My roller bag has endured immeasurable abuse in its three continent, twelve-year service. The zipper pulls had fallen off on the cobblestones of Amsterdam ((Because I was too cheap to change currency and get a cab, I took a train. It was an interesting two hours of people watching before I found the Radisson.)) in 1999. On the way to Chicago in 2001, the zippers’ attachment was fraying, often gunking up the toothy zipping mechanism. The wheels had been wobbly after an Austin trade show in 2005. Finally, on my most recent excursion, while hopping a curb, one of the wheels became irreparably bent, heightening the travel fun to be had.
It was certainly time for a replacement, but also, an opportunity to address something I’d always loathed about the bag (and most of my luggage): it’s black and looks like 95% of the other bags coming out of the baggage chute. People always paw at it thinking it’s theirs, then realize it’s not.
I enlisted an expert to go forth and find a bag fulfilling three simple market requirements:
- Beefy, Rollerblade-like wheels
- Stout zippers whose pulls are unlikely to fall off
- A bold color scheme. The more obnoxious, the better, as it will deter people from touching my bag.