I am apparently unspeakably cruel. You see, I took my three daughters and my wife to London and Paris for 7 days.
That is not actually the cruel part. That made me a reasonably cool Dad for about 3 minutes, and a good husband for 11 minutes.
The cruel part is that I made every one of my female travel companions pack for that trip purely in carry on luggage. That’s right, two teenage girls, a twenty something and my long-suffering wife all had to fit the entirety of their luggage for seven days in the overhead compartment of our plane.
Yup, evil to the core, that’s me. At least, you would have thought so based on the commentary. I mean, what if we bumped into the Queen and she invited us to a ball and we needed to really dress up? What if Prince Harry was at Kensington while we were there and invited us to go horse back riding?
I assured them that if any of those incredibly improbable things happened I would buy them new clothes when we got there. Then I smiled my most wicked smile and dropped the bomb shell.
“Of course, the only way you are going to make this work is if you limit yourself to two pair of shoes.”
Evil. Pure, unmitigated evil. I had to remind them several times that I was taking them to London just to quell the rebellion.
Now, why was I rambling about this? Oh yes, carry on luggage.
Sometimes a company’s timing is perfect, and Crumpler fell into that category. A Dry Red 3 showed up for review just a week before we headed for Europe. My 15 year old daughter got issued it to use for this trip.
The Dry Red 3 is a 27 liter roll-a-board made of coated ballistic nylon. At just a touch less than 16 by 19 by 9 inches it fits well within the parameters of carry on size. While the extendable handle and supporting hardware are solid, the bag is still less than six pounds when empty. It is also just slightly narrower at the top than at the bottom.
Crumpler’s pictures of the bag make it look somewhat squatty, but it is much more graceful looking in person. There are handles on the top of the bag and along one side. They are neoprene and filled with something soft so they feel great in your hand even when you have overstuffed the bag…like my daughter did on the way home.
The wheels are heavy-duty polyurethane and roll like inline skates. They are mostly recessed and made easy work of all the city streets we drug them across. The bag also has feet on the bottom opposite the wheels and it does a great job of standing up on its own.
The front flap has a pocket on it that is sealed with a lockable zipper and two warrior buckles at the corners. Those warrior buckles were bar tacked to the cover and are not going anywhere in this century. The dual zippers are all good quality and feature that cute Crumpler pull.
Crumpler also took the time to finish all the internal seams, and I love that kind of attention to detail.
The pictures on the Crumpler website show a section here to store a laptop and some accessories.
This is a change in the Dry Red 3 since I received it and it makes it far more useful for my typical applications. I liked this front section and it was really useful for stuff I needed to get at on the plane without having to open the bag. Adding that laptop pocket pushes this Crumpler piece into the truly cool zone.
Opening up the main compartment reveals a large single section with tie down straps. Mesh pockets open via zippers along each side of the bag. These are not deep, so they are best suited for smaller items but it keeps them from bouncing around the main area of the bag. The back side of the flap is covered with another mesh pocket, which makes a great place to store socks and underwear.
The bag also includes a divided shoe bag that is carefully labeled if you are not sure what to do with your shoes…
So, my fifteen year old got everything for a week in the Dry Red 3. Immediately after getting off of the train we walked straight into a classic London afternoon thunder shower. The three blocks to the hotel had all of us eyeing our bags as we hoofed it through the rain.
The Dry Red was true to its name. The rain beaded up and rolled off and everything inside stayed clean and dry.
The real test was the trip home. Souvenirs and gifts got stuffed into the Dry Red and it had just enough give that everything went in. The zippers took the strain with grace and it came back off the plane looking as good as new.
The Dry Red 3 performed perfectly. It slid into every overhead bin and kept my daughter’s stuff to a manageable weight so she could cart her own luggage. Although wheel structures always take away some of the packable space in a bag, Crumpler did a good job of keeping this to a minimum.
The materials are rugged and the construction is solid enough to earn their over the top warranty. According to Crumpler:
Not just ‘a’ warranty, but the Legendary Crumpler ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ Warranty!
If your Crumpler bag fails as a result of defective materials or workmanship under normal use while you: a) draw breath and b) remain the bag’s owner, we’ll repair or replace the part(s) in question – no questions asked. Just mail your bag to a Crumpler HQ, postage paid, together with your proof of purchase and a short note to explain the problem. We’ll make it right and send it back to you ASAP.
Crumpler got their start in the business making bicycle messenger bags. That approach calls for making a rugged product that is easy to transport, and easy to get in and out of. They have taken that same approach with their carry on luggage and the Dry Red 3 is a roll aboard that has a little bit of attitude and a whole lot of capability.
Crumpler Dry Red 3 $220
29 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
New York, 11249