Moderately priced for the brand
Two-wheel style gives more stability
No removable garment bag
Some may prefer a four-wheel style
Capacity makes it easy to overpack and exceed airline limits
Load up! With a capacity of over 106 liters when expanded, the Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Upright is one of the Long Island, New York, company’s larger bags. It’s also one of its priciest options, but you’re paying for quality—and the brand’s renowned lifetime guarantee. The two-wheeler is part of Briggs & Riley’s flagship Baseline collection, and it boasts a simple, understated appearance and two color options: black or olive. We tested out the top-rated suitcase to see just how well it traveled, evaluating for factors including design, capacity, and durability.
Design: Roomy and easy to expand
The suitcase’s cavernous main compartment has a capacity of 84.1 to 106.27 liters, depending on whether the bag is expanded or not. The outside of the bag is constructed of 1680D ballistic nylon, which is durable and water-resistant, and the YKK® Racquet Coil™ zippers were designed to resist abrasion. Inside, the case is lined with a light-colored twill that’s fairly soft.
The retractable handle is affixed to the outside of the bag—a signature Briggs & Riley move—allowing the inner compartment to have a perfectly flat bottom, which makes packing the bag efficient and easy. We like packing our clothing in separate cube containers, and the flat bottom allows them to lay especially nicely within the suitcase, keeping everything tidy and preventing wrinkles. In addition to the retractable handle, there are small handles to quickly grab the bag on the top, bottom, or along the length of the bag.
It’s one of its priciest options, but you’re paying for quality—and the brand’s renowned lifetime guarantee.
The exterior boasts one large pocket that takes up nearly the entire front of the bag, plus two small pockets that are no more than a few inches deep. The top small pocket contains a strap that allowed us to fasten smaller bags atop the suitcase. The larger outer pocket was great for stashing a magazine or travel documents.
Inside, the large main cavity can be expanded using the company’s CX, or Compression Expansion, technology. We found it easy to pull up on both sides of the case to expand it; once closed, we could push down and in on the sides to compress it with a satisfying click. The company claims this technology helps increase capacity by more than 25 percent, and it definitely allowed us to toss in an extra bulky sweaty and yet another pair of shoes.
We like that there are two large flaps that buckle together to cover the contents of the main compartment and keep clothing tidy and wrinkle-free. In our experience, the roomy compartment on the interior of the lid is ideal for holding underwear and the like. It also has a hook for a hanger and an attachment with a foam rail that can be used to fold a suit or dress over. However, we found that the entire compartment cannot be removed to function as a separate garment bag, as in older Briggs models, which may bother some users.
Portability: Huge—maybe too huge
At 27 x 20 x 9.5 inches (not including the wheels and handles), this large bag is very far from a carry-on, and if needed, the depth can be expanded to as much as 13 inches. If you’re looking for a bag with a huge, cavernous amount of space for packing for a week or longer, this is a good option. We were easily able to fit two bulky sweaters, three pairs of shoes, a toiletry bag, enough pants and tops for a busy week, and a suit jacket along the top of the main compartment (without folding it). But for some, it could be too big. This suitcase’s size makes it all too easy to overpack and rack up charges for being over the weight limit set by most airlines.
Keep in mind that the two wheels do not swivel and are somewhat soft. While the choice between a two- and four-wheel bag is a highly personal one, given this bag’s great size, two wheels seem like the more logical choice.
This suitcase’s size makes it all too easy to overpack and rack up charges for being over the weight limit set by most airlines.
Warranty: As great as it gets
Like all Briggs & Riley bags, this one come with a lifetime guarantee. When repairs are needed, even if they’re due to the airline being too rough, the company will repair them, no proof of purchase required. You either bring the luggage into a local repair center, get a do-it-yourself kit for minor issues (the cost is just $10), or ship it off to Briggs & Riley for a fix. You have to cover the cost of shipping, but you can get a discounted FedEx label through the company. And, return shipping is taken care of. We’ve had some Briggs bag repaired over the years, and it’s shockingly easy.
By comparison, TUMI covers everything for the first year of ownership, as well as manufacturing defects for years two through five, and requires a proof of purchase. Victorinox’s warranties vary by collection, but they are also less comprehensive than Briggs & Riley’s offerings and require proof of purchase.
Price: Worth the investment
Priced at $679, the Briggs & Riley Large Expandable Upright isn’t a cheap case, but given its size, quality, and lifetime warranty, that’s not unreasonable. It’s still slightly cheaper than the brand’s four-wheel version of the same case, which goes for $715, and less expensive than similarly sized Tumi cases. Victorinox luggage of this size are a bit cheaper, but they only have four-wheel options and a less comprehensive warranty.
Competition: Great value and capacity for the price
Briggs & Riley BRX Explore Large Expandable Spinner: With case dimensions of 29 x 19.5 x 11.5 (not including the wheels and handle), this 10.3-pound bag has similar dimensions and almost the same maximum capacity. It’s also cheaper, costing just $439. It has a much sportier look that would work for travelers who take a diverse array of trips, from adventure to urban settings, but it appears a bit casual for regular business travel. It lacks any pockets that allow one to hang a suit jacket or dress, so it’s not ideal for those looking to keep dressier outfits wrinkle-free.
Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner: If you love everything about this bag but have to have a four-wheeler, fear not. Briggs offers a four-wheel spinner version. It costs a bit more—$715—and weighs more, too, tipping at the scales at 11.9 pounds. Plus, its capacity is a bit less, maxing out at 104.5 liters instead of 106.3 liters.
Briggs & Riley Medium Expandable Upright (Two Wheel): Given airline weight limits, especially for coach travelers, it’s worth considering the medium-size version of this bag. With case dimensions of 24 x 18 x 9.5 inches (not including the wheels and handle), and with a capacity of 85 liters, it might be all you need to pack on most trips without going over the weight limit. Its features are, for the most part, identical, and it’s $54 cheaper. The bag weighs 10.9 pounds empty—not bad given its size—and several pounds less than similarly sized Tumi bags, which are only available with four wheels.
Tumi Alpha 3 Medium Trip Expandable 4 Wheeled Packing Case: With dimensions of 29 x 20 x 13 inches (expanding to 15 inches in depth), this Tumi bag has the most similar dimensions, but its price ($1,125) is significantly higher. It does have the benefit of a removable garment bag, an important feature for some. Like nearly all Tumi bags, it’s a four-wheel style. It weighs a ton—17.5 pounds, while Briggs & Riley comes in under 11—and has a similar capacity. The Tumi name may hold more cachet for some looking to spend big on a bag, but Briggs & Riley does have a superior warranty.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Upright is one of our top picks for a bag of this size. It’s relatively lightweight and has good capacity, with an easy-to-expand design. You could spend a lot more for a Tumi bag of this size or a lot less for a cheaper Briggs & Riley bag, but this particular piece of luggage is well-priced for what it offers. We feel it’s an ideal investment piece for the discerning traveler, especially given the company’s great lifetime warranty.
- Product Name Baseline Large Expandable Upright (2-Wheel)
- Product Brand Briggs & Riley
- MPN U128CX
- Price $679.00
- Weight 10.9 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 28 x 20 x 10.5 in.
- Color Black, olive
- Materials 1680D ballistic nylon outer fabric, interior twill lining
- Warranty Lifetime guarantee