and milk and eat out of it.
So, for a fresh start on the luggage, I tried another brand: Montblanc recently released silver versions of its #MY4810 Nightflight Trolley lineup (previously available just in black), so I stuffed the 8.6-pound cabin trolley full for 19 days of work travels through Italy and Spain. I wasted no time in my unintentional attempts to destroy it: Upon arrival at Rome’s central station, I saw that my hotel was 30 minutes by foot, but also 25 minutes by car. Having sat all day, I decided to walk, knowing full well that it was all cobblestone and hills. That sleek luggage took every bump, curb, divet, I threw at it.
Over my travels, I switched hotels 12 times in 19 days (between five cities), and often walked between the properties or dragged the luggage to train stations in very old, rustic towns. And after nearly three weeks, I realized how much more enjoyable my travels were due to this really damn-sturdy piece of equipment. After being checked on four flights and tossed around into 12 different hotels, there wasn’t a single scratch in the wheels, even; they’re perfectly round yet, and they still spin 360 degrees so that I can speedwalk with my big-boy conviction through the airport without stopping to readjust. The leather details are untarnished, as is the polycarbonate case.
I repacked the bag throughout, and somehow added 11 pounds of souvenirs to an already full tow; the jacquard lining seemed to expand around everything, making it all the easier to zip shut and go about my travels. And even when it was stuffed too tight, that pretty trolley seemed to take a deep breath and absorb the bulk — it still glided, spun and plane-checked with aplomb. By the end of the trip, I was genuinely proud of it, so much so that I wanted to tell others about it.
It’s luxury luggage even I can’t destroy.
What’s New: In addition to the silver design, Montblanc launched two blue cabin trolleys with Italian tire maker Pirelli, and its silver Nightflight line includes a soon-to-be-launched compact trolley.
The Good: The design and the durability. The #MY4810 line has lightweight Italian-crafted polycarbonate frames with leather detailing, Japanese-made 360-degree ball-bearing wheels, a German-engineered multi-stop adjustable handlebar with leather handle, jacquard-lined interiors and dual-side zip closures with multiple interior zip pockets of various sizes. (My cabin trolley had five: one the size of the interior itself, two narrow that run the height of the case and two rectangular pouches that each encompass approximately one-quarter of the interior.) There’s a card holder, two zippers and a customizable TSA lock, plus Montblanc will monogram a label for each owner, which is available in black, blue, and red leather, in addition to the actual leather luggage tag that carries your contact information.
Who It’s For: Frequent travelers, long-term travelers, business travelers. It has first-class looks, is built to last and has enough compartments and pouches to stay sorted for as long as you need.
Watch Out For: I found myself oddly disappointed that the cabin trolleys don’t have a handle on their spine. I didn’t know I was missing it until I noticed it was gone. I like being able to carry luggage like a suitcase or grip it from various angles as I check it in for flights and pack it taut.
Verdict: It’s not the cheapest luggage on the market, but that’s the point. Nothing about the quality and design is cheap, either. This is top-tier German craftsmanship under the supervision of Montblanc’s creative director Zaim Kamal, so it’s worth your investment.
You know how, after extended travels, you start to hate the clothes you packed and the single jacket you’re forced to wear every day? That same thing tends to occur with luggage, except it never was the case for me with Montblanc on my exhaustingly-long travels. This trolley felt like a companion, a road-trip buddy, never slowing me down and happy to take on the burden of being overstuffed and tossed around. And I felt like a million bucks whenever I trotted into a nice hotel, even if I clunked that thing 30 minutes through Rome’s cobbled streets to get there.
Dimensions: 38 x 55 x 23 cm
Materials: Polycarbonate with leather detailing
Closure: 2 zips with TSA lock
Wheels: 4 quiet-running ball-bearing wheels
Away: Four sizes, each available in 10 colors, plus two pouch-inclusive designs with five color selects (and what seems to be an ever-expanding array of options). The Bigger Carry-On will still get you on flights worldwide, though you may have to curb-check on puddle jumpers. Their carry-ons come with a TSA-compliant ejectable battery, have sturdy polycarbonate frames, TSA locks, removable water-resistant laundry compartment (for your dirty clothes), and 360-degree wheels. It weighs 7.3 pounds unpacked.
Horizn Studios: The EU’s answer to Away comes in four standard sizes, as many as eight colors, and frequent guest-designed or limited edition labels. The 35L cabin luggage has all the necessities: Japanese-made 360-degree wheels, German-engineered polycarbonate shell, TSA lock, removable battery and removable laundry compartment. It weighs 6.8 pounds unpacked.
Tumi International Expandable Carry On: Tumi, of course, has a bajillion options for luggage, and perhaps its best is this globally compliant, expandable carry-on. It’s got a durable polycarbonate shell, expands from nine inches to 11, has 360 wheels, plus four interior pockets, and is available in six colors and patterns. It weighs 7.12 pounds on its own.
Montblanc provided this product for review.
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