Review: Away Travel’s USB-powered Carry-On luggage helped me survive CES

Traveling can disrupt even the best laid plans, and with today’s connected lifestyles, the stress of an unexpected situation is only exacerbated if you’re worrying about keeping your devices powered up. Combine that with the chaos and and spectacle that is the annual Consumer Electronics Show, and you’ve got the perfect storm for a travel headache.

Earlier this month, I spent 5 days in Las Vegas for CES 2018. With me came The Carry-On, modern and thoughtfully designed luggage with USB power sent over to try out by Away Travel. Over the course of the show I put The Carry-On to the test, traversing miles of hotel, casino, and airport carpeting to bring you my thoughts. Let’s take a look at how well it held up and how it kept my devices charged…

Before we dive into the details, it’s important to establish a little context about Away Travel. The company was formed by two former executives from Warby Parker – the eyewear manufacturer.

Away prides themselves on thoughtful design, a quality that fans of Apple products will surely appreciate. The company claims that their luggage typically costs less than other premium brands, even though they use materials of the same quality. What caught my attention is how Away luggage is truly made for modern lifestyles.

Clever interior compartments, a built-in USB charger, and carefully selected materials all recognize the most common pain points of travel and try to mitigate them. You can tell that the products were designed by people who actually travel, not in a sterile lab.

Away sells several sizes of luggage, but I chose to try out their smallest size for adults, The Carry-On. I’m a fairly light traveler, trying to avoid checking bags if possible. My previous rolling luggage was old and tired, so I was immediately taken by the build quality of The Carry-On when I pulled it out of the box. Away sent me the black model, but I would recommend a lighter (but not too light) shade if you’re purchasing for yourself. Dirt and winter salt residue quickly built up on the exterior of the luggage as soon as I got outside of my house.

The exterior of The Carry-On, like all of Away’s products, is made of what they describe as unbreakable polycarbonate. I took the company’s word, and tossed my luggage into airport bins, thumped it down steps, and pressed the case’s capacity to the limit without fear of cracking. It held up. Around the exterior you’ll also find three handles – one on the side, one on top, and a telescoping handle for rolling the luggage. The exterior also holds two of my favorite features – a combination lock and USB charger. More on these later.