Our intrepid reporter Rory Tolan presents his findings for the ultimate no-nonsense guide to what works and what doesn’t.
Leather satchels and haversacks may call to mind cowboys and other exemplars of rugged individualism, but they’re actually the worst choice of gear for the go-it-alone trailblazer, as leather bags are liable to attract mold. They’re also too heavy by half, even before they’re filled with the equipment they have to freight. The intrepid type can choose no better than Rimowa, whose invincible cases could withstand a stampede of rhinos in heat or the blast of a volcano at point-blank range. The aluminum suitcase and gear box are some of the lightest metal hard sides on the market—as well as some of the sleekest. (Incidentally, if all those airline stickers start to cloud that shiny coating, a little soap and water will easily rinse away the residue—though Tom Morris, design editor of Monocle, considers the stickers on his own Rimowa to be “badges of honor,” he says. “Getting your suitcase a bit battered and bruised is all part of the traveling experience.”) Inside, plush lining and well-appointed straps keep everything safe in a tumble. Rimowa Classic Flight case, $595, rimowa.de.