Kirkland Signature Upright 21.5-Inch Carry-On Review


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It's rare that budget bags earn raves for durability, but this Costco carry-on does. The wheels are rugged, the fabric is tough, and the bag resists tipping even when it's stuffed.

Frequent flyers who don't want to spend too much on a carry-on say the Kirkland Signature Upright 21.5-Inch Carry-On from Costco (starting at $100) can certainly stand up to the toils of constant travel. They compare the durability to that of much pricier suitcases, but the store-brand bag is also bigger and bulkier than other carry-ons.

Customer reviews on say the suitcase rolls smoothly over pavement and through airports. Testers at The Wirecutter, who voted this Kirkland Signature carry-on "Best Budget Bag," attribute this to the almost 3.5-inch wheels, the largest on any luggage they tested. They also note that the Kirkland is "rock solid" and tip-resistant even when fully packed.

Where to buy

Purchase at Costco.

Additional features include top- and side-mounted handles, two plastic feet to help increase stability, and thick plastic bumpers that protect the back and bottom. Owners say the fabric feels substantial and rugged, although some say the retractable handle sometimes locks up. All in all, a majority of users say this is a very durable bag, and several say they've used it for years on dozens of flights without any issues.

At 11.25 pounds, the Kirkland Signature Upright certainly isn't the lightest carry-on out there. Although a few users complain about weight, most say it's an acceptable tradeoff for longevity and value. Reviewers say the interior is spacious and well thought out, with a removable garment carrier, two flap-style pockets, and large garment straps. There is also a large, external zip pocket. Testers say they were able to stuff the bag with five days' worth of clothes -- impressive for a carry-on.

The Kirkland Signature Upright 21.5-Inch Carry-On is made from tear- and puncture-resistant Cordura 1050-denier ballistic nylon and comes in a single color: standard black. It has two replaceable polyurethane wheels, a fully lined interior, and a retractable aluminum handle. According to the manufacturer, this carry-on bag measures 21.5 x 14 x 8.75 inches, and it expands up to 11.25 inches deep. However, testers claim it's actually 23 x 14 x 9 inches, putting it at greater risk for a gate-check.

For the money, few carry-ons are more stable and durable than the Kirkland Signature Upright -- and it's backed by Costco's generous return policy. For those willing to tote a slightly heavier, bulkier bag that might be challenged at the gate, this one is hard to beat. If you're not a Costco member, it may be worth finding a friend or someone in the family who is.