Your New Favorite Carry-On: The Chester


After traveling Europe with a carry-on duffel back, a backpack, and a giant suitcase I am determined to try not to over-pack. It’s definitely an anxiety thing where I’m worried about wanting/needing something during a trip and not having it. Bringing a big suitcase makes it really easy to pack a ton of things I don’t actually need and my duffel bag is too small to fit everything I actually do need.

Chester Travels reached out to me and asked if I would try out their carry-on and write an honest review. They believe in their product and asked for a truly honest review, not just praise. With a 5-star rating on amazon, I knew I would love this carry-on before I even received it!

Since I didn’t have any upcoming travels that required flying, I tested this out on a week-long trip to Santa Barbara and a road trip to Oregon. Packing it was actually a dream! I’ve always wanted a hard shell carry-on, but never wanted to invest in one because I thought a duffel bag or backpack was good enough. A hard shell carry-on seemed like a luxury that I didn’t really need. I was wrong!

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The bar for an attractive carry-on is very low for me. Every carry-on I’ve had has been an old duffel bag, a giant, hot-pink Victoria’s Secret weekend bag, and a backpack that lives in my closet. I have never had a nice looking carry-on, so when I opened the box and saw the shiny, black, hard shell Chester suitcase I was thrilled! I actually get excited to use it and show it off – seriously. The Chester comes in 7 colors, but I like the black because it looks the sleekest.

The lining inside is a neutral gray and white pin stripes. It is very cute and classy.

Interior Features:

The Chester carry-on made such a huge difference in the way I pack and it actually made it fun. It holds so much and with 2 sides that zip shut it’s much easier to organize and pack compared to a duffel bag. I can even fit my laptop in between the 2 sides once they’re zipped if I don’t completely over-stuff them!

There is a laundry bag that rolls up into a zippered pouch in one side of the carry-on. I’ve never ever had a laundry bag that came with a suitcase or carry-on, so this was a cool new feature for me. It holds more than I thought and doesn’t take up any space when it’s not being used.

There are 2 mesh pockets on one side of the flap that are great for keeping socks and underwear easily reachable and viewable so I don’t have to dig around to find that matching sock. The flap on the other side has a single large pocket to store whatever you need — I put my notebook and journal in here along with a pen or two, but it can hold much more than that.

Exterior features:

One of my favorite features is the TSA approved, built-in lock that the zippers snap into. It’s easy to lock/unlock and is nice to have some security on my belongings.

Something I have always had an issue with on my suitcases is crappy, plastic wheels that are SO loud and break/crack very easily (I’m not gentle with my suitcases). Rolling my suitcase through rough, uneven, and cobblestone streets in Europe was embarrassing and obnoxious because of how loud it was. The Chester has 4 silent, rubber, 360º wheels that are much sturdier, quieter, and roll smoothly. These will definitely hold up through travel much better than plastic-wheeled suitcases.

The handle is made of 100% aluminum and is a nice length with 2 lock positions. It is easy to extend/detract and I don’t have to fiddle with it for 30 seconds before getting it to go back down.

Last thing – the hard shell is water-resistant, protective, but also flexible so it won’t crack when dropped (they know me so well!) and slightly expands for you over-packers aka me.

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Purchase from Chester Travels: click here

Size Limitations:

While traveling on smaller planes between European cities, I saw a lot of people forced to check in their hard shell carry-on because it was over the size limit. Smaller flights have stricter limits on carry-on bags and I thought the Chester would also be too large for those kinds of flights. After checking all the airlines I flew (Norwegian, Ryanair, Iberia, and Vueling), I realized the Chester fits within the size limitations of all these airlines!

Now I am even more excited to bring it along for all my future international travels – although they are not yet planned.

Chester measurements: 21.5” x 13.5” x 8.5″


As I’ve already mentioned a few times, this carry-on suitcase is miles above (hah!) any other I have ever had. It’s hard to come up with anything I don’t like about it because of the quality and it is a huge upgrade compared to my other luggage.

One small complaint is the handle taking up some space on the interior. Instead of adding width to the exterior, the handle is sunken back into the interior. While not a big deal, it is just a slight inconvenience when packing that side of the carry-on.

Purchase from Amazon: click here
Purchase from Chester Travels: click here

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