July Carry On Trunk review

July Carry On Trunk: a charger and suitcase in one (review)

100% human
8.8

“To check or simply carry on?” That is the question I have asked myself before every short overseas trip I’ve done since 2018. For most of those trips, I ended up checking my luggage, even though it took forever, because my old STM carry on suitcase simply didn’t hold enough, and my backpack just didn’t have the structure to hold a suit. With the return of business travel this year, I spent months weighing up the pros and cons of various carry-on suitcases. Eventually, I decided on the Carry On Trunk, a suitcase with a built-in charging pack from Australian brand July before a recent 4-day trip to the UK. After a trip that involved two hotels (including so many stairs) and four flights, I’m mostly very impressed, with just a few caveats.

Details: July Carry On Trunk

Australian websiteJuly website
Price (RRP)AU$445
WarrantyLifetime warranty on manufacturing faults, 100-day returns for unpersonalised items
OtherRead more cool tech reviews on GadgetGuy

First impressions – July Carry On Trunk

The first thing I noticed was how shiny and sleek the bag looks. It’s just a nice suitcase that shows you mean business, and also is hard to lose (if you get it in cherry red, which I did).

July Carry On Trunk at airport

The second thing is that this bag holds a surprisingly large amount of stuff. I always pack way too many clothes whenever I go on a work trip, because I just assume that at least one flight will be cancelled and also what if I suddenly decide I hate my favourite jeans? You need options and an extra pair of socks. In this suitcase I fit:

  • Winter PJs
  • A large duffel coat
  • Slacks
  • 3 business shirts
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 7 pairs of undies and socks
  • Toiletries kit
  • Miscellaneous documents
  • Extra compression socks
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Snacks

The only thing on my list I had to leave out was an extra pair of shoes.

I then put my passport, cables, iPad and laptop in a small backpack.

Considering I would normally put that in a giant Samsonite suitcase, I was deeply impressed. A lot of that ability to fit everything in was because of the clever compression system that uses a padded section divider and straps to compress your clothes.

Wheeling the suitcase through the international terminal in Melbourne garnered two compliments from random strangers, which is generally a good sign.

Tech features – July Carry On Trunk

The main tech feature of the Carry On Trunk is the built-in, removable battery pack. It has two USB-A and one USB-C port and lives in the space between where the telescoped supports for the handle go up and down. Converting that usually dead space into one of the most useful features of the bag was a genius move, and the 10,000mAh battery has enough juice to keep your phone going for a whole trip to the other side of the world. It’s also positioned so nicely that it’s quite comfortable to charge your phone with it still in the bag while you’re in the airport, or easy to take out and bring down to your seat on the plane. There is a little lid on the section where it lives to make sure no errant crumbs fall in the ports in transit.

July Carry On Trunk charging

There is no dedicated laptop storage space in the bag, but you can put a laptop or tablet in the container attached to the Y-strap internally, but it’s not properly padded or designed for that purpose.

How does it compare to the rest of the range?

There are four carry on bags in the July range: Carry On, Carry On Pro, Carry On Light and Carry On Trunk. The Trunk is the only one with the neat clips, the rest have zips. The rest are also much lighter, with the Carry On Light clocking in at only 1.8kgs compared to the Trunk’s 4kg.

The regular Carry On is basically the Trunk, but with a zip, and is 3.4kgs. The Carry On Pro is still basically the same, but has an external, padded laptop pocket that attaches using magnetitic snaps. I was seriously tempted by the Carry On Pro purely for the laptop case, despite my newfound love for clips. What stopped me, however, was remembering how rough people often are with carry on suitcases when you need to get on a bus, put the bag in storage at a hotel, or other situations where you lose full control over the bag. While the toughened polyester sleeve seems very durable, I didn’t feel like I could trust it to be as protective as I would need when the transfer people hurl the bag into the little baggage trailer on the mini-bus. If you put that same case on the inside, on the Y-strap in the Trunk, you immediately have my perfect carry on bag.

What else is good?

I found it really easy to set and change the combination on the locks, which is always a concern for me when getting suitcases with locks. The major bonus of having clips instead of a zip is that zips are normally the first thing to die on a suitcase – they get warped, ripped or just plain snap, and there’s so many ways for them to die that most people who travel frequently has at least one horror story. Clips are also just faster than unzipping, they’re not going to get caught on your clothes, and they’re just extremely satisfying to open. Going back to my old faithful giant Samsonite feels like going back to the stone age with its frustrating zip.

I also love how many clever little features are included, like the hidden laundry bag, which shielded my clean clothes from the horror of my socks after being almost 30 hours in transit. Having the handle stop at 20 different points was also nice, because I was always able to get it at the perfect height for the moment.

Suitcase interior

It’s also a really tough bag. At one point I had to sit on it to get my coat to compress fully and it took my weight like a champ. I probably wouldn’t recommend doing that too often, but I didn’t feel like either the bag or I were at risk.

What’s bad?

Including a proper laptop storage section internally would have been a nice touch. It’s weird that the only carry on suitcase July offers with laptop storage has the laptop stored outside the case. My laptop went just fine in the bag attached to the Y straps, but it really wouldn’t have taken much to add a little extra padding to that Y-strap container to make it better for laptops. Instead, July encourages people to bring a separate laptop bag, and sells some quite nice ones with a strap to go over the handle of your suitcase, which is a perfectly reasonable alternative, since you’re probably going to want a day bag anyway.

I also found the outer shell got much more scratched up than I expected just taking it in and out from the overhead locker. It doesn’t look bad, and it’s easy to clean the scuffs off to make the scratches largely invisible (yet noticeable if you touch them). But it’s frustrating that the nice glossy finish didn’t even fully survive one trip.

Would I buy it?

Yes, I absolutely would. But I wouldn’t have it as the only carry on bag in my arsenal. I wish I had also gotten the Carry On Light (and may still do so, if a brighter colour becomes available), just because some airlines can be a bit strict with weight restrictions, and 4kgs is a lot of kgs to be taken up by just the bag. However, I love not having to worry about the zip, and the wheels are just so smooth. This is a sleek, beautiful bag that elevated my travel experience. For times when weight restrictions aren’t a problem, the Carry On Trunk is my first choice every time.

July Carry On Trunk
The Carry On Trunk is a great suitcase, that is a touch on the heavy side, and would benefit from having a dedicated laptop sleeve inside the case.
Features
8
Value for money
7.5
Performance
9.5
Ease of use
9.5
Design
9.5
Positives
Looks cool
Very smooth wheels
The built-in battery is really convenient
Unlocking the little clasps makes you feel like a diamond thief in a heist movie
Negatives
No dedicated laptop sleeve included
Adjustment strap easily gets in the way of closing the bag
8.8