The WindTook 20″ Expandable Spinner Travel Suitcase was kindly provided to me by Mountaintop Outdoor free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
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PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The WindTook Expandable Spinner Travel Suitcase is supplied double boxed with a WindTook branded internal cardboard box and a plain brown Amazon postage box on the outside.
The suitcase itself is supplied wrapped in a very thick clear plastic bag, with some additional cellular foam padding found exclusively on the extending handle. Two tags are found on the main handle one containing a little product and after sales information and the other illustrating some of the bags features.
Inside the bag are a couple of moisture absorbing silica gel sachets and a further small card detailing instructions for use of the built in security lock on the main compartment.
Overall external measurements of the suitcase are as follows…
Height: Standing upright on its wheels with the extending handle retracted the suitcase measures approximately 60cm high.
Width: At its widest point the suitcase measures 36.7cm wide, excluding the main compartment code lock which protrudes by approximately 8mm from the left side.
Depth: At its deepest point the suitcase measures 27.5cm deep, when the zips are released that expand the depth of the main compartment the depth expands to 29cm, it can however stretch slightly further when filled.
Weight: 3.73kg (accurate to within 0.1%).
The first thing to note about the WindTook suitcase is that at its heart is a thin but very strong and durable moulded plastic frame that forms the top, bottom and back of the suitcase. This frame is located between a loose internal lining and a bonded external fabric, well when I say bonded what I mean it was once bonded but in some places it is evident that the adhesive has failed.
Now, while this frame serves to keep the suitcase in shape it also serves to protect the contents from impacts and also moisture ingress, it does however add notable weight and it also prevents expansion, something to be aware of for those that like to squeeze every last morsel of space that they can.
As for the frame on the sides of the suitcase this comes in the form of 3.5cm wide thin ribbed carbon steel struts that are secured to the top and bottom sections of the moulded plastic frame. This I am not entirely enamoured with, firstly metal is heavy, secondly the edges are raw and the metal is in direct contact with both the lining and external fabric. Lastly, if the struts get bent (something I have had happen to previous cases with such a feature) the case will forever become malformed as they are nigh impossible to bend back into shape.
Located centrally at the top of the suitcase is the main carry handle, this measures 17.5cm long, extending to 19cm when pulled and measures 3.1cm wide and 1.9cm deep. The handle is secured to the suitcase with a single rivet on either side with the ends of the handle concealed with an additional layer of fabric stitched over the top of the main construction.
The handle itself is made with a firm rectangular shaped internal piping wrapped with the same material used in the construction throughout the suitcase. Located on the top of the handle a 12.5cm wide, 2.2cm long piece of PU leather is stitched in place embossed with WindTook branding of a colour matching the main colour of the suitcase.
The overall construction of the handle appears fit for purpose and with a 4.5″ wide palm my hand is about the limit suitable for comfortable carrying of the suitcase. One slight point of concern is the manner in which the PU leather tab has been fitted to the top of the handle which is best described as poorly finished.
The thread used to stitch the PU leather on has either snapped or run out and where the thread has not been properly secured before continuing, it has resulted in some messy loose thread and where the start and finish meet there is also a small patch of overstitching. This may well not be representative of all cases, but it is a sign that perhaps quality control isn’t quite as stringent as it should be.
Located on the rear edge at the top of the suitcase is an extending telescopic pull along handle, the main construction of which is concealed between the suitcase rear panel and main compartment internal lining. On the outside of the case a black ABS plastic frame surrounds the extending handle with a large enough recess along the back of the case to gain purchase and lift the handle even for those with oversized hands.
The handle itself measures 11.8cm long on the inside, 3cm wide and 2.6cm deep and locks into place when extended by either 38cm or 48.3cm. The top of the handle is covered with a satin silver plastic and a centrally located rectangular button flush with the surface of the handle measuring 4cm x 1.5cm releases the handle for extending when pushed in. The sides and underside of the handle is covered with what feels to be a very firm black rubber that is comfortable in the hand, but a little slippery.
The extending arms of the handle are made from hollow non magnetic metal tubes with each part of the construction held together with two small rivets. The overall construction and strength of this handle appears entirely fit for purpose given the size of the case as long as you don’t plan on loading it up with bricks.
There is a little wobble in the handle where it protrudes from the case, but where the extending sections of the handle join they are entirely secure. One thing to be aware of however is that the extending arms appear to be lightly coated in either oil or some form of lubricant, this enables smooth operation of the extending mechanism so I wouldn’t go trying to clean it off, but it is something to be aware of if using the handle extending while wearing expensive or delicate items of clothing.
The final feature on the top of the case is some basic plastic reinforcement piping on the rear corners.
Stitched over the external material of the WindTook suitcase is a piece of black PU leather that covers the back half of the underside and wraps around to cover 13cm of the bottom of the back of the case as well. While this is aptly placed to protect the suitcase from being scuffed, scraped and kicked by the back of your heels it is yet another source of additional weight.
Located roughly centrally are 4 metal rivets that further aid to secure the external fabrics to the plastic frame at the heart of the case. Sadly for some rather odd reason like many of the other rivets on the suitcase they have been made from carbon steel and so they are not corrosive resistant.
In each of the four corners, non removable ABS plastic castor style wheels have been secured to the suitcase that stand proud by a little over 7cm from the underside of the suitcase. While there are 2 rivets each evident securing the rear wheels, exactly how the front wheels are attached is unknown, one thing that is for sure should one break replacing or repairing it would not likely be possible without removing the internal lining first.
The design of the wheels is such that the castors actually protrude out slightly from the front and rear of the suitcase to extend the wheelbase in a bid to make it more stable when stood upright… which works. Even on a thick pile carpet the suitcase is entirely stable and likewise on a rather lumpy lawn, I would say however that if you are putting anything heavy in the main compartment make sure to place it at the bottom as not only will this prevent everything else in the case getting squashed it will also prevent the case becoming unstable.
Each castor is fitted with two wheels held together with a single pin and the wheels are constructed with a glossy black carbon steel spoke and a plastic tread.. or tyre if you prefer. The wheels are independently free spinning and the castor mount itself is also free spinning in both directions.
Now the overall construction and design of the wheels is hard to fault, I would go so far as to say I like them very much and for my disabled mother, this would make for a very handy case to have on her short UK breaks. That said, they add considerably to the overall size and the weight of the suitcase, especially compared to cases with just two small concealed wheels along the back edge.
Most concerning regarding the wheels, however is how they would fare in use when flying. In my youth I worked airside at an international airport and once your luggage is checked in it goes through all manner of hell before it reaches the plane.
A maze of conveyor belts transports the case from one end of the airport to the other with a plethora of massive bumpers bashing the case (and often sending them flying) from one conveyor belt to another before finally being thrown in a cage and then on-board the plane. I’ve seen cases go flying off conveyor belts dropping on concrete floors, being trapped and crushed on the conveyor belts, squashed under 100 other cases at the bottom of cages as they are being taken to the plane and even falling off the cages on to tarmac.
In short, while good quality considering what I have seen I would personally never buy a case with exposed wheels such as these if I planned on taking it on a plane. For travelling by car, train or sea, however I like them very much and the articulation and the size of the wheels makes for a very easy to pull along case, even up kerbs and over rough terrain.
On the back of the suitcase some oversized ABS plastic sections of rear wheel construction protects the bottom corners of the suitcase and as noted previously at the bottom the black PU leather panel that partially covers the underside of the case wraps around covering the bottom 13cm of the rear and at the top is the black ABS plastic frame recess section allowing easy access to the pull along telescopic handle.
The only other feature on the rear of the suitcase is a black plastic tab stitched directly onto the suitcase fabric, located approximately 14cm down from the top edge. While this is stitched on and aligned well the end of thread has been poorly finished off, although thankfully, unlike the PU leather on the carry handle it is just a matter of aesthetics.
Now at first glance, this appears like a design feature with no function but upon closer inspection or a read through the provided instructions we find that the right edge of this tag actually pulls out to provide a name and address label for you to fill in your details in the event of the suitcase become lost or stolen.
This is all good and well, but I do have concerns that this could very easily be overlooked and I confess that I wish this had a clear window or at the very least that it had something like “ADDRESS” embossed or printed over the plain plastic to make it a little more obvious.
I should also point out that this address tag only measures 4.1cm x 2cm with the given space proving insufficient in size to write my address in its entirety and I had to write my phone number so small it’s barely legible.
Other than the wheel construction on the underside of the case offering reinforcement to the bottom corners and the plastic piping reinforcement to the top rear corner the right side of the case is devoid of further feature.
The left side of the case is identical in construction to that of the right with one additional feature, located 7cm down from the top and 12.5cm in from the rear edges is a pre-attached non removable code lock made from black ABS plastic that measures 3cm wide, 7.5cm high and 8mm deep.
On the left side of the lock are three dials used to set/change the code, on the right are two recesses that hold the main compartment zip heads, just above the top recess on the right edge is a small reset button and on the bottom edge is a small pull down tab that releases pins in the recesses that retain the zips.
By default the code is 000, this can be changed by holding down the reset button with a pen nib while changing the number dials to the new desired code. When the correct code is set pulling down the bottom tab releases the pins in the recesses allowing the zip heads to be installed or released.
When releasing the zips a spring like action pops the zip heads out, allowing the lock to be easily unlocked with just one finger, locking the case however is a bit more of a phaff. When the tab is pulled down (which has to be done with a fingernail as there is just a small raised rib on the tab to gain purchase) to release the pins you have to keep this pulled down while simultaneously inserting both zip heads at the same time.
The reason for this is the spring mechanism that forces the zip heads out when the bottom tab is pulled means that both zips heads have to be forcibly pushed in before releasing the tab to secure the zip heads. As an able bodied individual its just a matter of patience, for someone with arthritis or other hand / wrist impairment I suspect operating this lock will be beyond their means.
Perhaps the most significant problem with the lock, at least for air travel is that the lock is not a TSA approved lock (it doesn’t have an override). A TSA approved lock is one that has a key lock override via a key which is held by airport security services, allowing them to open and inspect luggage without having to cut the lock off or damage the suitcase to inspect the contents.
The requirement for these locks started out on flights in and out of the US, although a growing number of agencies around the world are now adopting the standard. As the lock on this case does not have such an override the fact is if you make use of the lock once it has been checked in when flying there is a very real possibility that either the lock, zips or case itself may get damaged should it get picked for inspection.
Curiously alongside the code lock the zips to the main compartment (and only the main compartment) are also fitted with overlapping rings that allow you to easily make use of your own lock. Which begs the question why they also bothered to fit a non TSA approved code lock in the first place.
When travelling by car or rail, however the lock should prove a basic deterrent for distraction thefts when on foot and hopefully opportunists or nosey individuals when stored in a hotel or B&B and as its pre-attached it’s not like you are going to lose or forget to bring it.
On the front of the WindTook suitcase there are a total of three additional pockets constructed onto the main compartment hinged opening flap.
At the very front top is a rectangular pocket measuring 21cm wide, zip access is vertical on the left side with a single head and pull and an opening measuring approximately 14cm high. Just below this is a square pocket measuring approximately 27cm high with a concealed zip access at the top running horizontally with an opening measuring approximately 23cm wide again with a single zip head and pull.
Both of these pockets have been constructed gathered to offer depth, it is however tapered. As such, while the top rectangular pocket expands to 6.5cm deep in the centre and the square bottom pocket expands to over 8cm deep in the centre there is little depth offered around the edges.
Both of these pockets are both fully lined and on the front, external side, they also both appear to have been fitted with a thin layer of padding although the internal back side of the pocket is not.
Constructed just behind the top rectangular pocket is another rectangular pocket with zip access that runs the full width along the top of the main compartment opening flap and approximately 8cm down either side. This compartment measures approximately 18.5cm high, offering dual zip access and an opening that measures approximately 33cm wide.
Unlike the two pockets on the front of the main compartment opening flap this pocket has not been gathered or indeed constructed to offer any notable depth and while it is fully lined it does not offer any padding on either side.
Access to the main compartment is via a dual zip that runs all the way along the top, left, bottom and right hand corners with the opening flap hinged on the right side of the case (from the perspective of the case standing upright on its wheels).
The main compartment is fully lined and measures approximately 33cm wide, 47.5cm high and 17cm deep with the hinged opening flap, offering an additional 5cm depth to the main compartment which can be extended by a further 4cm, exactly how will be discussed shortly.
It should be noted that the depth measurement of the main compartment is from its greatest point, I state this as the telescopic extending legs do protrude into the main compartment which creates three channels in the back of the case. As such, to maximise the available space small items such as socks and pants are best placed in these recesses between the legs before placing larger garments over them.
Two non removable horizontal adjustable straps with quick release plastic buckles are fitted inside the main compartment to keep the contents in place (or rather squash them down so you can cram as much as possible in) and the final feature of the main compartment is an open edge laptop pocket located on the inside of the opening flap.
This measures 31cm high, 24.5cm wide and 3cm deep (at the edges) with an elastic strap at the top to secure the opening edge with Velcro tabs, which when used restricts the use to laptops, no wider than 32cm. Sadly, I do not currently have access to a laptop that will fit, you might get a 15.6″ machine within but I would advise on double checking your measurements first if this is a feature that is important to you.
Sadly, if this is not a feature important to you it is again something that adds weight and as the internal surface is padded with a thin layer of neoprene it also takes up some space in the main compartment that could be used to carry more. Oddly the back of the laptop pocket that is exposed to the outside of the suitcase is not padded, as such I would seriously advise against carrying a laptop in this pocket if you are considering taking this case on a flight as it isn’t very well protected, although for UK travel by car or train it could be a welcomed feature as access is relatively easy without having to open the whole case up.
Located directly in front of the main compartment zip and behind the front three pockets is another zip that runs 360 degrees, all the way around the main compartment opening flap. This has a single zip and pull, and when the zip is completely undone it expands the depth of the main compartment (and the overall suitcase depth) by approximately 4cm allowing you to store even more within.
As for capacity, I was able to fill the main compartment with the following without making use of the expansion feature….
Three pairs of socks, three pairs of knickers, three bras, a nightdress, a pair of slippers, a pair of flats, a summer dressing gown, one pair of trousers, a skirt, a long sleeve Tee, a short sleeve Tee, a cardigan, a summer jumper, a toiletries bag (containing deodorant, flannel, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, shower cap, hand cream, soap, sponge, hair brush, comb, hairspray, toothbrush & paste, perfume, sleep mask, ear plugs and some makeup) and in the laptop compartment, three magazines, a hot brush and curling tongs.
On a final note before publishing my review I showed both the WindTook suitcase and my review to my sister, a veteran of 19 years in the travel industry with more flights under her belt than everyone else I know combined.
She stated that she liked the suitcase, but concurred with my comments that it was too heavy, the code lock is a pointless inclusion and that the wheels wouldn’t likely last more than a few flights. She advised that she would not consider purchasing it for international use and that it is a little on the expensive side, but would have loved such a case when she was younger and used to travel around the country performing in ballroom dance competitions.
WHERE TO BUY.
The WindTook Expandable Spinner Travel Suitcases are available in the UK from Mountaintop Outdoor Fulfilled By Amazon.co.uk in three different sizes or as a set of three in a range of three different colours.
Set of three containing a 20″, 24″ and 28″ suitcase in either Black, Coffee or Purple at a cost of £189.99 with free P&P. (WARNING: buying the cases separately at the time of writing works out cheaper).
In the US WindTook Expandable Spinner Travel Suitcases are available from Mountaintop Outdoor Equipment Co Ltd Fulfilled by Amazon.com in three different sizes or as a set of three but only in a range of two colours, black and coffee. There is a purple set but the cases slightly from those shown and described within this review.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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