When the time finally arrived to retire my suitcase, the process of choosing another turned out to be much more difficult than I ever imagined. My wife constantly refers to me as fussy, and I constantly respond by saying that I choose to consider myself particular, rather than fussy. The downside to being particular means that not just anything will do, and the majority of what the market offers is therefore unsuitable. The upside, means although it might take longer and cost a little more, you usually get what you want, and that it fits the purpose just right.
My initial sweep of the mainstream suitcase market revealed a multitude of flimsy and cheap cases and a multitude of flimsy and expensive cases. Travelling as much as I do, my case isn’t like many which are dragged out and dusted off annually for the family holiday. My case travels to 3 or 4 hotels a month almost every month, so it needs to be capable of more than the average pilgrimage to the sun.
It also has to endure regular short haul flights to and from Ireland mostly, with all that entails, so cheap was never going to be an option. However, I was simply amazed at how much some cases cost. My last one was purchased several years ago in New York and was an end of line bargain, so I think I have been sheltered from the going rate of quality luggage!
I have a theory about cost / expense when purchasing something. If you buy a £20 shirt and never wear it, that’s value for money right at the bottom of the scale. If however, you buy a £200 shirt and wear it until it falls apart, (assuming that isn’t a week or two), then you have really enjoyed top dollar value for money. It soon dawned that £150 wasn’t going to cut it for my new travelling companion.
My priorities were simple, I wanted a durable, functional article, without a zip! I think zips are always the weak link in a product and I didn’t want my case’s zip to bust in 6 months rendering it useless. Clasped cases are intrinsically more robust, they have a rigid frame and also allow much easier and quicker access inside.
German manufacturer Rimowa soon came into my sights as offering a quality, yet what I would regard as eye-wateringly expensive products. No matter how much I researched and analysed alternative manufacturers, and tried my hardest not to have to increase my mortgage just to buy a case, I kept returning to the Rimowa website.
The Limbo, is a framed and clasped lightweight, 4 wheeled, polycarbonate range of cases that are incredibly robust yet also incredibly attractive. The range offers a multitude of sizes and colours and are regularly snapped being dragged around international airports by stars of film and music.
Having owned the midnight blue 74cm Rimowa Limbo suitcase since January 2014, it has already travelled many tens of thousands of motorway miles and seen the inside of countless hotel rooms. It’s beginning to collect a few travel scars, which occur most during air travel, but many superficial scuffs can be minimised or removed with a bit of elbow grease.
I guess one option to prevent some of these battle scars is to purchase and use an optional case cover. I’ve made the conscious decision not to do that. I just felt I couldn’t be bothered with the pfaff it represented. Perhaps it’s a little like trying to prevent your child from getting chicken pox, something you’ll probably never prevent, something you should probably encourage them to get and something, if you leave it long enough, (once they do get it), the consequences are likely to be more damaging?!
I particularly like the “2 Flex-Divider systems”, which whether you’re packing the case to its capacity or not, the contents are always securely retained. These flaps also contain a number of zipped compartments, into which you can place a multitude of things. Should the wheels ever become damaged, they can easily be replaced. It also comes with 2 TSA combination locks and 1 leverage lock, (which if you ever travel to the US, you’ll need). The handy “Add a Bag” strap also scores highly with me, especially when I fly, as I’ll normally travel with one checked bag and one carry on. The strap slips through the handle of the carry on, and the two are dragged effortlessly around the terminal, single-handedly.
Is it worth the £500 I paid for it? Well, based on my “shirt analogy”, yes it certainly is. If you only travel to the sun once or twice a year, then it’s most probably not.