Travelling is tough. I didn’t realize just how true that statement was until this summer, when I began to pack in more locations than I probably should have. It’s strange to be constantly shuttling from one time zone to another; to be tired, and thrilled, and a little bit homesick all at once. I always swear up and down that having a good luggage set makes travelling a little easier, and the Champs Luggage Journey Collection 3-piece set is a great place to start.
I have, I think, pretty realistic expectations of my luggage set. A suitcase, no matter how good, will never truly make travelling easy. But having something reliable–something that you won’t have to worry about–will take the edge off at the very least. You won’t be left worrying at the airport about a slightly loose bottom wheel, or a weak clasp, or an off-standard size.
(You’ll still have to remember your passport and your boarding pass all on your own, though. Leave them in a safe pocket in your personal item!)
Getting a luxe look with Champs Luggage
The first thing that I noticed about the Champs Journey set is that its standard price is a little lower than most major brands. It’s almost like getting a three piece hard side set for the price of a soft side one.
Soft sided luggage is quickly becoming a thing of the past, especially as airlines clamp down on how wide your luggage can be and what kind of locks you can use. While it has its appeal (most soft side sets offer outside pockets, for instance, which are great for adding in items at the last minute), hard side casing offers a little more durability and protection.
The hard side look of Champs luggage pieces like these is a little more luxe. It’s very modern, and it travels well: hard side cases offer more protection for delicate items, and typically bisect your suitcase into two halves. As traditional soft side pieces open into one deep compartment, the typical hard side style can offer a little more ease (and less digging around) when you’re living out of a suitcase.
The key features of the Champs Journey set
The Champs luggage set featured in this post features a lightweight, durable, polycarbonate design. It’s expandable with four 360 degree spinner wheels, which I love. With 360 degree wheels, you can prop your luggage upright and push it using the telescopic handle instead of carrying part of the weight while it rests on two wheels.
Each of these three pieces features a fully lined interior with a zippered/closed top half and an elasticized/tie-down bottom half. I definitely prefer two closed halves, but most luggage is styled like the Champs Journey set. When confronted with one open and one closed half, my trick is to use the bottom half for clothing: pack large to medium-sized zip-up organizers into the bottom half, then strap them in for travel. Then, on the top half, use the zippered mesh pocket for smaller items, flatter items, and items that you’ll need easy access to.
(I use my zippered mesh pockets for my drawing pad, extra zippered bags, and any train or plane tickets that I’ll need to access at a later stage of my trip.)
Champs luggage sizing
The Journey Champs luggage collection features a 20-inch carry on, a 24-inch midsize, and a large 28-inch piece. They’re relatively lightweight, but not the lightest on the market. The carry-on is 3.3 kg; the midsize is 3.7 kg, and the large is 4.3 kg.
I’m a light traveller, so I get the most use out of a carry-on, but I’m currently travelling with a 24-inch for a 3 week work trip. It’s a mixed experience. I love having the extra room, and it’s great not to have to wheel my own luggage around the airport. But the larger size makes it harder to carry down stairs or lift into cars, and requires you to check into flights slightly earlier (and pay a baggage fee.) This Champs luggage set is generally great, but I wouldn’t recommend it to people who are small of stature unless they work out: it doesn’t have bottom handles, making the larger pieces more difficult to work with.
The 28-inch size is nice to have around, but I find it’s best suited for heavy packers, extended trips, and helping to move house. (It’s also a great way to transport work equipment, if padded properly inside!) Whether or not you need a three piece set really has to do with your lifestyle. I’ve never used a 28-inch luggage piece in my life; conversely, my father uses them routinely.
Like in most three piece sets, only the mid- and large-sized pieces have side carry handles and TSA-certified combination locks. All three pieces have top carry handles.
Why you should by expandable luggage
One of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot during this trip is how nice it is to have expandable luggage. Carry-ons, which have to conform to certain sizes dictated by the airlines, are never expandable. But mid- and large-sized luggage almost always is, and it’s awesome.
I like having my luggage packed fairly tightly. Especially in a hard side case, it keeps items from shifting around too much during travel—which can help prevent breaks and leaks. But like a lot of travellers, I’m almost guaranteed to come home with more in my suitcase than I left with.
(What? We don’t have a Uniqlo in Edmonton. You have to make soft cottons a priority!)
With expandable pieces, like these two in the Champs Journey set, you can pack your items loosely on the way over. Then, when you’re heading home, pack them a little more tightly to fit in an extra item or two … and unzip the expansion to fit a lot more in your luggage. I’m always surprised how much of a difference expandable luggage makes when it’s hard sided: I feel like soft side pieces give you an extra inch, while hard side pieces give you 2-3. It’s always enough room for a few more outfits, plus a light jacket—which is perfect if you’re flying home on a warmer day.
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