We’re suckers for well-designed, thoughtful and stylish carry-on luggage. And with travel slowly becoming a part of our lives again, there’s no better time to check in on whether your current suitcase is delivering on everything you need — and more importantly, want. Because nowadays, you don’t need to be sacrificing anything when it comes to your suitcase.
That’s where July comes in. The Melbourne-based brand launched in 2019 but arrived stateside this month. And while Away, Calpak, Paravel and other trendy travel brands have been creating high-quality, attractive luggage for years, July’s products sport a handful of unique features we haven’t seen anywhere else. Some key differentiators right off the bat: The brand currently boasts the world’s lightest double-wheel carry-on suitcase, personalization options in 12 different languages and an ejectable USB-C power bank that’ll charge your laptop and phone.
“There isn’t a company that exists that doesn’t see the United States as the ultimate place to be,” shares Athan Didaskalou, founder and chief strategy officer at July. “Like other Aussie expats, we’re excited to be here and give the travel scene an injection of Australian design.”
Read on for more about how July is mixing up the luggage category and a breakdown of the brand’s bags that you’ll want to take on your next adventure.
What sets July apart?
Sometimes, being a newer brand to a saturated market can be a bonus. Before creating its line of luggage, the July team read through thousands of reviews on existing suitcases. Then, it decided to fix the things that weren’t working. Suitcases that start breaking down after a couple trips? Inconvenient handle heights? Wheels getting stuck or breaking? The unique features of July’s suitcases are a response to specific pain points in the travel experience.
Didaskalou emphasizes that this idea of helping people travel better is integral to what July is. “The suitcases look great, but more importantly we’re designing new things from the ground up,” he says. “We’re trying to innovate every day.”
For instance, the unique eggshell shape of July’s suitcases is a direct response to an issue with more angular suitcase shapes: weak points at their bends and corners. The unique, curved design of July suitcases allows for more bounce back and ultimately a more durable case that better protects your stuff. In addition, the suitcases are reinforced with custom aluminium bumpers for even more protection and a German polycarbonate, scratchproof exterior. Because July aims to create an unbreakable suitcase that’ll last you your whole life (not just a couple years), it also backs its luggage with a lifetime warranty.
One thing July offers that no other brand does? An unmatched level of personalization options. “It’s all about personalization,” Didaskalou tells Underscored. “And personalization doesn’t just mean English words. It means being truly personal to the person using it.” Personalization is available in 12 different languages (and emojis!) for all of July’s carry-on suitcase options. In addition, you can choose from nine different fonts, countless color combinations and three different locations for the personalization — the back, side or top of the suitcase. July also uses a special printing process for your personalization, which means no wearing or fading, even against the elements.
The impetus behind such varied offerings is rooted in inclusivity. “We live in a cultural hot pot of mixed races and people, and what’s personal to some is often their home language,” Didaskalou says. “Multilingual personalization is the next step to an inclusive travel product.”
July Carry On ($245; july.com)
July’s signature suitcase, the Carry On, is a 46-liter carry-on suitcase that’s designed to hold the maximum amount of stuff that’s allowed inside the cabin. It’s available in 12 different colors, from sleek neutrals to fun, bright options. The exterior is sleek and features the July branding prominently on the front side of the suitcase.
The Carry On comes with an ejectable battery that’s built into the top of the suitcase, underneath the handle. There’s also an integrated TSA lock in front of the handle. Both components are set up super similarly to Away’s The Carry-On Suitcase, but there are a couple unique upsides to July’s clever design. The first is that the ejectable battery is accessed by pushing in a clip, which then releases a flap. This is in contrast to other ejectable batteries, which just use standard flaps that we’ve found can actually pop open during travel. The clip feels a lot more secure, which is a must when traveling. The other huge draw is that the July battery is equipped with both standard USB and USB-C docks, so you can charge both your phone and your laptop. Plus, it’s already been approved for flying across all major airlines, so you don’t have to worry about whether it’ll give you any trouble at security.
Two external features of the suitcase that are definitely worth noting: The SilentMove wheels are indeed totally silent and extremely smooth; they were actually created by the July team since they weren’t able to find the “perfect wheels” anywhere else. But the handle is perhaps our favorite detail — it’s a multi-stop telescopic handle, which just means the height is almost totally customizable to what works best for your height. It’s super smooth to adjust and completely comfortable to hold, thanks to the soft-to-touch rubber handle.
When it comes to the inside of the suitcase, it sports all the organization you’d need (and then some). Features include a stain-resistant lining and a hidden laundry bag that can be stored in a small zippered bag on the side of the suitcase (and when not in use, the bag functions well as a cable or accessories pocket). The left side of the suitcase is a zippered-off mesh compartment, which is so useful when it comes to storing things like shoes, toiletries or accessories that you don’t want squished in with the rest of your clothing. The right side of the suitcase is an open compartment, which includes a mesh compression pad that’s attached to a heavy-duty Y-strap to keep everything secure and in place. Our only complaint: While the compression pad is great for organized packers, it is too bad that you don’t have the option to detach it from the Y-strap for when you might want to forgo the extra piece.
July Carry On Pro ($295; july.com)
The Carry On Pro is essentially the same suitcase as the Carry On with one major addition: It includes July’s detachable SnapSleeve — a dream when it comes to storing your laptop and any other small essentials. The padded laptop compartment is made from a ribbed fabric that’s scratchproof and water- and dirt-resistant. It can fit up to a 16-inch laptop as well as any other smaller items in the zipped outer pocket. To take off the sleeve, simply unzip it from the suitcase and click it out by pulling an internal tab. The integrated German magnet technology is a first for luggage — it’s simultaneously super secure and easy to get the hang of.
For those who like to be on their laptop in the air, the Carry On Pro is a huge win when it comes to convenience and streamlining your packing process. For some, it may eliminate the need for an extra bag altogether. Especially when paired with the suitcase’s ejectable battery, the SnapSleeve and battery are a match made in travel heaven.
July Carry On Light ($225; july.com)
The lightest double-wheel carry-on suitcase in the world, the Carry On Light is only 3.96 pounds. Read: absurdly light. “This was something we had a lot of customers ask us for,” says Didaskalou, who adds that the suitcase was actually developed during the pandemic lockdown. The carry-on is available in eight different colors and can hold up to 38 liters, which is considerably smaller than the Carry On’s 46-liter capacity, making it the perfect size for weekend trips or just when you want to pack lightly.
If you’re not into the bells and whistles of the Carry On, the minimalism of the Carry On Light is definitely appealing. Both the left and right compartments can be zipped up with a mesh divider, allowing for simple yet effective organization. And it includes all the core features of the Carry On that make it so practical for travel: the telescopic handle, smooth wheels, integrated TSA lock and polycarbonate shell.
July Carry On Trunk ($345; july.com)
Finally, for those looking for luxury when it comes to their luggage, the Carry On Trunk is a total head-turner. It’s available in three timeless colors and features a glazed polycarbonate shell, which is even sleeker than the standard polycarbonate shell used in July’s other suitcases. It features the same 46-liter capacity as the Carry On but weighs a little more at 8.4 pounds.
The big draw of the Carry On Trunk (other than how luxe it looks) is that it doesn’t have any zippers. Instead, there are two integrated TSA latch locks as well as protective feet on both sides. All the other main features of the Carry On carry over: the ejectable battery, telescopic handle, Y-strap compression system and more.
If you’re in the market for a larger checked bag, July offers three different sizes: The Checked (an 80-liter option), the Checked Plus (a 110-liter option) and the Checked Trunk, a larger version of the Carry On Trunk. All three are available in a range of gorgeous colors and with all the same personalization options as the carry-on suitcases.
July checks all our boxes when it comes to practicality and style. The brand’s innovative details make it perfect for any and all sorts of trips, while the range of color options and personalization are a ton of fun. While July’s suitcases may not be the most affordable on the market, the lifetime warranty July provides is a huge plus — you can be sure you’re making an investment that will literally last a lifetime.
Through the month of July, July is offering free shipping, free personalization and a free Carry Me (a chic and durable travel bag) with the purchase of any suitcase. And if for whatever reason the suitcase isn’t right for you, July is also offering free returns and a 100-day trial to customers in the United States. So if you’ve been on the fence about upgrading your luggage before your next post-pandemic trip, rest assured, there’s never been a better time to do so.