Luggage Review: Away Kids’ Carry-On
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Sure, you can probably toss your kids’ clothes and travel gear in any old bag and head to the airport, but just as the right stroller or car seat makes the trip easier, having the right piece of luggage does too — especially when the kids are old enough to take responsibility for their own things through the airport and beyond.
I’d heard of the “cool” direct-to-consumer brand, Away, for years, so roughly six months ago, we decided to try the bags for our family. For our tall 9-year-old daughter, we put the full-size Away Carry-On (in a really cool limited-edition Northern Lights color) under the Christmas tree.
For our 3-year-old daughter, we needed something smaller because she is starting to manage her own things — like the tiny traveling boss that she is. I’ll do a written review here but don’t miss the video review above of the Away Kids’ Carry-On.
For our youngest traveler, we got the Away Kids’ Carry-On that sells for $195 and is smaller and lighter than the adult version. I’ll get to the measurements shortly, but here are some other highlights:
- Made of durable polycarbonate
- Has an (easily) ejectable battery that can charge anything with a USB cord
- There are 360-degree spinner wheels, just like our bags
- Hidden laundry bag for those extra-dirty things
- TSA-approved lock (which we’ve never used)
The kids’ version comes in eight colors: blush, brick, navy, (dark) green, black, asphalt, white and sand. Honestly, none of the colors really scream “super fun for kids,” so we went with the navy. (I liked our older daughter’s Away color better.)
The Away Kids’ Carry-On measures: 18 x 12 x 9 inches and weighs 6 pounds.
Compare that to the normal Away Carry-On that is: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches and weighs 7.6 pounds.
If you’re curious, Spirit Airlines’ maximum dimension for a free carry-on is: 18 x 14 x 8 inches, which means the Away kid version almost fits that standard to come on board at no charge. In other words, it’s really small. It didn’t fit under the seat in front of us when we tried, but I bet it would on some aircraft.
The Away kids’ bag is the right-size spinner bag for a preschooler like ours. She can handle it easily, though wheeling it through a busy airport is a slow process and parents sometimes might need to take over to speed things along. I imagine that, within the year, she will master the process as she gets a little older.
The Away Kids’ Carry-On is too small for my 9-year-old, who handles the full-size bag as shown below. Since the price difference isn’t significant, pick the kid version for a young (or smaller than average) child in the roughly 3- to 7-year-old range.
The Away Kids’ Carry-On is a small bag, but it held all of our daughter’s clothes for a three-night Disney Cruise, followed by three nights at Walt Disney World, so the interior space is ample for many trips (and much brighter than the exterior).
My favorite feature of the Kids’ Away Luggage is the ejectable battery that can fully charge an iPad or up to five iPhones. During travel you don’t always find yourself near a power outlet, and this solves the problem quite well so your kids can stay peacefully entertained with their electronics along the way. The battery is easy to remove with the push of a finger for when you need to check or gate check the bag. (You can’t check bags like these with the battery in place, so you have to pop it out.)
While the battery and charging capability is probably my favorite feature of the Away line, the most fun part of our test was trying to destroy the bag. Away says that the kid bag is “durable enough to stand up to anything and last a childhood and beyond.” Well, let’s just see …
Not only did we take the bag on some real flights, but we also took things a few steps further. First, I jumped up and down on it — no problem. Next, I hit it with a hammer. Several times — no problem. Then, we might have thrown it down the concrete stairs. Still no functional problem.
Finally, it was hit with an (old) car. Believe it or not, it’s still fine. (Seriously, watch the review video just for those parts if nothing else!)
Our real bag — the one that wasn’t intentionally thrown or hit — does have scuffs after a few months of normal use. So durable means won’t fall apart, not won’t scuff. It likely will scuff. If the bag disappoints you, there is a 100-day money-back guarantee, and a lifetime warranty on the shell, wheels, handles and zippers. The electronic components (like the battery) have a two-year warranty.
Not every family needs a $195 kid’s bag (here are some more budget-friendly options). However, our family travels almost every month, so it is a good investment for us. (And yes, my family and TPG bought bags to try, these were not given to us by Away.) The limiting factor of the Away Kids’ Carry-On is that it is really small, so it’s not necessary to select this size except for the littlest of travelers. However, by 3 or 4 years old, kids can and should take ownership in their bags, and the Kids’ Away Luggage is a great way to speed along that process. Some fun, bright kid colors and a shell that is a little more scuff resistant wouldn’t hurt.
Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy
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