There are certain things that will always be design classics. You know, the sort of product that is the definitive article. That once-in-a-generation enduring product that sets the standard for competitors to follow.
Bear with me while I explain. Think of a metal lighter – you’re thinking of a Zippo, right? So good it’s often imitated, but never bettered, since 1933. Some are genuinely beautiful works of art.
Now think of a smartphone. You mean an iPhone. Sure, other phones exist (apparently), but they all follow the original iPhone’s full-screen, built-in keyboard format since 2007.
And while you may never have heard of Mr Peter Durand (and why would you – he died in 1822), you use his invention every day, because he invented the humble tin can – now used for everything from beans to soups and still going as strong as the day it was first produced.
All of these products have endured through time because they’re well thought out, robust and easily used by us, the humble consumers. I’m no salesman, but there’s a definite link between the popularity of a product and how easily you can pick it up and use it.
Aerolite Minimax Review
This logic extends to the Aerolite Minimax easyJet Cabin Luggage Backpack. We purchased four, for a recent family trip to Majorca, where in an attempt to avoid exorbitant baggage fees, we went with hand luggage only, which was a brave, but ultimately brilliant call by Mrs B.
The Aerolite Minimax easyJet Cabin bag 45x36x20 definitely falls into design classic territory. They’ve seen a consumer problem (ridiculous baggage fees) and solved it with a 45 x 36 x 20 cm canvas bag, which by sheer coincidence (probably not) is within the free easyJet cabin luggage allowance (other airlines are available).
But it’s more than just a bag. It comes with a handle so you can carry it like a suitcase.
It comes with backpack straps, hidden behind a zip panel, so you can wear it as a backpack, but also hide the straps when it’s not in use. It comes with wheels and a pull handle so you can drag it through an airport lounge like a protesting child, and if you want to wear it as a backpack, another hidden panel unzips to cover the wheels so your back doesn’t get dirty.
The main body is just one large compartment to maximise your packing space and can easily take a spare pair of shoes, your wash bag and a few changes of clothes. You’d struggle to fit a winter coat though.
I mean, you could – but you wouldn’t be able to take anything else. On the outside, there is a smaller zippable pouch large enough for your passport, travel documents, keys etc and a small mesh bag to hold items in an emergency.
Finally, over the top is an adjustable harness which the designers have included to enable children to strap their teddies on, which is a cute touch. I haven’t found what adults could strap on though. Probably naughty children.
The bag even comes with a free 2-year warranty, which is useful if you do intend to travel a lot. All in all, I was very impressed, and they’re small and light enough to be handled by adults and excitable children alike.
The only downside of the bag that I could find was that because it’s a soft canvas design, it’s not freestanding.
You know the score, you pull up to the check-in desk with your bag handle extended and rolling along on wheels, you stop to say hello … and your bag falls over with a bang, narrowly missing your flip-flopped toes. Apart from this, it’s pretty bombproof.
So why does it fall into design classic territory for me? Because, like Zippos and iPhones and cans, it just works. Family holidays with little ones are always frantic, and you do need, depending on what you’re doing, a wheeled bag – then when it’s too heavy for your children, you suddenly need a backpack, so you have your hands free to carry their bag.
Then you need to carry it with a handle as you have a grumpy 8-year-old that wants to hold your other hand and his bag is now on your back. You can seamlessly switch between carrying methods, thus reducing the stress as you try to make your departure gate on time.
For £25, that’s a real bargain and there’s a fiver off if you buy more than one.
The Aerolite Minimax easyJet 45x36x20 Cabin Bag just works, it does exactly what it says on the tin, and saves you paying a fortune for extra luggage. I am sure it will be copied endlessly by others, as all good design is. What’s not to like?
The Aerolite Minimax easyJet Cabin Luggage Backpack is available from their official store here. This is an independent review, and the author has not been paid or otherwise rewarded for this review.