In addition to the Checkpoint Friendly CompuBrief laptop bag that I blogged about yesterday, my second carry-on bag on my trip to Aruba last month was the ultra-innovative, ultra-cool, ultra-light ZUCA Pro.
I’m not using hyperbole when I say this piece of wheeled luggage is revolutionary. It uses space-age materials to make it ultra-light and easy to wheel. It’s got a one-of-a-kind, built-in seat (!) that you can use to perch on and lace up your shoes after going through airport security. It comes with super-convenient packing pouches that help you pack efficiently.
So many awesome features with the the ZUCA Pro! In fact, I think it’s most efficient for me to just list the Top 10 Reasons Why the ZUCA Pro is the best Pull-behind Carry-on Luggage Ever:
1. Airport and airplane staff stare. So, maybe the flight attendant is just raising her eyebrows at how atypical the ZUCA Pro looks from other pull-behind bags. But I’m thinking she’s thinking I’m really hip and cool and in-the-know with the latest in fashionable and functional luggage.
2. The “exoskeleton” design. Most bags have their supportive frames on the inside, but the ZUCA Pro’s aluminum frame is on the outside, which means more room for your clothes and travel gear.
3. Its light-as-a-feather weight. Okay, perhaps not as a feather, but that high-tech frame – with nifty clever circular holes punched in it – means it’s not near as heavy as a traditional carry-on bag. In fact, I think my ZUCA Pro and all its contents weighed less than my filled-to-the-brim laptop bag.
4. The smooth-as-silk wheels. Recessed, four-inch wheels remind me of those on inline skates. But these are even quieter. This is the smoothest pull I’ve ever seen in wheeled luggage. Because the wheels are set into the bag, putting it in a plane’s overhead bin is painless. (By the way, its 10×19.5×13.5-inch size makes it overhead-bin compliant. Also see #3: Very light for lifting overhead.)
5. The packing cubes. For all the travel I do, I’m a lousy packer. The ZUcaCA comes with five color coded, mesh-topped packing cubes that help you organize your stuff. And they fit a shocking amount of stuff (three pairs of shoes and all the clothes and toiletries I needed for a five-night stay in the Caribbean. Instead of laying the cubes horizontally in a typically shaped bag, you stack them one on top of the other vertically like drawers. You can slip each cube out easily to access whatever you need en route.
6. The included clear, TSA-compliant quart-size bag. This zippered pouch can be used over and over again.
7. The soft insert bag (black part) is washable. Unzip and un-Velcro it from the exoskeleton and throw it in the washing machine (on gentle).
8. The interior “wet” pocket. This clear-plastic pouch on the interior of the front cover flap is ideal for those times your bathing suit isn’t quite dry before you have to jump on the plane home from the Caribbean. Stuff it in here, and it won’t get your other belongings wet.
9. The extra-long, 42-inch handle. For tall me, the long handle means it’s painless to pull through the airport. Plus, there’s plenty of room on top to stack my Checkpoint Friendly Compu Brief and still pull comfortably.
10. The seat! The flat top part of the suitcase, which also houses its integrated carry-from-the-top handle, serves as a perch on which you can sit to lace up shoes after going through airport security. No seats at your gate’s waiting area? No problem! Just sit comfortably on your luggage without looking goofy on a too-low platform.
There’s gotta be a catch, right? Not really. I can’t think of any negatives to using the the ZUCA Pro as my lifelong carry-on bag. It’s not meant to carry laptops, unless you underpacked the cubes and left room on one side of the case to slip in a computer, but that’s what my CompuBrief is for! (Note: ZUCA also manufacturers the Business Backpack for laptop.s)
For folks who travel regularly for work or pleasure, the ZUCA Pro is ideal. It does require an up-front investment, as the retail price is $295, but since it’s built to last, over the course of its lifetime, at 5+ trips a year, the ZUCA Pro would pay for itself in no time.