KIRKLAND SIGNATURE suitcases have been
my faithful travel buddies for years.
Wanting to test the new 22-inch carry-on
and also compare it with a high-end brand
mentioned by Harjit, I fill each with 16. 8
pounds of canned food and then go out for a
little neighborhood luggage demolition derby.
Both handle the drizzle, the deeply rutted
cobblestone streets, a lumpy playfield and a
brambled dirt hill commendably, but the
Kirkland Signature suitcase feels lighter, has
better balance and glides more easily.
Returning home, I determine that they
are the same size and are constructed with
injection-molded frames, comfort-grip handles and YKK zippers.
The Costco luggage exterior fabric feels
thicker and the label specifies it is Cordura. The
bag weighs 8 ounces less when empty (which is
a big deal when you are lifting a suitcase into a
plane’s overhead compartment) and has larger,
replaceable 85 mm wheels.
Kirkland Signature’s price is $99.99; the
competition costs more than $500.—PV
A suitcase’s exterior fabric must also
stand up to the rigors of travel. Most luggage
is typically made of flimsy polyester.
The finest outer fabrication is nylon, and
within this category Cordura 1050-denier
ballistic nylon—which Kirkland Signature is
made of—is the best. Woven to be nearly
puncture-proof, this incredibly dense, high-tenacity fiber is twice as durable as standard
1680-denier nylon and 50 percent more resistant to abrasion. It also offers 150 percent more
protection against tears.
Costco’s superior YKK zippers are self-repairing and include a very rare feature:
replaceable pulls. They glide easily, quietly
and smoothly. Some manufacturers use YKK
for the main zipper and then less costly, flimsier zippers for the rest of the suitcase, but not
Costco. Two extra zipper pulls are included.
I effortlessly roll the carry-on around,
listening for wheel noise. There is none. The
wheels are easily replaceable, requiring only
an Allen wrench. They are big, measuring 85
mm ( 3; inches) in diameter, the largest Harjit
has encountered. The standard is 75 mm.
Experienced travelers know that the bigger
the wheels, the more stable the bag.
The new ergonomic, telescoping, U-
shaped handle system is made with tough,
aircraft-grade aluminum. The exceptionally
comfortable, rubberized grip gets my atten-
tion. It is greatly appreciated.
It’s all too easy to get caught up with features and not consider the actual shape, size
and usable carrying capacity of a bag.
Rectilinear luggage designs (like a simple
box) yield the greatest internal volume. The
rounder the edges and corners, the more
packing space is lost. Costco luggage is
straight-sided, with slightly rounded corners
for safe handling.
Soft-sided luggage like the Kirkland Signature suitcase is also much preferred over
hard-shelled models when the ability to give
even a fraction can mean the difference
between carry-on and checked.
An inch in depth has been added to the
22-inch carry-on, which now measures 22 by
14 by 9 inches. A full pound has been shaved
off, making it a svelte 11. 5 pounds.
When not expanded, the 22-inch still
conforms to the 45-inch (length plus width
plus height) carry-on regulation imposed by
most airlines. If the 2.5-inch zip-around
expander is used, the bag can be checked with
a packing capacity of up to 27 percent more.
This is a most welcome feature when one is
returning home with many souvenirs.
New Kirkland Signature
22" × 14" × 9" + 2. 5"
Weight 12 lbs.
Exterior fabric Cordura 1050-d. ballistic nylon
Framing system Precision-engineered Sure;t
Virgin polypropylene top and bot-
tom platforms plus ABS side walls
Ergonomic handle with thermo-
plastic rubber Comfort U-Grip™
Replaceable 85 mm polyurethane
Leading high-end competitor
22" × 14" × 9" + 2. 5"
Cordura 840-d. ballistic nylon
Injection-molded precision frame
More for less
Extra interior features include multiple
attached zipper pockets, a full see-through
mesh pocket on one side, extra-wide interior
wing straps to keep contents secure and a
removable garment carrier.
A snap-in strap is provided for hands-free
carrying of a briefcase or tote, and a three-digit security lock and 1-quart zippered bag—
both of which meet Transportation Security
Administration guidelines—are also included.
Finally, I confirm the price. The 22-inch
Kirkland Signature carry-on is $99.99 (the
previous model was $113.99), and the new
27-inch upright is $129.99 (the older 26-inch
version was $144.99). Comparable luggage
sells for $500 and $800, respectively.
Harjit concludes, “If we are putting our
name on it, you can be guaranteed this lug-
gage meets or exceeds the quality standards
of the leading luggage brands and the
demanding needs of our members.”
Case closed. It’s in the bag. C
Virgin polypropylene top and bottom platforms plus ABS side walls
Spring-loaded release handle
with thermoplastic rubber grip
84 mm polyurethane
Costco rotates additional categories of
luggage in warehouses and on Costco.com,
including national brands, duffles and
innovative products to meet travel needs.