I recently completed a 15 day business trip that took me to 5 cities on 3 continents (more than 24,000 air miles return). This trip was an amazing opportunity to conduct some real world tests on some cool items I had been wanted to test for a while.
My first review will be about the Red Oxx Air Boss.
Why One Bag travel?
This is a question I received anytime someone heard I was traveling with only a carry-on bag. The answer is simple: convenience. With a carry-on, you are not worried about damaged, delayed or lost baggage. While others wait at the carousel to pick-up their luggage, I am already in the taxi half way to my destination.
As soon as I decided to be a one bag (onebag aka carry-on only) traveler, I started searching for the ideal bag and that bag was the AirBoss by Red Oxx. Let me state right here that this bag was everything I expected and more. It proved to be a phenomenal bag that I will use and abuse for years to come.
The rest of this review will explain why I chose the Airboss.
Ease of movement
I needed a bag that maximized available carry space all the while staying compliant to the different carry-on size/weight rules imposed by the different airlines I was going to use. In addition, I needed a bag that could easily be taken from the plane to a taxi, subway or tuctuc (a gas powered rickshaw).
No Wheels means the bag would be lighter, offer more internal carry space and be much easier to transport throughout. The Airboss can be carried using it’s extremely comfortable “Claw” strap or hand straps. I found that the Claw strap was comfortable and stayed in place (i.e. didn’t slide off my shoulder when moving).
No backpack Since this was a business trip, I may have needed to bring my bag into the office and find a backpack to be un professional. Luckily the Airboss met this requirement too.
Solid no nonsense construction
I expect my bag to log thousands of miles over the next couple of years and as such, it must have strong reliable zippers, seams (aka stitching) and fabric.
The Red Oxx AirBoss uses incredibly strong YKK #10 zippers. These are the biggest luggage zippers I have ever seen yet operate very smoothly. I can’t stress how well these zippers worked even when the bag was completely full. Red Oxx also adds a monkey’s fist zipper-pull knot to each zipper making them easier to grab and pull.
The seams are well sewn using thought dependable fabric. Every snap or metal hook seems industrial grade. When I first saw the bag, I knew it was well designed. When I started using it, I was convinced this bag would be with me for the long haul.
This is a great opportunity for me to share with you their incredible no nonsense guarantee. Regardless of what happens to the bag, simply send it back to them and they will repair or replace (no questions asked). Red Oxx clearly believes in their product and it was refreshing to see such an amazing warranty.
The Airboss has 3 separate compartments. There is an outside compartment on each side that open completely when the bag is lying on its side. This was great because I separated my clothes into 2 piles which meant I didn’t have to unload all of my clothes every time I landed in a new city. For shorter stays, I could simply unload one of the sides (each having an assortment of pant and shirts. I use the bundle packing method and used jeans, shorts and t-shirts as the core for each bundle.
Each of this compartments has 2 compression straps to keep your clothes in place (minimizing wrinkles).
The center compartment is supported by closed-wall cell foam padding which was a great place to store my underwear, bathroom supplies, medication, shoes and belts. All the airlines I flew allowed me to have a carry-on and a personal item (aka laptop bag) therefore I kept these separate but I could have easily carried my laptop in the center compartment as well.
I wish the center compartment had some kind of compression strap also to hold a laptop or tablet in place. Also the bottom of the center compartment is not padded.
Just enough storage
While shopping for luggage, I was amazed at how many compartments/pockets some bags had. The reality is that too many pockets means each is smaller (limiting what can be carried) and making it more complicated to find that you are looking for. The Airboss has the 3 compartments mentioned above, plus a full size zippered pocket on one side, a full size snap protected pocket on the other and a small vertical pocket designed to store your boarding pass. Obviously Red Oxx used the KISS principle when designing this bag and it shows.
My fully loaded Airboss weighed in at 20 lbs.
Fitting the Airboss in the overhead compartment
My trip had me using North American carriers, European carriers and some really small no-name Asian ones. Regardless of the plane I found myself in, the Airboss easily fit into all of the overhead bins.
Over the last 15 years, I have logged close to 1 million air miles and as such have gone through dozens of bags and suitcases. I can say without a doubt that the Airboss is king. Sure $225 may seem expensive at first but once you experience the quality, dependability and versatility of the Airboss, you will certainly consider it a bargain.
Unless you want a backpack style pack or one with wheels (not sure why you would) then this bag is for you. I love their warranty so much, I am disappointed other manufacturers aren’t taking notes.
My fully packed AirBoss
Top view of my fully loaded Airboss
In the overhead bing of an A330-300
Easily fitting in the overhead bin of an A320 with lots of room to spare.
The AirBoss sitting on a counch in the British Airways business class lounge in Heathrow.