A lightweight softshell suitcase that’s perfect for long trips
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TripSavvy / Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis
Lightweight and maneuverable
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner is a lightweight softshell expandable spinner that’s perfect for your long trips—plus, it comes at a bargain price.
We purchased the Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Are you gearing up for a long trip? If so, you’ll need a substantial suitcase that can take you far and wide—meaning it’s spacious and easy to maneuver. Travelpro recently launched its new Maxlite 5 collection, and it’s lighter than ever—even the 29-inch spinner, which my family and I tested on a long trip to Europe. Read on for our insights.
The Maxlite 5 spinner is a great bag for long trips or big families. We texted the 29-inch model, but it’s also available in smaller 25- and 21-inch sizes.
The main compartment was so big that I had a hard time keeping things as organized.
The packing compartments are standard for a softshell suitcase, with one main compartment (with a capacity of 142 liters), two exterior compartments, a full-length interior flap pocket, and a side accessory pocket. This suitcase had enough storage to fit all of my belongings, as well as clothes and shoes for my two toddler sons, for a 10-day trip. If you need increased capacity, the Maxlite 5 expands an additional two inches. We didn’t need to use this feature, but it’s a nice option to have.
Although I loved the size of the main compartment, I also thought it was so big that I had a hard time keeping things as organized. To remedy this issue, I used packing cubes, and everything stayed in place. The two hold-down straps were a nice touch, though they felt a little flimsy.
This suitcase also boasts three carry handles: at the bottom, top, and on the side. Its telescopic pull handle features a rubberized grip with an ergonomic contour—not only does this aid in maneuvering the suitcase but it also naturally molded to my hands. What’s more, the handle has two locking points: one at 38 inches above the ground, and one at 42.5 inches. This means that even the tallest of travelers should be able to adjust it to their height and roll the suitcase around comfortably.
After my trip to Europe, my suitcase was still sturdy and in good condition.
The Maxlite 5, like most other soft-sided suitcases, is made of polyester and is reinforced and coated with waterproof and stain-resistant DuraGuard—all adding to its durability. After my trip to Europe, my suitcase was still sturdy and in good condition.
Though the Maxlite 5 delivers on space (the overall exterior dimensions are 31 x 21 x 13 inches), it’s only 8.5 pounds and won’t weigh you down when you travel. In fact, this is Travelpro’s lightest suitcase yet (a half-pound lighter than its predecessor, the Maxlite 4). This is a major plus when you have such big luggage, as you don’t have to worry as much about going over airlines’ weight limits. For example, even though my suitcase was packed to the brim, it was still under 50 pounds!
Though the Maxlite 5 delivers on space, it’s only 8.5 pounds and won’t weigh you down as you travel.
The Maxlite 5 also has four 360-degree spinner wheels, which makes it a breeze to maneuver. Despite how big it is (and how petite I am), I was able to roll it around the airport with ease. But unfortunately, the suitcase kept tipping over when it was at a stop. I had to either hold it or make sure it was against a wall or a counter. This also meant that I wasn’t able to place any tote or laptop bag on top of it. This isn’t a dealbreaker for me, but I can imagine it would be for some people.
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 retails for $199 but you can often find it on sale for around $150. Either way, we view this as a bargain, since it has all the must-haves of a softshell suitcase and then some: a soft rubberized telescopic handle, three carry handles, and the capacity to handle all the essentials for a long trip.
The SWISSGEAR Checklite, a suitcase I used to own, has many of the same qualities as the Travelpro Maxlite 5 for a nearly identical price. It’s spacious and expandable, has the same amount of pockets, and is made of polyester. I do think that it steers more easily than the Travelpro, thanks to the four rotating castors and an eight-wheel system. But overall, the Travelpro has a more thoughtful design; its telescopic handle is more ergonomic and it has three carry handles (as opposed to the Checklite’s two).
In terms of weight, both suitcases are extraordinarily light, but the Travelpro is slightly lighter than the Checklite (8.5 pounds versus 9.3 pounds). This may not seem like much, but if you’re traveling for a long period of time or with a family, even a few ounces can make a big difference.
Need some help finding what you’re looking for? Read our list of the best checked luggage.
With the Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner, you get a lot for your money—space, comfort, and maneuverability, all of which makes traveling easier. Especially if you’re a heavy packer or are traveling for a long time, this suitcase is a worthwhile investment.
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