The Highs: Astonishingly light, solid construction, 10 yr. warranty

The Lows: Losing the pounds means frills & features go away as well

The Verdict: Funky minimalism &  solid capacity in a super lightweight wheelie

A few days ago we looked at the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21 – a rollaboard that’s loaded with neat features and sports a modular design which makes it extremely adaptable and versatile.  The Landor & Hawa Sub-0-G is at the opposite end of the spectrum.  There are no compression straps, expansion gussets, zip away panels, locatable divider panels, or even a telescoping handle.

Moreover, there are no sloping sides or curved surfaces.  This is a simple box frame composed of fiberglass rods and a couple of aluminum tubes; wheels are mounted to two of its corners. This featherweight frame supports a light but tough synthetic fabric bag with a couple of external pockets.

What it lacks in gee whiz features, it makes up for in an incredibly low weighta mere 4.8 pounds.

Upon lifting it, my wife was an immediate convert.

“I’d love one of these!” she exclaimed.

“Er, it doesn’t have a lot of pockets, and uh, if you push it in front of you, the handle doesn’t stay up ’cause it doesn’t lock in place,” I offered, imagining yet another bag showing up at the house (the sample used for this quick review was a loaner from a Practical Hacks stalwart).

“I don’t care about that, I just like how light it is!  I could lift this into the overhead easily, even with all my stuff in it,” she added.

And so it goes.  We’ll no doubt have a Sub-0-G in the arsenal shortly, and having taken a quick look at the bag, – and in light of its sub $100 price – I’m ok with that.  The Landor & Hawa Sub-0-G doesn’t have a lot of flash, but it’s capacity is impressive, it seems reasonably tough (plus it’s backed by a 10 Year Warranty), and lifting the bag for the first time is simply a jaw dropping experience.

Specifications

Size: 23″ x 14-7/8″ x 9-1/8″
Material: Aircraft Grade Fiberglass Elements
Linear Inches: 42.5″
Weight: 4.8 lbs.
Warranty: 10 Year
  • Constructed from lightweight aircraft grade fiberglass elements connected directly to the wheel and trolley system giving incredible strength, stability and rigidity
  • Tested to destruction. Verified in loaded drop tests and independent tests
  • 2 Outside pockets
  • Inside mesh pocket
  • Made in the UK

From the Landor & Hawa website:

Ultra StrongIn independent laboratories Sub-Ø-G© exceeded the standards for loaded drop tests, handle strength tests and material tear resistance.

Glass structure

Inter-connecting fibre glass poles for incredible protection

.

Award Winning

2009 product innovation winner at the US Travel Goods Association

.

Patent Protected

This item has innovative product features protected by Patent No. WO/2008/009905 and UK Patent No. GB2440206

.

Flat Packing

Our interior allows you to pack clothes flat with no annoying obstructions to wrinkle your clothes

.

Corner Wheels

Smooth rolling corner wheels for stability

.

Fully Lined

Fully lined interior

.

Front Zip Storage Pockets

Multiple zips storage pockets.

A photo tour…

The bag is simplicity itself.  There are two zippered pockets on the outside front panel; the top pocket measures ~13″ x 6″, and the lower pocket is about 9″ deep.  The zippers are coil type and the metal pulls are meaty and easily grasped:

Atop the bag is a curved aluminum handle that is reasonably comfortable; behind it is the trolley handle.  When fully extended, it measures 37¼” from the top of the trolley handle to the bottom of the wheels.  That certainly isn’t excessive, but because the foam grip extends across the entire handle, you can easily grip it to the side to avoid having the bag hit your heels when walking.  I do not know how comfortable it would be for someone over 6 feet tall, however.

A close-up of the locking zippers on the main compartment, below.  Fit and finish on the bag was fine.

The wheels appeared to be ball bearing types, and were quiet in operation.  In addition to the two front corner “feet,” one of which you can see in the photo below, there’s another molded foot which supports the center of the bottom of the bag.

Another shot of the two front pockets.  The horizontal trim on the top of each pocket is a heavy rubber material which protects the zipper itself and seems very durable:

The lining of the bag has been zipped open, below.  The same type of fiberglas rods used on tents are employed here; the aluminum tube at the bottom right supports the trolley handle:

How durable is this framework?  Check out this quick 1 minute video in which I try to break someone else’s Sub-0-G:

Packing the Sub-0-G

Below, a shot of the Pack-It 18 in the compartment of the Sub-0-G; note the two elastic compression straps, and also note there are 4 mesh pockets on the inside of the lid (you can see two of them in this shot).  The main compartment measures 19½” x 13½” x 7¾”, providing about 2040 cu. in. of capacity.  One other important point:  the structure for the trolley handle is at the sides of the compartment; as a result, the floor of the bag is flat, simplifying packing.

Again, a Tom Bihn packing cube/daypack loaded with several bulky items on top; to the right, a Steves packing cube with socks and underwear.

I wouldn’t necessarily pack in this manner, but for the purposes of illustrating the bag’s capacity, my Asus netbook in its neoprene sleeve is on the left, and a ziploc bag with power bricks to the right.  There’s still a lot of room left for small or compressible items.

Finally, my 3-1-1 bag peeking out of the top pocket, and a Bihn packing cube with my onboard essentials (iPod, headphones, etc.) in the lower pocket.  Plenty of room left in both.

Wrapping Up

This cursory look at the Landor & Hawa Sub-0-G has me intrigued.  Bagaholic that I am, I’ll order one and have Pat experiment with it over the next several months – who knows, perhaps she’ll use it for the Italy trip we’re planning for late spring.

The bag does have a couple of obvious shortcomings – one is the lack of grab handles:  the curved aluminum piece on the top is the only one.  And as mentioned earlier, if you happen to try to push the bag in front of you, there is no locking mechanism on the trolley handle and it will definitely push into its retracted position as you do so.

As for style?  It lacks the polish and curvy goodness of a bag like the eBags TLS Mini, but its capacity is substantial, and then there’s the matter of its weight…   or lack thereof.  Finally, my initial impression of its durability is positive.  No one will mistake this for a Tumi or BR for sure, but as a carry-on to be used a few times a year, my hunch is that it’s a terrific value.  Which brings us to the matter of price.

Several online luggage merchants sell the Sub-0-G; DiscountLuggage.com is currently selling it for $79.95 with free shipping.  See their listing by clicking here: Landor & Hawa Sub-0-G @ DiscountLuggage.com

The Fine Print: I have no connection to any of the companies mentioned in this post.  Thanks to Michael W. for loaning me the Sub-0G, and special thanks to Watsana, honorary dolly grip and special counsel.

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35 Comments on Quick take: Landor & Hawa Sub-0-G 20.5″ Upright – lightweight, tough wonder!

  1. Buzz says:

    Is the 20.5 measurement just the bag itself or does that include the wheels and handles? I find most wheeled bags advertised dimensions don’t include wheels and handles.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Buzz – I’ll correct the dimensions above, which were from the DisountLuggage.com site. The outside dimensions of the bag are 23″ (inclusive of wheels and handle) x 14-7/8″ x 9-1/8″.

    The dimensions in the review of the interior size of the main compartment are actual measurements, and they’re accurate. Thanks for the question.

    [Reply]

    Buzz Reply:

    Thanks Kevin…..unfortunately, the bag went from advertised dimensions of fitting most European airline carry-on restrictions to practically none.

    They used to have an “advertised” 19″ bag which would have fit but stopped making it due to lack of interest.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    The L&H UK site still lists a bag with the following dimensions: 19″ x 13.4″ x 7.1″

    For the sake of comparison, they have the dimensions of the bag covered here as: 23″ x 15.4″ x 8.1″

  2. Michael W. says:

    My jaw dropped when I watched that video.

    I guess my concerns about the bag self-destructing if I were forced to check it are ill-founded.

    The honorary “dolly grip” will be taking it on her trip to Thailand.

    One question:

    Which bag looks – classier – on first glance, the Landor or the eBags? (Let’s forget we know that eBags is renowned for price cutting.)

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Did your jaw drop because you were impressed at how tough the framework is, or because someone you’d loaned the bag to was feverishly trying to break it?? ;-)

    [Reply]

  3. tfar says:

    On first glance the Sub0 looks classier.

    I am not surprised about the durability of the fiberglass rods. I fly sports kites as a hobby (can you call something you do twice a year but have done for 20 years or more a hobby?). Those rods are amazingly durable. I only once broke a rod and that was after flying a cheap Chinese kite in 55mph wind in Santa Fe. It was one of the best kiting hours I’ve ever had. I bought the kite for that occasion. Used it to the point of total wreckage for about 90 minutes. Yeah! RIP and thanks to the cheap Chinese kite! I digress, though.

    I’d be slightly more concerned about the main nylon ripping or the seams ripping and the very soft sided nature not offering enough protection for check-in duties.

    The dimensions are in line with other mfrs who don’t advertise the real dimensions, either.

    There seems to be also a newcomer to the light bag game called the “Walking bag”. Check out the Lightest Bag thread here:
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum.....y-bag.html

    I have not seen a review of said walking bag (from Japan, I believe) and it would be nice to have one here especially as a complement to Kevin’s great review of the Sub0.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Thanks, Till. The Walkin’ Bag is a variant of the spinner and weighs 3.8lbs. The main compartment is a top loading tote… there’s not too much to it. I’d be tempted to get one, but top loading a bag is inefficient and inconvenient. I’d rather get my hands on a 19″ Sub-0.
    Here’s a link for the Walkin’ Bag: http://is.gd/6hsrf

    [Reply]

    Michael W. Reply:

    The Walkin’ Bag looks awesome – hard to load or not. But can this be true –

    “1,151 cu. in.”

    from their website. That’s awfully small capacity! Have we been living in a fool’s world about our bags? I thought convertible suitcases could hold more like 2,300-2,500 c.i.

    But the weight is amazing!

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Oh, it be. It’s not very large. I think the 19″ Sub-0-G would be killer!

  4. Buzz says:

    Kevin, thanks for the info about the 19″ Sub-0-G. Now, if you can find a way to get it in the States, let me know. While I normally travel without wheels, there are a couple of occasions wheels would come in handy. And I don’t feel like lugging something weighing more than 8 lbs.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Buzz,

    I’ve contacted Landor & Hawa’s US sales office, and will see what I can do. Thanks for your comments!

    kc

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    The 19 has definitely been discontinued in the U.S.; it still appears on the UK website, however. Perhaps a UK reseller would ship across the pond?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    From a Landor & Hawa U.S. rep:

    The UK does still manufacture the 19, and it is still sold in Europe, however we do not have any way of getting those over here.

    We do have a new set configuration coming soon that includes a 17.5″, 21″ 24.5″, 28.5″. This will be available sometime in March.

    Laurie Reply:

    (From another L&H rep)…AND, the new set will come in Brown and Purple Circles, as well as the classic basic Black! We will be introducing it at the Luggage Show in Las Vegas next week.

  5. Joe Dressner says:

    I’ve used an Airboss or MEI bag for many years, but recently had to switch over to a wheeled bag (I am recovering from brain cancer and have had some neuro-muscular damage in my right leg). So, anyhow I bought this bag a few weeks ago and took it on three trips.

    I like it a great deal. Not simply because it is light, but also because there is more internal space than in other wheeled bags I have seen. It is a shame that there is no locking mechanism on the extender and that there is no side grab handle. But these are small problems and the utility of the bag far overshadows the faults.

    I had no problem getting this on board six different flights. I used a smaller bundle for 1/2 of the luggage and added other pieces into the top 1/2. I was able to carry a 12 inch Lenovo Netbook and enough clothing for a one week trip.

    I paid only $80.00 (shipped) for this and heartily recommend the bag.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Joe – Welcome to Practical Hacks and thanks for a great comment. I’m glad you’re happy with the Sub-0-G.

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  6. Jose Suarez says:

    I have used the larger lightweight luggage on two trips. I purchased the item in December 2009. One was a cruise and the other on a trip to Turkey. Just returned from the Turkey trip and observed that the aluminum rod that hold the telescoping handles broke during the tossing around of the luggage by airport and luggage handlers.

    Now Landor-Hawa wants me to file a claim with the airlines before they will take any action. How do I prove who damaged my luggage? Out of good will, Landor-Hawa should pay for this aluminum rod.

    [Reply]

  7. Elaine Morrison says:

    I bought the 19′ Sub-0-G trolley case yesterday in TJ Hughes,Glasgow – £20 (about $30 USD) and it does fit almost all of the European Carriers, even the no-frills airlines.

    The front lower pocket holds my netbook and the upper front pocket my mini travel toiletries. WIll make going through security so much easier now that I don’t need to open my case and rummage inside for all the stuff for the xray!

    I agree it not very pretty but its so light and practical!! I love it.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Elaine:

    Glad you’re happy with it. We use our 20″ IT’s quite a bit! Thanks for commenting.

    [Reply]

  8. marjorie llinares says:

    This troly case when only half full drags on the ground as the wheels are too small,alowing the body to touch the floor.I bought it 3 weeks before I needed it.Therefore when I returned it to Argoss where I purchased it they would not give me a refund as I was past their 30 day return date.They wanted to give me a credid.This is of no use to me as I do not live in Uk and am leaving next week ,so I do not have much time.

    I had to carry this troly as I had the problem as soon as I leave my car to walk across the station to a train.Its only by use that you know there is a problem.There is no other dammage to the case other than where you can see the scrapping from the pavement
    This is of no use to me .I will resort to the case I arrived with
    As Argoss in store policy will not help I await your solution
    Sincerely.Marjorie

    [Reply]

  9. marjorie llinares says:

    This troly case when only half full drags on the ground.The wheels are too small alowing the body to touch the floor.I had to carry it ,as it gave me this problem as soon as I leave my car to walk across a station to a train.As I bought it from Argoss 3 weeks before travel,on my return I was out of Argoss 30 day limit.No other dammage was done to the case other than where you can see it has touched the pavement.
    Argoss offered me a credid,this is of no use to me as I do not live in UK and am leaving next week ,so I am short of time
    This case is of no use to me.I paid 51GBS.I have my receipt and guarntee card.
    I will resort to the case I arrived with,but I want a refund for this case which is not up to the job.Its weight was my reason to buy it,but no use if I have to carry it
    Please advise me on how to get my money back
    sicerely.Marjorie

    [Reply]

  10. Christine says:

    Hi , I saw the model of the sub -O-G at Singapore very lightweight the largest size only 2.51kg , I the first time see that luggage very light . May i know that material is strong enough for check in ? I know the structure fiberglass is strong but how is the fabric stitching ? Easy get tear ? I will buy and try the qualitily .

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Christine,

    As I (think) I mentioned in the post, I would not check this bag. It’s plenty tough, but I don’t believe it’d hold up really well if checked with any frequency.

    Just my $ .02

    [Reply]

  11. Jose Suarez says:

    Since I had the internal rod of the bag replaced, I still have to be careful regarding the durability of the bag. Kovacs, the luggage repair store in Pasadena, CA, put a patch on one of the tears. Since that time, it was torn again. I have put handle with care labels on the bag when travelling. It has helped a little. I would not recommend this bag to other travelers.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Here’s my take: I would not recommend this bag to travelers who want to check their luggage. As a carry-on, it’s sufficiently durable.

    [Reply]

    Michael W. Reply:

    Totally agree it’s for carry-on “almost” exclusively.

    In that context it is invaluable for people with back or shoulder problems who want a wheelie and are confounded by the semi-absurd 15 lb. limit some carriers impose on carry-on luggage – like all the Asian carriers I fly on international trips and, from what I hear, on all flights through Heathrow. Since the average wheelie can weigh up to 9 lbs just by itself, that doesn’t leave much room for clothing.

    In that context the light weight of the Landor makes up for its slightly less robust construction. Note that WE are not likely to break this or wear a hole in the fabric. But baggage handlers (called “baggage throwers” in Fight Club) are from an alternate universe with DNA derived from a combination of gorillas and Mr. Hyde. Though they have human form, their sole purpose in existence is to Destroy Checked Luggage. When confronted with the results of their mischief, they have a smile that would make the Cheshire Cat envious. That’s one of the reason I tape soft-sided luggage handles together. One of their favorite tricks is to fail to use the Velcro handle wrapper on my soft bags after “inspecting” their contents (generally foraging for food, I suspect) so that their brethren further down the line can yank on a single handle and start a separation between the webbing and the side of the bag. Neat trick, took me a while to learn how to work around that one.

    Here in the USA I would much rather use something solidly made like the Rick Steves wheelie or the classic indestructible Costco. That way if push comes to shove, I can check it knowing I am contributing to worker compensation claims for hernias but my bag will get home intact.

    But generally I use soft bags these days. They fit so much better in the back of small Asian taxis where most the the trunk is taken up by a propane tank, and fit better on my lap on a long bus ride to a beach resort. But that gets us into hard vs. soft luggage, a different kettle of bags altogether.

    [Reply]

  12. […] Del modello di prima generazione si trovano in rete ottime recensioni (per esempio, in inglese, su PracticalHacks e su gadling.com) Il prezzo si aggira sulle 50 sterline, purtroppo non siamo riusciti a trovarlo in […]

  13. Janice says:

    I also have a SUB-O-G large bag but on returning from my trip to China found a 6″ tear at the bottom and can’t find where wo send the case for repair. can anyone help?

    [Reply]

  14. Ella Mair says:

    I have used my case once and one of the feet is off.Can i get a spare foot and fittings and put on myself.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    I would think so. Why don’t you contact the manufacturer? If you’re in the U.S., they have a U.S. office.

    [Reply]

  15. pat sheeha says:

    I have two of these cases which l have had for two years l bought one from matalan and l from argos ad both of the fibre glass rods around the top of the cases have broken. The zip on the front panel has come off. Has there is a ten year garantee l would be happy with what you have to say about this . many thanks

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    I say you ought to pursue it with the manufacturer. We continue to use ours (we have two) and had never had a problem. Of course we carry these bags on, or at worst, gate check them on short, regional jet flights. I would NOT check these bags.

    [Reply]

  16. Jim Fiore says:

    I am interested in getting the 22″ landor & Hawaii, is it available? Jim Fiore

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    I’d check on Amazon. This is a blog, not an eCommerce site.

    [Reply]

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