September, 2013

4 wheels or 2 wheels, conventional wisdom leads us to believe that 4 is more and more is better, so obviously 4 wheels is the better option. How could it not be, we are taught this from an early age and it becomes second nature. Showcased today by Verizon Wireless in their More is Better campaign, they use children to show just how simple it is. Now comes the biggest news of all, that this is not always true.

Crazy as it seams having more is not always better, and the innovative new modern techniques sometimes never out perform the old fashioned versions. This can be said for a variety of products and techniques in today’s society and seen by brands such as SwissGear that have an established history of high quality craftsmanship.

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Today I will be giving you a non-biased look at 4 Wheeled Spinner Luggage and 2 Wheeled Fixed Luggage. I will be going over the pros and cons of both so you are informed and pick the bag that is best for you. Lets get started and lets go over what makes both of these options so unique.

Spinner Luggage (4 Whl)


  • Perfect Balance, The 4 wheels keep your bag upright and distribute weight evenly to ensure the bag never tips over by itselfluggage configuration tumi rimowa 2
  • Ease of mobility, push or pull the luggage with one finger. The lightweight in-line wheels work flawlessly in most terminals and on carpet
  • Perfect for Escalators, Subways and navigating urban jungles and large cities
  • 360 degree mobility, navigate busy terminals and crowded loading bays easier then ever while maintaining complete control of your personal items




  • Size on label does not always include wheels. Manufacturers sometimes list the size of the bag without adding the wheels, you can bet TSA will include the wheels when they measure. Always know the exact measurements of your bag to avoid surprise fees
  • Murphy’s Law, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. With 4 wheels instead of 2 you double the chance that one of the wheels might wear down over time and leave you with a slumping corner.
  • Works best on carpets and in terminals, the in line wheels may be hindered in performance when navigating cobblestone streets, dirt roads, old brick roads and other non conventional surfaces.
  • Curbs and stairs, the old enemies of the wheel. If you run into a broken elevator or a building without ramps the wheels become more of a problem then solution. It will then be up to you to lug your bag up the incline, so you may be regretting packing just a few ounces under the weight limit
  • The biggest and most widely seen criticism with the spinner bags is that they cannot be tilted and rolled if you are in a rush. The spinner wheel system is designed to stay level and be free spinning, not to be tilted and rolled like 2 wheel options. This can be a big problem if you have minutes to run to your gate and you are worried about your bag staying in stride




Fixed Wheeled Luggage (2 Whl)


  • Use gravity to your advantage, the handle lean is something tried and true for savvy travelers. Take a smaller carry on and put it on the top of the bag and simply allow gravity to secure the bag against the handles allowing you to navigate two bags easily with one hand
  • More mobile in rough terrain, the ability to lean the luggage and maneuver can be invaluable in certain situations. When dealing with conditions that you do not always find inside an airport, sometimes being able to drag your luggage by the two wheels while keeping the bag off the ground can save the contents in your bag.
  • Stairs and curbs offer a small inconvenience, but they can be managed by the set up of the two wheeled luggage. Not effortless but it does allow you to tackle stairs one at a time and go at your own pace.
  • Move faster when needed, the biggest advantage is that the two wheeled options move a little swifter when needed. The feeling of having your heart sink as you hear your name called over the loud speaker is bad enough, tripping and fumbling over spinner luggage while trying to sprint to your gate sounds like a nightmare everyone would hope to avoid. With two wheels you can simply lean the luggage and go as your luggage keeps in step with you while being easily controllable to avoid a potential collision.


Cons runwithluggage

  • Travelers who over-pack beware, these bags may tip over. Weight distribution can be a potential problem when trying to stand your bag up straight. By stuffing the front or back the bag could be top heavy or front heavy and not be able to stand by itself without leaning or assistance


  • Built in wheels can potentially be ruined, the problem with fixed in wheels is that if a rock gets stuck inside and is not immediately removed it can ruin the bag for life by destroying a wheel


  • Cannot be comfortably pushed, designed to be pulled the 2 wheeled options do not maneuver well when pushed by handle. This can cause excess strain on shoulders



Final Thoughts

When comparing them side by side it is hard to pick a clear cut winner. Each option offers their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, the choice simply comes down to how do you like to travel. I would recommend stopping in to your local luggage shop and giving them a try before committing, you test drive a car why not test drive the wheels on your luggage? This way you be sure to pick the best option for you and begin to start narrowing down what is the right bag for you.


Travel Safe!






Photo Credit

Rocco Scandizzo via

Corbis Super RF via

By: Andrea Letria Published in the NY Times Article "Fleeced By Fee's When You Travel?" By: Stephanie Rosenbloom on September 21, 2012.

Photo By: Andrea Letria, Published NY Times Article “Fleeced By Fee’s When You Travel?” By: Stephanie Rosenbloom on September 21, 2012

Traveling used to be a simple process. It used to be that in a few easy steps and one payment you had your ticket in hand and were ready to go. Today it seems that at each step of the process you are hit with another surprise airline fee that you have no option but to pay. The most common surprise fees are due to Overweight Luggage, Checked Bag Fees, and Lack of preparation. But have no fear, Luggage Base has some great tips on how to travel like a pro and keep your money in your wallet.


1) Avoid Overstuffed Bags- Just because you have the room doesn’t mean you need to maximize it. By over stuffing a small carry on bag you can increase the original dimensions and be slapped with a huge fee when you are forced to check on a second bag. This can also pertain to a larger bags you planned on checking in as well. Most airlines have weight limits for checked bags, by loading up on heavy clothing and maxing out the space your bag that once weighed 9.8 lbs is now weighing in at 52.3 lbs and that 2.3 lbs over the limit can cost you up to an extra $50.00!


2) Efficient packing and travel attire- Instead of taking up space in your bag with a puffy hoodie, large jacket, or favorite pair of boots you can ensure their care and save space by wearing them while in transit. Most terminals across the country are outfitted with large air conditioning set ups that keep internal temperatures colder then average to discourage travelers falling asleep while waiting for their next flight. This coupled with the decreasing temperature in the cabin as your plane’s altitude rises can make you be happy you brought that extra layer.


3) Lightweight Luggage Options- Modern technology is not only in our smartphones. Today Industry leaders are developing new poly-carbonate, Ballistic Nylon, and other materials that are lighter and stronger then ever. Companies such as Briggs & Riley are so confident in their Torq collection that they backed it with a  lifetime plus damage warranty. Looking to save some money, Helium Colours by Delsey is a great way to stand out and pack light while also being backed by a 10 year warranty.


4) Go for a week, pack for a week- Now, not one of us completely is innocent to over packing on a trip. How often are we torn between two pairs of pants or lucky T-Shirts and you break down and pack both…… and the 3 extra pair of shoes. If you are only planning on traveling for 1-2 weeks then you do not need to bring the 31″ expandable luggage option. When planning your outfits, pack only for the days your going to be gone and leave the extra 3 sundresses or Polo shirts at home. Today we have many options for the individual packing for the short trip, wheeled duffels are a great option for the student going for that 2 week trip to see the family for the holidays.


5) Know your bags- Knowing your bags could be the best way to avoid unnecessary checked bag fees. Make sure that you now the exact dimensions of your bag to your airline’s standards. The difference in assuming your bag will fit in the overhead compartment and knowing that it will fit could be a $100.00 mistake at certain airlines!

*Insider Travel Tip- When measuring luggage before flights, stand it up and include the handles and wheels because TSA will!


6) Check Airline policy to and from- Speaking from experience on this topic, you need to always check the policies of each airline you will be taking for each leg of the trip. This means that just because your musical instrument or computer bag is allowed on your main flight with Delta, Soutwhest, or United does not mean that it is allowed on the last leg with Lufthansa, American Airlines, or Turkish Air. There is no worse way to end the trip then by being told you need to pay $65.00 bucks to get the same stuff you brought with you, back home.


7) Be prepared- The final, easiest and most important way to save money when traveling is to Be Prepared! If you are not the most experienced traveler that is fine, but nothing should stop you from finding out all the information you can about the airline your flying. Today most airlines give you the ability to check the in-flight movies, the meal option, and even change your seats via smartphone, you can guarantee that they have their carry on information somewhere you can easily check. Save money by checking the number of carry ons and checked bags available on your airline and never pay surprise fees again.