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Difference between Suitcase Liter Capacity and Outside Measurement?

Difference between Suitcase Liter Capacity and Outside Measurement?

Old Apr 22, 19, 2:30 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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Difference between Suitcase Liter Capacity and Outside Measurement?

I'm an overpacker, but have started traveling more frequently and want to get my case into that overhead bin, so am looking for a good compromise - a domestic carry-on with max internal capacity, but good quality (and I really want it not to be black and totally masculine). I've looked at all the usual suspects - Tumi, BR, Rimowa, Away, some Indigogo, and what I'm noticing is that there is a difference between what I'd expect the capacity to be from the suitcase measurements, and what the manufacturer claims the internal Liter capacity is. For example, I have the Tumi Tegra Domestic carry on (in red!), which measures 22x16x9, and has 37L capacity. But, when I look at the BR Sympatico, which has much smaller measurements - 20x14x9, it claims to have 41.3L capacity. I've seen it in person, it does not look bigger. Then, you've got Away, whose Domestic Carry On measures 22.7x14.7x9.6, and claims to be able to fit 48L. When you multiply out the volume, it is a 2% improvement in size over my Tumi, but a 30% increase in Liter capacity???? How can that be? I guess, what I'm asking is, how much should I believe the Liter capacity claims of these luggage manufacturers, vs. the measurements of the actual bags? I know there are some factors like whether the telescoping handle is on the inside or outside that make a difference, too. Anyone got a good carryon to recommend for me as an over-packer? I was thinking about the Rimowa Cabin Plus - looks huge (and shiny), but pricey.
hilgemoon is offline  
Old Apr 22, 19, 10:27 pm
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That's because the bag is not an empty shell. Anything inside takes up packing capacity. Pockets, dividers, straps, thickness of the bag shell, etc. . In some cases, the wheels are included in the measurments.

To get the liter capacity, the standard test is to fill the bag with small pellets. Then the total amount of pellets is measured and you get the capacity. It's not just the outside measurments.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 11:00 pm
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Originally Posted by 1Bag1World View Post
That's because the bag is not an empty shell. Anything inside takes up packing capacity. Pockets, dividers, straps, thickness of the bag shell, etc. . In some cases, the wheels are included in the measurments.

To get the liter capacity, the standard test is to fill the bag with small pellets. Then the total amount of pellets is measured and you get the capacity. It's not just the outside measurments.
So, are you saying I should ignore the dimensions of the bag and go 100% by the posted liters of volume?
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Old Apr 23, 19, 3:30 am
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You should not discount the posted dimensions of the trolley you are considering.

Outside dimensions are important, as the Cabin "M" and "L" are actually in excess of what most carriers declare as their maximum allowable dimensions.

Interior dimensions are important, because, like "1Bag1World" mentioned, interior design dictates available packing space.

I own the 32L RIMOWA IATA Topas Titanium and 32L Topas (Model 920.52, two-wheel trolley).

I prefer my two-wheel 32L Topas, as the interior compartment opens in a 1/3-2/3 split compartment.

The four-wheel Cabin trollies open on a 50/50 split compartment.

That small difference, allows me to pack clothes, compressed, in the 1/3 section of the compartment, while I can fit larger items into the deep 2/3 section of the compartment.

Volume is accurate, but not necessarily a true reflection of its packing capabilities.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 8:43 am
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That is a good point about luggage size. Outer dimensions are very important when it comes to whether the bag fits in a sizer and all.

But really, what is important to me is how well I can fit what I need to pack in the suitcase. And this differs for every person. Some people are going to be packing a lot of things they need to be kept separate. In other cases, business travelers need to be able to pack a suit that can be folded nicely. For me I don't carry a ton in clothes, but I need to be able to fit a few electronic items in there. You then have to account for things like how important is the handle mechanism - do you need a super robust one because you have a tendency to lift it by the handle while extended? Will you be rolling it down the street often, or just through the airport? Do you need to access stuff from it while in transit often? Does it need to be presentable because you will be taking it on client visits, or can it be ugly? I know this sounds like it may not affect the size, but an ugly box of a suitcase can hold a little more than a fancier looking one that has lots of beveled edges or curves.

I use the Aleon 21in with the suiter. I don't use the suiter itself, but that model has a 70/30 split which like hornillas1 I find works best for the way I pack. The suitcase is a very boxy - the corners are sharper, there are not a lot of frills in the design. But this gives me more space inside. And the handle lies flush along the bottom, which takes up the least amount of room. Not everyone will like the looks of it, and the handle may not be as strong as some other bags. But it works perfectly fine for me. It's an aluminum suitcase, which allows them to get the tighter radius on the corners and is a tad thinner than polycarbonate. The trade off though is weight and durability. I can live with the weight and the tendency to get dented. But many people would not, so you have to weigh those choices.
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