Reviewers say there's a lot to like about the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22. Its ballistic nylon construction makes it lightweight (just 8 pounds) yet very durable, and reviewers report that its "knobby" tires handle all types of terrain with ease. At 14 by 22 by 9 inches, it just meets the size limits for carry-on baggage at most airlines, yet it can also be expanded an extra 2 inches and checked if necessary. Another big plus is Eagle Creek's lifetime warranty, which covers not only manufacturing defects but also airline damage. However, the latest version of this bag no longer has the multitude of internal compartments (such as a zippered shoe holder and hidden cash pouch) that many reviewers loved about older models. As a result, owners' most common complaint about this bag is that it doesn't have enough pockets or dividers. Another highly rated carry-on, the Red Oxx Air Boss (*Est. $225), has plenty of pockets and dividers, but that bag does not have wheels. A smaller Eagle Creek Tarmac 20 (*Est. $275) wheeled carry-on is available, as are three larger check-in sizes.
CNNMoney.com conducts the best comparison test of Eagle Creek Tarmac luggage, rating the 25-inch suitcase against competitors. Wired tests the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 and a few other carry-ons, but the reviewer makes only brief comparisons among them. USA Today recommends the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 as a good lightweight choice, but it doesn't test the luggage. We found user reviews for the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 at Amazon.com, REI.com and eBags.com.
Our Sources: Eagle Creek Luggage Reviews
An older version of the Eagle Creek Tarmac 25 wins this comparison test against bags from Delsey, Samsonite, Travelpro and Tumi. It's well designed and durable, the reviewer says. The handle bent during the test, but Eagle Creek's lifetime "no matter what" warranty covered it.
Review: Field Test: 5 Lightweight Bags, Charles Passy, 2007
The Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 earns a rating of 7 out of 10 ("very good, but not quite great"). Brook Wilkinson praises its minimal weight, plethora of compartments (no longer true, unfortunately) and smooth-rolling tires. Wilkinson mentions only a couple of minor flaws: the small shoe cubby and lack of a garment hanger. However, the multiple compartments that the reviewer admires are not available on the current version of the Tarmac 22.
Review: Carry-On Bag's Plethora of Pockets Will Please Type-A Travelers, Brook Wilkinson, Jan. 22, 2009
3. USA Today Magazine
The Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 is one of five lightweight carry-on bags recommended here. The review notes a few pros and cons, but doesn't refer to any actual testing. The reviewer's favorite features, the "four interior zippered compartments," are no longer included.
Review: Brand-New Bags for Flying Light, Jayne Clark, May 29, 2008
In roughly a dozen user reviews, the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 earns an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Users say it is lightweight, spacious and durable, with smooth-rolling wheels. However, some express disappointment that the bag no longer includes internal compartments.
Review: Eagle Creek 2011 Tarmac 22 Wheeled Luggage, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2012
The handful of reviews for the Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 at REI.com are more mixed than those at other sites. While some owners praise the bag's quality, one dissatisfied user reports losing a wheel within six months and being unable to get a repair under warranty. The lack of pockets is also cited as a drawback.
Review: Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 Wheeled Luggage -- 22", Contributors to REI.com, As of April 2012
The Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 has only a handful of reviews at eBags.com, but they are mostly positive. Users say the bag is easy to pack and easy to handle, but one is disappointed with the lack of an outer pocket for the TSA-mandated quart bag of gels and liquids.
Review: Eagle Creek Tarmac 22 -- 22" Rolling Upright, Contributors to eBags.com, As of April 2012