Using the rock solid BRX travel bag – #BRXtravelgear

Note: This post is a followup of a compensated social shopper insights study I performed for Collective Bias. Originally published in 2011.

Because I was compensated for purchasing a BRX Expedition by Briggs and Riley, I used this rolling duffle bag for the trip rather than the Eagle Creek I purchased a while back.

Suitcase or Luggage in Denver
Standing tall in Denver…

I hate to say it, but the BRX was a pretty handy bag to carry around. It’s much lighter than the Eagle Creek, and the duffle handle makes it easy to carry up and down the stairs, as well as easily heft it on top of baggage stands and beds. I did use the Pack-It folders from Eagle Creek though so I could cram as much junk in there as I could, then it was off I went to the Rockies.

Suitcase on stairs
This is the before picture. The after picture shows me sliding down the stairs using my BRX as a sled. The hotel owners were not pleased.

Despite the fact that this is a bag designed to endure an African safari expedition, it was assuring to know that it could survive something even more grueling: tagging along with me.

I’ll give you an example of just how accident prone I can be: I’m in Telluride, Colorado, rolling my BRX, a bag of laundry, two winter coats, and two bottles of soda on top to my car after checking out, because I’m too lazy to make more than one trip, ya know? So I’m wheeling away in the parking garage when suddenly one of the bottles of soda drops like a brick, hits the pavement which smashes the cap, and suddenly there’s an EXPLOSION as the bottle fires off like a rocket across the garage in a spray of foam and liquid cola, until it hits one of the tires of a nearby car.

There is soda on EVERYTHING now: my shoes, my coats, my laundry and of course, my BRX bag as well. I scream like a little girl, look around for a few seconds, and then flee for the nearest elevator before anyone can see me, because of course, I was on the wrong level to begin with.

I was already checked out so the best I could do was pat myself down with some pocket tissues and sop up whatever soda was left, then tossed just about everything including my bag, still wet and damp from the soda rocket launch into the trunk. It was that kind of morning.

But… everything inside my bag was untouched and dry, even the bag itself dried quickly, plus there were no leftover stains either. I was impressed. That was nearly 2 liters of foaming cola it withstood too. African safaris, eat your heart out.

Thankfully the rest of my trip was uneventful where my luggage was concerned, but I was so pleased with the way things turned out that I may wind up leaving my Eagle Creek at home and using my BRX gear more often than not.

Suitcase or Luggage in Ouray
Neither soda nor mountainous rain will dampen my BRX gear.

It’d be nice if an outdoor store would actually have the outdoor gear I’m looking for

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. Originally published in 2011.

Finally set aside time to go and grab some free outdoor luggage. I usually like to shop in the evenings during my meal break and after rush hour traffic. There’s a small window of time then where the crowds aren’t as bad as they are during the day, plus it voids the need to do any shopping on the weekend. That means more time to game and Netflix during my weekend down times.  I’m awesome.

Depending on what the store had available, I was probably either going to opt for a backpack to carry my MacBook /future iPad and other gadgets, or get the megasize, who-does-your-daddy-work-for, 28 inch MAN bag. That’s about as max as you can get for the airlines without getting dinged with extra fees.

My first stop was REI on Long Island, decently sized outdoor store (though not as big as Dick’s Sporting Goods), where I basically just waltzed in and headed right for where all the bags were.

Stacks of backpacks and suitcases
Bags, bags, everywhere…

The bags were divvied up by backpacks and luggage, only… there were no Briggs and Riley gear to be found. Like, at all. I circled the store several times but there was just… nothing.

I finally gave up and decided to give Eastern Mountain Sports a try, which, quite literally, was just down the road from REI. The store was smaller than REI, and while they had a few backpacks on display (for the college students since it was that time of year again), there was basically only one wall of bags, and yep, there was no BRX gear to be found anywhere.

Wall of backpacks
Guess what I DIDN’T find here?

I approached someone I was reasonably sure worked in the store, and asked her where I could find the BRX bags.

“Sorry, we don’t carry those in stock. Why not try REI? It’s just down the road from here.”

………. errrr.

I tried one more store (this time a normal luggage place) which, quite oddly enough, ALSO happened to be just down the road (say what you will about Long Island, but you’ll always be within 300 feet of pretty much any store you can think of.) BUT, they were closed.

Of course.

I went back the next day, and thank you Lord, there was a stash of Briggs and Riley luggage sitting pretty in a corner. I asked the lady where I could find the BRX line.

“Oh sorry, we used to have them, but not for a while.”


This is getting rather silly. Ironically, the company that manufactures the luggage is headquartered ON Long Island. How is it that none of these retailers that are also ON Long Island are carrying their BRX line, which I KNOW (at least based on the threads I’ve read at Flyertalk) is a pretty popular line? The only other outdoor retailer listed on the BRX site that was supposed to carry these bags was ExOfficio, which is literally at JFK (yes as in, the international airport). At Terminal 5.  Unless I’m flying, not exactly a convenient stop for me.

As much as I’d like free luggage, I’m not wholly sure I want it THAT much that I’d be willing to subject myself to being fondled and groped by Bruno the TSA agent.

But thankfully, I had one more recourse: E. Vincent, which was also the home store for In a fit of pure irony, this was also where I happened to get my Eagle Creek suitcase before I went to SXSW, and it looks like they are once again coming to my rescue.

Sure enough:

Briggs and Riley sign for luggage

And at long last, there they were, the BRX line just sitting quietly amongst the other B&R bags.

BRX Luggage and Bags
There you are!

The 28 inch rolling duffle wasn’t on display though, so the sales guy went in the back to see if there were any more. I looked through the BRX bags including the backpack, although I was still unsure of what to get. The backpack was alluring, but it was a little small and didn’t have a hidden compartment for a MacBook like the STM bag I carry now did, and since I’m already used to hauling that around, I took a look at the wheeled luggage instead. They looked ideal for short trips, say one week or so, but the trip I was taking to the Rockies would last 15 days. I mean, I guess I could make do with a smaller carry-on, but my philosophy is that I would rather have that extra space and not need it, than to need it, and find myself running with my arms flailing to the nearest FedEx because I don’t have enough room to bring back all the 10 gallon cowboy hats I bought.

Of course, I’m pretty sure my philosophy is going to change REAL fast the day an airline loses my baggage.

But in the meantime, I decided to roll with a slate colored 28″ inch Expedition after all, but of course, they were sold out. The sales guy placed an order for me though, and the bag will be shipped directly to my home. Finally.

All this time, and I could have just ordered the bag online. LOL. Honestly though, this is why I rarely shop at retailers.  I don’t know why, but retailers here seem to be very adept at stocking just about everything EXCEPT what I’m looking for.  Thank God for online shopping.

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