10 Radically New Ideas for Luggage

Because storing clothes isn't the only thing your suitcase can do for you

It used to be that when you wanted lugagge, you just chose color and size. Now suitcases come in all shapes and sizes. Some charge your phone or tablet. Some roll up. One converts into a shelving system. And just because most luggage comes with wheels doesn't mean it has to be man-powered: Hop on your Modobag and ride it like a scooter. Here are 10 new luggage inventions that have either just hit the market or are still being crowdfunded.


Rolo

Rolo luggage, travel inventions

This take on luggage lets you pack your bag, then roll it up into a smaller bag. Rolo maximizes space with four mesh compartments—two large and two small—that hold up to four days’ worth of clothing and toiletries. Pack the compartments, roll it up, buckle it, and you’re on your way. The bag is designed to be able to strap onto another piece like your backpack or another carry-on. For the adventure-minded, Rolo comes with a shoulder strap for hiking, camping or backpacking and short trips. Cost: $49.99


Modobag

Just because Modobag has a built-in, belt-driven, 200 Watt electric motor, handlebars and footpegs doesn't mean you have to ride it like a Harley. You could always pull it like a regular bag. Wait, who are we kidding? Yes, you have to ride this thing like a motorcyle, but with a safety-conscious top speed of 8 mph, the bag probably isn't going to have you humming Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" as you sit on it like a scooter and navigate your way to Gate 28A. Still, with a range of up to 6 miles on a single charge, you could get all the way through the Atlanta airport, and we're guessing that's a plus for those of you who'd rather not walk or take a people mover. The bag comes with a smartphone app with GPS real-time tracking, proximity alerts, travel history and more. It weighs just less than 20 pounds and can carry a passenger weighing up to 260 pounds. It certainly wouldn't be complete without a built-in charging station for your electronics. Cost: Right now, you have to pre-order, and someone will contact you.  


Floatti

Floatti luggage invention

This is one smart suitcase. The Floatti is a rolling suitcase—in carry-on and checked-luggage sizes—with suspension in the wheels for an easy roll that seems to "float." A built-in, detachable charger will power up everything from phones to tablets and laptops. Trackers built in to the luggage and its detachable pieces make it detectable anywhere in the world through the accompanying smartphone app. The luggage's smart handle syncs with a smartphone and allows users to receive notifications, dial contacts, play music, compose voice-to-text messages and more. Cost: Starts at $320.


Duffle Suitcase

Duffle Suitcase luggage invention

This suitcase/bag is all about organization and is something of the Swiss Army knife of carry-ons. The pockets of the Duffle Suitcase keep wrinkles to a minimum while separating your shoes from your clean clothes. Individual pockets help organize chargers, tablet, passport, medications and more. Two removable walls, three organized compartments, two built-in shoe bags, a tie pocket, 13 utility pockets, a snap-in keychain and an attachable toiletry bag keep everything organized. Small enough for airline carry-on, the leather bag stands on its flat bottom and will not fall over. Cost: Starts at $295.


Trunkster

You won't find any zippers on this piece of luggage; that's because the Trunkster features a sliding rolltop door, much like a garage. It has wheels, is water-resistant and has a removable powerbank to charge electronic devices. Because weight restrictions vary depending on the airline—and sometimes even the route—Trunkster took out the guesswork out by including a scale to tell you how much your luggage weighs. For $60 more, you can upgrade your luggage with a global tracking device so you know where your belongings are at all times. Cost: $435


ThermalStrike

ThermalStrike comes to you from a company that specializes in items to kill bedbugs. Because begbugs have been known to transfer from hotels or rented accommodations, and in rare cases, can even be brought back with you, ThermalStrike integrated the technology into its line of luggage. Just connect the luggage to a cord, plug it in, and a timer heats the inside of the suitcase to about 120 degrees, a little hotter than is needed to kill the critters. The built-in heating mechanism is nontoxic and completely TSA- and FAA-compliant. Cost: Starts at $250.


Bluesmart luggage

More luggage, more technology. Bluesmart already has the Bluesmart One on the market (we wrote about it here), and now comes the Bluesmart Black Edition (limited to 1,000 pieces), which has a premium exterior featuring double-layer polyurethane coating, an upgraded interior with high-density microfiber 
to protect electronics and smoother wheels and a reinforced bumper. But wait, there's more: This piece of luggage also has a built-in global tracker, a charging device that charges electronics up to six times before needing to be recharged, a digital scale and a lock that can be accessed from a smartphone app. Cost: $549


Shelfpack

Shelfpack is exactly what it sounds like: a suitcase with shelves. When standing on its wheels, the piece is 26 inches tall and 14 inches front to back. Lay it on its back, unzip and raise the shelves to 42 inches high. The shelves, of course, drop into the base, and the lid contains three large storage compartments. All of this means it's one of the heavier suitcases (at 14.5 pounds), but it's built well enough that the manufacturer gives it a lifetime warranty. Cost: $349


Fugu

Fugu stands out for its ability to transform from a carry-on to a larger piece at the push of a button. It starts as a hard-shell carry-on case with a pull-out handle and wheels. Hit the button, and it inflates the walls and expands into a much larger case that can be used as a small table and is sturdy enough to sit on. When it is expanded, unzip the front, pull out the two-shelf storage compartment and hang it up. Voila, you're unpacked! When it's time to head home, put the packed compartment in the expanded case and push the button to compress. Then zip it up, and you're back to carry-on mode. Cost: $299


Space Case 1

Space Case is another piece of luggage geared toward technophiles. The suitcase uses a digital bio lock that can only be unlocked by using your fingerprint or through the Planet Traveler smartphone app. Speaking of the app, use it to track your case globally, see how much it weighs, report broken parts, book and check the status of flights and book hotel rooms and car rentals. A built-in powerbank lets you charge your electronics with two USB ports and another in the front pocket. Sync the case with your phone to use it as a hands-free speakerphone. The suitcase will even send you a text when it arrives at the airport's baggage carrousel. It also tackles the mundane task of holding your clothes and toiletries. Cost: Starts at $429.

Dustin Turner
About the author