Last updated: 10:40 AM ET, Mon June 22 2015

Is This The Worst Designed Piece Of Luggage Ever?

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | June 22, 2015

Is This The Worst Designed Piece Of Luggage Ever?

Photos courtesy of ShelfPack.

I totally understand the idea of making travel an efficient process and for the most part, I do try to eliminate as much waiting, over working, and tedium from my travels when I go.  So when Yahoo Travel wrote an article on the ShelfPack and touted it as maybe the most efficient piece of travel luggage ever, I was excited.  

Upon further inspection, I am not sure that I can buy in.

The ShelfPack (which apparently is SO efficient that they don’t even use a space between shelf and pack) is a suitcase that opens up to contain shelves that very loosely resemble a chest of drawers. The dimensions of the bag measures 28′ x 18.5′ x 14′, it has three outer compartments, four internal shelves that pull up and according to Yahoo will run you $349 dollars.  OUCH!

Here are a few problems that I am seeing with this bag.

The size: Because of its dimensions, it will need to be checked. Which is fine except that if you are going away for long enough that you are checking a bag, you might as well check a bigger bag than the ShelfPack so that you can make the most out of your $25 bag fee.

Lost Space: How much space are you losing in your bag? In the picture above it looks like I could take all of the clothing they have packed into the ShelfPack into my carry-on and still have room for much more.  And I have now avoided the bag fee.

Quality: I have not experienced the quality of the bag in person, but from watching their video on the website, the two sides of the shelves are essentially the same thing as the retractable pull-behind handles on a typical carry on.  In my experience (and tell me if you haven’t had the same) they get stuck, crack or break.  Retractable handles are the single biggest quality problem with the luggage industry today with maybe the exception of roller wheels.  Which brings me to the next problem:

Roller Wheels: Could they not give me four rotating wheels like every other piece of luggage in America?  I thought we solved the two-wheel roller problem a decade ago.

Efficiency: Sure, having built-in shelves may be easier to get to all of your luggage should you not decide to unpack your clothes, but if you really are going to stay for a week somewhere, you are going to hang your shirts and pants and drawer your undies. 

Because I am sure that when your coworker comes to get you from your room, you do not want all of your panties and/or bras on display. Plus, how much time are you losing digging down to the bottom of your suitcase?  In the amount of time that it took you to set up the shelves, I already reached to the bottom of my suitcase, grabbed what I needed and left.

The Price Point: $349 is an awful lot for one piece of luggage, especially one that isn’t full size.  I understand the gimmick and how people will probably buy anything that is new but if I search Amazon for four-star-or-higher rated luggage that is new and popular, I can’t even get past the $300 mark on page one.  Keep in mind this is from an unknown company.

This piece of luggage is probably for the folks who aren’t packing much, don’t have to worry about paying to check bags, don’t care about wrinkled clothing or are too lazy to hang or drawer anything. 

For full disclosure, I reached out to the company for clarification and rebuttal of the issues and received no answer from them.  On their website, the “About” and the “How it Works” pages are “under construction” and the video that they have will not work with a Chrome browser.  This sure doesn’t instill confidence in me about spending $350 with their company.

Personally, there is no way I would buy one of these. Am I being too harsh?  Do you actually like the design? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


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