The Ridge Carry-On Review
The Ridge Carry-On offers durability and a smooth ride with enough organization to get your gear to your destination without becoming a jumbled mess.
- The durable and lightweight hard shell looks sleek
- No issues with the hardware, handles, or wheels
- The internal organization works well without taking up too much space
- Only two options for height adjustment on the telescopic handle
- Paint is chipping on the zipper pulls
- It’s easy to see the smart tracker pocket as soon as you open the bag
There’s a chance you didn’t know that The Ridge made anything other than their ever-popular minimalist wallets. Well, now you know, and we’re about to dive into a review of their Hardshell Carry-On luggage! Let’s get into it!
The outer shell of this carry on is crafted from German Makrolon Polycarbonate, a specific brand that makes durable, lightweight polycarbonate. It’s a common material for luggage, and it works well in this iteration. It hasn’t gotten too scraped or scuffed up, which is essential for longevity. While we want it to last a long time, it’s even better if it can do so while looking good.
All the corners without wheels have aluminum reinforcement, which also helps with durability. In our experience, the corners are the most likely area to get banged up, so this addition is helpful. Some bags have reinforced corners that use a thicker polycarbonate, but we prefer aluminum because it’s more durable. We were initially worried it might chip easily, but it hasn’t happened so far. Check the usage timeline below to see how it holds up!
The Ridge Carry-On’s front face has two hard plastic runners that help protect the shell and the bag’s look. They’re slightly raised to keep it from resting directly on the polycarbonate if you check the bag or have it sitting at the bottom of a bus while you tour Italy. This adds a layer of protection and ensures it doesn’t get scuffed up as much as it would otherwise. The back side doesn’t have this feature, so stow it on the front if you have a choice!
Four colorways are available at the time of writing: Matte Olive, Basecamp Orange, Alpine Navy, and Royal Black. Despite only offering four options, they cover a lot of ground. Matte Olive is earthy, Basecamp Orange is vibrant and saturated, and Alpine Navy and Royal Black are sleek.
No matter which colorway you opt for, there’s a black carbon fiber logo plate on the front face. On the colorful options, it contrasts nicely, and on the sleek ones, it blends in.
The zippers on this bag are from YKK, and we’re here for it. YKK is the best in the business, at least at the time of writing, and we trust them more than almost any other hardware brand. Operating the zipper on this carry on is smooth and easy. The pulls, which appear to be aluminum, have started to chip slightly. It isn’t too unsettling, but it’s worth noting.
There’s a locking mechanism on the track, too. This isn’t a wholesale theft blocker but a deterrent to stop unfriendly hands from getting inside quickly. If somebody wants your bag or to get inside, they can still nab it or break the zipper. That said, they’re more likely to go for one without locking zippers instead because it’s easier. You can set your code, too, which is fun!
The bag has two carry handles, which is helpful. There’s one on the top and another on the side, both made with comfortable rubberized plastic. There isn’t any padding or aeration, but you don’t often carry your luggage by these handles for extended periods. They’re designed to sit flat when you aren’t using them, which can make grabbing hold of them harder but makes them less likely to catch onto something or look raggedy when not in use. Overall, it’s a solid addition.
We’ll review the telescopic handle in-depth later, but it’s worth commenting on its comfort here. It’s crafted from rubberized plastic and forms a mesh-like pattern, which is helpful for grip and comfort. You can hang onto it easily, even with wet hands or gloves.
You have better control of the wheels because you can get such a solid grip on the handle. There are four on this bag—all 360° spinning wheels so that you can push this bag along on four feet or pull it on two. The wheels feel durable and have handled every terrain we’ve thrown at them, including the floor of a hotel and escalator, a brick road, and concrete and asphalt in the city.
Before we go any further, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t carry on sized by most airline’s standards. It’s a smidge larger than many companies will allow (check out our carry-on compliance rating at the top of this page for the specifics); however, depending on the airline, you might get some leeway in getting it on board. That said, bringing a pack that is too large can run the risk of getting $100+ fees at the gate and not fitting into the overhead bin. Keep that in mind!
The suitcase stands well on its own—so much so that you can sit on it if you want to. It isn’t the most comfortable chair, but it hits the spot after a day of traveling. The walls, wheels, and components are durable, so you don’t have to worry about them busting while wheeling it down the street, no matter where you’re headed.
In our experience, it rolls better on two wheels than on four. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t do well when you drop it into four-by-four; it’s just that two-wheel drive mode operates very smoothly and without as much friction.
There are two adjustable heights on the telescopic handle, which may leave something to be desired for some travelers, especially if you fall into a middle height or have short or long arms. Pressing the button is easy, and getting to the two pre-adjusted heights is quick. It’s an excellent size to fit through a daypack or travel backpack’s luggage passthrough, which is handy.
In our experience, it works well for most uses, but it isn’t a perfect fit for every traveler. If you’re super particular about how high your telescopic handle goes, you might want to choose a different bag.
Inside The Carry On Luggage
The zipper track has two heads, so you can place them anywhere that you want to. However, the lock is on the longest edge of the track near the top corner, so that’s the natural place to leave them.
The bag opens like a clamshell. Once open, it looks like a rectangular butterfly, which is fun. It can be challenging to open the bag, especially in transit, because the sides can get heavy. It’s a little clunky and lacks external pockets, so you have to store everything inside. This is where a travel daypack or a sling comes in handy.
The interior consists of the backside of the polycarbonate material we mentioned earlier and 200D fabric. It’s lightweight and easy to move around, but it isn’t the most durable material.
Once it’s open, there are two equal-depth sides to work with.
On the left, there’s a large zippered compartment where you can stow a lot of clothing. There’s no organization inside, but there’s plenty of space. Because it’s such a large area, we recommend using packing cubes and other organizers to make tracking of all your clothing easier. That said, because of the zippered closure, you don’t need to use alternative organization methods if you don’t want to. We like carry on luggage without much built-in organization. While you can add segmentation with packing cubes and other pouches, you can’t remove permanently attached pockets you don’t intend to use.
The lid has some goodies, too. There’s another zippered pocket here, which works well for smaller items like socks, underwear, maps, and a book. You shouldn’t put anything too heavy here because you’ll need to lift it to access the compartment we just went over.
There’s a small GPS pocket on the flap for a device like an Apple AirTag. We aren’t so sure about the placement choice because it’s obvious when you first open the pack. If it were to get stolen, the thief would likely see it immediately. Still, it’s nice to have so that you know your luggage made it on board if you check the bag.
Moving over to the right side, we’ve got more organization to work with.
This side relies on compression. A large rectangular panel is attached to the bag with two adjustable straps. You can remove it easily, but it helps fit more clothing into the bag.
To utilize this feature, flip the panel over to see the bottom of the bag and stow clothing, packing cubes, shoes, or anything else you want to bring on your trip. Then, replace the panel on top of the stowed gear. The rectangle even has a zipper so you can put things inside. Small or flat items, such as socks, underwear, a book, or a notebook, are the only things that do well here. One side of the panel is mesh, so you can see what’s inside, and the other is liner, which protects it from whatever you’ve stowed behind it.
After you’ve replaced and loaded the panel, secure it down using the two compression straps. It’s easy to fasten and will help you save space inside the bag. If you didn’t pack a ton or are a stellar compressor, you might have some room for extra goodies on top of the divider. If that’s the case, you’ll have to open and close the bag with the telescopic handle side on the floor; otherwise, your gear might tumble out as you open it.
Overall, this carry on luggage feels like a solid contender. It isn’t doing anything revolutionary, but it has valuable storage options, a durable shell to keep your gear safe, and rolls comfortably from the airport to the city. Plus, it’ll match any other gear from The Ridge you own, which is a bonus for some of you!
- The exterior is durable and has a nice texture
- We dig the internal organization, but we’re amped to try it while traveling
- The hardware appears to be top-notch quality
- No issues with the external materials getting scuffed up
- The wheels are smooth despite moving better in two-wheel mode
- The internal organization is easy to use but doesn’t get in your way, which we dig