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Red Oxx Sky Train

Est. $255
Reviewed
September 2013
by ConsumerSearch

Pros
  • Lightweight but roomy
  • Hide-away backpack straps
  • Bombproof construction
Cons
  • No wheels
  • Soft sides can expand too much
  • Hardware is heavy

Bottom line

The soft-side Red Oxx Sky Train's overbuilt zippers and bombproof Cordura construction, paired with a touch of shape from closed-cell foam padding, draw high praise from reviewers. The many carrying options -- over-the-shoulder, Euro/suitcase handle and tuck-away shoulder straps -- are a particular hit. The Sky Train is also plenty roomy -- in fact, you can sometimes overstuff it past the point of fitting in an overhead bin.

Features

Designed by a one-bag traveler, and it shows. The Red Oxx Sky Train's tuck-away backpack straps draw praise from almost every reviewer that lays hands on this convertible carry-on. You can also carry it by either of two Euro-style grab handles (top and side) or with an over-the-shoulder "claw" strap. It has a total of four compartments, three of them full-length (13 by 19 inches) and two of those with some built-in depth (6.5 inches and 1 inch for the main and secondary compartments, respectively). The primary compartment zips open clamshell-style for easy loading, and internal compression straps help rein in your belongings.

Durability

Takes "bombproof" to a whole new level. The Red Oxx Sky Train's 1000D Cordura nylon and handmade, overbuilt construction draws praise from every reviewer that handles it. "Extraordinarily well-made," writes Doug Stallings for Fodors.com. The Sky Train's heavy-duty metal hardware is -- well, heavy -- but, when paired with the #10 YKK self-locking zippers, it ensures that the Sky Train will stand up to almost anything years of travel can throw at it, including repeated overpacking. "Mil Spec hardware looks as though it could survive a brush with ordnance," writes a reviewer at PracticalHacks.com. It's backed by an unconditional lifetime guarantee.

Appearance/style

Military chic? The Red Oxx Sky Train weighs just 4 pounds empty and boasts 2,340 cubic inches of carry capacity, although it's notoriously difficult to judge capacity on a soft-sided bag like this. Several reviewers comment on the Sky Train's simple, functional design. A boxy design ensures that you're not missing out on any packing space, and closed-cell foam between compartments adds a touch of structure. At 20 by 9 by 13 inches, the Sky Train is designed to meet European carry-on specifications, but take care -- you can overpack this soft-sided bag to the point it doesn't fit in the carry-on compartment. It's available in 12 colors.

Our Sources

1. Fodors.com

Doug Stallings provides a useful rundown of characteristics to look for in a carry-on bag, then highlights four recommended carry-ons, including the Red Oxx Sky Train. Although the comments about each model are very brief, a few details -- like comments that one scuffs easily -- show that some hands-on testing was conducted.

Review: Carry-on Bag Buyer's Guide: Avoid the New Airline Luggage Fees, Doug Stallings, June 25, 2008

2. Veritrope.com

This experienced one-bag traveler writes a fairly comprehensive review of both the Red Oxx Sky Train and the Tom Bihn Aeronaut. He chooses the Aeronaut as his favorite because of a few small details but also offers great praise for how well the Red Oxx performed. His biggest gripe seems to be that the Red Oxx Sky Train expanded so much that sometimes it wouldn't fit into the overhead compartment.

Review: Around the World With One Bag (Part Two), Justin, Not Dated

3. PracticalHacks.com

The author provides a hands-on analysis of the Red Oxx Sky Train's features, along with a photo tour of the same. He describes this bag as "military-esque" and highlights its durable, sometimes overbuilt features. He also points out how hard it is to accurately calculate volume for a soft-sided bag like this.

Review: Review: Red Oxx Sky Train, Kevin, Dec. 12, 2012

4. OneBag.com

Doug Dyment, who advocates for a "one bag" travel style, recaps the pros and cons of a carry-on that serves both business and leisure travelers. The Red Oxx Sky Train is one of three bags he recommends. He voluntarily discloses that he does some consulting for Red Oxx -- in fact, according to the Red Oxx website, he was a major participant in the creation of this bag.

Review: Dual-Purpose Travel Bags, Doug Dyment, Not Dated

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