Okay, admit it, how many of you thought, after reading: “Gear Review: Briggs & Riley” that I had gone over to the dark side; the side of wheels, extendable handles, and excess weight? Relax, I haven’t. It’s just the opposite. Briggs & Riley, the stalwart of quality wheeled luggage, has come to play in our ballpark. And the game’s about to change.
The Briggs & Riley Exchange 20 is a convertible duffle designed for the adventure/leisure traveler. At 20” x 12” x 8” (50.8cm x 30.4 cm x 20.3 cm) and weighing in in at just under 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg), the bag is slightly smaller than maximum legal carry-on and definitely in the light weight category.
Made of 1000d nylon on the outside and lined with 420d nylon, the Exchange 20 has one main compartment on the inside and two smaller pockets on the outside. There is also a small pocket on the inside. All zippers are YKK and the main compartment zipper is lockable. Non-metal zipper pulls are included.
The bag is expandable one inch (8-9”) keeping it well within the carry on limits of many U.S. and international airlines.
There is a padded handle on top and one on the side. While there are no compressions straps on the inside of the bag, there are four on the outside. There is also a permanently attached luggage tag. A shoulder strap, including a padded, moisture wicking shoulder pad, is included. More on this later.
On the bottom of the bag is the compartment holding the backpack straps. Unlike all other convertible bags where the wearer unzips an opening, pulls out the backpack straps, and clips them to a couple of external d-rings, the Exchange 20 is somewhat unique.
The entire back panel unzips and is folded down to reveal the permanently attached backpack straps. The folded down panel is held in place by an elastic band. In this position, the panel offers extra lumbar support and has moisture wicking mesh. There is also an adjustable sternum strap to help take pressure off the shoulders.
For packing, I easily fit an Eagle Creek 18” Specter Folder inside.
The Exchange 20 does exactly as its intended. It’s a well designed bag for the leisure/adventure traveler who isn’t looking for a lot of bells & whistles but instead wants quality, durability, simplicity and light weight.
There isn’t much I don’t like about this bag. If I could change anything, it would be regarding the shoulder strap.
By itself, the shoulder strap and pad are fine. However, instead of offering a “D” ring and clip like most other bags, allowing you to put different shoulder straps on, the Exchange 20 employs a quick release speed buckle meaning only their shoulder strap can be used.
On the whole, this is a terrific bag. If you’re a leisure traveler who doesn’t want a bag that looks as if it belongs in a boardroom, and has honed your packing down to just what you need, then I suggest you consider this bag.
Earlier I stated that this bag may be a game changer. Let me explain. Whenever I walked into a luggage store, I always had a hard time finding a lightweight, non-wheeled, convertible bag. They just didn’t carry them. We had to either order online or go to an outdoor retailer. But now, one of the main bag manufacturers is letting people know there is an alternative to wheels and you can get it at your local luggage store. To do so means they believe the one bag market is growing.
And we’ll be there to help them along.
The Briggs & Riley Exchange 20 convertible duffle is available in slate (pictured), amber (beige), and lava (red) although I’ve been told the lava is being discontinued. Like all Briggs & Riley bags, this one comes with a lifetime warranty. The bag is made in Vietnam.
That only leaves the price. As we know, you pay for quality. And Briggs & Riley bags are not cheap. The Exchange 20 retails for ………..$155. Blink, go ahead, blink. You’re not seeing things. It really is an affordable, mid-priced, lightweight bag.
Oh, one other thing, some of you are business travelers who would like to travel with a Briggs & Riley bag but don’t want wheels. Sure, the Exchange 20 is nice, but let’s face it, it’s not for the boardroom.
Well, I have good news. I have been told that later this month, a line of “executive style” lightweight bags from Briggs & Riley will be introduced to the market….and……we’ll probably get some for review soon after. I have no other information on that so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Briggs & Riley, welcome to the world of the “onebagger.”
(Briggs & Riley provided the Exchange 20 for review. )