Freelance writer Laura
Bode ;lls this month’s
consumer reporter slot
with this behind-the-scenes
look at a Costco program.
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article to buyingsmart@
By Laura Bode
WHEN MY HUSBAND recently surprised
me with a weeklong trip to Costa Rica, sans
kids, I practically bolted to the closet to dust
o; my ancient luggage. ;en I remembered
that the old jalopy of a suitcase I own weighs
about as much as the iron-bottom steamer
trunks of long ago.
My trip was in two weeks. I needed new
luggage, pronto. I knew Costco would hit the
mark on what I was looking for, at a great
price, too. But where to begin?
Since it had been almost two decades
since I’d last gone suitcase shopping, and
there are an overwhelming number of
options now, I decided to enlist the expertise
of the Costco luggage-buying team. Buyer
Marc Sloan and assistant buyer Drusilla
Perrella gave me some great insight on how
they decide which luggage Costco carries.
Soft-side, hard-side or hybrid?
To start my shopping experience, I needed
to determine what type of luggage I needed,
and whether I wanted so;- or hard-side lug-
gage. Is one more durable than the other? “Not
necessarily,” Marc says. “Both are really dura-
ble; it just depends on personal preference.”
Hard-side luggage, as the industry terms
it, is made of durable polycarbonate. It usually
splits, or zips open, down the exact center of
the suitcase, and has the ability to expand if
needed. ;e textured exterior of the polycar-
bonate gives a more appealing look while
adding durability. ;ere are no exterior pock-
ets on hard-side luggage, but interior pockets
abound, and a telescoping handle and spinner
wheels can make maneuvering a breeze.
So;-side luggage is generally made with a
100 percent nylon exterior that’s been water-
and weather-tested to ensure the contents stay
dry and secure. Typically, so;-side luggage
has multiple exterior pockets, and the ability
to expand if needed.
For people who can’t make up their mind,
hybrid suitcases, which are composed of a
hard polycarbonate backside with a so; nylon
topside, o;er both durability and front pock-
ets, Drusilla says. (In 2013, Costco introduced
its Kirkland Signature™ Hybrid Spinner 21-inch
black carry-on with a 50-50 split opening, cur-
rently available online only.)
Rolling du;els, made of durable nylon, are
another option; they o;er a surprising amount
of storage and the ability to organize in a two-level way. Multiple handles and a large “
easy-pack” opening make du;els very convenient.
Size is a key
I also needed to decide what size would
work best for my needs: a checked bag (full
size), a carry-on or a du;el. Marc and Drusilla
showed me the Ciao brand carry-on, available
in the warehouses and on Costco.com, made
to ;t perfectly under most of the seats in front
of you. ;is ultra-light bag is made of ballistic
nylon, a thick, tough nylon created by the
DuPont Corporation during World War II.
;e original purpose of the nylon was to
protect aircra; personnel from shrapnel,
bullets and other ballistic impacts.
Marc and Drusilla then wheeled me
through some of their other current picks.
COURTESY OF DELSEY
Delsey, a Parisian brand,
is introducing a “light as
a textbook” carry-on.