In T3’s Monos Carry-On review, I tried out this beautifully designed suitcase to find out if it’s more style than substance.
Whether you’re off for a weekend getaway or you’re flying across the world, the best carry-on luggage can make packing your belongings or getting through airport security an absolute breeze… or a complete nightmare. Let’s be honest, we’ve all held up the security line, trying to stuff jumpers, electronics and books into our carry-on and having the bag not close… or at least I have!
When I heard that I had an upcoming work trip and could only take hand luggage, I was a little nervous about the dreaded repacking after going through security. But lucky for me, I got to test out the Monos Carry-On, the impact-friendly, overhead bin-approved, and aesthetically pleasing suitcase that made my travel experience relatively pain-free. Keep reading for my full review of the Monos Carry-On.
Monos Carry-On review: Unboxing
The Monos Carry-On arrived in a large cardboard box and inside, it was covered in a dust bag. The bag itself, which I tried out in a rose quartz colour, is an aerospace-grade polycarbonate hard shell which is water resistant and made of partially recycled materials. My first impression of the Monos Carry-On was that the entire suitcase both looked and felt luxurious, so I was excited to see what was inside.
To get into the suitcase, there’s a TSA-approved combination lock system which stumped me at first. After quickly Googling how to get into the bag, I finally got there in the end! Inside the carry-on is a laundry bag, two shoe bags, a removable compression pad with a zippered pocket and a vegan leather luggage bag. There are also vegan leather details on the outside and inside of the bag, and there are multiple colours and sizes of the Monos Carry-On to choose from.
Monos Carry-On review: Design & features
The Monos Carry-On is a surprisingly pretty suitcase! The detailing on the front is subtle yet makes it more exciting to look at and there’s a subtle Monos logo on the front. Other than the body of the case which is one colour (although you can find a limited edition Terrazzo pattern), the handles, locking mechanism, wheels and other details are in black.
At the top of the carry-on is a telescopic handle that’s made of high-grade aluminium tubes. With four height settings and an ergonomic handle, the release button is hidden underneath the main handle, and it’s comfortable to hold and wheel around. Speaking of wheels, the 360° spinner wheels are quiet and run smoothly over the ground.
Described as ‘dent-resistant, impact-friendly and virtually unbreakable’, the Monos Carry-On feels tough, sturdy and yet lightweight. It took being heaved up and down curbs and stairs fairly easily, and it fit a good amount of clothes, tech and other items inside. The integrated lock is easy to use (once you figure out how it works!) and it doesn’t budge until you want it to, giving you total peace of mind while travelling.
The storage bags come out of the main compartments but the zipped panel is built into one half of the suitcase to keep your belongings tucked away safely. On the other side of the bag is the removable compression pad that works with the ballistic nylon straps to keep clothing compact. The straps aren’t removable but they don’t take up too much space and can be used without the compression pad.
Monos Carry-On review: Performance
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, the Monos Carry-On is incredibly stylish and luxurious. While it’s relatively simple and understated, I didn’t have any trouble locating my bag and every time I opened it, I found that none of my belongings had shifted while in transit.
My first and main test for the Monos Carry-On was taking it with me on a three day work trip where I only took hand luggage, meaning I had to fit multiple outfits, shoes, toiletries, a laptop and other work supplies into this bag. The Monos Carry-On was the perfect size for this, stayed secure whenever I put the lock in place, and fit nicely into the overhead bin and luggage compartments on buses and trains, too.
As someone who’s bag always seems to make a loud noise as it goes over different terrain, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the wheels were very quiet. Their 360° movement definitely came in handy going through airports and hotels, and the bag easily switched between upright and tilted wheeling.
Now onto the negatives. One thing I noticed was the bottom of the case would sometimes graze the floor when I was pulling it behind me rather than pushing it upright. This isn’t a huge deal breaker but I did hear a few bashes while wheeling it over concrete and uneven flooring. Due to this, the top and bottom of the Monos Carry-On got a little scuffed and marked. It definitely lives up to its dent-resistant description but it looked a little dirty after use. It wiped off relatively quickly but as I tried the rose quartz colour, the marks were very visible. I imagine if you choose a darker colour, you might not be able to see it at a glance.
Another downside was that I found the handle to be a little temperamental. After I went through security, I found that I couldn’t lift the handle up to its full height, no matter how hard I tried. I ended up rearranging the contents of my suitcase in the airport bathroom to make sure not to block the handle. Once I’d done this, I was away again and it hasn’t happened since, but it was a little annoying.
Monos Carry-On review: Price
On to the price, the Monos Carry-On is £260 for the standard/smallest size. If you want to go bigger, you can choose the Plus (£280), Pro (£300) or Pro Plus (£320). There are also check-in sizes available in this model in medium (£330) or large (£360). Monos also offers a 100-day trial and lifetime warranty.
The price of the Monos Carry-On is a little expensive, but having said that, it’s luxurious, stylish and designed to last a long time so you’re really investing in this carry-on.
Monos Carry-On review: Verdict
Overall, I enjoyed using the Monos Carry-On and it’s become my go-to travel bag, whether I’m away for the weekend or going on a mini-break abroad. It loses points due to its price, tricky handle and penchant to pick up dirt and scuffs. But once these things are sorted, I think the Monos Carry-On will quickly become a case that everyone will love like I do… once I get the marks off it, of course!
Monos Carry-On review: Alternatives to consider
A good alternative to the Monos Carry-On is the Db Ramverk Pro. Both carry-on bags have similar looks, plenty of compartments and have strong wheels and functionality. The Db Ramverk Pro has a few weight and storage issues, but it’s priced similarly to the Monos Carry-On and is a good bag for travelling professionals.