For anyone with even a tiny bit of wanderlust — whether it's for an occasional weekend getaway or a month-long adventure — the right luggage is essential. With all the new brands popping up nowadays, it's important to choose wisely — considering quality travel gear doesn't come cheap. But if there's one travel company to keep an eye out for, it's Roam.
Roam is a direct-to-consumer luggage company created by travel industry veterans, Tumi founder Charlie Clifford, and Tumi's former Executive Vice President Larry Lein. It stepped onto the scene in 2018 as the first fully customizable luggage brand on the market and has only grown since. With its made-to-order pieces, it's garnered the attention of design-forward travelers.
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I had the opportunity to test out one of Roam's top-rated pieces of luggage. Here's everything you need to know about The Carry-On.
(While I did receive The Carry-On in exchange for an honest review, all of the following thoughts and opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced by Roam, in any way.)
What is the Roam The Carry-On?
The Carry-On (formerly known as The Jaunt Carry-On) is the smallest luggage in Roam's collection starting at $550, but don't let that fool you. It meets the size requirements of most major U.S. airlines (22-by-14.25-by-9 inches) but has a surprising amount of space. With a 37-liter capacity and a dual interior compression system, you can pack everything you need for all of your travels. Plus, you can make the carry-on expandable for an extra $45 and bump it up to a 51-liter capacity. And when the carry-on isn't in use, you can safely store it in the branded dust bag it comes with.
This carry-on features a modern design made of 100% virgin polycarbonate shell with a satin finish crafted in the United States. It has a telescoping handle with four height settings, an ergonomic handle grip, and a TSA-approved combination lock. On top of The Carry-On's smooth-riding ball-bearing wheels, it only weighs 7.3 pounds. The Carry-On also has a water-repellent zipper and water-resistant and washable fabric lining. In terms of a warranty, Roam offers limited lifetime coverage for everything from cracks in the shell to broken zippers. Each case comes with a 100-day trial period, and if you aren't satisfied, you can return it with no questions asked.
What are the pros and cons?
- Customizable and stylish
- Smooth ball bearing wheels
- Compression packing system
- High price tag
- Limited color options
- Lacks more tech features compared to other similar brands
- Scuffed when checked-in
My favorite thing about Roam is how truly customizable it is. With other luggage brands, you may be able to personalize your pieces with a monogram, but with Roam, you can really tailor it to your personal style. After picking out your choice of luggage — from carry-ons to maximum capacity pieces, each with an expandable option — you can choose from up to 10 colors for practically every part, from the shell cover down to the wheels. But if you're in need of some inspiration, Roam also has pre-designed luggage you can choose from.
For my luggage, I went for a two-tone design using Venetian green and black. I opted for a green front shell, binding, wheels, and monogram patch, and a black back shell, zipper, and carry handle. My previous carry-on was a last-minute airport purchase that was bright metallic purple. While it wasn't necessarily my top pick design-wise (as easy as it was to spot from a mile away), it did the trick when I was in a pinch and lasted me almost 10 years. But now, I can say that my Roam carry-on is better suited to my style, with a minimalist design and subtle pops of color.
Aside from its stunning, modern design, one of the standout features was how unbelievably smooth the wheels were. Even when my last carry-on was in its prime, the wheels didn't compare to The Carry-On. When I took the luggage for a spin during a weekend trip to New York City, I was impressed with how well it moved, even through the subways and crowded sidewalks. With a 4.9-star rating, multiple reviewers agree that the luggage glides seamlessly.
I also have to give a major shout out to The Carry-On's compression packing system, which happens to be perfect for anyone who expects to come back from a trip with more than what they came with (guilty!). The system features two compression boards (one for each side of the suitcase) that hold all of your packed items in place. They can be secured with a buckle and tightened by pulling the straps to maximize the space in your luggage. Each board also has pockets for smaller items. Although I'm used to carry-ons with a single divider, I ended up really liking this system, especially after hitting up a few of my favorite stores in the city.
Even though The Carry-On isn't the most expensive carry-on in the market, it'll still set you back a few hundred dollars with a price tag of $550 and isn't necessarily an affordable travel accessory. However, I will say that I think the price is justified for the quality of the luggage and the lifetime warranty.
Customization was a pro for me, but the limited color selection may be a con for others. While the smaller accents on the luggage (including the zipper, binding, wheels, carry handle, and monogram patch) had more color options, the front shell and back shell only had eight, and they're all more cool-toned and muted, aside from red. If you lean more towards brighter hues, metallics, or shinier finishes, Roam might not be for you.
Roam's collection also doesn't have built-in battery packs. Again, not a dealbreaker for me, but there are a lot of luggage brands that are slightly more high-tech with this feature, so you can charge your phone on the go. This is something to consider if you think you'd use it often during your travels.
Lastly, I wanted to see how it held up while being checked in. Unfortunately, it didn't come out unscathed and there were scuff marks on it by the time I reached the baggage claim. But on the bright side, I used a damp cloth to wipe away the marks as soon as I got the carry-on back and a majority of the bigger marks disappeared. It still has some scratches and light scuffs, but it's inevitable when you travel.
Is the Roam The Carry-On worth it?
Overall, I couldn't be happier to have The Carry-On by Roam be my new go-to carry-on. While it's certainly an investment, it's one worth making. With its level of customization, you'll never have to worry about not being able to spot your luggage on the baggage claim, and with its lifetime warranty, Roam is in it for the long haul.
And after about one year, multiple trips, and even checking in luggage, I still give The Carry-On my stamp of approval.