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Chester Minima Carry On

Chester Minima Carry-On Spinner Suitcase Luggage Review

by Mary Chong
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When travelling anywhere – be it a weekend road trip or a three-week trip far far away – you need a suitcase to hold all your belongings securely throughout the entire journey. A sure-fire way to put a damper on a trip abroad is having the zipper burst open, or a wheel break apart on your suitcase.

Chester Minima Carry-On Spinner Suitcase Luggage Review

I love my It Bag with a soft-sided exterior and have been travelling with this lightweight suitcase for years. It’s my go-to bag to travel with because it’s light weight and only weighs 4.95 lbs. One major problem is rain and snow. Since the exterior is ballistic nylon it isn’t weatherproof – it can withstand a sprinkle of sudden rain but not a total drenching downpour.

A lot of friends swear by their hard exterior luggage and have been urging me to try one out.

Well, one day, Chester contacted me and asked if I’d like to test out one of their polycarbonate hard shell exterior bags – the Chester Minima. I thought, here’s my chance to try one and see if their claims are valid.

“Durable enough to last a lifetime, yet compact enough to fit into the tightest of cabin space, the Minima Carry-On is the perfect lightweight travel companion for today’s stylish traveller. “

– Chester Travel

Continue reading our Chester luggage review.

The Minima Carry On in Action

We avoid checked luggage and always travel carry-on only. I tested my new Chester carry-on on an expedition cruise through the Alaskan inside passage. We brought it on 5 flights, 3 different airlines (WestJet, Delta, Alaska) with zero issues. Surprisingly, I fit all of this into my little spinner suitcase for the trip:

Alaska Packing
Actual contents I packed for a 2 week Alaska expedition cruise inside my Chester Minima Carry On Spinner Suitcase.
Missing from this photo are my rubber boots but you can see them in the photos below in the red plastic bag!
  • Four bottoms
  • Seven tops
  • Two fleece jackets
  • PJs, undies, socks
  • packable down jacket
  • Two pairs of rain pants
  • rain jacket
  • Two hats
  • Three pairs of gloves
  • Two scarves
  • One pair of rubber boots (not in the photo)
  • Including other personal items such as umbrella, slippers, toiletries, first aid kit, folding shopping bag etc.

Note: I did also have a backpack but this only contained my medications, camera, tech gear, tablet, and liquid toiletries.

Interior view Chester Minima

Packing Tips:

Interior view Chester Carry On

I did have to sit on the bag to zip it up, but everything fit with a little room to spare for a few small souvenirs. Total weight came in at 10.5 kg or about 21 lbs.

The 100% hard polycarbonate shell is durable, and the carry-on weighs in at around 7 lbs empty and has an internal capacity of 38 litres.

Interior view Chester Suitcase
The zippered compartment is perfect for flat things like slippers – easy access and keeps them separate from your clothes

It’s the perfect carry size and was an easy fit into the overhead bins on the five planes we flew in on our last trip.

TSA Lock on the Chester Minima
Views of the Chester Minima from the top showing the TSA lock.

One thing to note is that the colour and style of the Minima Carry On are very similar to other suitcases on the market. I didn’t realize this when I chose the colour, but ‘Ocean Blue’ is very popular. Walking through the airport, I saw dozens of similar suitcases which makes me worry that my case will get confused with someone else’s bag.

TIP: Use a brightly coloured luggage tag or a unique looking luggage strap to make it easy to identify your bag.

Before trying out this suitcase I wasn’t a hard case luggage fan. I always preferred soft exterior bags because they are lightweight and flexible so that you can stuff things into every little small corner. However, Chester Minima changed my mind. I was amazed and impressed by how much I was able to fit inside it.

Coming home, I added a couple of souvenirs to my bag without having to remove any of the original contents. I simply wrapped up a souvenir mug, and dish in some clothing and stuffed it all inside the suitcase.

About the Minima Carry-On 22″

  • Weight 7 lbs
  • Measures 8.5 × 13.5 × 21.5 (meets TSA and IATA cabin baggage guidelines)
  • Seven colours: Black, Charcoal Grey, Aluminium Grey, Ocean Blue, Sky Blue, Pink, Sand
  • The hard outer shell is made of 100% polycarbonate.
  • The suitcase is lightweight, flexible to expand
  • Scratch-resistant and virtually unbreakable
  • Waterproof (although I don’t believe that the zippers are waterproof)
  • 100% Aluminum telescoping handle
  • Handles on the top and side
  • Built-in TSA approved lock
  • Silent 360° double spinner wheels
  • Interior has two compartments with three pockets – 1 large pocket on one side and two small pockets on the other side.
  • The two main compartments on the interior have double-zippers for easy access, and so your belongings don’t shift around.
  • Bonus removable laundry bag, leather luggage tag.
View of the wheels Chester Minima
View of the bottom wheels Chester Minima

Chester also makes a bigger checked spinner suitcase – the Regula – measuring in at 11″ x 18″ x 26″ that weighs 9.5 lbs.

Chester is confident of their product, and as a result, they offer a referral program to encourage you to brag about their product. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any luggage company offer a program like this before. For every referral, friends and family receive a $25 discount, and you earn $25 for the recommendation.

So optimistic that they offer a 100 day trial with free returns and zero risk. You can return it with no questions asked. They also have an excellent 10-year limited warranty which covers any damage to the exterior shell, wheels, handles, and zippers. They say that if anything breaks that they will fix or replace it.

According to the Chester website, “We estimate the average person pays at least 30% more for products of comparable quality as ours”.

So, what did I think about the Chester Minima Carry-On overall?

Calculated Traveller Chester Minima Carry On Spinner Suitcase

I’ve got to say I think I’ll be travelling with my new friend Chester from now on. I love the Minima for its modern style, weather-proof tough exterior, quiet and agile 360 wheels, and very functional interior. These reasons make Chester Minima a keeper in my books.

I was provided with a Chester Minima for review purposes. I did not receive financial compensation for this review. Calculated Traveller maintains full editorial control of all content published on this site.

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