For Travelers Who Prefer Soft Luggage, Away Has a New Collection Just for You

Not everyone thinks hard luggage is best.

Torso of person with new soft-sided gray Away suitcase

Cult favorite luggage brand Away has expanded with a new soft-sided luggage collection.

Courtesy of Away

Walk through any airport or hotel lobby in the United States and you’re likely to spot Away luggage, pieces that have become a favorite among frequent travelers. With sleek, minimalist aesthetics, 360-degree spinner wheels, and eye-catching colors, the durable polycarbonate suitcases have reached a cult following since rolling onto the luggage scene in 2016.

However, for soft-sided bag loyalists—people who want a bag that doesn’t readily show marks and has a little give—Away hasn’t historically had many options, until now.

Today, the iconic luggage brand announced its latest collection, “the Softside,” featuring a durable, water- and abrasion-resistant nylon shell.

“Travel is deeply personal, and preference in luggage is no exception,” said Jen Rubio, cofounder and CEO of Away, in a statement that also noted that over 50 percent of U.S. luggage sales are for soft-sided bags, and more than 90 million U.S. travelers use a soft style of luggage exclusively. She added, “After years of design iterations, rigorous testing, and thousands of interactions with softside customers to understand their travel habits and style preferences, we are uniquely positioned to redefine this historically uninspired category. Finally, softside travelers will have an elevated and affordable option they can feel proud to travel with.”

The Softside collection is available in Away’s four standard sizes (the Carry-On, the Bigger Carry-On, the Medium, and the Large) and four colorways (Jet Black, Coast Blue, Cloud Gray, and Clay Pink). Priced between $225 and $325, the new bags are priced lower than their polycarbonate counterparts (the soft-sided Carry-On, for example, costs $50 less than the hard version).

A Clay Pink Away Softside rollerbag

Away’s new Softside collection is currently available in four colors, including Clay Pink.

Courtesy of Away

Like the hard-sided bags, these suitcases also feature a compression pad to help condense items inside, a telescoping handle, four 360-degree wheels, and a drawstring laundry bag. Unlike Away’s other bags, the soft-sided pieces forgo the clamshell design (when a suitcase opens into two equal parts divided by the hinge) that can make packing clumsy, for a top flap that opens into a single main compartment. Also new are two no-show exterior front pockets, a proprietary stabilizer to keep the bag upright when full, and a separate TSA-accepted color-matching padlock (rather than the built-in lock on the hard-sided bags).

It’s not the first time Away has tried its hand at soft luggage. This new series is actually a rehaul of another soft-sided series the brand launched in 2019, known as “the Expandables.

“We released a limited collection that served as an opportunity to test and learn in 2019, which was a catalyst for us launching this new line,” an Away representative told Afar. “We reevaluated every component for this new line, from the fabric and interior organization to the locking mechanism and handle.”

Bags from the Softside collection are now available online and in the 17 brick-and-mortar Away stores across the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

The Softside line isn’t the only new product Away has launched this year. In May, the suitcase brand also released an 85-liter Rolling Duffle bag made with a soft, abrasion- and water-resistant polyester front, a polycarbonate back shell, and two oversize all-terrain wheels. The spacious checked bag is the latest addition to Away’s outdoor collection.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at Afar. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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