This post is brought to you by Quince.
In our opinion, the era of spending $300 on a suitcase is passé, and for a beautiful, beginning suitcase at the fraction of the price, the Quince suitcase has completely won us over. Color us sold.
The Quince carry-on suitcase, starting at $119.90, is pretty much a borderline steal for suitcases these days. It’s basically a notch or two above the most bottom barrel model found in your local discount store, with touches reminiscent of the Away suitcase, at a third of the price. A third!
Though, if we’re going to be precise, it is exactly 59.36% cheaper.1 This suitcase sits at more than an affordable price.
Though it doesn’t mean it is the best suitcase we have ever laid our eyes on—that honor goes to the $550 Roam Carry-On2—but the Quince is hands down the best budget one we’ve seen in years around the $100 budget range. Even our beloved Muji, which is finally on its last wheels, is now $189.90.
(For what it’s worth, even if you were to shell out for Target’s Made By Design suitcase, that is still $89.99. Short of heading to TJ Maxx/Ross and winning the suitcase lotto, Quince suitcase is a good and solidly gorgeous bet.)
In our opinion, you should be saving that money for something else, like splurging at a really, really excellent meal at a beautiful restaurant?
But, before you literally and physically dig in, it is good to know that we had our way with it, taking it everywhere from Armenia to Miami.
Here’s what we learned as we managed to sprint an impressive 51,230 miles—2.06 times around the Earth—over the course of two months with it.
How we’re still holding up, we’re not sure, but the bag is still standing there with us.
Behind the Quince story
The most unusual thing about this manufacturer, unlike most of the brands that we cover is that it doesn’t specialize in suitcases. In fact, it’s more of a direct-to-consumer brand much like Everlane, before Everlane jumped the shark.
Quince has been around in the affordable luxury market since 2016, and really established its name for its range of affordable Mongolian cashmere (at $50!). Feel free to grab a pair of these too, we own one, and a knit sweaters, and love it.
The company claims they are able to keep prices low, because they avoid the expenses of the traditional supply chain and storefront retail.
It is important to mind Quince does not ship outside the United States. They also ship directly from the factory, so it can take a solid 5-10 business days to receive the bag, though we were receiving them the next day in Los Angeles.
Interestingly enough, the best part about trying out the guy is that Quince holds a 365-day return policy; so to make that clear, that is one full rotation around the sun. The typical trial period for a suitcase is 100 days, compared to the Away and Monos suitcase.
Discerning between the different carry-on sizes
Quince offers suitcases in multiple sizes. Technically, it comes in four sizes: 20-inch (carry-on), 21-inch (carry-on), 24-inch (check-in), and a 27-inch (check-in). If you’re only looking for a suitcase with the front pocket, the 21-inch version is the only one that offers it.
For all intents and purposes, real travelers only travel with a carry-on (jk, not joking, okay, fine, I’ve considered breaking up with people over this).
Unless we’re talking about size, there are no real discernible differences materially between the 20-inch and 21-inch version carry-on version.
Most notably, the 20-inch only comes in two colors, black and tan, while the 21-inch comes in five colors; navy, blue, black, tan and dark green. The world is too rich and beautiful to stick to neutral ones, in our opinion, but also realistically, we pack like a horse, and the airlines don’t really check requirements that much, so we went with the 21-inch version.
(It is especially important to note, the die-hard, handsome green is always stuck on waitlist, and we even couldn’t our grubby hands on this one! Not that we’re snobby about the way our suitcase looks at all.)
Here’s a quick breakdown between the differences:
|Product||20” Carry-On Hard Shell Suitcase||21” Carry-On Hard Shell Suitcase|
|External dimensions||22 inch x 14.4 inch x 9.1 inch||22.8 inch x 15.6 inch x 9.8 inch|
|Internal dimensions||20.1 inch x 13.5 inch||20.9 inch x 14.6 inch|
|Colors||Black, Tan||Navy, Blue, Black, Tan and Dark Green|
Basically, it is about a half-pound, $9 difference between the two sizes.
The bigger carry-on is also about 8L bigger, clocking in at an impressive 48L, close to 50L. In actuality, we did feel that extended capacity, as in one case,
Digging deep into Quince’s suitcase construction
It would be easy to rehash what is on the Quince website, though it is sort of a necessity. And then we can get into the nitty gritty!
Manufactured in Quanzhou, China, the lightweight polycarbonate shell is reminiscent of its older sister, the Away suitcase, and though it is clear it is not exactly made of the same material, its exterior is more or less extremely functional minus some slight mishaps (heads up: there is some minor denting and scuffs).
It does come with a Magic Eraser attached.
Though there are check-in sizes, we’d stick to carrying on for the Quince suitcase line of suitcases. The carry-on bags can be stashed inside a larger check-in bag to maximize storage space, and at home, it resides in our larger Away check-in bag for irony.
Instead, it unexpectedly shone in the most of unexpected places. The Quince bag is designed with Japanese-crafted Hinomoto 360° spinner wheels, and Kate Dingwall who took the suitcase to the road—and also writes for Forbes.com, Vogue, People Magazine, Southern Living, and The Toronto Star, etc.—noted that it even performed better than her Tumi 19 Degree Aluminum International Carry-On.
Here are her words:
Even cobblestone streets, Japanese train stations, and airports have bumpy ground…the wheels felt like they were handling it very well like even in comparison to the Tumi, which one of the wheels feels like it's gonna come off now on the to me.
[In comparison, the Quince] feels feel very sturdy. They still look great. They don't have any kind of tags or ripples on them. So I was surprised that made it quite easy to navigate and run through airports and even get through Armenian ground.
Basically, the wheels of the $129 suitcase performed better than the wheels of a $1,195 bag. Let’s sit on that for a minute. (Yeah, we’re still sitting with it.)
For the record, here’s where we went with it.
Everywhere. Except the Southern Hemisphere, if you’re going to nitpick.
Inside, the interior mocks and surpasses the most famous suitcase manufacturer in this space, and is divided similarly into different compartments. One is a zippered compartment, while the other has a compression pad that houses an additional 18" x 12.5" pocket for extra storage.
This interior compression system is one of the best that we've seen; part of this in due to the fact that there are straps to hold the pad down.
The lining is a water-resistant 75D polyester pongee fabric, which, quite surprisingly, a lot, lot nicer than many other suitcases that we’ve come into. This makes a world of difference, especially when things go wrong, or more specifically, when liquids explode.
Dingwall was able to experience this firsthand:
The lining here was really lovely, like it's waterproof. I had a liquid blush explode in my bag… I was able to clean up this like very goopy liquid blush that is not meant to be removed quite easily. I could clean that up with just a wet wipe, which was very nice. So it was quite a durable lining. I felt like it looks brand new inside after seven, eight trips now, which is fantastic.
On the bottom side of the suitcase, there is also a laundry compartment, with a removable laundry bag for dirty clothing. It’s a nice accompaniment, but perhaps, we’re just not in the habit of using it all that much (or maybe we just have too much dirty clothing that accumulates).
That said, its positioning is probably the most logical that we’ve seen – it might be great for more discrete items like socks and underwear.
The bag itself was particularly generous in terms of capacity, and nowhere did we have an issue taking it on as a carry-on; think of it as the bag that should probably really be a check-in, but can squeeze and hide past the flight attendants as a carry-on.
In Dingwall’s case, it survived a 11-day trip with room to spare, and in our case, it managed to cram in two months’ worth of clothes and multiple outfits (with thoughtful packing). Its 48L capacity really shines here, though this is definitely not a bag we’d chance carrying onto a regional jet.
There's more than enough space for all of those belongings.
Other than that, the bag comes complete with the standard YKK zippers found throughout suitcases these days, with an additional TSA-approved combination lock for added security on the top of the bag.
This is a great purchase for those interested in an attractive piece of luggage without spending their entire 401k; while nice and affordable enough to be a thoughtful gift for someone other than themselves.
Check out the Quince suitcase.