This Summer’s Crop of New Luggage Tries to Keep Things Simple

No one keeps detailed, industry-wide sales numbers that would show a rise in this simpler luggage. But luggage experts say the trend is visible in the bags that debuted in March at the International Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas.

“Luggage manufacturers have adopted a more pragmatic approach by fine-tuning the elements that really work for travelers,” says Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, the trade association that hosts the convention.

Take Samsonite’s new, no-frills Eco-Nu collection, available in sizes ranging from a wheeled underset carry-on to a 29-inch spinner. It’s a lightweight, minimalist bag with fabric made from recycled material that does what it’s supposed to do: carry your stuff.

That’s what Josh Tozier wanted when he went shopping for a new bag. As a product analyst for an insurance company in Boston, Tozier travels once a month for business. He just wanted something that could help him keep organized while he lived out of a suitcase. Even better: He found a deal online and paid $210 for his expandable Eco-Nu, a 30 percent discount.

Tozier says he was initially concerned about the recycled fabric, which he feared would be “flimsy” when he took it on the road. It wasn’t. “It performs great,” he says.

Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not smart.

Consider the Lifepack Carry-on Closet ($249) by Solgaard, a hard-sided spinner with two innovations. This bag has no zippers; it closes like a traditional briefcase. It also includes a shelving system inside that expands and attaches to the handle. If you like to stay organized on the road, it’s a practical alternative to luggage cubes.