Sleek and professional
Difficult to access certain pockets
Limited color selection
Fully expanded carry-on may not meet airline restrictions
Frequent fliers know that luggage can have a significant impact on a trip. To make your travels more enjoyable this season, we tested one of the best carry-on roller bags on the market right now: the Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner Suiter. In addition to a built-in charging system, this smart suitcase boasts easily maneuverable spinner wheels and ultra-organized pockets. In packing for a weekend trip, we tested its durability, weight, look, portability, price, and included extras. Read on to see if it’s worth taking with you.
Material: Sturdy enough for the long haul
Upon opening the box, we could tell immediately that this carry-on was made with quality in mind. It’s constructed of ballistic nylon, a very thick fabric originally developed to guard against flying debris, meaning it’s extremely durable. And that’s the sense you get when handling this bag—it’s not going to easily fall apart.
Upon opening the box, we could tell immediately that this carry-on was made with quality in mind.
The Crew comes with four handles that also contribute to the high-quality feel: an adjustable airline-grade aluminum extension handle (complete with cushioned touch points intended to “relieve stress on the hand”), as well as premium leather handles on the top, side, and bottom.
The bag itself is covered with DuraGuard coating to resist scratches and stains, which has kept our bag looking brand new thus far. The zippers all come with damage-resistant SUPRA zipper heads to hold up to daily use.
Design: Sleek with plenty of room
The Travelpro Crew is the “civilian version” of the standard design depended on by professional flight crews for years. We love how clean-cut and polished this bag looks. Though we only used it for personal travels, it would be an asset for any business professional.
There are plenty of pockets, including a full-length interior lid pocket, three exterior pockets, a side mesh, and wet pockets. There is also a small pocket on the back of the bag that securely holds ID tags.
Inside, an adjustable tie-down system allowed us to strap in our belongings and prevent them from getting tossed around during travel. There’s also a removable suiter, or garment bag, that keeps clothes wrinkle-free. We used it for both dresses and blouses, and it worked flawlessly.
We found it was most effective to place the garment bag on top of our other clothing and belongings, which were secured with the tie-down system. That way, the suiter had ample room to rest on top without getting sandwiched in between anything else, which could potentially cause wrinkles.
The interior side wet pocket is lined with plastic to prevent damp items or bottles from damaging other items in the suitcase if they were to leak or explode. It worked really well for all of our shampoos, lotions, and other liquids.
One issue we noticed was that the upper exterior pocket was difficult to access after we filled the lower one. It was also tough to fill up the interior side pockets once we had filled the main unit, so we’d suggest filling the side pockets first if using them.
Portability: Compact with comfortable, sturdy handles
As the name implies, the Travelpro Crew 11 21" Spinner case measures 21 x 14 x 9 inches, but its overall dimensions are 23.5 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches. It’s meant for carry-on luggage and, when contracted, should fit most carry-on criteria, according to the manufacturer’s website.
This suitcase can expand an additional 2 inches if more packing space is needed. However, in its fully expanded state, it may not meet some airlines’ restrictions. When we packed our suitcase for a weekend trip, there was ample room. We were easily able to fit a weekend’s worth of clothing and toiletries inside.
This carry-on’s noticeably lighter feel made our travels much more enjoyable.
We like that the leather handles along the top and side and the bottom handle cap offer various carrying options. We thought the extension handle had a very natural grip and gave us more comfort and greater control of the luggage. The extension handle also adjusts to multiple heights—38 inches, 40 inches, and 42.5 inches—and is very sturdy. We noticed it didn’t wobble or waver when adjusting between different heights.
At 7.2 pounds (not including removable accessories), this bag is extremely lightweight. An average empty carry-on weighs around 7.9 pounds and can go up from there. This carry-on’s noticeably lighter feel made our travels much more enjoyable.
Wheels: Seamlessly glide on all types of surfaces
The Crew 11’s wheels deserve their own section because of their smooth ride. There are a total of eight self-aligning, magnetic, 360-degree dual spinner wheels. It was so nice to walk around with this bag because of how easily it moved with our movements. The wheels roll straight in any direction, which was convenient for quick turns. We didn’t have to adjust our grip orientation or our bag while we were walking or running because it stayed straight the entire time.
We also noticed the Crew functions well on both hard floors and carpeted areas. When we were packing up our suitcase, we were able to glide our bag from the bedroom (which is carpeted) to the car without having to lift it once except over our staircase.
Features: Charging ability and lifetime warranty
This bag is particularly advanced in that it allows users to easily charge their electronic devices. There’s a pocket located on the left side of the bag where users can store and connect a personal power bank (not provided) to a built-in cable. Once connected, that power bank provides juice to an external USB port on the backside of the bag, below the extension handle. All that’s left to do is plug your phone’s charging cable into the USB port.
It would have been nice if Travelpro would have included a removable power bank in the design.
We tested this feature to charge our phone, and it worked. We can see how this method of charging would be convenient during travel, but we couldn’t help but wonder why one wouldn’t just “skip the middle man,” so to speak. Since we had to provide our own portable power bank anyway, why not connect directly to that? It would have been nice if Travelpro would have included a removable power bank in the design, as competitors like Away do.
Though this bag is already very sturdy and made with high standards, there is added comfort in knowing that its functional performance is warrantied against defects and workmanship for life. Note that some restrictions may apply.
Additionally, this carry-on comes with an additional three-year warranty on damage that is caused by an airline or other common carrier after registering under the New Trusted Companion Promise.
Color Options: Dark shades look professional
Currently, the Expandable Spinner Suiter comes in four different colors: black, patriot blue, indigo, and brown. Though the selection is limited, the dark shades look both professional and sleek. The patriot blue is slightly more detailed than the remaining color varieties with its brown leather accents, adding a nice pop of color that the other varieties don’t have.
Price: A great value
In terms of value, the Travelpro Crew 11 provides an excellent return for the price. It retails around $230 and provides several additions that many carry-ons don’t, including smart features, a removable garment bag, a stain- and scratch-resistant coating, and a tie-down system. Plus, it has a sleek and professional look and weighs under 8 pounds.
Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner Suiter vs. Travelpro Maxlite 5 International Expandable Carry-On Spinner
The Maxlite 5 International Expandable Carry-On Spinner is another top rolling suitcase we tested. Also made by Travelpro, it’s similar to the Travelpro Crew 11: It has plenty of pockets, a DuraGuard® coating, a tie-down system, and a limited lifetime warranty. It also meets carry-on size restrictions for most airlines and can expand 2 inches for more packing space.
The Maxlite retails for around $90 less than the Crew. However, the Crew offers several extras that the Maxlite does not, including the USB port, removable suiter, spinner wheels, stronger fabric, and a longer warranty on damage caused by airlines. The Maxlite is made of polyester, whereas the Crew is made of nylon, which is a bit stronger. Additionally, the Maxlite has only two back wheels, while the Crew has a total of eight wheels, contributing to its seamless smooth ride.
The one standout feature of the Maxlite is that it is extremely lightweight. It weighs only 5.3 pounds, which is more than 2 pounds lighter than the average carry-on weight. It really comes down to what kind of features you’re looking to get out of your carry-on. For smarter features and a sturdier bag, opt for the Crew. But if you’re looking for a lightweight carry-on, the Maxlite is your best bet.
The Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner Suiter is durable yet lightweight, and it excels in offering many extras for a reasonable price. Plus, it comes with a lifetime limited warranty for functional performance and a three-year warranty for damage caused by airline carriers. It’s an all around good buy.
- Product Name Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner Suiter
- Product Brand Travelpro
- SKU 407166102
- Price $229.00
- Weight 7.2 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 23.5 x 14.5 x 9.5 in.
- Color Black, Patriot Blue, Indigo, Brown
- Volume 46L
- Warranty Limited lifetime for defects and workmanship; 3 years for damage caused by airlines or common carriers