Luggage Review: Enkloze X1 Carbon Fiber Carry-On
Finding a good carry-on can be a very difficult task. You want one that is not only good looking but is functional and offers something that its competitors don’t. You want one that will last for years and can safely carry your belongings to your next destination. That’s where the Enkloze X1 Carbon Fiber carry-on comes in. It’s durable, stylish, and one of a kind.
The Enkloze X1 is made out of 100% polycarbonate, which means that it is durable, strong, and lightweight. The carbon fiber carry-on will fit inside of all major airlines’ overhead compartments, so you will not have to worry about it getting thrown around when it is being loaded on the plane. But, if you do end up having to check it, its aluminum shock absorbers reinforce the corners so it won’t end up coming out on the conveyor belt in pieces like some hard cases do if they aren’t handled correctly.
At 21.3” x 14.6” x 9.4” (54cm x 37cm x 24cm) the Enkloze X1 is pushing the limits of carry-on size (like the previously reviewed Ricardo Beverly Hills carry-on). But again, that’s a good thing in my opinion. Weighing in at 8.2lbs (3.7kg), the Enkloze x1 is pretty light for its size which you would expect from a carbon fiber carry-on.
The bag is intuitively designed and comes with many features. Perhaps my favorite one is the organization pocket located in the front of the suitcase. The generously sized pocket allows you to easily access your laptop during security and on your flight. It can even eliminate the need for a second carry-on or personal item. The Enkloze x1 comes equipped with TSA approved locks, four wheels, and an adjustable pull rod and really quiet, smooth-rolling wheels. These features make it an extremely functional carry-on option whether you’re headed on a business trip or a weekend getaway. You can pick up the Enkloze X1 in black or white. The white carbon fiber actually looks pretty nice, but like Wesley Snipes, I always bet on black.
WHO’S IT FOR?
The Enkloze X1 really looks good and as you’d expect from a carbon fiber carry-on, it’s also very light and durable. But the real target audience here is going to be frequent travelers looking for something a step or two above something you’d pick up at Costco or a department store.
If you’re on a budget, but looking to invest in a quality piece of luggage, the Enkloze X1 compares favorably to bags twice its price. Plus, all Enkloze products are under warranty for at least five years. If something that is covered breaks, the company will repair it. All you have to do is take photos of the issue and email it to their support team. You can see a complete list of what’s covered under warranty on their website. The bottom line on value here is that you can really feel comfortable that you’re paying a premium for quality and not for just the name on the front.
It’s obvious that I am pretty enamored with the Enkloze X1. There is one major immediately apparent flaw, though. The built in TSA lock for the main compartment uses a key rather than a combination. (The second TSA lock for the front pocket is a combination lock.)What were you thinking, Enkloze? I know that I can get a replacement key by contacting you if I lose mine, but that’s not going to do me any good when I’m trying to unlock my bag on the spot at the request of security at the Ho Chi Minh airport! A carbon fiber carry-on with an integrated key lock is like a new BMW with a tape deck. Why?
The Enkloze X1 carbon fiber carry-on is a durable bag that comes with features that other bags just don’t have. It is a great price compared to its competitors and the five-year warranty is hard to beat. The sleek, high-quality carbon fiber carry-on is made with the best materials and is extremely functional. If you purchase the Enkloze x1, you’re purchasing a piece of luggage that you will not only love, but you will be able to use for years.
Top Travel Accessories of 2017
I love trying out new travel accessories and gadgets, but there are a few that I refuse to travel without. These are my top travel accessories of 2017 so far. I’ll keep this post updated as I try out new stuff and they make their way into my must-have list.
HooToo Tripmate Elite
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Tech Lovers
This travel router/power bank/AC adapter is at the very top of my list for a reason. It’s the one travel accessory I have that is a true multi-tasker. The HooToo Travelmate Elite boasts a generous 6,000 mAh power bank and a WiFi router. The HooToo Tripmate Elite will pay for itself in saved hotel WiFi fees if your hotel offers free wired and paid wireless internet! Read our full review here.
J & U Travel Pillow
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Plane Travel
You might ask “How much can someone actually care about a travel pillow – aren’t they all basically the same?” and you’d be wrong. I’ve experimented with all sorts of travel pillows: inflatable ones, ones filled with foam pellets, memory foam, buckwheat husks; U-shaped, rectangular, cylindrical; the types that go around your neck like a medical device, and even ones with hoods. (In all fairness, I have not and will not use the Ostrich pillow – sometimes you have to draw a line!) I used to be a total mess trying to sleep on a plane – I had to be at the window seat to sleep in order to prop my head up against the wall. Inevitably about 15 minutes after I was able to doze off I’d wake up with a jerk as my head slid forward since I didn’t have any under-chin support. The J&U pillow solves that by cradling your chin with the third cushioned segment. It’s really a life-changer for me on any long flight, train, or car trip. Another positive: the J&U pillow keeps me from snoring! The same piece that provides under-chin support keeps your mouth shut and bingo, no more snoring, so my J&U pillow can actually help my wife sleep too! Trust me, this is the only travel pillow you’ll ever need.
I used to be a total mess trying to sleep on a plane – I had to be at the window seat to sleep in order to prop my head up against the wall. Inevitably about 15 minutes after I was able to doze off I’d wake up with a jerk as my head slid forward since I didn’t have any under-chin support. The J&U pillow solves that by cradling your chin with the third cushioned segment. It’s really a life-changer for me on any long flight, train, or car trip. Another positive: the J&U pillow keeps me from snoring! The same piece that provides under-chin support keeps your mouth shut and bingo, no more snoring, so my J&U pillow can actually help my wife sleep too! Trust me, this is the only travel pillow you’ll ever need.
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for When You Have To Go While You’re On-The-Go
These individually wrapped flushable personal wipes are amazing. Outside of their intended use, Dude Wipes are great to use to freshen up on long-haul flights, train rides, or car trips. For their intended use, Dude Wipes literally saved my butt on a trip to Thailand. I never leave home without them.
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Productivity
I used to carry a tablet and a laptop with me when I traveled as the battery life on the laptop wasn’t great and it was hard to stay in touch with work or do much writing on a tablet. Then I found my dream device: the Chromebook. It has enough battery life to keep juiced up on all but the longest of flights and it has a great responsive touch pad with a serviceable keyboard. I love the convertible style touchscreen Chromebooks that can transform from a laptop to a tablet and as part of the appeal of a Chromebook is the value, I stay under $500.
The Chromebook is a great fit for me because of my fanatical use of Google products, but I really think anyone would find a Chromebook to be a great laptop to stay connected while sitting on the couch, 35,000 miles up, or at a coffee shop in Vietnam.
I love the convertible style touchscreen Chromebooks that can transform from a laptop to a tablet. As part of the appeal of a Chromebook is the value, I stay under $500. The Chromebook is a great fit for me because of my fanatical use of Google products, but I really think anyone would find a Chromebook to be a great laptop to stay connected while sitting on the couch, 35,000 miles up, or at a coffee shop in Vietnam.
Pacsafe Venturesafe 15L GII Anti-Theft Daypack
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Security
I used to carry a regular cheap Walmart backpack on trips abroad to pack with essentials and things we’d picked up throughout the day exploring. That worked great for me until one day in Southeast Asia I witnessed someone get their MacBook extracted from their bag by someone who sliced the bag open with a razor and took off. It happened faster than the owner could even process it and it really opened my eyes.
The answer to this is the Pacsafe daypack. It has a stainless-steel mesh built into the body and cable reinforced shoulder straps to make slashing with a razor blade an ineffective way to steal something from the bag. It also has built-in hooks that retract into sleeves that keep the zipper pulls hidden and secure. The Pacsafe sports a strap that will loop around something like a table leg and lock securely back to the bag so you can take it off to eat lunch or relax without worrying about it being snatched. Inside it has a RFID-blocking pocket to keep things safe from more tech-savvy thieves. All of these features and it is still small enough to use as my personal item when flying.
Pacsafe makes a variety of bags in different shapes sizes and colors to fit a wide array of different purposes. The Pacsafe line of products provides great peace of mind when walking around as a tourist overseas.
A Power Strip
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Hotels and Airports
A power strip doesn’t take up much space and can come in very handy. The one I carry is made specifically for travelers by a company called UPWADE. It only has two outlets and four USB ports, which is perfect for me. I’ve stayed in many hotels overseas where the outlets weren’t close to the bed or were otherwise in inconvenient locations and the five-foot cord on this power strip helped a lot.
Eat Smart Digital Luggage Scale
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Avoiding Surprise Expenses
Like the HooToo Tripmate Elite, the EatSmart Digital Luggage Scale will pay for itself. In fact, for us, it paid for itself on the first trip we used it. My wife loves to buy stuff when we’re traveling abroad. Of course, this means extra luggage weight. Coming back from a trip to the Bahamas a few years ago, I used this to help redistribute contents from an overweight bag to an underweight bag. It didn’t occur to me to check until I was in the check-in line, but the EatSmart Digital Luggage Scale helped me figure it out and made the process quick and easy. It’s been a mainstay for us on every trip since that day.
A Smartphone and a Portable Charger
Two of Our Top Travel Accessories for Staying Connected
A smartphone is an invaluable travel companion for all of the obvious reasons: they all have GPS, camera, messaging, and of course a phone if you actually want to call someone. The OnePlus 3 A300 is a particularly good choice. It supports dual sim cards, comes with 64GB of memory and is unlocked from the factory.
A good tip, however, is not to count on getting immediate connectivity upon arrival. Download your important stuff to the phone, take screenshots, or take pictures. This includes pictures of your passport and other critical travel documents, hotel confirmation numbers, etc. Emailing stuff back to yourself is pretty useless if you can’t get on the internet to retrieve the emails.
Also, be on the lookout for apps specific to the area you’re visiting. Narita Airport in Tokyo has an app (and free WiFi!) that includes a guided map to important places in the airport including the bus terminal and underground rail station, currency exchange, baggage check (you can leave baggage at Narita for a small fee if you don’t need all of your luggage with you) and even the SIM card vending machines and desks to pick up WiFi hot spots. Thailand has a great app called GrabTaxi that you can use to schedule a taxi to pick you up. Saves on communication issues and is really handy if your hotel is a bit out of the way.
Since you’ll be using your smartphone so much, you should probably pick up a power bank as well. (If you bought the HooToo Tripmate above you’d already be covered.) Something with enough juice to charge your phone at least once and fairly portable should be the main concerns here. I love this one. It’s 22,000 mAh, which is enough juice to give me a little more than two and a half charges from empty and it fits in my pocket!
Roll-Up Compression Bags
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Packing Efficiently
Roll-Up compression bags are a great invention. I use them to pack cold weather stuff when I am going to be traveling between areas with different climates. A pair of jeans, a down jacket, and a hoodie or two will pack down to nothing. I also use them to pack all my dirty laundry which saves space and keeps the rest of my clothes smelling fresh.
Let me know what you think of this list. It’s really a set of all of the things I carry with me. I wouldn’t go on a long trip without any of them. Pick one or all of them up and let me know if you agree. Leave a comment if you think I missed something and I’ll give it a shot on my next trip.
Luggage Review: Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 Carry-On
I bought the Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 21-Inch 4 Wheel Wheelaboard Hard-Side Carry-On suitcase for my wife before a three-week trip to Asia. Her criteria were: hard-sides, four-wheel spinner design, and cute. I don’t know much about what makes for a “cute” carry-on suitcase, but according to my wife, this is cute. I actually found it quite stylish myself.
The Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 21 Inch Carry-On sports hard sides and reinforced corners. With “Beverly Hills” in the name, one could be forgiven for assuming that form might be emphasized above function. Let me assure you, this thing is tough. This carry-on suitcase is a constant companion. After at least a dozen flights and another half dozen road trips, it still looks as good as new.
With 1.73 cubic feet (that’s about 49038 cubic centimeters to those of you that are metrically inclined) of interior space, the Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 carry-on has plenty of space. You can pack a few days’ worth of clothes, gadgets, and even an extra pair of shoes or two. With exterior dimensions of 21”x16.5”x10.5” (53.34cm x 41.91cm x 26.67cm) excluding the wheels, this bag really pushes the size limits of a carry-on in today’s era of baggage restrictions. In my mind, that’s a good thing. You’re maximizing the amount of stuff you can carry on in order to avoid checking luggage. In all of our travels with it, including some low-budget carriers in Southeast Asia, my wife never got so much as a sideways look as she rolled this bag through the gate. The carry-on’s interior compartments are smart but in no way restrictive, so it’s easy to pack however you like. (Especially with the help of our favorite packing cubes.)
The Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 has an integrated TSA lock. We never used this feature in the airport since it’s a carry-on and always by our side anyway. We did use it to leave some quasi-valuables in the hotel that were too big for the safe. Although nothing is really that safe in any zippered suitcase regardless of the lock. The advantage to the Roxbury 2.0’s built-in locking system is that it’s harder for a thief to cover their tracks since the zipper pulls are locked in place. This carry-on also includes a retractable add-a-bag strap to piggyback the Roxbury 2.0 to another suitcase. We didn’t even use this feature once since the bag is so easy to roll around the airport that we didn’t see the need.
WHO’S IT FOR?
The Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 21-Inch 4 Wheel Wheelaboard Hard-Side Carry-On is really a great bag. Its size makes it versatile enough for any traveler. It has plenty of space for two people for a weekend trip or for folks that can pack light for a week or longer. We’re not easy on our luggage and durability is important to us. This carry-on has served us well so far and there doesn’t appear to be any reason it won’t continue to do so.
Looking back on how the Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 21-Inch 4 Wheel Hard-Side Carry-On Suitcase has performed, I wouldn’t be disappointed if it cost me $400. Of course, I didn’t spend nearly that much. Ricardo Beverly Hills was an unknown brand to me before picking this up for my wife but I could easily see myself becoming a repeat customer. (If this carry-on ever actually needs to be replaced.)
While I really like this carry-on suitcase, it has a couple drawbacks that kept me from rating it at five stars. The Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 21-Inch 4 Wheel Wheelaboard Hard-Side Carry-On suitcase would really benefit from the addition of an exterior pocket. Rarely found on hard-sided luggage, I love exterior pockets on carry-on suitcases. They allow me to quickly toss in keys, sunglasses, wallet, passport, boarding passes, etc. to buy an extra couple minutes clearing security. Carry-on suitcase pockets are also really handy to quickly slide a laptop in and out.
The other drawback is the handle on the Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 carry-on suitcase. To hit five stars, I’d like the handle to be a bit more comfortable. Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok is really long and I had to move this from hand to hand a few times to keep my wrist from getting too stiff.
OK – I know the last one was a real nitpick, but I am trying to come up with drawbacks for what is a really great carry-on suitcase here. And as long as I’m picking nits, I really don’t like the name “Ricardo Beverly Hills”. I actually really don’t like many brand names to be honest, but this one really irks me for some reason. Fortunately for people like me, the brand isn’t too prominently displayed. There’s a small insignia on the front of the carry-on suitcase and the name is also displayed on the extended handles.
The Ricardo Beverly Hills Roxbury 2.0 21-Inch 4 Wheel Wheelaboard carry-on suitcase is a terrific value. It is a great buy for anyone looking for an affordable, durable, high-quality hard-sided carry-on suitcase.
Travel Tech Review: HooToo TripMate Elite HT-TM06
The HooToo Tripmate Elite HT-TM06 is an essential item on my packing list for trips of any length. This travel gadget is a real tech Swiss Army knife. It’s a true multi-tasker packing an impressive array of features. I’ve used it to:
- Wirelessly stream content from a USB stick so my wife and I could catch up on our favorite shows during a long layover.
- Charge my Android and my wife’s iPhone simultaneously. (It’s a 6000 mAh power bank as well!)
- Take one free wired internet connection via Ethernet and convert it into WiFi so we could connect multiple devices (which would have cost us $19 per day if buying WiFi from the hotel).
- Plug into the wall to use as a power brick to charge two devices at once.
And that was all in one day!
WHO’S IT FOR?
The HooToo Tripmate Elite is suitable even for infrequent travelers and general tech enthusiasts. It’s even sufficient to replace a home WiFi access point in a pinch. The real benefit comes for the tech-dependent traveler (and who among us wouldn’t put ourselves in that category?). It’s small form factor, generous 6,000 mAh battery, and extremely user-friendly smartphone app are all incredibly useful.
The Tripmate is an amazing value. It has paid for itself a few times over in saved hotel WiFi fees. It’s hard to beat that! Not to mention that if you were to separately buy a portable access point, power bank, and dual output power brick separately, you’d easily spend twice as much and still would have the features packed into this one device.
So in a perfect world, what other features would I like to see in the Tripmate? Well, more than once I thought how great it would be if this had a SIM card slot. Traveling through Asia, it’s easy to grab a prepaid SIM at a convenience store (or in a vending machine in Japan!). This would be a 6/5 if it could be converted into a hot spot by popping in a SIM card. One other great feature would be the addition of a MicroSD slot. It could save packing a USB MicroSD Card adapter.