As far as premium travel gear brands go, TUMI is right up there. Since 1975 they have been producing high-quality luggage for travelers all over the world.
If you are looking for an upgrade pick or a super stylish luggage that lasts then Tumi is definitely the way to go.
Luxurious, fashionable, well-designed, functional are some of the words that perfectly define TUMI’s product range.
TUMIs are also on the pricier side so comparing & researching are that much more important. There are many features like the TUMI tracer that are common to all our picks which is pretty handy as well.
6 Best TUMI luggage
Not sure which TUMI suitcase to opt for? Not to worry. We’ve listed some of the best items that TUMI has to offer in 2018. Everything from their well-designed carry-on luggage to elegant garment bags are covered on our list.
1. Alpha 2 - 29"
- Not lightweight
- Expansion mechanism could be simpler
If you are looking for a checked luggage option by TUMI then the Alpha 2 we think is the best way to go. This is certainly one of the most robust suitcases we’ve seen from any brand. Even though its description portrays it as being ideally suited for medium trips, the Alpha 2 is awesome for long vacations as well as shorter trips.
Size: 13” x 20.1” x 28.9”
Weight: 17.2 pounds
Durability. This is probably the hallmark of the TUMI Alpha 2. It’s made from premium quality ballistic nylon which is almost completely abrasion proof & resistant to wear. The luggage features TUMI’s special FXT Ballistic Nylon which has a unique weave and is tougher than ones you see on many other regular suitcases. The exterior has a couple of pockets for storing easy access items. This is more useful than usual, considering the robust frame makes it hard to access your items without unzipping the suitcase almost all the way down.
It’s quite common, especially among hard side cases, to see the corners dented when the luggage hits the wall of the baggage carousel hard. This is something you don’t have to worry about with the Alpha 2 as the heavy-duty stitching and impact resistant caps on the corners make this one of the strongest frames we’ve seen. Another thing we were extremely impressed by which other users mentioned as well, is that this luggage rolls extremely smoothly.
The telescopic handles & zippers work well and there haven’t been any reports of issues with them by users. What they did, however, have trouble with is the expansion system. You can gain an extra 2 inches by expanding the Alpha 2 through a clipping mechanism which is more robust than the traditional zippered expansion. You essentially eliminate the expansion section getting stuck through faulty zippers but the mechanism can take a bit of getting used to.
The interiors are elegant, contain many pockets for keeping your items organized. It comes with a bag for your suit, if you decide to use the Alpha 2 on frequent business trips. And there is a clasping mechanism that’s horizontal instead of vertical (seen on most suitcases) to prevent your stuff from moving everywhere. It comes with a luggage tag which is the same color as the bag which is not ideal considering you want something that stands out.
Depending upon how you like to travel, there is one downside with the Alpha 2 and that is to do with its weight. It comes in at about 17 pounds despite making use of ballistic nylon, which can easily put you above weight limits if you pack it fully & utilize its expansion features. This is essentially a tradeoff for the ultra-durable frame. Considering for most folks this is an investment for the long term we don’t think it’s too much of a tradeoff especially if you expect it to last a lifetime.
2. V3 - 22"
- Can accumulate dents if you happen to check this in
The V3 international expandable carry-on is one of the more durable hard-side cases we’ve come across. This nifty carry-on has elegant interiors with plenty of packing space for even a 4 day-long trip.
Weight: 7.48 lbs.
Size: 22” x 15.75” x 9”
The V3 is quite different from the Voyageur Oslo which is an under seater option. This hard side offering by TUMI has a number of positives including being one of the smoothest rolling hard side cases we’ve ever tested. The dual wheels give this a lot of stability even on rough surfaces. The exterior is made from polycarbonate which is not too different from the exteriors on other high-end hard side cases. Meaning it can still accumulate scratches. Structurally the frame is quite sound though, this is something that really is the difference between a cheaper alternative & the premium TUMI offering.
The interiors are black as is the case with many signature Tumi interiors. There are plenty of pockets for organization on the top section & in the sides of the main packing area. You can very easily pack 4 days to even a weeks’ worth of clothing in this if you have your packing A-game on.
Unlike the Alpha 2, this employs a more traditional zippered expansion method. Even after expansion, you can take this aboard most US airlines for domestic travel purposes. This is a big positive considering the investment one needs to make for this suitcase. The handle is 3 stage which makes it comfortable for shorter & taller people or to tie a travel pillow or another bag above it.
Overall, despite TUMI’s warranty being excellent & the durability of the V3 being quite good, some folks tend to opt for models like that B&R baseline. Considering it’s a soft side option and of a similar price tag. The V3 in our opinion is probably the 2nd best hard side offering by TUMI after the (larger versions) Tegra Lite of course.
3. Voyageur Oslo - 15.5"
- The laptop pouch is too small for most laptops
- Packing capacity is a bit low
- A bit heavy for such a small carry-on
The Oslo from TUMI’s voyageur collection is a high quality under seater carry-on option that will add to your 1st class business travel experience. This stylish bag comes in a couple of variants & can perfectly complement the Voyageur Capri crossbody bag.
Size: 7.5” x 14” x 16”
Weight: 7.9 lbs.
As far as overnight bags go, the Oslo sure doesn’t disappoint from its highly fashionable look to its premium quality interiors this bag has plenty to offer. Speaking of the interiors, there are a couple of zippered pockets in the front & main compartment along with a padded laptop pocket & a section for keeping your files. The front of the bag has a couple of easy access pockets too which are a boon.
This bag, like every single one on our list, rolls extremely well. Certainly a testament to TUMI’s quality that their suitcases all roll smoothly without falling off or being difficult to navigate. It comes with an adjustable telescopic handle which is quite long and you can attach another bag on top of this one which makes moving around so much more comfortable.
A couple of niggling issues were reported by a number of users. These were more to do with the fact that laptops that are larger than 13.5” don’t tend to fit in the designated laptop pouch. A workaround many users recommended is to use the front section (meant for your laptop) & place your tablet or other documents in the laptop pocket section. The laptop section is padded and offers good protection for your device (if it fits in there). The 2nd issue is that we found the zippers to be a tad tight initially. They do loosen over time but rough use initially can cause issues.
TUMI’s suitcases are not really known for how lightweight they are but this one is just over 7 pounds which is quite heavy for most carry-ons let alone an under seater option. That said the packing capacity isn’t this luggage’s strong point. You should just about be able to fit 1-2 days’ worth of stuff into it. Additionally, if you happen to carry an extra pair of shoes it can really eat up a lot of space.
4. Tegra Lite - 29"
- Scratch & scuff marks are visible
The Tegra lite by TUMI is an ultra-durable hard side suitcase made from TEGRIS a cutting-edge woven polypropylene thermoplastic material that is designed to compete with super expensive carbon fibre. The TUMI Tegra is currently the only suitcase in the market that uses TEGRIS and it comes with a number of interesting features for those who want a hard side that lasts.
Weight: 16.75 lbs
Size: 29” x 20” x 13”
First up, the Tegra lite is one of the rare hard side cases that has a front pocket where you can store easy access items which is a positive for us and many users about. Staying on the exterior, the suitcase is available in a couple of variants and both are aesthetically quite stunning. (At least initially) The corners are well padded and some elements have a nice leather finish which is the exclamation point essentially. There are plenty of handles all round so picking this case up from the carousel is a cinch.
The interiors are lined and designed well with plenty of organizational room and mesh straps for keeping your folded clothes in place. There is a removable garment sleeve & hanger brackets for your suits if you decide to use this for longer business trips. This case also uses dual wheels like many others on our list & the spinners (you guessed it) do roll quite well. The handles can be extended to different sizes, although we found them to be a tad thin for a case of this size.
Long-term durability is always the issue with polycarbonate & ABS cases which is why it’s quite common to see many folks recommend a soft side option if you want something that lasts a lifetime. This suitcase is relatively light compared to other TUMI cases and still a tad heavier than many mainstream options that are designed to last just for the medium term.
A couple of issues with the Tegra lite that tends to make users think, is the price & the fact that the exterior still accumulates scratch marks. Despite being structurally robust, aesthetically it can show wear like regular ABS/ polycarbonate options. The glossy finish on the TUMI Tegra lite holds it back on that front. Aesthetics & quality are some of TUMI’s main strong points but when one of them is compromised the high price is another that can be an issue.
5. Merge - 31"
- Aesthetically more reserved when compared to other TUMIs
The TUMI Merge extended trip case is an aesthetically modest option that is ideal if you intend to travel for longer periods. This case has a whopping 123L capacity and plenty of premium features that help you stay organized throughout your journey.
Size: 31” x 20” x 13”
Weight: 13.01 lbs.
The merge extended trip case maybe underwhelming design wise to some but its highly functional. This is something we liked very much. This is also one of the lighter TUMIs around coming in at just over 13 pounds. Considering its size, weight & practical elements the merge is perfect for those looking for the quality that comes with the TUMI brand and pure functionality.
The suitcase is made from Ballistic Nylon and is expandable as well which is quite rare for a 31” suitcase. The handle does seem a little thin compared to the sheer size of the luggage but it definitely holds up & enables the suitcase to roll easily. The handle is adjustable and is made from lightweight aluminum.
There are plenty of zippered compartments including a zippered access to the main compartment itself. There are a couple of mesh pockets on the lid of the suitcase, hanging zip compartments, hanger brackets & compression straps too. The mesh compression straps do a better job of keeping your clothes in place when compared to the simple buckle straps seen on most luggage in the market. The 2 easy access pouches in the front are handy.
Overall, it’s hard to go wrong when opting for the TUMI merge especially for extended trips. The Carry on version is also something we recommend looking at, if you want your TUMI to be a few lbs lighter than the ones we’ve gone with above.
6. Alpha 2 - Garment Bag
- A sturdier handle would help
- Hangers don’t come with the bag
The 2nd member from the Alpha 2 family on our list is an extended trip garment bag. Made from Ballistic Nylon this bag has plenty of storage room for all your items which in our opinion, makes this one of the best garment bags in the market & not just by TUMI.
Size: 24 x 25.5 x 13 inches
Weight: 17.2 lbs.
The bag comes with a number of features like the TUMI tracer common to all our picks, luggage tags & well-built sturdy wheels. There are hanger brackets for your suits & dresses and mesh tie-down straps that ensure your clothes stay wrinkle free. From the off, we felt that this was an extremely well-thought-out design. In case, the bag gets bulky as you pack, there are side handles which will help you carry it in and out of your car with ease.
This garment bag also has a couple of zippered pouches to store items like toiletries. Other than a bag for your toiletries, one of the external pouches is also waterproof which helps you store wet/ damp items. This is a huge positive for us since it’s quite common to wind up with a wet pair of socks or hand towels when you are constantly on the move. There is also a separate zippered section to store your shoes which doesn’t interfere with your clothing. A feature like this is what we thought was lacking on the Oslo carry-on for example.
The downsides of the Alpha 2 garment bag are more to do with the price, & the design of the handle. Whilst the handle is adjustable it’s not very sturdy which has a domino effect on how well the garment bag can roll. The dual wheels are great and can navigate most surfaces, the long handle coupled with a fully packed bag can make it a bit tedious to turn even on smooth surfaces.
The 2nd niggling attribute mentioned by users is that this bag is quite heavy, despite being made from Ballistic Nylon (which is usually quite light) it comes in at over 17 pounds. Considering that the bag is more likely to be checked in and the limited packing capacity on offer, we felt that this was a non-issue as it’s quite difficult to reach the 50-pound limit with your everyday packing items. The price on the other hand, despite its fantastic organizational elements & design we felt, is pretty steep even for TUMI.
Criteria We Used for Evaluation
TUMI makes a wide variety of world-class luggage tailored for different segments and usage purposes. Some are for overnight stays, some are designed to help you travel for months on end. To figure out which are the best we had to look beyond just how stylish a luggage was.
Our in-depth research was conducted with the following criteria in mind to determine the list of the best TUMI luggage worth investing in.
Design & Ease of Use:
The TUMIs do come stacked with a whole lot of premium features & the ease with which these mechanisms can be used over a long period of time will determine how long the suitcase lasts for a consumer. We looked for the latest trendy designs as well, when picking our list. Style is important if you decide to opt for a TUMI and we picked suitcases where we think style & practicality didn’t get in the way of each other.
Q: What size should I opt for?
A: Depending on the duration of your trips this can vary. We would recommend the following:
Under seater/ Smaller Carry on – Overnight or day trips
Carry-on (21”- 22” – 1 to 4 days)
Medium Checked (24-26” – A couple of weeks to a month)
Large Checked (28 – 31” – Extended holidays/ months)
These recommendations are mainly for TUMI luggage owners as they do come with premium features making them heavier. On other budget suitcases, one can fit even a weeks’ worth on some carry-ons, for example.
Quality of Zippers, Handles, Wheels:
The importance of having good zippers can never be underestimated. Even one coming lose at the main compartment section can be catastrophic. TUMI’s build quality is exceptional and we looked for how these suitcases last during short, long & medium trips. The OMEGA closure system employed on all our picks ensures the puller breaks away from the bag if the zipper ever gets caught. There were some bags in the TUMI line that had sluggish zippers which we tried to avoid on our list.
Handles are also quite important which is another reason we went with the V3 as the carry-on option rather than the Tegra lite which does have handle durability issues after a couple of years. The different heights at which the handle can be adjusted to was also important to us not just the fact that it can be adjusted to 3 levels. We looked similarly at the wheels and picked models which tended to roll exceptionally well.
We were looking at not only the TSA luggage locks & luggage tags provided but at whether hangers came with the garment bags or had to be purchased separately. The garment bag is further down the list since the hangers have to be bought separately which can add to the cost. It might seem like a small investment relative to the actual bag but it definitely matters. We noted things like this as & when we were choosing.
The add-a-bag strap that TUMI provides for instance & its quality is something we looked at closely. A good point of comparison for you would be the Travelon Bungee which is one of the best around. The availability of such items is also a factor we considered.
TUMI’s product quality is certainly top notch but their warranty program is also worth taking a closer look at. TUMI’s customer service is fantastic, which is a strong point but their warranty program can differ from others like Briggs & Riley that cover airline damage for the lifetime of the bag. TUMI’s limited warranty covers you for at least 5 years and they do cover airline damage as well for the 1st year. (at the time of writing) This is certainly not an issue but it’s something worth noting for prospective buyers especially considering the steep price tag.