Things change. It’s the nature of life. So, although we used to be carry-on only travelers, we’ve since gained status on KLM which allows us each to check a bag for free. While I still love my carry-on bag, Sean decided he was ready for a larger bag and wanted to give a hard-shell style with four-wheels a try…and that’s how we ended up with a 26” bag!
This is an item that was gifted to me, however all opinions are my own. This post will also contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you.
It’s always a bit hard to adapt to new luggage, but it was either get the Monument Hardside 26″ Spinner from eBags (the brand we love and have been using since 2012), or make do with one of the old bags we moved to Amsterdam with that was falling apart. Now, after traveling with it to Italy twice, it’s a fast favorite. I don’t think he’d ever go back to two wheels again!
It’s all about packing and how easily you can use the bag. I like having easy-access areas on the exterior of the bag, but he’s never used that feature on his previous bag (the eBags 21” Mother Lode Rolling Duffel — the same model I still use). It’s important to understand what your packing style is when you pick your next piece of luggage.
The eBag Monument Hardside 26″ Spinner comes in four colors including the beautiful merlot. Don’t worry, it’s a perfect color no matter your gender. It has a built-in combination luggage lock (which I LOVE), and an expandable zipper to give extra space for all the souvenirs you’ll bring home. Or, in our case, to bring home wine. No…that’s not the only reason we got a hard-shell case, but it was one of them!
A review of the eBags Monument Hardside 26″ Spinner
For a lightweight hard-shell suitcase with four wheels, the eBags Monument Hardside 26″ Spinner is a solid bag to own. It looked, felt, and worked exactly as I expected it to work. What I mean by that is that it feels solid, the wheels aren’t flimsy, it rolls very nicely, and the handle is light but sturdy.
When you look at lightweight bags, you never really know (unless you’re actually in a store) how it feels and if it feels like it’s going to break. But when you buy a hard-shell, you want structure and you want your belongings to feel extra safe inside. I felt so confident in this bag that we checked wine inside of it twice.
It did get a nice little dent in the top corner of the bag, but considering how much force it took to pop it out, I almost feel like it got pinched in something tough along the way in transit. I don’t think it’s likely that it just fell on itself. Anyway, I’d hate to think what would have happened if it was a fabric bag or even one of the many flimsy hard-shell bags. I’m fairly certain they would have simply split and this bag shows no sign of lasting damage…it’s only cosmetic! So, even though it got a dent (that we did get out), I still feel confident that this bag will be with us for a long time.
The grip handles are in two places with a cushy underside that feels good on the hand and there’s enough room that you won’t snap your fingers inside (yes, that’s a specific I look for because we’ve had a bag that did that and I would always get so mad!). The rolling bag handle also has enough space under it so your fingers won’t get caught. It’s always the little things I appreciate.
Zipper pulls are often overlooked as an important trait in a bag. These are a good size to grip and pull when you’ve overfilled your bag. And they feel super strong, so I don’t think the zipper would split if you overfill it. Of course, you could always use packing cubes to help keep it all under control. eBags has their own model and while I haven’t converted to a packing cubes user, I know people who swear by them! Again, just know your own packing style.
The interior design is always the most interesting part to me. Yeah, the outside needs to look good and the bag needs to work properly, but the inside determines how you pack. Gone are the days when I think “A bag is just a bag”. There are SO MANY elements that you need to look at. When in doubt, ask someone who travels a lot 😉
This bag opens in the middle via two zippers. The right side is left open with only the indents of the extendable handle getting in the way (this is very normal). There are two elastic bands with a clip that you close to secure your clothes and other items in place. This is super nice because this side is open when you unzip the bag.
The left side is protected from falling out since there is a flap that zips all the way around the side. This opening is completely flat with nothing in the way and really perfect for packing cubes. The zippered flap that secures this side has spots for shoes and a couple mesh zippered areas for those small things that always seem to get lost. It’s such a nice touch! You can use it or not, but it’s a nice use of space.
Since this bag expands 1.25”, it’s good to know that that extra space is in the secured zippered area on the left side. It gives a lot of flexibility and makes sense to keep it on the side that’s enclosed.
Overall, I like all of the design elements of this bag and it rolls so smoothly. It’s easy to customize for your packing needs, it’s a great size, though you can order a bigger 29” size or the smaller 22” size if that’s what you need.
This is a good, solid bag for the price, and in general. My thing is that once you find a brand you like, keep with it unless you need something new, like a new element you favorite brand can’t give you. eBags seems to have been listening to the market for years and always strives to create the kind of bags that people want and need to travel these days. Check out the prices on the eBags website!
Pros of the this hard-shell bag
Since it’s a hard-shell, it has extra protection from falls, rain, harsh handling.
There’s no fabric to rip or stain.
Included is a built-in TSA approved combination luggage lock.
They added handles with cushioning on the bottom side on two sides of the bag. (I’ve hurt my hands on numerous bag handles in the past, so this is a biggie for me)
You’ll find two separate interior compartments that you can leave open if you’d like to fit a larger item.
There’s organization in the flap in the middle of the bag for shoes and small items.
The bag is lightweight but feels sturdy, especially with the handles.
The handles are on the top and side so you can carry in whichever orientation that feels right for you.
Wheels are smooth-rolling and feel like they can take a beating. At least they have taken a beating on the Amsterdam cobblestones, gravel streets, and bumpy yards.
You get great colors to choose from, though I’m partial to the merlot!
A must-have is the expansion of 1.25” on the left side of the bag.
Thank goodness for the scratch-resistant exterior.
Cons of the Monument 26” spinner
It feels more like a medium hard-shell in terms of strength due to the slight flex it gives. However, I think this is due to the technology of the shell that it’s thin but strong. I wanted to add this explanation because some people will want a super solid, doesn’t give at all, kind of bag.
The material under the handles that feel so nice to hold and carry also feel like they made wear with time. We have had no issues so far, but it is something Sean is afraid of happening due to its squishiness. Again, though, it could be a technology we aren’t aware of that doesn’t flake off.
This is going to stay Sean’s go-to bag for years to come, I can tell. It’s the perfect size to get everything we need in it, while not being so big that we feel like we’re lugging around a massive pain in the butt. One big thing to keep in mind with this bag (and probably most bags with four wheels) is that on cobblestones and rough terrain, you’ll probably be pulling it behind you like a two-wheeled bag. I find that on uneven sidewalks it’s not possible to have it alongside you because it will get caught on the one raised brick on the ground.
This was a great addition to our luggage needs and we will use it on most of our trips moving forward. It feels like a new friend that I can’t want to know better and go on more adventures with! Want your own? Check out the eBags website to learn more and to order.
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Wishing you joy and travels.