Rimowa Essential Lite 2021 carry-on review
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- Lightweight hand luggage is essential for flights with strict weight limits.
- Rimowa is a premium luggage brand, perhaps best known for its aluminum carry-on luggage.
- But at just under five pounds, the Rimowa Essential Lite is one of the brand’s best luggage options.
Premium luggage brand Rimowa is probably best known for their eye-catching aluminum suitcases that you may have seen carrying celebrities from Julianne Moore to the Kardashians. However, it’s Rimowa’s Essential Lite polycarbonate carry-on that really stands out.
Ultra-light, durable and available in bright and eye-catching colors, the suitcase offers plenty of storage space while making it much easier to meet tight airline weight limits.
After testing this bag for several months, it will probably become my go-to carry-on for many international trips or trips with interconnected flights on small planes.
Here’s why I was so impressed with the Rimowa Essential Lite suitcase.
Design and specifications
True to its name, the Rimowa Essential Lite is ultra-light. It will fit into just about any standard overhead compartment, including small transport planes and international flights. It also has enough space to make packing for four to five days a breeze.
Made of thin but durable polycarbonate, the Rimowa Essential Lite doesn’t sacrifice quality or durability to achieve its light weight. The carry-on has swivel wheels mounted on ball bearings with padded axles that ensure the suitcase is easy to maneuver and incredibly quiet. It also features KK metal zippers, an adjustable telescopic handle, and a TSA approved lock. The suitcase is resistant to scratches and scuffs.
With a glossy finish and sleek vertical lines, the carry-on is more subtle than Rimowa’s famous aluminum suitcases. It doesn’t come with any extras or premium features either, and some might be surprised that the details are in plastic rather than leather given that this is a luxury travel brand. However, all you can expect from hand luggage, the main purpose of which is to be as light as possible.
In addition to the carry-on size, the Rimowa Lite collection also includes a medium and large plaid size, as well as a children’s carry-on. The case also comes with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty, once registered online.
When the Rimowa Essential Lite was first delivered to my apartment, I actually assumed that a vase that I had ordered around the same time had arrived in an inexplicably large box because it didn’t come to me. had never occurred to me that a suitcase could be this light. Suffice to say that I was immediately impressed.
The polycarbonate material has a bit of play on the top when squeezed and isn’t as thick as other hard-sided bags I own. However, this suitcase is quite sturdy. In fact, its glossy coating prevents it from scratching or marking as easily as similar matte suitcases. For the past six months I have used it on road trips, flights and even to get around when it was thrown in the back of a moving truck and it still looks immaculate.
The wheels are easy to maneuver on any surface I’ve tested, from hardwood to carpet, and they’re super quiet too. While carry-on is fairly straightforward and doesn’t come with extras like a charger or laundry bag, it does come with a chic leather luggage tag.
Of course, the most important part of any carry-on baggage is the compaction capacity. I like that both sides of the inside of the suitcase have a mesh zipper. I find it makes it easier to keep my things secure and organized than the typical one-sided buckle, one-sided zipper system that most hardside carry-ons use. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the suitcase contains more than I initially expected. However, I wish it had a divider with a separate pocket for items like socks and underwear.
Due to the pandemic, I have only used this bag on two flights so far, but lifting it into the overhead compartment was a snap, even when it was full.
What sets the Rimowa Essential Lite apart
The most notable feature of the Essential Lite is its weight. While your typical carry-on bag typically weighs around seven pounds, the Essential lamp weighs less than five pounds. When you take flights with strict weight limits, this is a major advantage. Not only can you take more with you because you don’t sacrifice extra weight for your bag, but it can also save you from having to pay high baggage fees.
The Essential Lite particularly stands out from other Rimowa offerings. The brand is widely known for their shiny and eye-catching aluminum cases, but many other cases from Rimowa are extremely heavy.
In fact, the Essential Lite is almost half the weight of Rimowa’s classic Original Cabin aluminum carry-on, and still over two pounds lighter than the standard Essential carry-on, the other offering in the brand’s polycarbonate. . Surprisingly, the Lite is also able to hold more than either of these two suitcases, which makes the Essential Lite one of Rimowa’s best deals – especially when you factor in that it is also much cheaper (the Original Cabin and the Essential cost $ 1,080 and $ 650 respectively).
Although it is significantly cheaper than most other suitcases from Rimowa, the Essential Lite carry-on is still an expensive suitcase. It also doesn’t come with many of the premium features or extras that one would expect for the hefty price tag. There are no perks like a battery pocket, laundry bag, or garment bag included, and many details are plastic as opposed to leather.
However, all of this is also in large part how it is capable of being one of the lightest rigid carry-ons available.
There is no denying that the Rimowa Essential Lite is an expensive carry-on, even though it is cheaper than most of Rimowa’s other luggage options. However, it is a very durable bag, especially considering its lightness. There are few suitcases on the market that weigh less than five pounds and can hold as much as the Essential Lite. If you frequently take flights on airlines with low or strict weight limits, this bag is definitely worth it, especially when you consider the potential savings on baggage fees.
Benefits: Super light, durable, chic
The inconvenients: Expensive, doesn’t come with a lot of extras