I'm a Notorious Overpacker, but This New Expandable Carry-on Luggage Fits Everything I Need
May I be frank for a moment? Packing is the worst. And this is especially true if you're someone like me, who has an inexplicable aversion to folding and can never quite figure out how to fit everything into their rigid, undersized carry-on — because, If I'm being honest, I'm not trying to spend the extra money on checking a bag. Another important thing about me: I'm a notorious overpacker. So much so that I'll irrationally fill my carry-on with "just in case" underwear, tops, jeans, socks, etc. knowing there's a big chance that I won't need them.
As of late, I've been trying to break up with my poor packing habits, which has helped make the process easier. But even after taking a more minimalist and strategic approach, it became very clear that the problem wasn't entirely to blame on how many sweaters I wanted to bring on my trip. My rolling carry-on was just too darn small. Luckily for me, this realization coincided with the launch of the Béis Soft-Sided Collapsible Carry-On Roller, a suitcase described as offering "size when you need it, space when you don't" by the brand. It looked and sounded exactly like what I needed. The brand sent me one of the suitcases to review, so I was able to see first-hand if it could handle my overpacking.
To buy: $198, beistravel.com
In true Béis fashion, it's equipped with thoughtful details like a padded handlebar, four 360-degree spinning wheels, a spacious, 15-inch laptop-friendly front pocket with spots for your phone and keys, multiple carrying handles, a weight indicator, and a TSA-approved lock — and that's only on the outside. Inside, the butterfly-opening luggage has a dual-pocket U-zip flap, a removable pocketed compression flap, and four-point compression straps, plus a separate pouch set for dirty or damp clothes.
The 45-liter capacity suitcase measures 22 inches long (with wheels), 14 inches wide, and 9 inches deep and is made from thermoplastic polyurethane, poly mesh, and polyester materials to achieve its soft and adaptable exterior. But when it's not in use, its depth shrinks down to a small apartment-friendly 6 inches (give or take), creating a plethora of storage opportunities.
The Béis Soft-Sided Collapsible Carry-On Roller arrived ahead of a two-week-long trip to New York, which was very much experiencing peak winter weather. Since I live in Los Angeles, I knew that I'd have to bring my warmest sweaters. A friend's birthday dinner was on the agenda, which meant I'd need my long-sleeve dress, mid-heeled booties, and a nice jacket to wear — maybe some jeans and a nice blouse in case I don't want to wear the dress? Plus my "going out" crossbody bag and a hair straightener. I've also been on a home workout kick and I wanted to stay on track while traveling, so I added workout clothes to the packing list. And, a pair of tennis shoes to go with my casual outfits. The overpacker in me would inevitably want to squeeze in some extra tops and another pair of jeans. And lots and lots of comfy socks. How was this all going to fit?
My first reaction upon receiving the carry-on luggage was that it was stunning. I wasted no time experimenting with its expandable body and was impressed at how thin it became when it contracted. The interior pockets and compression details also won me over, but I was a little bummed to see that the handlebars protruded through the back just like in my old luggage. Would this make it harder to pack all of my sweaters? Where will my shoes go? I was also nervous about how soft the exterior was — not in regards to my items being damaged, but more so that it might be more susceptible to scuffs marks and stains.
Finally, it was time to pack. The butterfly opening gave me a full view of the luggage, and I could easily visualize where I wanted to put everything. To me, it made more sense to fit my shoes and jacket into the deeper side and I did my best to strategically fold my sweaters and jeans around them to make space. My mindset when packing is always to fold smartly, but that quickly gets derailed when I start realizing that things won't fit how I want them to; I had planned to put underwear, socks, and bras in the two flap pockets, but couldn't fit them all in there, so they ended up being scattered throughout the luggage. Then I had to make room for my hair straightener and workout clothes, which found their homes in the empty corner spots. I decided to forego the compression flap this time, but the compression straps came in handy when it came time to zip everything up.
Let it be known that I still struggled to zip it up; nevertheless, I managed to get it completely closed. But alas, I realized I forgot to pack my sports bras, and was able to stash them in the front pocket of the luggage. To be honest, I preferred keeping my laptop in my personal bag and was nervous to leave it vulnerable to the unforeseen tosses and tumbles that can take place from check-in, security, and the overhead compartment bin. This luggage can really fit a lot, and much to my surprise, it didn't really get that dirty from the trip.
Aside from the packing possibilities, I was admittedly more excited about how easy the Béis Carry-On Roller would be to store. I share my apartment with two wanderlust roommates that have their own cumbersome luggage sets and accessories, and it's worth mentioning that our space doesn't have adequate closets and storage opportunities to support the three of us. That being said, I knew I'd have to store my luggage in my bedroom closet, which is bigger than most with its walk-in design and shelving unit, but still quite small since I've already utilized most of the space with organizational bins, a shoe rack, and a laundry hamper.
But let me tell you, this suitcase had no trouble fitting in. It can easily be stored under the bed, but I've reserved that area for storage bins, shoe boxes, and other big items that don't quite have a set place in my room. In search of the ideal spot, I did some rearranging and was able to store it in several places in my closet. It's actually the perfect size for the naturally occurring gaps in my room, like in between my dresser and the wall, my nightstand and the wall, and even the awkward space between my shoe rack and the lanky boxes I have leaning against my closet. This really was created with small spaces in mind.
The Soft-Sided Collapsible Carry-On Roller isn't the only expandable luggage joining the Béis family; the brand also launched the matching Soft-Sided Collapsible Check-In Roller, which has a 125-liter capacity and measures 32 inches long (including wheels), 18.5 wide, and 13 inches deep (6.5 inches when collapsed).
Like its carry-on counterpart, this suitcase is also loaded with awesome details designed to make packing easier. Apart from the Béis signature TSA-approved lock, weight indicator, and 360-degree spinning wheels, the check-in bag has an innovative front opening pocket that gives you access to the center of the luggage so you don't have to open the entire thing to access the things you've packed.
To buy: $298, beistravel.com
It also has the same dual-pocket U-zip flap as the carry-on version, plus the detachable compression flap and four-way compression straps. Inside, you'll also find elastic side slip pockets to keep small items secure. You can watch founder Shay Mitchell walk through all of its exciting features here.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Béis Soft-Sided Collapsible Carry-On Roller, and the Soft-Sided Collapsible collection as a whole. The brand delivered on its promise to create space — whether for packing or storing — and did so in such an inventive and thorough way. The overpacker in me no longer dreads getting ready for trips and is very eager to see what else I can fit in there.