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Published on April 29th, 2012 | by Greg

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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).

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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