Take your pick from two innovative carry-on alternatives to checking in your luggage
By Jamie Thomson
Typical. You stand around waiting for one revolutionary carry-on bag to appear on the luggage carousel of life, and then two pop out of the chute at once. Unfortunately, as with so many good ideas these days, these desirable items only exist in the realm of Kickstarter for now, but after a massive response from crowdfunders, and pre-sales already under way, the real-life versions will be taking to the skies by early next year.
For anyone who has dealt the shortcomings of the average carry-on – whether it be too little room; skittery wheels and uncomfortable straps or handles; or lack of access to techy items like laptops and tablets when going through security – the Nomatic and the Marlon have plenty of features that address these issues. And the top of that list is their clever use of space – a boon to anyone keen to avoid the regrettable trend of airlines charging for checked-in baggage.
First up is the Marlon, which – its inventors claim – is “the world’s most spacious carry-on”. Through a mix of crafty design and a patented compression system (basically, a clever way of squishing your clothes flat) it claims to offer 35% more volume than competing brands. The tech pouches and separate chamber for shirts, dresses and other items at risk of creasing are pretty clever – but the bit that made our pupils dilate was the exceptionally smart idea to include a rechargeable battery cell with discreet USB ports on the rear side of the suitcase. This means you’ll be able to arrive and charge your phone (and get all those important texts and emails that tell you where you’re going and who you’re meeting) without worrying about adapters or charging stations or desperately salvaging that last 1% of battery life while queuing up at immigration.
In contrast, The Nomatic is perfect for the precious few of us who don’t make a sport of tripping people up at airports by trundling bags behind us while walking at 2 miles an hour, hypnotised by signs for food, toilets and departure gates.
It doubles as both a backpack and hold-all, has a plethora of easy-access pockets (and hidden ones for valuables), and a few nifty extras, too: the vacuum bag for storing clothes is a shrewd alternative to the compression technique used by the Marlon – and the laundry sack is a simple yet brilliantly useful accessory. With a liquid-proof pouch for water bottles, its definitely pitched at the ‘smart casual’ traveller and the flash-packer market whereas the Marlon is more of an executive travel bag.
Both have hit their Kickstarter goals numerous times over, which would suggest we’ll start to see these by the sides of canny travellers before too long. But early adopters can still pick up a bargain – the Nomatic can be had for $240 (plus shipping), which is $25 cheaper than its RRP. The Marlon, however can be snapped up for a whopping $270 less than its (admittedly quite steep) $660 RRP, at $390 (plus shipping).
And with shipping dates of February and July 2017 respectively, you’ll have plenty of time to plan a first trip with your fancy new bag – but at least you know you’ll be arriving in style.