​5-Second Summary of the Solgaard ​Carry-On Closet 2.0

​A highly versatile carry-on accepted on almost 100% of airlines. This crowdfunded bag is environmentally friendly and has many durable metal features that rival the biggest names.

Solgaard carry on review vertical closet view

P​ros

  • ​Aluminum frame
  • ​No zippers, all metal fittings
  • ​Aluminum shielded corners
  • ​'Plus' version available

​Cons

  • ​Battery connection design is questionable
  • ​'Closet' aspect is over-hyped
  • ​Some plastic components

Technical Details

​Capacity:

​​501 ping pong balls

​Weight:

​​8.1 lbs / ​3.7 kgs

​Material:

​Polycarbonate Shell

​Dimensions:

​21.5" x 14.5" x 8.75" / 54.6cm x 36.8cm x 22.2cm

​Manufacturing Country:

China

​Number of Wheels:

​4

​Wheel Type:

​360 Spinners

​​Handle Height:

​40.75" / 103.5cm

​Battery Pack Capable:

​Yes

​Battery Pack Included?

​No

​Domestic Compliance:

12/12 Airlines

​International Compliance:

​83/152 Airlines

A Carry-on luggage with shelving units? This unique carry-on allows you to conveniently organize and pack your clothes like you would in a closet! Did I mention it also helps reduce plastic waste in the ocean?

The Solgaard Carry-On Closet 2.0 is the second generation of the crowdfunded bag that has raised over $1 Million dollars and is helping recycle plastic waste from the ocean with each carry-on sold. They work with The Plastic Bank, to help recycle plastics back into usable products.

​Where to buy?

Solgaard.com - Use code "BFISH" at checkout for 15% off any purchase!

​Features and Benefits of the Solgaard Carry-On Closet 2.0


No Zipper

The first thing you might notice that makes it different from any other carry-on I’ve reviewed so far is there’s no zipper. Instead, this bag uses two all-metal latches to keep the suitcase closed. On almost any bag that uses a zipper, the zipper or the wheels are the first components to fail. Removing the zipper entirely was a good design decision in my opinion and replacing these latches only takes a few screws if they were to fail.


Aluminum Frame

Because this bag uses 2 metal latches instead of a zipper, the frame is also entirely made out of aluminum. Since you can’t sew aluminum, the frame is riveted into the polycarbonate. The benefit of an aluminum frame is obvious. It’s more sturdy, durable, and provides some rigidity to the bag to protect any delicate contents. 


TSA-Approved Lock

In the event your bag needs to be checked by TSA, this allows them to open your bag using a special master key only they have. This is useful in case you overpack, or decide to check your bag for one reason or another. Additionally, setting or changing the combination on this bag is incredibly easy. All you need to do is flip a switch and set your code.


Well-Made Side Handle

The handle on the side feels firm and well made. There isn’t any loose connection on it, and it has a light spring load to it, so it automatically lays flat instead of dangling open. On the opposite side of the handle are 4 rubberized feet to keep the bag elevated off the ground when you’re carrying it like a suitcase.


Battery Power Bank Flexibility

This bag does not include a battery power bank. Instead, you must supply your own. This gives you the flexibility to pick and choose the one you want to carry and replace it if it ever wears out. Additionally, this removes another moving piece that has the potential to break, as seen in the spring-loaded assembly of the Away.


Reinforced Corners

In addition to the all-metal latches, this bag also features corners that are reinforced with rounded aluminum, again, riveted to the body. It’s also worth noting the hinges are also metal. These reinforced corners provide some added protection on areas prone to scrapes, scuffs, and general wear and tear.


Comfort-Grip Handle

This is relatively insignificant, but the handle has a gel-like grip that makes pulling the bag around a bit more comfortable.


Drawbacks of the Solgaard Carry-On Closet 2.0


‘Closet’ Feature is Over-hyped

I get it, they needed something to stand out from the rest of the competition, but I think one of the main features of the bag, the ‘Closet’ feature, is a bit over-hyped. All this really is, is a basic hanging closet organizer placed in the carry-on.

I was more impressed by all the metal components on the bag, since that seems so uncommon nowadays, rather than the hanging closet.


Battery Power Bank Location

The downside to having flexibility with the battery power bank is it has to be placed inside the carry-on. Two obvious inconveniences here. If you decide to put your carry-on into ‘checked’ luggage, you’ll need to reach inside to remove it. And, you will need to make sure you are using a battery power bank that automatically starts charging your device when you plug it in. Most usually do, but some require a button to be pressed.


Wiring to the USB Port

Looking behind the interior lining to evaluate the wire from the inner pocket to the USB port, I would think they would tape the wire down or secure it some way. I thought wrong. The wire is kind of just hanging out and would benefit from a little bit of tape. It’s an easy fix, and to be fair, they use a 90-degree cable, so there’s not excessive wear on the port.


New Company

Being a newer company is no fault of their own; however, this is something to consider. The company could be sold off, go under, face growth issues, etc. vs. a larger company that’s well established in the industry and won’t have these issues… probably. A practical example might be if you’re needing replacement parts and for one reason or another, they’re unavailable. The company may have stopped ordering the component, or some other reason.

On the other hand, they appear successful so far. This bag is the second generation of the ‘carry-on’ closet and has had no problem raising close to $700,000 on Indiegogo, plus another $560,000 on Kickstarter. Additionally, this company sells other products too, which helps to diversify their income streams.


Other Factors to Consider

The most important thing to consider is whether or not you normally fly, or plan on flying, internationally. If you are an international flyer, then this is the bag you want. This one, right here, maybe in a different color… that’s up to you. However, if you primarily fly domestic, spend an extra $20 and get the ‘plus’ version of this, so you have a little extra room.

The second thing to consider is the battery power bank. You don’t necessarily need this, but it’s nice to have, and I always travel with one. As I mentioned earlier, you can go as big or as little as you want with it, within TSA regulations.

TSA regulations say you can go up to 100Wh, which equates to just below 27,000mAh, which is how the majority of power banks online are rated. To put this in perspective, ones rated at 26,800mAh are almost 3 times larger than the factory one included with the Away. Make sure to purchase one from a reputable brand like Anker. That’s the brand I use. You can rest assured the electronics inside are good, and the batteries are from a reputable manufacturer.


Overall Bottom Line

Overall, I’m very impressed with this carry-on. Yes, I did receive it in exchange for an unbiased review, but it’s tough to say anything bad about a bag like this. It’s rare to see an aluminum frame and almost all metal components at this price point. The ‘closet’ feature is over-hyped, and if that’s the only thing you’re looking for, buy a cheaper bag and purchase one of these hanging luggage organizers on Amazon

Otherwise, some packing cubes will provide enough organization for most people at a low price. If you’re going to buy this bag, buy it for the build quality and thoughtful design - that’s where the real value is, and I think it’s more than worth it.

solgaard carry on closet latch
solgaard carry on closet ruber feet
solgaard carry on closet handle and lock
solgaard carry on closet wire

​Where to buy?

Solgaard.com - Use code "BFISH" at checkout for 15% off any purchase!

Brand Info - Solgaard

Founded: 2016

Headquarters: New York City, NY, United States

Staff Size: 11

Solgaard was founded by Adrian Solgaard in 2016 after a friend’s backpack had been stolen. Adrian discussed with friends what they thought would be the features they would want in the perfect backpack. In 2016, they launched Lifepack - a solar powered, anti-theft backpack. The launched on Kickstarter and were successful with 3,705 backers. 

In 2017, they launched the Hustle Backpack. In 2018, they launched the Hex Watch Collection. In 2018, they launched The Carry-On Closet 1.0, which received awards from Time Magazine, and other publications. Then, in December of 2018, they launched the Carry-On Closet 2.0 on Kickstarter and were fulfilled with nearly 3,000 backers and $560,000 on Kickstarter alone (another $700,000 on Indiegogo).

The brand focuses are designing sustainable luxury products with a team that is focused in New York City, NY, USA.


Resources

  • Brand Video

​Solgaard vs. Away Carry-On

In my opinion, when you look at the price, the Solgaard blows the Away Carry-On out of the water. As of writing this, the domestic version of the Solgaard, the Solgaard Plus, and Away sit at $245.00 with free shipping. The international version, specs shown below, is a little bit cheaper. 

If you use my link to buy the Solgaard (linked here), and use code “BFISH” you’ll get 15% off which will bring your total to $208.25.

Looking beyond the specs, it’s not even a discussion. With all-metal components used on the majority of the Solgaard and a better designed locking system, the Away struggles to compete. Personally I’ve never been a fan of the Away’s spring-loaded power bank storage.

​There’s a very obvious problem with it explained in the video below. The Solgaard keeps the power bank in the carry-on and allows you to use whatever model you want. 

Bottom line is the Solgaard is a better design for the same (or lower) price. 


​Solgaard Closet 2.0 vs. Away Carry-On

away carry on gray

Technical Detail

​Solgaard

​Away

​Capacity:

​501 ping pong balls

​595 ping pong balls

​Weight:

​8.1 lbs / 3.7kg

​7.9lbs / 3.6kg

​Material:

​Polycarbonate

​Polycarbonate

​Dimensions:

​21.5" x 14.5" x 8.75" / 54.6cm x 3.68cm x 22.2cm

​21.7" x 13.7" x 9" / 55.1cm x 34.8cm x 22.9cm

​Manufactured in:

China

​China

​Number of Wheels:

​4

​4

​​Wheel Type:

​360 Spinners

​360 Spinners

​Handle Height:

​40.75" / 103.5cm

​41" / 104.1cm

​Battery Pack Capable:

​Yes

​Yes

​Battery Pack Included:

​No

​Yes

​Domestic Compliance:

​​100%

​100%

​International Compliance:

​53%

​51%

​Regardless of the information below, double check the airline's site (linked) for the most up to date info. Typically a few cms or fractions of an inch will not make a difference. This is dependent on the airline and front desk personnel. 

​A red hexagon indicates that the bag is unlikely to ​fly on the given airline.

​A yellow caution triangle indicates the bag may or may not fly with the given airline. This is dependent on the front desk associate and if the bag appears 'stuffed'.

​A green check indicates ​the bag is highly likely to fly on the given airline. These specs are within or very close to the airline's spec.

​Approved?

Airline

​inches

centimeters

22 x 14 x 9

​56 x 36 x23

​22 x 14 x 9

​55.9 x 35.6 x 22.9

​22 x 14 x 9

​56 x 36 x 23

​22 x 14 x 9

​56 x 36 x 23

​24 x 16 x 10

​61 x 41 x 58

​114 Linear Centimeters

​22 x 14 x 9

​55.88 x 35.56 x 22.86

​22 x 18 x10

​56 x 46 x 25

​24 x 16 x 10

​61 x 41 x 58

​24 x 16 x 11

​61 x 41 x 28

​22 x 14 x 9

​56 x 35 x 22

​*Linear inches refers to the combined (L x W x H) measurements to form a single measurement. For example, 22" x 14" x 9" would be 22 + 14 + 9 = 45 linear inches.

​Approved?

Airline

​inches

centimeters

22 x 15 x 8

​56 x 38 x ​20

​21.5 x ​15.5 x 8

​55 x 40 x 20

​​2​2 x ​​16 x 8

​55 x 40 x 20

​21.5 x 15.5 x 8

​​55 x 40 x 20

​​21.5 x 15.5 x 9

​​55 x 40 x 23

​22 x ​18 x 10

​56 x 45 x 25

​22 x 18 x 10

​56 x 46 x 25

​21.7 x 13.8 x ​10

​55 x 35 x 25

​​21.7 x 13.8 x ​10

​55 x 35 x 25

​21.5 x 15.5 x 9

​55 x 40 x 23

​​​21.5 x ​15.5 x 8

​55 x 40 x 20

​*Linear inches refers to the combined (L x W x H) measurements to form a single measurement. For example, 22" x 14" x 9" would be 22 + 14 + 9 = 45 linear inches.

​Where to buy?

Solgaard.com - Use code "BFISH" at checkout for 15% off any purchase!

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