Today I’ll be doing a review of the TravelPro Maxlite 5, specifically the domestic carry-on version. If you are interested in purchasing the international or one of the larger versions of this bag, many of the same features will apply to those models as well. Furthermore, I will be comparing the Maxlite 5 to its predecessor the Maxlite 4. If you’d prefer to watch the video, that is shown below.
Lastly this article (and the video) isn’t sponsored in any way by any company. I purchased both of these bags with my own money and the only thing I receive is a small commission through Amazon’s Affiliate program if you use one of the links in the description.
It doesn’t cost you a penny and it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for these bags, the lighting I’m using for the videos, editing software, my time, and everything else that goes into making these videos and hosting a website!
Maxlite 5 Dimensions and Measurements
Two of the biggest concerns people have when buying a new carry-on is, “Will it fit everything I want to bring?” and “Will it fit in the overhead compartment?” I know for a fact it will fit in the overhead compartment and you won’t have any trouble getting it on the plane.
The measurements for both are exactly the same at: 10” x 14.25” x 22.5”
At most you may have to valet it on smaller planes, but this is a common practice and everyone with a bag that has wheels will have to do this. This isn’t a big deal and won’t cost you anything. As for fitting everything you want to bring? Well, that depends on how your normally pack.
Personally I can fit about 3-5 days worth of clothes in either of these. I pulled this packing video from the Maxlite 4 vs. Delsey video I did awhile back and since the 4 and 5 are the same size, it’s applicable to either.
Maxlite 5 Material
The material used around the bag is a Polyester fabric with a DuraGuard coating that resists stains and water. DuraGuard is a coating that is typically applied as an enamel to protect garage floors, wood, metal, concrete, etc.
Although to a lesser degree, this technology has been applied to the fabric used in TravelPro bags. While it may not protect your bag from a car running it over, it will be protected against coffee, rain, and other things that could stain it or its contents.
Maxlite 5 Bag Shape
Bags that have a traditionally rectangular shape can tip over if they’re too heavy in the front. Whenever I have used the Delsey Helium Aero, I know this happens since I would travel with my heavy 17” laptop packed in the front. I would have to be careful and make sure it was leaned up against something so it wouldn’t fall over.
The design of the TravelPro helps prevent this. Since it’s angled to be small at the top and larger at the bottom, it’s less likely to tip over; simple physics.
TravelPro Maxlite 5 vs. Maxlite 4 Features
I’m going to break the differences between the Maxlite 4 and 5 down into 2 categories, those that deal with the functional use of the bag and those that deal with only cosmetic differences. In regards to function there about 6 notable differences dealing with weight, zipper size, the telescoping handle, front pocket, other handles, and the base of the bag.
Starting with the weight, I’ve already mentioned it’s a ½ pound lighter from the previous iteration. This makes the total weight of the Maxlite 5 5.6 lbs, based on my measurements, and the Maxlite 4 6.00 lbs. Close to ½ a pound, but not quite.
Next, the zippers have been downgraded to a smaller size. There is very much a noticeable difference in the size and feel of the main compartment zipper of the 4 and 5. The 5 looks as if it has been downgraded to the size of the rest, lesser-important zippers. Not a good sign and looks as if TravelPro is trying to cut costs by sacrificing quality. Smaller zippers equal less durability and less holding strength.
The telescoping handle grip is slightly different. It appears smaller and more compact with the rest of the bag, which I like.
The front pocket on the 5 has been placed in a more easily reached spot and appears to be a bit deeper in size too.
On one of my first trips for work, I was going through security, had to empty my pockets, and put my boarding pass somewhere in one of those dog food bowls at security.
Long story short, security was busy, I was trying to move quickly and was a ¼ mile away from security before I realized I didn’t have my boarding pass. I scrambled back to find that luckily one of the very TSA officers in St. Louis had found it and set it aside. Shout out to St. Louis TSA!!
This little incident could have been prevented if I had stuffed it in my carry on. But I didn’t want to do that because I was still using my older bag that only had one big compartment.
Now, I don’t have to worry about that with PreCheck, but if you don’t have TSA PreCheck, the Maxlite 4 and 5’s small zippered compartment on the front is perfect for your phone and other “pocket” items that might be forgotten about when you’re trying to get through security.
The handles along the outside of the back have changed slightly. The top handle’s anchors are now held under an additional layer of fabric while still held in place by 2 screws. The Maxlite 4, only had the 2 screws and some stitching.
The handle along the side now runs horizontal, instead of vertical. The orientation probably won’t matter a whole lot, but if your carry is placed lengthwise in the overhead, it’s easier to pull out with the handle on the 4, vs. the handle on the 5. Good luck finding a flight where you have this much space though.
Then the handle on the bottom of the bag has been removed and replaced with a flap of fabric. I hate this. This doesn’t apply to airlines as much as it does taxis, hotel carts, etc. If I’m unloading the bag out of the trunk of a car, that handle makes a big difference in the ease of pulling it out. The problem is now there’s a less durable piece of fabric to grab onto, vs. the molded plastic handle.
Cosmetically speaking, the interior fabric has some new designs which make them a little bit more attractive and the wheels are a larger logo on them before.
Unfortunately it also appears the buckles have been downgraded on the Maxlite 5 to a smaller size.
Other models in this series include the soft-tote, basically a duffle bag, the rolling underseat carry-on, the 22” Rollaboard version, the 26” spinner and the 29” spinner. There are a few slight differences between the carry on and checked models, but they’re relatively the same ignoring the size.
For some, a rollaboard model might be preferred since it offers a little bit more space, and has 2 larger in-line wheels in the back. The wheels on the rollaboard will likely last longer since they only move in 2 directions (forward or back) and there’s less chance of having a broken wheel, 4 versus 2.
Is the Maxlite 5 better than the Maxlite 4?
I hate to say it, but I don’t think so. It’s roughly the same price, both around $100 as of making writing this and not with any significant upgrades. Is a ½ pound of weight really worth smaller zippers, or a potentially less durable base? I don’t think so.
With this being said, don’t get the idea TravelPro is a bad brand, or the Maxlite 5 is crap, both the 4 AND 5 are still much better than 95% of the options available on Amazon or in-store in my opinion.
The only other competitors in this price range are Delsey or Samsonite. I stay away from fashion brands for luggage like Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Steve Madden, etc. It’s likely almost the same bag that’s marked up because some fancy guy’s name is on it.
Other Luggage Options
The only 2 other brands I would consider would be Chester or Away. I’ve included additional videos below that I’ve created on those bags, plus a durability test on a Delsey and the Travelpro 4 models mentioned earlier in this article. If you’re going to choose between the Maxlite 4 and 5, go with the 4.