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Why I'm sticking with my $50 Amazon Basics bag until the end

Nov. 17, 2019
5 min read
Amazon Basics luggage 6
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Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that while my desk, bedroom and bathroom are all messy, when it comes to travel packing I am an absolute organization fiend. From high atop my packing cube soapbox I preach, with infinite finesse in the art of carry-on cramming.

So when it came time to move away from my beloved Osprey Farpoint 40 for a bag that had wheels (old age = back problems), I went hunting for the best and cheapest bag I could find. Enter the Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner Luggage, which at 21 inches is

the perfect size to roll through security and shove into nearly any overhead bin while ringing in under $50 — it's a win all around. I've put this bag through its paces and it always comes out ahead.

Related: The 5 best starter travel credit cards

The TL;DR version is: This bag is worth every penny. At 4.5 stars and nearly 4,000 reviews, it's well-tested, durable and features fancy upgrades found in much more expensive bags.

If you're in the market for a suitcase and haven't already bought into the Away suitcase craze (which I very nearly gave into), give this bag a shot. Let's break down why.

The details

For $50, you get a lightweight, expandable hard-sided bag that rolls like a dream. It comes in three different colors and has a number of high-end features:

  • An extra thick ABS shell for durability
  • Scratch resistant finish
  • Securely mounted short handle
  • TSA-approved combination lock
  • 360-degree spinner wheels
  • Interior dividers
  • Three zippered pockets
  • Hidden laundry bag
Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.


I've taken this bag on roughly 10 trips thus far, splitting my time between using it as a carry-on and checking it. So far it's scuff free, though as shown in the images I've taken it certainly shows dust. You'll also notice that once something has been stuck on my bag I never take it off, though that's a personal choice.

Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.
Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.
Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.

Size and space

The Amazon Basics Spinner has a 39-liter capacity, which is just slightly smaller than the Away Carry-On retailing for a slick $225. It has plenty of zippered compartments and easily fits clothes for a week if you're using packing cubes. Its exterior dimensions are 14.9 x 10 x 21.6 inches, which meets industry standard for carry-on suitcases on most airlines.

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Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.
Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.

Compelling features

Though this is an inexpensive bag, it does have one or two nifty things in addition to its excellent interior. One: it has feet on one side, which makes it easy to prop up and keep still when you don't want it rolling around.

Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.
Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.

Two: It also has a TSA-approved lock (which I've never used because if you're needing to steal my leggings that's your own personal problem) that has a number of excellent reviews.

Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.

Overall impression

I was a little miffed to purchase a rolling suitcase, as I've been a longtime advocate of carrying everything I own on my back. However, old age and an increasing litany of laptops have forced me to look into alternatives. The Amazon Basics bag meets the bill: it's durable, has tons of organization and is cheap. What else could you want?

How to buy

Have I sold you on this bag? Then you're in luck, because Amazon offers Prime shipping, which means you can have this baby in your arms in as little as one day. Or, if you tend to pack a little heavier, there are also 26-inch, 30-inch, and multi-piece varieties available at reasonable prices.

Buy: from $50

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Featured image by Image courtesy of Amazon.