SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 Expandable Carry On 21″ Luggage Review

The soft SWISSGEAR Sion Expandable Carry On Spinner has exterior pockets and nicely rolling wheels, though the slightly wiggly handle only stops at two points.

Our Verdict

7.4 /10
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  • External pockets for travel essentials give you access to gear on the go
  • Very thickly padded carry handles
  • Bucket design makes it easy to live out of on a trip


  • TPU bag lacks water-resistant zipper, increasing the risk of leaks reaching your gear
  • Can get a little tippy, especially with a daypack on the trolley handle
  • Loose threads throughout the bag concern us as to long-term durability

Technical Details

1 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 1/145 Airlines

  • Weight (lb)

    8 lb (3.6 kg)

  • Dimensions

    22.75 in x 14.25 in x 10.25 in (57.8 x 36.2 x 26 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Polyester, Plastic

  • Manufacturing Country


Full Review

Has this ever happened to you? You decide to travel carry on only and fill your bag to the brim with the gear you need, only to realize that there’s no space left for the odds and ends you might pick up along the way. That’s where rolling carry on luggage like the SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner comes into play. You can pack it up for your trip and then undo a second zipper to gain more than an inch of extra packing space at the top of the bag, which means you’ll have space for a new T-shirt, hat, or whatever else you decide you can’t leave vacation without. Of course, that may take it out of carry on compliance for your airline, as it’s already walking the line for most airlines (or, more likely, over the line), so that’s something you’ll want to consider before overpacking. Still, it’s nice to have options, especially if you plan to check a bag or take a road trip.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage in Use
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | Check to see if it meets the carry on requirements before you board.

With soft polyester sides, two exterior pockets, and 360-degree spinning wheels, is it a bag you’ll want to take on a trip? Our team of testers took it on a trip to Florida, along with two other pieces of carry on spinner luggage, for a direct comparison. How did it stack up against those rollers and all the other luggage we’ve tested over the years? It’s time to find out!

External Components

The SWISSGEAR Sion collection of suitcases comes in several different sizes, colors, and sets, but we’re checking out the 21-inch piece today, which the brand labels “carry on.” Now, we’re not sure where some of these brands get their dimensions, but a quick peek at our handy carry on compliance chart at the top shows that this bag complies with the carry-on requirements of exactly one—you read that right, one—airline: Cayman Airways. Apparently, they are quite permissible on that airline. For the vast majority of major carriers, it’s at least three-quarters of an inch too tall, a quarter inch too wide, and an inch-and-a-quarter too deep, even without the expansion engaged.

Now, we had no issue carrying it onto Delta Airlines in the U.S., and the gate agents didn’t bat an eye, but we boarded early in the process. Plus, Delta is notoriously permissible (as of the time of this review), so your experience will likely vary, especially when flying on a stricter budget or international airline. That doesn’t mean you should pass on this luggage; it just means that you should be prepared to pay to check it if required, either before arriving at the airport or at the gate.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Tag
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | Fill out the card to reconnect with your bag if you leave it behind.

If you do let it out of your sight, you may be happy to know that there’s a built-in ID tag on the back of the bag. It’s a simple slip pocket made with a leather-like material that includes a card to fill out with your information. Business cards also fit in here if you want to pop one inside and avoid filling out a card. Whatever you slide inside may help you reconnect with your bag if you somehow leave it behind in the restroom or have so many bags that you forget to grab it off the carousel. The same leather-like material (which, FYI for vegans, is not actually leather) also reinforces the back edge of the bottom of the bag to protect it from splashes should you have to roll through a puddle. If you must, pull it behind you on two wheels as it only protects the back two from dirt and moisture; the front two sit against the polyester material of the rest of the bag.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Logo
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | The polyester material is holding up well through travel.

Even though it exceeds the allowable dimensions, we had no issue fitting it into the overhead bin, and there are no scrapes or scuffs to show that it bumped up against the bin door or was otherwise a tight fit. Much of that is due to the polyester material used for this soft-sided bag. While there are many loose threads around the bag, the fabric has held up well and looks exactly the same as when we unboxed it.

SWISSGEAR spells out that the polyester material is scuff-resistant, which is not something we can say for some hard-sided luggage we’ve tested, so in this case, it’s soft side for the win. However, we didn’t have to check this bag; if you do, the fabric could get damaged when it’s outside your control. Although that’s a chance you’ll have to take, we wanted to warn you.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Top
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | The top carry handle is the nicest to hold, though probably the one you’re least likely to use for long.

The same fabric wraps around the top carry handle, which is thickly padded and extends and retracts when you grab it or let it go to lay somewhat flat against the top of the bag. The side handle is different; it’s less thickly padded and attached on each side with webbing straps.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Side Handle Close
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | The side handle isn’t as cushy.

We’re not thrilled about this decision for two reasons: first, why put the comfier handle on the top when, if you have to carry the bag long-term, you’re more likely to use the side handle to get it higher off the ground? Secondly, we know from experience that webbing straps can degrade when stored in hot places, like garages or attics, where many people store bulky luggage like this. Putting a handle that’s less likely to stand the test of time in the place where you’re more likely to need it seems silly, and we wish that, if SWISSGEAR wasn’t going to make them both as nice as the top handle, they swapped the styles so the sturdier handle was where we need it most.

There’s a third carry handle on the bottom of the bag. It’s similar to the side handle, as it’s connected with webbing straps, but it lays closer to the bag so that it doesn’t drag on the ground as you roll. While it may seem odd to have a handle here, it’s great for pulling your bag out of the overhead bin if you push it up handle-first. Also, before moving on, we want to mention that four small feet stick out of the left side of the bag (the side opposite the side carry handle). They’re very small but still hold the bag steady if you set it on its side.

Most of the time you’ll be using the telescoping handle at the top, though; this is rolling luggage, after all, and we’re not going to bend down to roll it via the carry handle. This one is plastic, with a very clickable button to extend or retract. It only has two height adjustments, so you’ll need to figure out which works best for you and go from there. It’s also a bit wobbly when extended; it doesn’t feel like it will break at any moment, but it has more play than other bags we’re testing.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Zipper Pull
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | It’s easy to know which zipper to pull when you want to expand the bag.

SWISSGEAR doesn’t use any brand of zippers that we’re familiar with, although they seem durable enough, and we’ve had no issue with them throughout the testing period. The main compartment zippers include holes through which you can slide a travel lock like this one from SWISSGEAR if you need to secure your gear. The zipper pulls are all large, easy-to-grab metal pulls with the SWISSGEAR cross logo, except for the expansion zipper. It’s a ring-style pull printed with the word “expand,” so you know exactly what will happen when you pull it. While it has SWISSGEAR printed on it, we’re starting to see this style of zipper on many pieces of expandable carry on luggage, and we’re here for it as it takes the guesswork out of what will happen when you pull on a specific zipper.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Wheels
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | The wheels spin easily over many surfaces.

The wheels on this spinner are thicker, single wheels that rotate in all directions so you can push the bag however you need. The only issue we have with them is that they seem to collect hair, which wraps around the wheel bolt. While this hasn’t affected our usage yet, we can see where it could become a problem over time, especially for those who have or live with a long-haired partner. They attach to the bag with sturdy plastic arms set into large plastic bumpers along each corner of the bag. It seems like a sturdier attachment than some other methods, and they work well rolling over stamped concrete, smooth floors, cobblestones, and other surfaces. Depending on the pile of the carpeting, however, we had to swap rolling on four wheels for pulling it behind us on two. Once we did, though, we had no issue keeping up with our party.

Fit Notes

Maybe it’s because many business travelers carry SWISSGEAR travel daypacks to and from the office, but the Sion Expandable Carry On Spinner gives off professional vibes. That’s not a ding against its aesthetics; it’s just to say that it has a utilitarian, no-nonsense feel. If you’re looking for a bit of flair, you can get it in colorways that range from bright Teal, Blue, and Burgundy to more understated Black or Dark Gray, which we’re testing. The trim, zippers, and wheels are black in all colors, but you can pick your favorite hue if you’re trying to match another piece of luggage or make it easier to spot on the carousel.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage in Use 2
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | The Dark Gray colorway blends in with other travelers.

However, if you’re trying to blend in with the crowd as you roll through the airport, you can certainly do so with this luggage. You can keep up with other travelers, as well, since it rolls super smoothly on four wheels, especially on slick surfaces like the floor of most airports. It is ever-so-slightly slower than some other bags we’ve tested (which spun so fast they could practically run away), but it still doesn’t take any effort to roll or pull along until you get to thick carpeting or rougher surfaces. Then it requires just a tiny bit more effort. We have no issue rounding corners, even when trying to keep up with our friends as they run for the gate.

While waiting to board the plane, the bag stands nicely on its own, even when fully packed with the front two pockets loaded. We’ve had experience with other rolling carry on luggage that gets a bit front-heavy when we use all the organizational features, so we were happy to find that wasn’t the case with this bag. However, sliding a travel daypack over the trolley handle can change this, especially if that bag is full. Larger backpacks tend to take up all the space on top of the spinner and then some, which makes it top- and front-heavy and can cause it to topple if you’re not careful. Smaller personal item bags do just fine sitting atop the Sion, however. It can also become an issue if you engage the expansion zipper and add more gear to the bag, so keep your heavier gear near the bottom and back of the luggage to balance it out if you do.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Telescopic Handle 2
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | There are only two height adjustment levels for the handle.

The handle height adjustment is okay for most users. Taller team members don’t have an issue, but some of us on the shorter side wish there were just one more stop to keep the handle more comfortably by your side. It’s just a hair too tall if you’re on the shorter side of average, and noticeably too tall if you’re shorter than average, so you may want to pull it behind you instead if that feels more comfortable for you.

Inside The Carry On Luggage

If you’ve read many of our other rolling carry on luggage reviews, you may know why we’re excited to reach this section, where we discuss secondary pockets.

Unlike most hard-sided luggage, soft-sided suitcases often have exterior pockets for smaller gear. Why is that helpful? Well, if a TSA officer asks you to pull out your 3-1-1 bag for inspection, for example, you’re not stuck opening your entire bag and risking everyone seeing your unmentionables just to get it out (if, say, you weren’t thinking and packed them on top!). On the other hand, depending on the size of the external pocket, you can pack it there, making it accessible and keeping it apart from your clothing in case everything goes wrong all at once and there’s a spill. More on that later …

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Pockets
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | You can pack quick-access items in the front pockets.

In the case of the SWISSGEAR Sion Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage, the top pocket is the right size for a small clear bag for liquid toiletries, so you can pop it in there so you can pull it out if needed. It’s also a good size for your phone, travel wallet, and keys if you’re not carrying a separate sling or other personal item bag. Unlike traveling with luggage that lacks these pockets, you don’t actually have to bring a second bag since you can empty the contents of your pockets into accessible places on the suitcase. There’s a second, larger pocket below it, as well, where you could put the 3-1-1 bag instead and still have room for other gear, like a few snacks and a book or Nintendo Switch to stay busy while waiting to board.

We had no issue traveling sans sling on our trip to Florida because of these pockets. We simply used them to hold items we needed on the plane and pulled the book and snacks out before putting the spinner in the overhead compartment. We put our phone and wallet in our pockets throughout the vacation and didn’t carry much else. Every trip is different, but you can see how this can streamline your travel experience.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Pocket Interior
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | A large mesh pocket spans the front panel.

The inside of the carry on spinner is even more organized for holding your gear in place. When you unzip the bag, you’ll find a bucket-like interior for most of your gear. The lid has a large mesh zipper pocket that we find works well to hold small tech, like chargers and cords, or slim gear like socks and underwear. There’s another mesh zipper pocket along the left side of the bag. We didn’t use that section since our clothing blocks access to it, but it’s a good spot to stick a smart tracker or extra cash—anything you don’t need to get at very often.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Main
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | Clothing or packing cubes can block access to this side pocket.

At the top of the bag is a TPU zipper pouch. It snaps into place, resting on your packing cubes and clothing in the main compartment. While we appreciate the inclusion of a built-in bag for our liquid toiletries or other damp gear, we have two issues with it. First, the waterproof nature of the material is negated by the fact that it has an ordinary zipper to close it. That leads to the second issue, which is that if we leave it attached where it is at the top and a liquid leaks inside and also makes its way out of the zipper or the bag springs a leak, it will get all over your clothing, which is not the surprise you want waiting for you when you open the bag.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Pouch
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | An included pouch holds damp gear above your clothing in the main compartment.

Of course, you can unsnap it and stick it in the front pocket or use it for gear that won’t leak.

The rest of the main compartment is a large open space. There are two horizontal compression straps to hold things in place, which you can use as designed or crisscross in an X-shape, whichever holds your clothing or packing cubes better. The buckles are unbranded but work well, and we had no issues tightening and loosening the straps as needed to keep everything from shifting around during travel.

As with most rolling luggage, you’ll have to pack strategically around the channels where the telescoping handle protrudes, and you’ll have to reach into the corners with this bag, as well, since the opening isn’t the exact size of the bag. However, we had no issue packing for a weeklong warm weather trip. If you’re not using packing cubes, we recommend putting small items like socks and underwear in the channels on the bottom and then layering tops and bottoms over the top of the newly created flat space.

SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage Stuffed
SWISSGEAR Sion 6283 21″ Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage | Compression straps hold your gear in place.

Since all the depth is on the bottom half of the bag, it fits nicely on a luggage rack, and that’s where we kept it on a recent vacation. Unlike hard-side luggage, which takes up double the space when it’s open, the Sion Expandable Carry On Spinner sits nicely on a rack, leaving our clothing easy to access throughout a trip. There’s not always a place to unpack, and you may not always want to, so we appreciate the ability to live out of the suitcase if need be. That also makes this bag better for vacations when you may be bouncing from place to place since you don’t necessarily need to unpack to get at your gear. But whether you’re planning to move from rental house to hotel to cruise ship or spend your entire vacation all in one spot, we think the Sion Expandable Carry On Spinner Luggage is a good travel companion.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Material seems very durable
  • Seems like a good amount of organization
  • A few loose threads around the bag
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Easy to use on a trip because of bucket-like main compartment
  • The side pocket is very large for something that will be blocked by clothing
  • Like the exterior pockets for going through the airport
By Kristyne Defever
Created May 17, 2024 • Updated May 17, 2024
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