Carry-on luggage with shelving units? This unique carry-on allows you to conveniently organize and pack your clothes like you would in a closet! Did I mention it also helps reduce plastic waste in the ocean? Today, I’ll be doing a review on the Solgaard Carry-On Closet 2.0. This is the second generation of the crowdfunded bag that has raised over $1 Million dollars and is helping recycle plastic waste from the ocean with each carry-on sold.
Let’s look at the technical aspects of this carry-on. When I took measurements of this bag, they came out to be 21.5” by 14.5” by 8.75”. You shouldn’t have any issue with any domestic US airline, and you likely won’t have a problem with any international airlines.
The primary outer material is polycarbonate, which is a flexible hard plastic commonly found on most modern luggage. This bag advertises that it pulls 5 pounds of plastic waste from the ocean to use in the production of the bag. This recycled plastic is used to create the interior liner, not the external shell. The bag weighs 8.1 pounds or 3.7kgs when empty. It has 4, 360-degree spinner wheels, and the handle measures 40.75” from the ground to the top. It is capable of housing a battery power bank to charge your phone or other devices, but the battery is not included.
The first thing you might notice that makes it different from any other carry-on I’ve reviewed so far is there’s no zipper. Instead, this bag uses two all-metal latches to keep the suitcase closed. On almost any bag that uses a zipper, the zipper or the wheels are the first components to fail. Removing the zipper entirely was a good design decision
in my opinion and replacing these latches only takes a few screws if they were to fail.
Aluminum Frame Because this bag uses 2 metal latches instead of a zipper, the frame is also entirely made out of aluminum. Since you can’t sew aluminum, the frame is riveted into the polycarbonate.The benefit of an aluminum frame is obvious. It’s more sturdy, durable, and provides some rigidity to the bag to protect any delicate contents.
TSA-Approved Lock In the event your bag needs to be checked by TSA, this allows them to open your bag using a special master key only they have. This is useful in case you overpack, or decide to check your bag for one reason or another. Additionally, setting or changing the combination on this bag is incredibly easy. All you need to do is flip a switch and set your code.
Well-made side handle The handle on the side feels firm and well made. There isn’t any loose connection on it, and it has a light spring load to it, so it automatically lays flat instead of dangling open. On the opposite side of the handle are 4 rubberized feet to keep the bag elevated to break, as seen in the spring-loaded assembly of the Away.
Reinforced Corners In addition to the all-metal latches, this bag also features corners that are reinforced scuffs, and general wear and tear.
Repairability The bag is pretty simple in terms of design and assembly. I discussed with my contact if it’s easy to get replacement components, and they said they’ll send them free of charge. For example, replacing a broken wheel only consists of 4 screws and a plastic plate. Almost all the components are DIY repairs anyone with a screwdriver can do.
Comfort-Grip Handle This is relatively insignificant, but the handle has a gel-like grip that makes pulling the bag around a bit more comfortable. With all these good things being said, let’s look at some of the things I didn’t like. I get it, they needed something to stand out from the rest of the competition, but I think one of the main features of the bag, the ‘Closet’ feature, is a bit overhyped. All this really is, is a basic hanging closet organizer placed in the carry-on. I was more impressed by all the metal components on the bag, since that seems so uncommon nowadays, rather than the hanging closet.
Battery Power Bank Location The downside to having flexibility with the battery power bank is it has to be placed inside the carry-on. Two obvious inconveniences here. If you decide to put your carry-on into ‘checked’ luggage, you’ll need to reach inside to remove it. And, you will need to make sure you are using a battery power bank that automatically starts charging your device
when you plug it in. Most usually do, but some require a button to be pressed.
Wiring to the USB Port Looking behind the interior lining to evaluate the wire from the inner pocket to the USB port, I would think they would tape the wire down or secure it some way. I thought wrong. The wire is kind of just hanging out and would benefit from a little bit of tape. It’s an easy fix, and to be fair, they use a 90-degree cable, so there’s not excessive wear on the port.
New Company The company could be sold off, go under, face growth issues, etc. vs. a larger company that’s well established in the industry and won’t have these issues… probably. A practical example might be if you’re needing replacement parts and for one reason or another, they’re unavailable. The company may have stopped ordering the component, or some other reason. On the other hand, they appear successful so far. This bag is the second generation
of the ‘carry-on’ closet and has had no problem raising close to $700,000 on Indiegogo, plus another $560,000 on Kickstarter. Additionally, this company sells other products too, which helps to diversify their income streams.
Factors to Consider The most important thing to consider is whether or not you normally fly, or plan on flying, internationally. If you are an international flyer, then this is the bag you want. This one, right here, maybe in a different color… that’s up to you. However, if you primarily fly domestic, spend an extra $20 and get the ‘plus’ version of this, so you have a
little extra room.
The second thing to consider is the battery power bank. You don’t necessarily need this, but it’s nice to have, and I always travel with one. As I mentioned earlier, you can go as big or as little as you want with it, within TSA regulations. TSA regulations say you can go up to 100Wh, which equates to just below 27,000mAh, which an aluminum frame and almost all metal components at this price point. The ‘closet’ feature is overhyped, and if that’s the only thing you’re looking for, buy a cheaper bag and purchase one of these hanging luggage organizers on Amazon.
Otherwise, some packing cubes will provide enough organization for most people at a low price. If you’re going to buy this bag, buy it for the build quality and thoughtful design that’s where the real value is, and I think it’s more than worth it. For a better selection, you can check out the best baggage reviews of 2020.