Luggage Review: Away Carry-On

Jul 4, 2017

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If you’re a TPG reader, odds are you travel — or you want to travel. Either way, you’ll eventually need some luggage. I’ve had the chance to fly with the Away carry-on suitcase on 12 domestic trips over the past few months and I have to admit: It’s the best suitcase I’ve ever used.

Founded by former Warby Parker executives, Away follows a similar model to the eyewear company, selling high-quality luggage directly to the consumer at lower prices. Or, in their own words, selling “first class luggage at a coach price.”

At $225, the Away Carry-On is also one of the least expensive suitcases with a built-in battery on the market and hundreds of dollars cheaper than similar, high-end brands like Tumi or Rimowa. This is a compact, stylish and durable four-wheel bag with just enough practical technology to get through an airport when you’re stuck at the gate or need to weave through the crowds on your next layover. Here’s what you get for $225:

– Built-in battery with 10,000 mAh that can charge any USB device
– Nylon laundry bag that separates clean clothes from dirty laundry
– A compression pad that helps free up space
– 360-degree Hinomoto double-wheel spinners
– YKK zippers
– TSA-approved lock, so that no one (other than the TSA) can snoop through your stuff

The Away Carry-on in all its glory.

When shopping for a carry-on bag, I look for size, storage, construction and appearance. I first unboxed my Away Carry-On and found it wrapped in a nice canvas bag. The suitcase also seemed durable enough for my transcontinental domestic needs and the occasional international flight.


While the outer shell can definitely take a beating, the handle doesn’t seem as durable. The wobbliness that I felt while wheeling the suitcase around was a little unnerving, but the wheels felt smooth and the zippers did their job. There’s also an easy-to-set, TSA-approved combination lock to protect your stuff from unwarranted strangers. If anything were to happen — like a wheel or handle failure — it’s reassuring to know that the suitcase comes with a lifetime warranty.

You can clearly see scuffs on the underside of the suitcase.
You can clearly see scuffs on the underside of the suitcase.

Away advertises a scratch-resistant matte surface, but I’ve found a decent amount of scuffs and scrapes throughout my use. They’re definitely a lot more noticeable on the underside, where it’ll sometimes hit the pavement when I’m navigating through city streets. Even with the scuffs, the bag still looks really sharp.

The overhead bin test on a Southwest 737.
The overhead bin test on a Southwest 737.

Size and Space

The suitcase has a 38-liter capacity, so you’ll be able to fit a week’s worth of clothes if you’re a light packer like me. The left compartment has enough space for shoes, toiletries and other hard objects. The Away Carry-On fit perfectly in all the overhead bins on my last few flights, including Southwest’s 737-800 and Virgin America’s A320. The bag measures 21.7 inches high, 13.7 inches wide, and 9 inches deep and weighs 7 pounds, so it will easily pass any large domestic carrier’s carry-on bag inspection.

The compressor pad in action.
The compressor pad in action.

One of my favorite features is the built-in compression pad. It has an interior zipper where you can store smaller things, all while freeing up more space when its buckled down. There’s also a removable internal laundry bag that separates your dirty clothes from the clean ones.

The built-in 10,000 mAh battery.
The built-in 10,000 mAh battery.

Compelling Features

The Carry-On’s built-in battery is another practical gadget that’s useful to just about everyone. There are two USB ports and in total, you’ll have 10,000 mAh of charging capacity — that’s enough to charge your iPhone multiple times. You can check the battery’s remaining capacity through the four white dots located near the USB ports but, unfortunately, there isn’t a way to know the exact percentage. The suitcase also comes with a screwdriver so you can remove the battery if you end up needing to check your carry-on.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 5.04.00 PM
The brand new Away x Tile collaboration, recently released. Image courtesy of Away.

If you’re the forgetful type, you might want to look into Away’s most recent product, which launched on June 15 for $30, the “Away x Tile” luggage tag. Through the Tile app, the luggage company claims you’ll be able to track your bag’s location wherever it goes. I simply placed a regular Tile Mate in the zipper section of the compression pad — which provided the exact same tracking functionality.

The interior of the Away Carry-on

Overall Impression

Overall, the Away Carry-On is a durable piece of luggage that I’m excited to use on every trip. I utilized all of its peculiar features, and even with that, the bag still didn’t feel too bulky. The luggage easily fulfills its primary duty as a carry-on bag on any major US airline, so if you’re in the market for a new suitcase, this is an excellent choice.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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