Whole-in-One Luggage

By Christina Talcott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 15, 2008

1. High Sierra's 4-in-1 Cargo Boot Bag ($75)

THE BAG: The two ends of the duffel bag zip off.

PROS: The flexibility. Zip the three parts together for one big bag, carry the duffel and either one of the ends or check the middle part and use the two end pieces as carry-ons. The duffel is carry-on size, as are the combined ends (which can be zipped together). The bag's also very lightweight.

CONS: There are neither wheels nor a way to lock the pieces together.

BOTTOM LINE: It's minimal security and heavy lifting make it worrisome for longer getaways. C

2. Eagle Creek's Take 2 ORV Trunk 28 ($320; http://www.eaglecreek.com)

THE BAG: A duffel unzips from a rolling bag.

PROS: We were impressed with thoughtful features like waterproof coating and zip-up dividers. Also, the well-placed zipper pulls can accommodate a lock. (As with the other lockable bags, you'll have to use your own TSA-approved lock.)

CONS: At 12 pounds empty and 6,050 cubic inches of space, we defy any traveler to keep this bag under most domestic carriers' 50-pound limit.

BOTTOM LINE: Great for big trips, but its size might make it tough to hoist and check in one piece. B

3. High Sierra's ATQ Carryon Wheeled Backpack with Removable Daypack ($300; http://highsierrasport.com)

THE BAG: A daypack zips off a larger wheeled backpack.

PROS: So many pockets! The main bag has several, but it's the daypack that sets our heart aflutter: pockets within pockets, nooks and crannies everywhere. Other standouts include the bag's eye-grabbing colors and multiple carrying configurations. Plus, each bag is carry-on size.

CONS: There is no way to lock the two parts together, and, at around 3,000 cubic inches, it requires precise packing for longer trips.

BOTTOM LINE: Since the two parts don't lock together, we'd worry about checking them. Otherwise, this item is a features-packed beaut. B+

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