Andiamo going out of business - Look for great deals
Andiamo is the deluxe line of Paragon/Pathfinder, who also make Kirkland luggage for Costco. I do not know if P/P is also going out of business or whether they are just taking the Andiamo line off the market.
The Andiamo luggage is super, repeat super, rugged, especially the totally overbuilt Valoroso line. It is made with a special material where Cordura and Ballistic Nylon are woven together, then silicon coated on the outside and polyurethane coated (3x) on the inside. This makes it rather heavy but also very tear and abrasion resistant as well as water and stain resistant. They also use the molded YKK teeth (not coil) zippers. Tough stuff.
If you remember, when I posted the shoulder bag shoot-out review, I included the Pathfinder TX2 bag. I said it was the most rugged and toughest built bag I had seen. After some extensive travel with it, where the bag was also checked, I stand by that comment. And I add that one can hardly tell the bag has been ever used except the handle grip leather which has softened up very nicely.
So I have seen some VERY good deals and you might even be able to negotiate prices. The normal prices are in the Tumi range or even higher.
CAVEAT: There might be a warranty issue as another thread indicates, particularly if they are going out of business. Still, if the parent company keeps on going the warranty might be honored. Finally, the way these things are built, it is unlikely you will ever have to use the warranty and at those prices it is a no-brainer. I'd look especially for the non-wheeled models because the wheeled models really are quite heavy.
Glad the TX2 is still to your liking. That was one sweet deal, too.
Just to specify: The TX 2 also has three compartments just like the Airboss but only the center compartment opens up completely. I find that the other two still open up wide enough to pack easily.
If you do a google for Andiamo luggage or their individual Bravo and Valoroso lines, you should come up with good results. It literally pays to shop carefully as not all vendors have the discounts yet. But I expect that to roll in soon. Luggageonline and ebags (if my memory is correct) were vendors. Andiamo is not on their brand listing anymore, if that is any indicator. I can imagine they actually sold their stock to other vendors because they don't show any deals, either. Also watch out for stuff to appear on Overstock.com.
So far the best prices I've seen were on luggageandleather.com and on luggageguru.com. Given that they have been in business since 1981 it is strange they are going under. Probably some mismanagement or bad marketing because the products themselves are first rate.
Just thought I'd update with a little info on prices and merchants because these things are not lasting long.
Luggage and Leather out of Houston is a brick and mortar store that is also doing internet business. I ordered a big 28" pullman from them. First class service and prices that were better than anywhere else I found.
They might be getting low on the Andiamo stock so you better hurry. But they also have other brands such as our beloved Briggs and Riley.
If you have a special question, talk to Connor. I dealt with him and he was very good responsive and reliable. I think it's always nice if one can support a smaller store that is competitive even with the big online luggage stores, and still get the better deal.
Just got the Valoroso 28" Pullman SAX in today. It is one huge suitcase built like the proverbial brickhouse. Weight without divider and garment sleeve is 8.1kg=17.85lb. The 28" BR baseline expandable model which is comparable weighs 17lb2oz. So that's only about 10oz difference. Some more comparison points: on the cheap side the ebags 29" getaway bag is 15lb. The Travelpro Plat5 28" model is only 14lb 10oz. The Tumi model is 16lb and 10z.
There are some solutions that are similar in packing volume or outer dimensions which are duffles and rolling poly spinners respectively. These are around 10-12lb. As light as it gets for this size with wheels and a modicum of structure.
However, the Valoroso is a hardcase covered with cloth on five sides. The cover side is so thick and upholstered and has so many layers that one can call the case a hard case for all intents and purposes. So then we can compare to the Samsonite Silh. 11 spinner at 16lb 10oz, The Bric's Pininfarina 30" trolley spinner at 17lb 3oz, the Victorinox Officer's trunk at 17.5lb in alu, or at the high end the Rimowa 28" multi-wheel at 12.2lb.
No matter how you slice it, the Valoroso is one of the heaviest cases. However, from just looking at the thing and checking it out and from having read about how it is constructed and comparing it to Tumi, Rimowa, TP Plat5 and BR (all of which I own and use, too), this beast is the king of the hill.
The material is twice as thick as BR material which is already thicker than Tumi. This is logical since the Valoroso uses a special weave of ballistic 1050d nylon PLUS cordura 1000d nylon.
It is also constructed with many really smart details. What I like best is the removable divider panel that works as a shirt folder and has other pockets, too.
The handle is really excellent. While the TP Plat5 handle is already ergonomically good in my book, this one is even superior and sturdier while being a simpler design. Well done! It is really easy to push and pull the case. All locking positions are very firm and the buttons are easy to operate and well placed.
For the price I paid, around $230, at the source above, this is really a steal. Normal price was $795. I would have gone with the 24 or 26" model but they were already gone.
It's a case to move heavy and fragile things or bulky things because the interior volume is so big and the case is very high. The Rimowa 32 that I have is not good for moving high things because it is only 10" wide. I'd say when the Valoroso is extended it goes to 14", though the literature says 13. You could pack two people for a two week cruise or road trip or for a 2-3 week single destination vacation in this. Expanded it will be right at the max check-in size.
In summary, yes, this is 1-2 pounds heavier than comparable models (essentially Tumi and BR) but the design is even better thought out and detailed and the built quality is superior. If one or two pounds don't matter, this is the case to get if you want something that's very classy and very high quality. I'd recommend it mostly for first class travelers even though I am not one myself, unfortunately.
I also ordered a four pocket duffle which should be here tomorrow. I'll report back.
Last edited by tfar; Aug 3, 09 at 12:41 am..
Reason: corrected nylon typo
Alright, I just received the VD25 Valoroso duffel. Very classic layout. Two big side pockets that can fit a bulky pair of size 9-10 running shoes each. One roomy main compartment with a hanging, zippered mesh bag. One flat front compartment with two elastic pocket dividers. Each side pocket has an additional pocket on the outside. One of them zippered, the other a slip pocket. I'd call this the ideal duffel layout. Hardware and zippers sturdy as hell. The shoulder strap is impressive. Very nice leather and memory foam patch. Super heavy-duty carabiners. Luggage tags inside and outside and even a combination lock. The only strange thing I found was that the bottom of the bag does not have any feet. I'd have suspected the typical five foot arrangement but there are no feet or knobs at all. The Valoroso material is silicone coated on the outside, DWR coated on the inside and the lining is polyurethane coated towards the outside and silicone coated on the inside. There is also a soft foam layer in the bottom of the back but no hard board.
From an engineering standpoint I don't know what makes more sense. To make the material as waterproof as possible, which was done here, but have it lay flat on the ground. Or to elevate the bag's bottom above the ground by giving it feet and a bottom board, yet compromising the material's integrity because the feet have to be pierced through it. Probably they wanted to keep the weight down, too, and they wanted to keep the bag soft. Feet without a bottom board don't make sense.
To get back to where they are manufactured, there is a sticker that says Made in China. So perhaps the Valoroso line was not made in their Philippines factory...? Anyway, as I said before, quality control is what matters, and this is a very well designed and made line.
The bag measures 25x12x12=49 linear inches. This makes it bigger than normal carry-on size. However, the bag is soft and pliable. It does look smaller. I will try to use it as a carry on in September. I bet it won't be a problem.
The Valoroso Armor Cloth is noticeably different, as indicated above. It is not as shiny as BR or Tumi material, though it still has a little luster to it. The threads are much thicker because they are combined of Ballistic AND Cordura. This also makes them feel more like canvas to the touch.
You can tell, I am quite impressed. Happy to have added those pieces to my nerdy bag collection.
Last edited by tfar; Aug 3, 09 at 12:45 am..
Reason: Added to feet paragraph
What do you guys think of their Bravo collection? There seem to be some very good deals on that.
The Bravo collection is basically the same as the Valoroso collection in terms available models. The difference is that in Bravo there are more business type cases available and the materials used are different which also makes Bravo somewhat lighter. The Bravo design is a bit more modern and sleek I find. The Valoroso design is classic luggage design and somewhat inspired by canvas bags with leather applications which makes sense since the material looks and feels a bit like canvas. There are also other colors available in Bravo like Pewter and Mocha which are quite nice.
You can check the differences in construction and material on their website. It's listed in great detail.
Here are some main differences in Bravo:
- no swivel ergogrip handles
- no belting leather
- no armor cloth but 1050d ballistic
- YKK self-repairing coil zippers instead of YKK tooth zippers
All other things including the layout are virtually identical. So, yes, this makes the Bravo series also very interesting.
However, in this case, I might go with the Revolution XT series which was Pathfinder's (same company) top series that came with the same warranty as Andiamo. Again a bit lighter than Bravo but uses 2520 ballistic (same as BR) and a different frame material than Andiamo. Andiamo uses basically Lexan. You can even see how clear and transparent it is when you take the lining away; it's quite cool. Extremely shatter proof which is why car headlights are made out of it. The prices on the XT series are even nicer, as you'll see and there are also interesting colors available among them a metallic grey and a nice, unusual black cherry color.
To add to my little review above, I have to say that the lining is really nice and the honeycomb pattern is cool. But it could be even a bit lighter in color. There is still a bit of the black hole effect despite what they say that the grey color makes it easier to see the contents of the case.
The tooth zippers are sturdy indeed but they are obviously not as smooth as coil zippers. The fat leather velcro flap on the bag of the duffel to attach it to telescope handles is a GREAT idea. Most other luggage types have a slit or sleeve and you have to slide the entire contraption over the extended handle or reach down into the sleeve to pull the handle through it. With this flap style you just cinch the bag to the tele handles. Works like a charm. In addition, within the Valoroso series the duffles have quick lock buckles that have the receiving end made out of cast alu. Looks and works very nice. So the duffel literally snaps into the roller bag quick lock. You can then use the handle for something else. Finally, the roller bags (they call them Pullman) are made so that this buckle is detachable and comes even with an extra adjustable web belt which allows you to use the system on non-Andiamo bags or just an ordinary purse. Just smart.
I just ordered two more pieces in steel color from the source above. They are almost out of stock. When you order, from wherever, don't forget to ask if they can monogram the leather patches for you. Usually that service is free.
I feel like I am single-handedly bailing the company out!
Today I got the last pieces (promise), all in steel grey. I got a rolling tri-fold garment bag (14-22x9 size) , the six pocket carry-on tote and a little toiletry pouch.
First off, I like the steel grey almost better than the black. I had ordered the other two pieces in black so I can mix and match with the rest of my black ballistic luggage. I consider the three new pieces an independent set but they would still look very fashionable even if combined with all black luggage. Of course, for a onebagger this plays no role at all.
The color is hard to describe. It is an anthracite grey about the color of a medium hard pencil stroke on a white sheet of paper. There is an ever so slight blue hue to it. It is darker than in most photos but not as blue or green as in most photos on the web. Also the web photos show the leather parts to be black or almost. They are not black. It is a darker anthracite color and complements the nylon very nicely. On the recommendation of luggageandleather staff I had them monogrammed in silver letters to go with the silver hardware. It makes sense but it is a little flashy for my taste. I might use a black marker to black out those letters again.
The rolling garment bag flies in the face of light packing but is an exceedingly stylish piece of luggage. I admit this is the reason I got it, for when style matters more than weight. I'm a bit vain.
The toiletry case weighs a pound empty as do most of these accessories. I never use them anymore. I got this one as a tech gadget case because it is very nicely padded and has a few interior stretch pockets and another little pouch that is ideal for cables. I will use that only for rather fragile equipment like high-end headphones and the like.
So why do I write this post? Because the six pocket tote is GREAT. It is 17.5x8.5x12 inches, so 38 linear. This makes it entirely viable as a casual overnight or weekender bag. It is a tad bigger than the Tumi 26141 briefcase I use. But it is not a max size carry-on and will most likely fit under the seat in front of you. As on the duffel, there are no feet and no hard insert but the case is nicely padded all around. I'd be comfortable hand carrying my alu mac in this without an extra sleeve. The main compartments open wide enough for easy packing but they don't fold open as on the Tri-Star for example. My kitchen scale shows the weight with the heavy hardware strap as 1781 gram. That should be just a tad under 4lb. I really, really like this and can imagine it very well as a personal item, briefcase or overnighter bag. For the price of $50 instead of the usual $275 it was a complete no-brainer. Highly recommended!
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I just ordered a Bravo 22" pullman, which I'm looking forward to receiving, for $219 -- not a bad discount off of what these were going for earlier around $450 or so. I'm hoping to find an Andiamo Valoroso 20" International Pullman for under $200 for shorter trips, but so far no luck.
The VT18 is extremely versatile, as I pointed out. Perhaps more so than those other pure luggage bags (see my review in the review section on OBOW). I mean the other bags have no organizer panel for example. They clearly look like clothes carrying bags. They are too big to use as a briefcase. The compartments aren't practical for files and only a little more so for laptops. The VT18 can work as a personal item in the cabin with all your goodies incl. laptop and files but also some clothes. This makes it an ideal overnight bag. The extended Tumi 26141 would do that, too, though. The Tumi will look more like an office bag. The VT18 will be more like a personal bag or a piece of luggage but can still pass muster in a business setting. It's the very simple layout that makes it so versatile.
It can fit an Eagle Creek 15" folder for shirts. The one I currently own is an 18" model. It will fit in width but not in height. The big difference with the other bags is that all the other bags will be able to take a suit with the suit still looking good, after it comes out of the bag. The VT18 is just too small for that.
I have test packed it and I can get the following in there.
Smaller main compartment:
Folder with three dress shirts and three t-shirts. Possibly a pair of jeans. If you are really careful you can forgo the folder but it just is more practical.
Bigger main compartment:
A pair of shoes filled with socks would fill less than a third of the available space unless you wear size 14. So I can still roll up a pair of pants and a sweater. A 311 bag and second 1quart toiletry bag (for brush, razor etc) will easily fit. There is still room in this compartment for another sweater, a rain shell or four rolled t-shirts. Perhaps even another pair of less bulky shoes. It's very roomy and 5.5 inches deep. Every bag needs at least one deep compartment, me thinks.
Flat full height front compartment:
This gets the laptop. A 15.4" fits easily. I have no 17" to test. A 15.4 would fit even with a sleeve on it. Or put more files. Or a scarf for cushioning the laptop.
This has the organizer panel and will thus get the usual office stuff plus power supply and in-flight baggie.
Flat zippered rear pocket:
This can get a bunch of manila folders or brochures or magazines and such.
In other words, it has a bit less room than those other bags but if you don't need to pack a suit and if it's not a terribly long trip (7+ days), the Valoroso will be just fine. PLUS you can use it as your office or gym bag on site without looking strange because you are carrying a suitcase size and suitcase looking bag.