Published on April 29th, 2012 | by Greg0
Samsonite Gravtec: This Spinner Wins
It’s a brand that is practically synonymous with luggage itself. But until we started doing research for this article, we didn’t know much about the history of Samsonite. Over a century old, they used to have a subsidiary that made folding chairs and card tables. Just last year, they had an IPO in Hong Kong. And despite the fact that some of our staff has owned their gear for over a decade of regular use, we haven’t yet had a chance to feature the brand.
And we’ve got a great piece of gear to start with. The Samsonite Gravtec 20″ Spinner might be the best piece of general-purpose rolling carry-on luggage that we’ve tried. Combining sleek looks with solid 360-degree rotating wheels, it manages to be both lightweight and durable. The Gravtec doesn’t look like your traditional suitcase- gone are the fabrics or leather, and instead you’re treated to a polycarbonate shell featuring an interesting cross-hatched pattern.
Built-in TSA locks are pretty common, and these were similar to most others. But the zippers were among the best we’ve tried, with longer-than-normal pulls that felt and looked great. At seven pounds, it’s not as lightweight as some spinners, but the difference is obvious in build quality and materials- the handle is more stable, the bag itself better balanced, and everything just a little heavier duty. We should note that, despite the name, the bag is actually only 19″ large- we didn’t really miss the extra inch, but it was a bit odd to have it mislabeled. Available in silver as well, ours was a glossy black, and for those in need of larger sizes, they also make two bigger siblings.
At full price (over $400), it wouldn’t be worth it. But we found prices under $200, at which it becomes a great deal- an excellent value on a suitcase with a 10 year warranty and that held up well to some serious testing. People asked about it when we took it traveling, and it had both side and top handles for easy hauling. Also, everyone liked the interiors, as the bag splits open and folds evenly, which were simple but effective. They felt like an integral part of the bag, with good zippers, and didn’t get in the way- unlike the other spinner that we reviewed recently. We’ve seen bags of all shapes and sizes, but we found our spinner of choice- the only small flaws on an otherwise excellent bag were the handles offering only so-so ergonomics (they could be more grippy and more comfortable).