by Andrea Doyle | September 24, 2013

Lightweight luggage is a must these days

Travel, once glamourous, has become complicated, and well-designed bags that make the journey easier are treasured. When given as an incentive, they leave a lasting impression. “Luggage has traditionally been and will continue to trend as a strong redemption choice,” says Ken Fishman, purchasing manager, Rymax Marketing Services. 

Bag Fees Are Sky High
Last year, the 15 largest U.S. airlines collected $3.5 billion in bag fees, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. For that reason, Mike Landry, director of special markets, Tumi, says, “Carry-on bags make people more mobile and save them from checked luggage fee.” 

Lightweight hard-shell cases, with swiveling wheels at all four corners, are popular for their durability and mobility. Tumi has taken these two trends and combined them in its Tegra-Lite line made from Tegris, a revolutionary composite material. The brand also has a variety of signature nylon bags that are both lightweight and extremely durable.

Samsonite Lightens Up
Samonsite’s new Liftwo collection, which debuts in January, is eight ounces lighter than its predecessor Lift collection, says Pete Mitchell, director of business to business sales, Samonsite. “Weight is driving everything in the luggage business,” he explains. Samsonite’s newer, lighter HyperspaceXLT, inspired by its best-selling Hyperspace collection, also features new colors like ivy green and passion purple.

Smart, Tough Luggage
Briggs & Riley’s Baseline CX collection expands or compresses based on what is packed. Integrated into the bag’s expandable frame is a lightweight yet durable innovative mechanism that allows the frame of the suitcase to expand and then shrink back down to conform to one’s belongings. The bags are bestsellers for Maryland Heights, MO-based Incentive Concepts. 

Jody Running, vice president of sales, Oshkosh, WI-based Top Brands, says that Delsey’s new Helium Aero is a popular redemption item thanks to its 100-percent polycarbonate design and innovative outside pocket, a major design challenge. Its separate hard-sided front pocket is padded for a laptop and is accessible without having to open up the entire bag. 

Two new lightweight polycarbonate bags from Zero Halliburton, the Classic Polycarbonate and GEO Polycarbonate collections, were introduced this year. The 19-inch cases in both collections weigh less than 10 pounds, and all bags feature interior pockets, liners, cinch straps, and TSA locks. 

Chelsea Piereth, luggage buyer for Hinda Incentives, says other popular luggage brands include Hartmann and Travelers Club. She also notes that many organizations choose to bundle luggage incentives with other related products like wireless and noise-reduction headphones, travel shoes, travel blankets, and neck pillows for the best possible overall travel experience. 

Go Bright, Go Light
“We’re seeing more trends in color,” says Chelsea Piereth, luggage buyer for Chicago-based Hinda Incentives. “The younger generation wants something that’s going to pop a little more with bright colors, fashion prints, and unique patterns.” 

Zero Halliburton’s nylon luggage is are available in two-wheeled and four-wheeled “spinner” models. They come in black, blue, gold, gunmetal, and silver. The Profile Nylon wheeled business cases and carry ons are two-wheeled roll-ons available in black. They are top opening rather than spilt in the middle like the polycarbonate line.

One of L.L. Bean’s most popular pieces of luggage for its business customers is the Adventure Duffle. “First and foremost, business customers want a piece of luggage that can withstand the rigors of travel and our tough and durable Adventure Duffles set the standard, constructed with rugged materials, water-resistant fabric, lightweight and large-capacity design,” says Sean Tabb, marketing manager, L.L. Bean Direct to Business. Adventure Duffles are available in a variety of sizes (small, medium, large and extra-large), and in 12 colors and can be easily embroidered with a company logo.

If you’re looking for a special award for a serious road warrior, there’s now an upgrade from even the aluminum attaché cases for which Zero Halliburton is know. The CP3-STEALTH case is made of ultra-lightweight, super-strong carbon fiber, the same material used on supercars to provide massive strength and very few extra pounds. 

Rymax reports that hard-sided luggage, particularly the Max Mirani Move Mobile Closet, is growing in popularity. This innovative piece conveniently hangs in a closet to keep all essentials at arm’s reach and off the floor. The entire packing system transforms into a shoulder tote.