Let’s check out the Travelpro Maxlite 5 International carry-on, which I’ve been using as my main carry-on for over one year now. I purchased the Travelpro Maxlite 5 in the summer of 2018. So right now, I’ve been using it for 2 year. I’ve taken it on several trips to Italy, France and many other places. And I must say that I’m really pleased with the overall quality, because it still looks brand-new.
In this article, I’ll give an overall review of the Travelpro Maxlite 5. Now let’s talk a little bit about the Travelpro brand itself. They started out in 1987, when an airline pilot decided to make a new wheeled carry-on with a retractable handle. Back then, most suitcases actually didn’t have wheels, so this was a completely new innovation. Today they supply over 90 different airlines with luggage for their flight crews. They make extremely durable suitcases for affordable prices, which is why they’re so popular among flight crews and frequent fliers. The Maxlite 5, which I have, is one of their most affordable and simple models. They also offer the Crew 11 and Platinum Elite collections, which are more expensive but also more durable, and packed with more features.
The Maxlite 5 comes in five different colors black, light green, light blue, midnight blue, and pink. Now I agree that they don’t look like the most modern or fun suitcases on the market. Instead, they’re going for a more professional and classic look, which is better for frequent travelers and business travelers. The exterior fabric is built out of polyester which isn’t the most durable fabric, but then again you have to remember that this carry-on is quite affordable. On the plus side, it’s coated with DuraGuard coating, which resists water and stains, so the contents inside don’t get immediately wet after light rain. For additional protection, they’ve also added these plastic corner guards on the seams. The bottom part of the suitcase is built from a plastic frame and covered by fabric. This is good, because most of the mass is centered on the bottom, which makes the carry-on hard to tip-over. The bottom tray also makes it much more durable, and stabilizes the wheels for a smoother movement. From the exterior, the suitcase looks quite professional. It isn’t branded too heavily and has the Travelpro logo only in a few places on the front, on the back, and on the handles.
With wheels and handles included, the Maxlite 5 international carry-on measures at 23 inches in height, 14.5 inches in width, and 9 inches in depth. This is slightly larger than the most common carry-on restriction of 22x4x9 inches. However, because the carry-on is made out of fabric, you can actually squeeze it inside the measuring bins, if it’s not over-packed.
One of the best parts about the MaxLite 5 is that it is so lightweight. When it is empty, it weighs just 5.4 pounds, which is one of the most lightweight carry-ons out there. For comparison, on average an empty carry-on weighs 7.9 pounds. This is one of the main reasons why I chose this bag, because Ryanair, which I most commonly fly with, has a weight limit of 22 pounds for carry-ons, so for me every pound counts.
Now let’s talk about the zippers. The MaxLite 5 comes with custom Travelpro zippers, which unzip fairly easily, and feel pretty durable. The zipper heads are fully metal, which means that they shouldn’t fall off too easily. The main compartment zipper can be locked with a separate lock. Also, it’s worth noting that the main compartment has an expandable zipper, which expands by an additional 2 inches. Though, it doesn’t unzip all the way around, which means that only the bottom part is expandable.
On the top, the MaxLite 5 is fitted with a retractable handle that locks in 38 and 42.5 inches from top to bottom. The handle feels really solid and well made, which is great. It’s also narrow enough to fit backpacks with rear straps on top. This carry-on also has regular handles on top, bottom, and on one side. The top and side handles are really comfortable, and it looks like they’re properly stitched to the main frame. The bottom handle is less of a handle, and more of a fabric extension, which is okay because you won’t be using it that often anyway. On the bottom, this carry-on is fitted with four spinner wheels. I’ve used them on gravel, cobblestone streets, and smooth surfaces, and so far they’ve held up great.
The rubber coating on the wheels is a little bit worn off but it’s quite thick, so they should still work for a few years at least. On the back, the MaxLite 5 has a built-in luggage tag, which means that it won’t fall off. It blends in really nicely, and it looks like the pocket is made out of leather. Inside it has a regular paper luggage tag, that’s protected by a transparent plastic cover. You’ll also find two pockets on the exterior, for storing all the smaller quick-grab items. The larger one is large enough to fit a 15-inch laptop inside, which is great if you’re traveling with your laptop, and your personal item doesn’t fit one inside. The smaller one is pretty thin, and could hold only a man’s wallet or a passport.
Now because this carry-on is so cheap, the interior is pretty basic. It opens up from the front, and is pretty large and spacious. When you expand it, it supposedly holds up to 46 liters inside. For organization, it’s fitted with a large pocket on one side for storing shoes, books, laptops, and any larger items, and another smaller one that is great for storing chargers, adapters, cables, and other smaller items. Also, the main compartment is fitted with two compression straps, which work well if you aren’t using packing cubes. But personally, I like to use three or four packing cubes for organizing my clothes. You can also open up the lining zipper, and get a closer look from the inside. It looks like the exterior fabric is protected with a thin layer of padding all the way around. The Maxlite 5 International carry-on is protected by their limited lifetime warranty. It’s not the best warranty out there, but it’s still a pretty good one. It covers manufacturing defects for a lifetime. For example, they’d fix a broken zipper if you could argue that it was caused by improper workmanship. This is a pretty broad term though, and they could easily deny your claims. However, not all hope is lost, because for the first year, they cover any airline damage and the shipping costs to and from the repair center are covered. Essentially, the warranty is good for the first year, and then it becomes pretty mediocre. Overall, I strongly believe that the MaxLite 5 carry-on is one of the best affordable fabric carry-ons. There are other options from Delsey, Samsonite, or others, but they aren’t as good as the Maxlite 5. It’s incredibly lightweight, very durable, and backed up by a nice warranty, for the price that it’s retailing at.