Rolling along with my ZÜCA bag

A few years ago, an employee at ZÜCA, Inc., e-mailed me and asked if I had ever heard of their line of luggage. I hadn’t.

At that time, I was in a hate-hate relationship with my overnight bag. It was a multiple-pocket duffle bag that had the worst strap configuration known to man on it. When I got it, the bag was empty, and I had no idea how much pain the strap could inflict on my shoulder with even the smallest amount of weight in it.

I decided to check out a ZÜCA bag and see if it might be a nice alternative. I’m glad that I did, because the ZÜCA bag is my new best friend for when I need to travel for a week or less.

These are the reasons why I think the ZÜCA bag is great:

  • The wheels. They maneuver better than any luggage with wheels that I’ve ever test driven. Plus, you can order customized ones that look like roller skate or skateboard wheels.
  • The built-in chair. The aluminum frame on the bag allows you to be able to use the piece of luggage as a chair. Often times, at the airport, I find myself waiting in lines. Now, I just sit while I wait.
  • The TSA-compliant zipper pouch. The pouch has a specialized pocket right inside the bag so that I can easily grab it when heading through security and then pop it back into place after putting on my shoes.
  • The laptop pocket. Actually, I’m pretty sure ZÜCA didn’t imagine the side pocket to be a laptop pocket, but mine fits right inside of it. When going through security at the airport, I just slide it out of the pocket without having to unzip or unsnap anything. I have to be careful, however, if I store my bag in the overhead compartment to either take my laptop out of the pocket or store my bag laptop-side on top.
  • The insert bags. I don’t always use each and every one of the insert bags, but I use most of them. I put my shoes and belts in one, my shirts in another, etc. They keep shoe crud from getting on my clothing.
  • The washable exterior. If the ZÜCA bag gets dirty, you can remove the bag from the frame and wash it. It’s also water resistant, so if it rains, your stuff is nice and dry inside. Also, if you decide you want something snazzy, you can change the bag to a different pattern the company sells.

My only problem with the bag is that I have yet to find a way to store a suit coat without it getting wrinkled. My assumption is that this is a failing of mine, and not a problem with the bag design. However, if the bag had a suit pouch that would wrap around the insert bags, I wouldn’t have a concern at all.

Also, the bag isn’t cheap. It retails for close to $300. A quick search through some other luggage websites finds that the price is comparable to similar bags of its size. I believe the price is worth it, though, especially for people who travel a lot for business. If you’re in the market for a new piece of carry-on luggage that holds up to a week’s worth of clothes in an incredibly organized manner, you definitely need to check out the ZÜCA bag.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2008.

33 Comments for “Rolling along with my ZÜCA bag”

  1. posted by Jan on

    The specs look very impressive and the bag has a nice “high-tech” look to it. However, the immediate deal-breaker for me would be the weight – on its own (as in /empty/) the bag is already 4kg(!) and the typical maximum carry on limit is 8kg (economy class)..

  2. posted by Christy on

    Have you tried the Eagle Creek Pack-it folders?

    I haven’t tried one,but they get rave reviews on the travel forums.

  3. posted by Dallee on

    Have had one for about a year and a half and get compliments on it all the time! It bears up to use very well. The handle is a bit longer than on typical “wheelie” bags, which makes it far more comfortable to use. it is a bit heavy but the weight is well balanced and the bar you see in the middle of the round hole is actually a handle (padded underneath) which makes lifting and carrying comfortable.

    I use it as a commuter — especially great for sitting when waiting for a bus. And use it for shopping all the time.

    There is a new smaller size which is supposed to fit into airline upper lockers.

    I give it a RAVE review!

  4. posted by BetterRetail on

    I heard about ZÜCA on Big Idea With Donny Deutsch and think it’s a brilliant product. As an ecommerce strategist I especially like their online marketing strategy.

  5. posted by Junkyard Dog on

    Does this fit under the seat in front of you? Does this fit in the carry-on sizing box? If it doesn’t, then it’s just as bad as all those other roll-ons and should be banned.

  6. posted by Terry on

    Best way to keep your suit jacket from getting wrinkled is to wear it on the plane! Usually there is a place to have it hung up by the flight attendants…

  7. posted by travelingchick on

    i LOVE this bag too! and this ZUCA bag, called the ZUCA Pro was designed specifically to fit into the overhead compartment, that’s what i LOVE about it. you can learn more about this bag by watching their video:

  8. posted by Fit Bottomed Girls on

    Wow, that thing does look cool and sturdy!

  9. posted by Andreas on

    Cool for a week. But what is your solution for a longer travel ?

  10. posted by Kevin on

    Looks terrific as long as you don’t mind lifting a 20 lb.+ object and trying to put it in an overhead compartment. ( ! ) Pass.

  11. posted by Monica Ricci on

    I love my Zuca!! I find it easy to roll, easy to lift, and it indeed fits into the overhead compartments. I travel with my Zuca, along with my laptop briefcase for a week or longer, and I don’t have to check ANY luggage! Woohoo!


  12. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Kevin — The bag does NOT weigh 20 lbs. The frame is aluminum, it’s super light. I think without anything in it the bag weighs like 3 lbs. or something. The exact weight is on the site. It weighs MUCH LESS than a regular piece of luggage.

  13. posted by Kevin on

    @Erin: you’re absolutely right. Of course I didn’t actually state that the empty bag weighs 20 lbs. It doesn’t weigh 20 lbs. Nor does it weigh 3 lbs. It weighs 8.75lbs. per the ZUCA website. Add a 6 pound laptop (as mentioned in the post,) power brick or two, toiletries, a pair of shoes and some clothing, and you are closing in on or at 20lbs. …or more. Have you lifted this “bag” into an overhead compartment? I guess it’s a matter of personal preference, but I’d much rather deal with a soft sided bag or even a lightweight roller bag, which this isn’t. To each his – or her – own.

  14. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Kevin — Three times now I’ve lifted it into an overhead compartment. It’s super easy. I don’t have much upper body strength, so my assumption is that if you can put a regular roller bag in an overhead compartment, you can lift a ZUCA bag up there. I find it much easier to maneuver than any other piece of luggage I’ve ever owned.

  15. posted by Jobo on

    I would love it, but it doesn’t conform to regional (European) carry-on sizes : 8*16*22 inches, roughly converted from metric.

    No deal.

  16. posted by Tabitha (From Single to Married) on

    looks really cool and different. The price tag is a bit steep, but may be worth it. Definitely worth checking out.

  17. posted by Amanda on

    I checked out their website and would love it if they could make it with two compartments for my two pups one to ride on top of the other. . . add a pouch for my laptop on the back (so the dogs can look out the front) and I’d buy it in an instant for my frequent travel on the train with them. Currently I have two bags for them plus my laptop/overnight bag with my things, but a double bag with an aluminum frame for support would be even better 🙂

  18. posted by empty on

    I much prefer to travel the one-bag (tm?) way, even though it’s not really one-bag anymore now that we travel with a toddler. One parent carries a backpack and a shoulder bag, the other carries a backpack and the kid. When we tried to use a wheeled bag he could sprint off and we couldn’t follow him safely, and if he got tired there was no way to carry him. For our last trip we were on the road with this luggage configuration (plus a car seat) for 2+ weeks with no problems except for (a) people asking us where the rest of our stuff was and (b) waiting endlessly for the grandparents who traveled out with us to maneuver the four bags they’d packed for two people for a one-week trip (not counting carry-ons). I ended up carrying one of our bags, our son, AND pulling one of their bags just to get out of the airport, while my husband hauled our remaining two bags, the car seat, and pulled yet another of their endless pieces of luggage. And I was four months pregnant at the time; thank goodness we had the sense to pack light.

    Relying on overhead bin space is pretty risky now that airlines charge for checked bags and everyone carries their entire life on board. Everything we bring can fit under the seat if necessary. Life is even easier when I travel alone for business, which is really one-bag travel. I am completely over wheeled luggage, which as pointed out weighs four times as much empty as say, a Tom Bihn Western Flyer. This bag seems huge to me, and I’m skeptical that it really meets carry-on rules. Admittedly those are pretty much honored in the breach at present, and international travel is more restrictive than domestic.

  19. posted by empty on

    And a quick check reveals that the Zuca Pro is 10″ on its shortest dimension, while carry-ons should be 9″ on their shortest dimension. So this bag wouldn’t be a legal carry-on on United Airlines, for example, which claims that it enforces the 9″ rule (although I doubt this is true).

  20. posted by Erin Doland on

    @empty — I flew United this past week, and even put my ZUCA bag in the “test” box that was next to the check-in counter, and it fit fine. I don’t know if that means the measurements are wrong on the ZUCA site, if the test box was wrong at the airport, or if the TSA numbers you’re quoting are incorrect … but it slipped right into the box. Also, I flew on one of those commuter planes that have itty bitty overhead bins, and it fit perfectly in the bin. One of the airline attendants even told me that she wished everyone used a bag like mine.

    I also use the OneBag folding method for most everything, and don’t have a problem with using the ZUCA bag. We can fit all of our clothes for a week (two of us) in the bag without any problems.

  21. posted by Jay on

    Cool bag. Thanks for the post.

    Each individual airline has its own carryon size restrictions. The FAA and TSA do not come up with the acceptable carryon dimensions.

    One of the Zuca bags, if the wheels are counted, is 12.25 inches wide. Technically, that is unacceptable on many airlines, which require that one side be 10 inches or less.

    If you believe that airlines are going to enforce their own rules or install templates at the front of the conveyor belt at Security, don’t consider buying the bag.

    If you believe that the airlines will look at the bag, which is more compact than most carryons out there, and let it on the plane, consider the bag.

    My personal preference for a rolling bag is the Pelican 1510, a hard case. Beware, it’s heavy.

  22. posted by Moxie on

    /drool. I want one!

    Too bad I don’t have $300 to drop on a bag at the moment. =(

  23. posted by lisa johnson on

    As a makeup artist who travels often…and not wanting to check my valuable makeup to hopefully (or not!) receive at the end of my flight… I LOVE this bag! It takes all of my makeup that I will need on set, PLUS some other items….especially when packaged in smaller containers as I do. I can’t say enough about this wonderful piece of luggage. I have a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder and can lift THIS bag! I strain with my duffel bag on wheels and other bags..this one IS well balanced. I love this also for ON SeT, primarily because you can sit and rest on it between makeup breaks. Great invention on so many levels. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

  24. posted by DJ on

    I just travelled with my Zuca for the first time. It was great. Just the right size. I had no problems going through security or carrying it on the plane. Compared to many of the carry-on items people were taking aboard, it was quite small.

    The little container bags were a useful feature. But the best part came when I arrived at the airport to find many planes had been delayed and it was so crowded no seats were available. I found the Zuca pretty comfortable to sit on, in between strolling through the terminal.

    When I’m not travelling, I’m using it as a portable carrying case for my knitting supplies and projects. Again, those little container bags come in useful.

    I’m glad I got it.

  25. posted by Colinb on

    Your reviews clinched it! I had been scoping out the Bihn Checkpoint Flyer when I saw your review and clicked the link for the Zuca. Looks like a fantastic combo solution for my traveling consultant needs.

  26. posted by Sexxxy Beast on

    Do you guys find that you sit on the bag alot or is it just incase? Is it worth paying the extra money for a seat you bring with you?

  27. posted by Business traveler san jose on

    One of my reasons is the seat. Waiting in lines at the airport, TSA lines, rental car lines, reantal car bus, and most of all in the baggage claim area. ( waiting for my tool kit ) Also the SW airlines A, B, C lines. I have the Sports one and the nylon is a little soft for me. I dont recommend a heavy laptop without protection. So far I got it on all sorts of airlines, Delta, United, US Air, SW, American. If you do International travel the lines are even longer. Pulling stuff out is a breeze with the plastic pouches. Wrinkled clothes is my main complaint but I am Male. ( My socks seems to do fine ) The frame has taken a beating and keeps on ticking. I would love to see a mini or skinny version for techs like me …. with solid built in laptop protection, and vertical pouches ?

  28. posted by luggage on

    That looks really cool, but very expensive.

  29. posted by Elisa on

    Great, now I want a new suitcase. 🙂

  30. posted by jennyg on


    I have this bag!!! I love it, but I can’t get nearly as much stuff in it as most people (my clothes are pretty big), and I usually have a lot of medical stuff to bring with me. But it is very well engineered and we use it on every trip. Lots of useful little pockets and the like. It does not do as well if you have to check it- it comes with a (big) cover (who bothers to bring that??), and the sides get a bit banged up when checked. Also my front snap broke but I should contact them about it. All in all an extremely well engineered bag that I would buy again.

  31. posted by Joe on

    I received this bag as a gift after reading about it hear last year. It’s great to travel with, fits easily in overhead, and keeps all my stuff organized. When I have to charge my phone, I can just move the bag near any outlet and sit on the bag’s frame instead of hunting for a seat near an outlet. For all the “vains” out there — it’s a great way to get noticed. Every trip either a TSA, passenger, or flight attendant asks me about it.

  32. posted by bout 2 get a zuca on

    the pros are 270$ or something but im buying mine from online and its 115-140 (its not a pro) i think they are great for travel but im using mine for figure skating! they are handy and have seats! they even have seat covers for them so their comfy! i want one so bad!

  33. posted by Julia Stinson on

    Just a little add on. I bought my Zuca while I was getting my masters degree for school. It held my laptop/books/notes/odds&ends It was like having a mobile locker with me and I could sit on it outside of my classes when I got there early or when there was a shortage of chairs. I’ve not used it for travel since my husband and I use a slightly larger carry-on suitcase together but I can attest that it’s a super light frame and easy to maneuver.

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