In search of a new suitcase for all of our travels, we recently tested ROAM custom luggage. Not only is ROAM a quality luggage brand designed by the folks behind TUMI, but it’s a fun option as well. In this post, I share exactly how to design your own luggage.
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What Is Custom Luggage
A customized suitcase can mean a lot of things to different people. When I started researching this I came across many websites that allow will essentially blow up a photo to place on your suitcase. In all my years of travel, though, I’ve never seen someone rolling around a suitcase with a big photo of their kids or nana. I just thought it was strange to see.
I also came across a lot of personalized travel bags, which often meant nothing more than monogramming. Monogramming, on its own, just seems, well, a little yawn.
To me, a custom suitcase doesn’t have to be one that is hand-made from scratch and designed to my specific requirements (although that would be nice). Instead, a custom travel bag is one where there is a mess of choices to personalize a bag in a way that means I’m not just carrying the same old black suitcase everyone else is using.
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What Does It Mean To Design Your Own Luggage
We travel pretty much full-time. Sometimes that means frequent trips in a month. Sometimes it means traveling for a month or more at a time. It can also mean, for us, being semi-nomadic. So, a suitcase is important for us.
The thought of having a bag that was unique to me and my style seemed like a good idea. Then, we heard about ROAM. The first thing I read was that I could create personalized carry-on luggage in one of a million different ways. This, to me, was intriguing.
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Who’s Behind ROAM Luggage?
When I started researching a little more about ROAM Luggage, I found out it was started by two of the founders of TUMI. I’ve been a big fan of TUMI products for years. They are known for quality. These founders wanted to take what they learned from the TUMI brand to create something that broke the mold of the typical black bag.
ROAM claims to be the first luggage brand that allows travelers the chance to customize their suitcase fully. They took over a year to develop the brand and certainly make some of the most unique luggage on the market.
ROAM’s customizable luggage is made by hand in the US. Each of our bags actually included a little note signed by the person who put it all together. There’s also a colorful luggage tag built into the back of the back, which can be monogrammed with your initials.
Colors For The Customizable Luggage
So, just how custom is custom? There are over one million unique color combinations. Of course, in reality, it’s not that difficult. There are nine different places you can choose one of a half dozen or a dozen colors. This means choosing the color of the exterior, handles, zipper, binding, and even the wheels. My wheels are orange!
I started by weeding out the colors I didn’t want. I am not particularly girly, so I knew I didn’t want any pink or purple.
Or, if you want something colorful and cool and aren’t feeling particularly design-minded, ROAM also has a selection of designs to choose from.
There are four different sizes, from carry on to checked bags. We have The Jaunt, which is a carry-on size. They have a slightly wider carry-on (Jaunt XL) and then two checked bags, The Journey and The Globetrotter.
The exterior of the luggage, beyond just the customizable colors, is made of 100% polycarbonate. This means it is really durable. The type of polycarbonate they use also means that it is harder than other materials. It’s less resistant to deep scratches too.
The 360-degree wheels are also durable and smooth. We’ve been wheeling it around cobblestone sidewalks in Spain with no worries.
There’s a durable and water-resistant zipper, which is great when traveling in inclement weather.
The bags all have a built-in TSA-approved lock. Most people don’t worry about a lock on a carry-on bag. We lock our bags even on trains in Europe, though. Plus it’s great to have a lock, in case you’re forced to check your bag when overhead bin space fills up.
You can also customize the luggage in one additional way. The back of each bag has a leather luggage tag, where you can add your initials. Then, inside the leather luggage tag there is a metal plate where you can add your name and contact information in case the luggage is lost. It’s all magnetic too so that the luggage tags stick to the bag.
We have the Jaunt bag, which holds 40 liters. This is actually pretty large for carry-on luggage. The space inside is relatively enormous and holds an amazing amount.
In part, this is due to the compression packing system. This includes two compression panels, with accessory zip compartments to keep everything organized. There’s also a large blue bag that can be used for laundry or to hold dirty shoes.
Perfect Custom Luggage For Europe
We love this bag for Europe not only because it looks pretty stylish, but it’s also super lightweight. This is important when traveling by train in Europe. You might need to carry your luggage up and down the stairs, on and off trains, or into luggage racks above your head. Even if you are not traveling by train, you can expect to lug your bag on cobblestone streets, up the stairs, and into hotels without elevators.
The ROAM Jaunt is lightweight, easy to maneuver around train stations, and the wheels are sturdy enough for cobblestones and other European sidewalks and streets.
What We Like About Custom Luggage
It took us a long time to put aside our soft-sided wheeled bags that we’ve had for years in favor of a hard-sided case. I initially liked the ROAM customized luggage because it’s so fun and cool. But, it also makes it so much easier to travel. Rather than wheeling a heavy bag behind me on two wheels, dragging it everywhere I go, the ROAM glides smoothly with minimal effort.
The interior is also surprisingly large. Our old soft-sided cases had 42 liters capacity. The ROAM Jaunt has 41 liters, which is not bad at all. This means that the ROAM bags are large enough for us to use for longer trips, including a month-long or more, all while still being carry on size.
Finding The Bag At Baggage Claim
Despite the fact that this is a carry-on approved size, I recently checked mine on its maiden journey from the US to Spain. I had some liquids that needed to be checked.
While waiting for our bags at the baggage claim in Seville, we didn’t realize that we needed to be at a different belt for bags coming in from outside of the EU. While standing at belt 5, I turned around and scanned the luggage hall wondering where our bags were. I spotted my custom luggage at the other end of the baggage hall, at belt 1, where it needed a customs inspection.
I like to joke that since my laser eye surgery almost 10 years ago that I have superhero-like vision. Seriously, though, I saw the bag circulating on the belt, on the other side of the arrivals hall. This is certainly one of the best benefits of custom travel bags.
What We Don’t Like About The Custom Luggage
There’s not much. I realized pretty quickly that I probably shouldn’t have chosen such a light color for the back of the bag. I just liked the way that it looked.
It got pretty dinged up the first time I checked the bag. But, 99% of the scratches and dirt came off with a scrubby sponge. You can also use a Mr. Clean Eraser.
We do often check our carry-on sized bags when on longer trips because we need larger toiletries. It does kind of kill me to send such a pretty bag into the hands of the baggage handlers and the maze of conveyor belts at the airport. If I had to do it again, I probably would’ve chosen a different color on the back.
Where To Buy ROAM’s Custom Luggage Bags
Because there is so much customization with the luggage, you can only buy online direct from ROAM’s site. You pick the size you want and walk through the steps to design your luggage.
If you use the link here and use the code “TravelForFood50” you can save $50 off of any ROAM bag, whatever the size.