We are excited to share our Chester Minima luggage review. For years I’ve wanted spinner luggage. As my kids got older, I wanted them to have their own suitcases as well. I knew they would love having their own luggage as they’ve always enjoyed pulling our wheeled suitcases. But to have their very own sleek and compact suitcase with spinner wheels?!
That was more than they could have hoped for. We were excited they would have their own carry-on suitcases for our cruise to Alaska.
They were able to tote their Chester Minimas in many ways: From our car to the airport parking lot; walking to the airport and then inside through security and to the gate; and on the plane.
After that, we got in a Lyft to the cruise terminal. Then, they accessed them for their items once we were on the ship. There are many great things about the Chester Minima.
Chester Minima review
Fits airlines’ carry-on requirements
First and foremost, we needed suitcases that fit in the overhead compartment as we do not check baggage when we travel. The lighter the load, the less of an impact. We wanted to be as environmentally friendly as one can be while taking an airplane and then taking a cruise. The less you bring, the better.
It’s easy to lift this suitcase and put it in the overhead bins, even when full. The Chester Minima is TSA-approved. It also fits easily in the car. These are sleek and compact, sturdy, hard shell suitcases.
Easy to maneuver on airplane
I am always envious of people I see in airports with their spinner luggage. You might not think it makes that much of a difference because wheels are wheels, right? Wrong! A major stress has always been once I’m on the airplane.
I’ve got to navigate my carry-on suitcase with wheels — but not spinner wheels — without bumping into airline seats and passengers. It’s not easy to do. Most of the time, I’m doing a combination of lifting and twisting my suitcase on its side, dragging it along, trying to rush through the airplane aisle… all while trying mightily to not bump into passengers already sitting in the aisle seats.
I am always saying “sorry” and am incredibly stressed just trying to get to my seat. When I saw my kids gliding their Chester luggage effortlessly, without bumping into people already in their seats, it was such a relief! It made everything so much less stressful.
Lightweight and compact
Chester Minima is seven pounds empty. That’s considered light in the luggage world. While I didn’t weigh it, I’m surprised it’s even that much. The outside is polycarbonate.
Despite it being so lightweight, it’s very well made and sturdy. This is high quality luggage. Also, this is going to be the only suitcase my kids own. It needs to be functional in all situations. The size is perfect. It also fits nicely in their closets at home to store it.
When the Chester Minimas arrived in boxes, we didn’t tell our kids what they were. We “wrapped” them in blankets as a surprise for them.
They were stunned when they saw the suitcases, even before they realized they had spinner wheels. Then they really had fun rolling them around our house, seeing all the different ways they could roll it, pull it, and twist and turn it.
It’s effortless to use! There are four sets of two wheels, eight wheels in total, and they move seamlessly over every type of surface they encountered when traveling, including carpeting, concrete, gravel, ramps, moving walkways, and more.
The handle goes up and down easily. It’s adjustable to various heights and situations. It’s easy for kids to use and also convenient for adults. In addition to the telescoping handle, there are two other handles. One is on the top and one is on the side. These handles don’t move. They are if you want to carry your Minima instead of roll it.
Another surprising thing is the built-in combination lock. It’s right at the top of the suitcase. If you don’t want to use the locking mechanism, you can leave the zippers without putting them next to the lock. There are three numbers. You can choose to lock it or not. My tech-savvy kids figured out how to use it right away.
Back in the day, when I was growing up, we had luggage with little locks and little keys. That was always a worry — where are the keys? Since then, there have been innovations for sure, but they involved buying a lightweight combination lock. We love that this lock is built into the suitcase.
It’s not a big factor when we are flying because we carry our luggage on the plane. However, we like locking our suitcases when we leave our bags in hotel rooms, or in this case, in our cabin on the ship. We also like it’s just three digits, making it easy to remember. The lock is TSA-approved as well.
Attractive design and colors
My teen sons were going to be the primary owners — us parents will be borrowing them, however! Chester Minima comes in a variety of colors:
- Ocean blue
- Aluminum grey
- Sky blue
We have Charcoal and Ocean blue. Chester luggage is all-around attractive. It’s professional-looking and sharp. You can use it for weekends away, work travels, and for a week-long vacation. It will exceed your expectations whether you are going on a road trip or traveling internationally.
It’s equally great luggage for kids, teens, and adults.
- On escalator in airport
It’s seven pounds empty and seems much lighter. Even filled up, it is easy to roll and lift.
Spinner wheels are a joy to use
We’ve never owned luggage with spinner wheels. I’ve for sure envied those with it every trip I took, especially as I would struggle with my regular pull suitcase, trying to navigate it through the airplane aisle and everywhere else. These spinner wheels are amazing! My kids could push and pull and roll them every which way. They loved being in charge of their own luggage.
Easy to maintain
The shell is waterproof. It’s easy to wipe down. Luggage is sometimes made with a fabric outer layer making it harder to truly clean.
Chester Minima’s size
This is the perfect size for my teens, even with the various clothing they needed for unpredictable Alaska weather. My sons were able to fit everything from their swimsuit and flip flops to their sweatshirts and rain gear.
- The exterior dimensions are: 21.5″ x 13.5″ x 8.5″
- Interior dimensions are: 19.5″ x 13.5″
Pockets and extra bag
In addition, on one side there is a small zippered pouch which hangs along the side. This is also a good hiding spot as it’s the same lined pattern as the rest of the lining, making it camouflaged. The zippered covers also have pockets.
It also comes with a separate zippered bag which you can use for dirty laundry or anything. (Note, in the video above, my son says it’s a drawstring bag; it’s not. It’s zippered. He did this video within five minutes of opening his suitcase; he was so excited to talk about it!)
Luggage for teens
In my kids’ junior high and high school, they go on several school-sponsored trips. This suitcase will be perfect for that.
I’m also really liking what they will be able to use as a hidden space to keep their extra money. The interior liner fully covers both sides of the suitcase, hiding the telescopic handle and shell. The liner zippers on both sides. I’m going to tell my kids to hide their extra cash in the lining.
The exterior zipper and interior zippers are easy to use and are sturdy. This is a quality suitcase you can use for years.
Perhaps other spinner luggage is designed this way; I don’t know because I’ve never paid attention or owned luggage with spinner wheels before. All of the other luggage we own without these types of wheels has one main compartment. The Chester Minima has two compartments of equal size.
In other words, imagine laying the suitcase down and unzipping it. Open it, and you will have two equal halves to fill with your clothing and belongings.
You can fit a lot on each side. After you pack a side, you can zip it so everything is contained.
I was also thinking it would be handy to put something in between both of these zippered sides. If you had an iPad, paperwork or work documents, you could put those in the middle, keeping them intact.
My kids put a book in between theirs. In this way, when they were in the airport, they could access it without having to unzip a side.
Once in our cabin on the cruise, they were able to easily find their belongings instead of digging through unearthing everything. There aren’t exterior pockets on the Chester Minima. I liked that because it’s often a place to stuff snacks, wrappers, etc. which are usually forgotten about.
Fits a lot
You may consider the size, and because it’s a bit smaller than the maximum TSA allows on planes, you may be concerned of how much you can fit inside. We found it to be deceivingly large.
It comes with a velcro cover which you can slip on the Chester if you wanted to use it when you store it or if you check your luggage. This would prevent it from getting dinged up. However, know that the outside shell is — sturdy with a little give — polycarbonate hardshell.
It also comes with a luggage tag. I like that it’s one that has a flap to cover our personal information.
It’s hard to imagine a luggage company offering a 10-year warranty but Chester does. That’s saying something! This company seems to have a good reputation and stands behind their products.
What makes Chester luggage different?
You may think luggage is luggage — so what’s the big deal? Not all suitcases are the same! The Chester Minima is a really nice-looking suitcase. It is durable and should fit what you need for your trip. It’s a great carry-on bag.
The wheels are superior to anything we could have imagined. My kids used these suitcases expertly every which way. They were able to fit in many different types of clothes for our trip, including toiletries, easily.
My teens were used to carrying duffel bags on trips. What a dream this was to be able to glide through the airport, passing easily through security, and being able to lift and lower it from the airplane overhead compartments easily.
My teens took pride in their luggage, taking ownership of their things and had fun with it at the same time.
It was easy for them to find and see what they packed. Even when filled up, the Chester Minima was still light. It exceeded our expectations. My husband and I wish we had this luggage and will be borrowing it for sure.
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