A quality suitcase is essential for any frequent traveler. As someone who gets on a plane, train, or into a car for a road trip at least once a month, I’ve been through a fair share of bags – some have been crushed, dismembered, or just tossed in the trash for being impractical; others have survived the years and remain my go-to choices.
The most recent addition to my suitcase collection is a hard-shell carry-on by Quice, a brand that I was previously unaware of. It had its first tests days after receiving it in the mail – a week-long trip to Spain and Morocco involving several flights, long drives, a ferry, and a lot of packing and re-packing.
If you’re wondering about the trip, it was awesome. If you’re wondering about the suitcase, I was impressed as well. I’ve put together my thoughts on the product – read on to see how the Quince Carry-On Hard Shell Suitcase stacks up.
What is Quince?
Quince is a clothing and accessories brand that makes much more than luggage. You’ll find a wide variety of men’s and women’s tops, bottoms, footwear, accessories, and more, as well as home products like rugs, bathroom items, and bedding. Bags and suitcases are also a part of Quince’s product lines.
Quince prides itself on luxurious quality, sustainability, and great style while remaining in an affordable price range attainable by ordinary people. They also offer very customer-friendly policies like free shipping and easy returns for a full year after purchase.
While it looks like there’s a ton of great stuff on their website, I’m most interested in the luggage (I’ll leave it to Brittney to browse the fashion offerings). You can easily locate their suitcase collection by clicking on the Travel category at the top of their site.
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Quince Hard Shell Suitcases
You’ll see four suitcases when you get to the travel section of Quince’s website, but in reality, there are only two offered in two colors – hence the four products. One is called the Check-In Hard Shell Suitcase, and the other is the Carry-On Hard Shell Suitcase.
Both are offered in a sleek black or stylish tan color. Quince advertises a lightweight, durable design that comes in at less than half the price of competitors like Away, Monos, and Paravel. It’s clear that the goal is to match the great quality of those products while keeping a reasonable price.
High-end touches include Japanese-crafted Hinomoto 360-degree spinner wheels, YKK zippers, and a polycarbonate hard-shell lining, among more. We’ll go into some of them in more detail below.
Key Features of Quince Hard Shell Carry-Ons
Upon receiving it, I was excited to compare the advertised features to what I found in real life. The first thing I noticed about the suitcase was its sleek and lightweight design when I removed it from the box. I picked out even more as I was packing it and wheeling it around the airport.
Super-Sturdy Polycarbonate Shell & Hardware
The high-end selling points of Quince’s bag include engineered spinner wheels, YKK zippers, and a durable polycarbonate hard shell. These are definitely of better-than-average quality, and I found it particularly smooth to wheel around and maneuver.
The hard shell exterior felt strong, too. However, compared side-by-side to my Away luggage of similar size, Quince’s bag definitely feels a bit flimsier – more on that later. That said, I am still confident in its ability to protect my stuff.
Removable Laundry Bag
Inside the suitcase, a small zipper pocket holds a reusable laundry bag, great for separating your dirty clothes from the clean. The laundry bag is appropriately sized for the suitcase, and it’s easy to throw into the wash, along with the clothes it holds.
The zippers can be popped into a TSA-approved combination lock at the top of the suitcase near the handle. It was easy to change my three-digit code and provided a nice layer of security when checking in the bag or leaving it in a hotel room. The lock appears to be of good quality and has worked well thus far.
Smooth Gliding Telescopic Handle
With a soft rubber coating on the handle, it’s pleasant to pull the suitcase around the airport, hotel, or other places. It inserts and removes from the bag smoothly, and the release button is very reactive. I was happy to notice this, as some suitcases really cheap out on this important part, rendering them useless – but not Quince!
Interior Compression System
Inside, a compression panel with two straps gets you more room when you seemingly have none, making it possible to pack the bag to the max. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, it’s basically a flat piece that presses contents as far down in the bag as possible with the help of tightening straps. I won’t buy a suitcase without one of these, as it really makes a difference, and this bag’s panel even has a zipper pocket on it.
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Pros & Cons of my Quince Hard Shell Carry-On Suitcase
So, how do all those features translate into enjoyable (or not-so-enjoyable) travel? I picked out a few things that I loved on my trip, as well as a few things that could have been better.
Pro: Sturdy & Well-Designed for Travel Wear and Tear
The lightweight but durable polycarbonate hard-shell lining appears to be trustworthy enough to protect what’s inside, even when you use the bag as check-in luggage. However, I put the Quince side-by-side with my Away bag for comparison, and the latter definitely feels a bit sturdier. In the end, I think the durable quality of the Quince bag is more than appropriate for the price difference.
The YKK zippers, spinner wheels, telescopic trolley handle, and other exterior features also appear to be well-made and should survive the test of travel. They still feel new after two weeks of travel, and I suspect I won’t have any unpleasant surprises anytime soon.
Pro: Interior Maximizes Space
I have the carry-on version of the bag, and its internal dimensions excluding wheels are 20.9″ x 14.6″, with a 48-liter capacity. If those numbers don’t mean anything to you, know that it’s a larger-than-normal carry-on with a lot of interior space.
The suitcase features interior compartments on either side, helping you stay organized, and the compression panel does wonders to maximize space. The website claims it can fit up to nine outfits inside, but we were easily able to beat that – I am confident that I could get a two-week trip out of its contents.
Pro/Con: Large Size for a Carry-On
I am calling this both a pro and a con, and it closely relates to the above pro. First of all, the bag is the perfect size for a road or rail trip, as it’s a large-sized carry-on with plenty of space. On the flip side, the large exterior dimensions place the bag outside the carry-on limits for many airlines – I proved this personally by placing it into a sizer at the airport.
This bag will be a top contender for trips that I don’t need to worry about size requirements, as I know it has a lot more room than my other bags. Plus, the bag for dirty clothing holds even more if I accumulate stuff at the destination. But I will definitely think twice before picking it for a plane trip, as it might cost me money at the gate.
Con: A Bit Flimsier Than some of the Competition
Quince directly compares itself to brands like Away and Monos – they have price comparisons directly on their site. Plus, just by looking at the bag, you can see that this is the benchmark they’re aiming for.
But as mentioned, feeling them side-by-side reveals a little less robustness from Quince. I don’t think it’s detrimental to the point that I wouldn’t recommend the bag, and I certainly think it’s fair quality for the price. But if I am going to carry extra-precious cargo and I’m going to check the bag in, I might go with one of my alternatives.
Con: No International Shipping
This one won’t apply to everyone, but travelers are everywhere, and those outside the U.S. won’t be able to order Quince luggage. It’s not even just that international addresses are excluded from free shipping – they can’t be shipped outside the country at all.
Since I live in France, I had to order mine to a U.S. address and grab it from there (I didn’t fly there just to grab the case, certainly not considering how expensive flying is right now). Luckily, Quince says that they are working on this, and maybe we’ll see an option in the future.
See Related: Osprey Backpacks Review: Are They Worth It?
The Verdict on the Quince Carry-On Hard-Shell Suitcase
Overall, I am pretty satisfied with my new suitcase. It held up well on a multi-part trip, and in between then and writing this up, I also took it to the Cinque Terre in Italy. That says a lot – think highly uneven cobblestone streets and tons of hills and stairs to bang around.
I think Quince is successful in its objective to maximize quality at a reasonable price. The bag reminds me of my Away carry-on in many aspects, but as a slightly lower-end version. The compromise on those points of quality for a much lower price is very fair, though – someone who isn’t ready to put out hundreds of dollars on a top-brand bag would be very happy with what they get from Quince.
I’ll definitely be keeping my Quince bag, and I’ll continue to use it, specifically for road trips, as I find the size to be perfect for that. I’d also encourage others to buy it for the purposes mentioned above.
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