Jessica and I went a long time with cheap suitcases. A long time. I really don’t know how we managed to keep them intact for as long as we did, but as they inevitably got torn at an airport or the telescoping handles got stuck our war weary luggage eventually went off to that great lost baggage center in the sky… or at least got tossed out with the trash. I don’t really know where they went.
But I do remember a few years ago when the two of us decided we were going to stop spending money on cheap good and start investing in pieces we could hold on to and use for a while. So, no more Target suitcases! Since then, my own collection of overnight and weekend bags has ballooned, but we’ve got our core luggage needs taken care of. And I think our favorite luggage, by far, are the Burton suitcases we’ve been using for the past three years.
The combination of great looks, high quality materials and build, and really smart design is perfect for us. The bags can take a beating and let us pack everything we need… in a variety of sizes.
Our first Burton bag
Nearly three years ago I was preparing to go to a conference I’ve attended since 2009. This year’s conference was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the agency I own was a sponsor. I found myself needing to take a lot more stuff than I normally would and all of our suitcases were either too small or too flimsy.
After a lot of research I found the Wheelie series from Burton. I was familiar with Burton as a snowboard and snowboarding gear maker but hadn’t really come across their luggage before. We found a store in town that carried the Wheelie Double Deck travel bag and went down to check it out before quickly buying it.
So first off, this line of Burton luggage is extremely well made. We own a few different finishes with fabric ranging from a super-tough 1682D Nylon with PU Backing to a 105/2×3 Waxed Cotton Canvas. Both are rugged and ready to be handled by the worst of airline baggage attendants.
But check out these common details:
- IXION™ Wheel System, which means super-smooth skateboard wheels on these
- PU Back Panels that are rigid and durable
- Super-smooth (and hasn’t broken yet) Comfort Cush Telescoping Handle
- Burton’s CRAM™ Zones that stretch to give you more inside volume in each compartment
- External compression straps
These are all made with incredible attention to detail. But let’s talk about the design real fast, because Burton was incredibly smart with these bags.
The aesthetic of these bags is great and the different patterns and fabrics available mean you can get something sleek (like the black suitcases we have), quirky (there are a loads of colorful motifs on Burton’s website), classic (I love our waxed canvas ones, even if they’re a bit too big for most of our trips abroad), or just plain sporty.
From a structural standpoint Burton has really thought the physical design through and made some great decisions. The Wheelie bags are all double deckers that fold out like an old timey wardrobe trunk, only on their back. This means you get two separate compartments, both with a stretchy border called CRAM™ Zones. The stretch helps when you need to stuff that one extra jacket into your bag. Additionally, they have a smaller accessory pocket that’s accessible from inside and outside of the bag. I’ve used it to store my Dopp kit, my pour over coffee rig, and other random items.
This is the best part. The Burton Wheelie line takes a beating and still looks great. I have a Double Deck in True Black and it’s traveled around the US through Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Memphis and still looks great. So much so that I purchased a Flight Deck in True Black from Backcountry for our next UK trip.
Likewise, we own two Cargo Travel Bags in camel-colored waxed canvas (as of this writing they’re not available anymore ?). After planes, trains, boats, and cars from Texas to NYC to London, all over the UK and Ireland they’re dirty and looking worn in. The finish design is meant to age and look better as it gets dirty. They’re just beautiful.
With thousands of miles on our Burton bags, they’re still in remarkably good shape. Better than any other bag we’ve owned. And dozens of reviews on Burton’s product pages reinforce our experience.
Oh, and did I mention Burton offers a lifetime warranty on these bags? Because they do.
To sum up
We love this luggage. Burton hasn’t provided us any compensation or freebies… this is an honest review and we’ve paid for all five of the Burton travel bags we own. Both Jessica and I are really that happy with them.
So, to sum up these Burton Wheelie travel bags are:
- Stupid tough
- Come in a lot of sizes, from overnight to month-long
- You can see and feel the quality as soon as you get one
- They’re really well designed from both a visual and structural standpoint
Do you own any Burton bags? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments.