A bit about this review
As some of you know, I’m very fond of Lat56. It is a Scottish company, with unique products and excellent customer service (more on that later).
I’ve carried the Lat56 RedEye at least 500,000km around the world, with over 20 countries visited. I love the bag, but always had one gripe with it – the fact that I had to carry it on my shoulder / in my hand. As I get older, I just don’t like carrying things on my shoulders or in my hands, anymore.
So, my prayers have finally been answered – Lat56 made a wheeled version of their bag. It is called the RoadWarrior. For more information you can visit the Lat56 Road Warrior product page.
Lat56 were kind enough to provide me with a brand new RoadWarrior, so today’s review is all about this excellent new bag. Many thanks to Lat56 for this unit, as I’m really looking forward to traveling with it.
The version I got is the 2 wheeled one, with a built in suit carrier. There is also an “8 wheeled” spinner, with all the same features, except the suit carrier, which I will be touching upon in another review.
This is an initial “preview”, as I’m well familiar with their products, but yet to take this one on the road, so we can call it a first impression.
The bag arrived at my doorstep nicely packaged in Lat56 branded cardboard, with both bags (a small laptop brief was also enclosed – many thanks to Lat56), being attached together.
Once the cardboard was off, the Road Warrior was in front of me, in all of it’s wrapped glory 🙂 The small details in packing are great – for example, all zippers are individually wrapped, so they don’t scuffed in transit.
And so, the bag is out – it looks exciting, as all Lat56 products do – it has this trademark hexagonal pattern on it, and it seems to be very well made. Being an enthusiast, I hope the bag will not disappoint.
As mentioned earlier, customer service is always very important, especially when you are purchasing expensive luggage. Two of my colleagues experienced issues with their Red Eye bags, and to the surprise of both, instead of repairs they were given brand new bags – talking about customer service!
The bag (exterior)
The first thing that was really astounding for me, is the width of the bag – it’s marvellously slim, and Lat56’s press photos don’t do it any justice – it is much slimmer in reality (which is great).
Looking at the slim profile, one’s first thought would be – how much stuff can I actually fit in there? As you will see later in this review, the answer is as exciting as the bag itself – lots!
The attention to detail is noticeable right away – if you look at the wheels, there are little guards on the wheels (bonus point), and these seem to be very good rollerblade / longboard wheels.
On the bottom you could see little rests, which would prevent the bag from tipping over, when it stands.
On the back there is a pocket for your passport and other small things. Lat56 has chosen to employ a new icon system, showing you what the pocket / area was intended for, so this one has a little passport inside.
The bag is all about small touches, like the little plastic ridge on the back, which prevents the external shell rubbing against whatever it is laid flat on.
The little pocket for the telescopic handle has this beautiful red lining (as does the rest of the bag), and the handle itself feels very solid and well made, using premium materials and embossed with a little Lat56 logo.
The bag (interior)
Once open, the same crimson interior can be seen – love the colour, however to each his own 🙂 The attention to detail inside is once again astounding, with beautifully done stitching and zippers.
There is a shoe bag / wet stuff bag (it is waterproof) inside, cleverly attached to the interior with little loops, and once again a little icon showing you what this was intended for. The shoe bag swings out, giving you more room underneath, if you don’t want to detach it (I certainly don’t – love the idea).
The toiletries pocket, accessible from the outside (great for pulling your 3-1-1 stuff out at security, without fumbling to open your bag – done that hundreds of times), has a tag on it, saying it was designed by Kevin Fox – the CEO of Lat56. I’ve chatted with him recently – a really interesting individual and a real enthusiast, so I’m excited to lend a hand.
Looking further, we can find 2 little mesh pockets on one of the sides, for various little things, and one long pocket on the other side – somewhat reminiscent of the tie pocket in the Red Eye, however because the side is soft, I won’t risk my ties there – I will carry them in this little roll up box I have – one box easily fits 2 ties, and does a great job of protecting them. Because the bag has ample room inside, I’m not worried about adding this little piece.
Inside one of the mesh pockets I found a Lat56 branded lock, and a skirt hook. I’ve used the same lock on my Red Eye, and it was pretty solid, so glad to have another one. No comments on the skirt hook – looks very well made 🙂
The pocket on the top is where your suit goes, using the TPS (Torso Protection System), is Lat56’s excellent garment folding system – it’s job is to minimize the size of your suit and dress shirts, and carry them around as wrinkle free as possible.
I could attest to this personally, as I’ve travelled up to 2 weeks with the old Red Eye alone, having inside a suit, 3 dress shirts, ties, dress shoes, and all the various necessities (underwear, shaving kit, etc).
In the same compartment, there are 2 little mesh triangles, one meant for socks and one for underwear (based on the icons inside). While they look cute, and will definitely come handy for small stuff, unless you are going somewhere for an overnight trip, I cannot imagine putting a week’s worth of socks or underwear into either one of these.
The one thing I could also pick on, is the positioning of their zippers (they end up on the underside, once the pockets are connected to their Velcro “nests”), however there shouldn’t be a reason when you want to open one of these, without detaching it first.
The TPS is attached using a little loop, again with a little icon. This differs from the Red Eye, as there you had a concave hard area to put the TPS into – now it actually attaches to the bag, and is closed off using stretchy mesh material – basically if you have to open your bag, the suit cannot fall out (although I’ve mastered opening the Red Eye in such a way that it never happened).
The outer cover of the TPS has a little tutorial on how to use it – handy for first time users – once you do it a couple of times, you will never forget how it works.
You can right away see some improvements, from the Red Eye days – for example the folding board used inside (using the same principle tailors and fabric merchants used back in the day, to keep their stuff straight), has gone through serious weight reduction, due to circular holes being introduced – when you carry something, every ounce counts.
The little zipper on the outer cover is now much more visible and the hanger is now red instead of black.
One change that I find surprising (yet I understand the reason behind it), is the change from velvet to a stretchy piece in the neck area of the outer garment cover (essentially what rubs against the collar of your shirts / suit). I liked the velvet because it left no marks, however I also understand the stretchy part – I’ve heard people with larger suit sizes complaining in the past, that sometimes it was a tight fit, or your things get wrinkled. I wear a size 42 suit, so I never had any issues.
Packing the suit portion, for argument’s sake I will be using 1 suit and 2 dress shirts.
Traditionally, when I set up the TPS, I like to attach the hanger to either my dresser at home, or anything I could find in a hotel room (including a closet rack), since the magnetic clasp on the hanger makes it easy to put it virtually anywhere, and you can easily put your clothes on to the hanger, to keep them as straight as possible.
I also always close the top button and one of the middle buttons on each shirt. Once done, I put the outer cover on, lay the completed garment “bag” on a flat surface (usually a bed), and fold it into a neat bundle.
Getting to the shoe bag, it is enormous – you can probably squeeze a pair of dress shoes and a pair of moccasins inside, if your foot size is not too large. I really love that you can swing it out, on the little loops, as you can access the room underneath, without risking forgetting the bag, or what not.
For example’s sake, I will put in 2 t-shirts, and an Eagle Creek 2 sided cube, which I use for my socks and underwear.
Following all this, there is still a lot of room left for your gear, anything from cables and wires, a portable router and etc, to paracord, duct tape and zip ties. Laugh all you want – I actually carry these around with me.
The bag zips up really easily, and you could really see and feel, that a lot more stuff can be put inside.
Now, to pack the toiletries pocket – it comes with a clear plastic bag inside, however for now I will discard it, in favour of my own, more solid bag.
It is a bit hard to put it in the first time, however it will get better with practice – once you clear the opening, you can feel there is a lot of room in the bag.
I could add a lot more stuff to the bag, and I definitely will, before my first trip with it (coming up in a few days).
To wrap things up, I added my trusty FlyerTalk luggage tag. It’s seen a lot of action, in 48 countries around the world. By the end of this year it should be at over 50, so it has definitely earned its spot.
Interestingly enough, it turned out to be hard / nearly impossible to attach the silicon strap to the carrying handle, as it is very well padded (which is excellent for picking the bag up), so I had to move the tag to the zipper, along with Miffy, who’s also seen the world 🙂
The bag is very cool and I am looking forward to my trip to Europe (ironically I’m taking the bag back to its home – the UK), next weekend, where I will be able to give this bag a full run for its money.