Solgaard Carry-On Closet Review: Luggage That Lives Up to the Hype

Updated: Apr. 30, 2024

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Rd Editor Tested Solgaard Carry On ClosetCourtesy Alice Chen

One of the challenges of traveling light is fitting everything you need for your trip into a carry-on. Luckily, there are a few ways to combat this dilemma, such as using packing cubes or vacuum bags. “I’m a big fan of packing cubes. Not only do [they] keep your clothes organized, but they also force you to be selective with what you’re bringing,” says Lydia Mansel, founder of Just Packed, a traveler’s resource for packing lists and product recommendations.

Another way to fit more in your suitcase and keep things organized as you travel? The Solgaard Carry-On Closet. Among the different luggage brands to choose from, this option from Solgaard stands out thanks to its patented five-shelf closet system. As a frequent flyer and long-time travel writer who’s covered all kinds of commuter totes and backpacks, I’m a big carry-on-only proponent and love anything that helps me organize better, so I couldn’t wait to try out Solgaard’s Carry-On Closet.

What is the Solgaard Carry-On Closet?

The distinct feature of the Carry-On Closet is a five-shelf insert that hangs to function as a closet on the go. Made of a polycarbonate shell and aluminum frame, the carry-on boasts an indestructible exterior. At first glance, the hard casing looks extremely sturdy and high quality. The ridges on the outside are designed to protect the suitcase as it’s put through the wringer during traveling.

One of the first things I noticed was the lack of zippers. The carry-on closet has two latches instead, and I thought this feature was a nice touch so there’s no battling with the zipper to open it quickly. Plus the exterior looks sleeker without zippers. Weighing 7.5 pounds, the suitcase isn’t too heavy despite its durability.

Solgaard Carry On Closetvia merchant VIA MERCHANT

I Tried It

Solgaard Carry-On Closet

A carry-on bag that expands into a hangable closet? Packing just got a lot simpler.

Solgaard Carry-On Closet features

Solgaard Carry On ClosetCourtesy Alice Chen

When it comes to shopping for quality luggage, Kevin Lau, retail specialist at REI, considers things like “ease of access and packing, organization, quality of zippers and handles, portability and comfort.” The carry-on closet passes the test in all areas. With the shelving insert, packing and unpacking takes seconds. Simply pull it out of the suitcase and voila, you’ve got a portable closet right in front of you. Either rest it on the carry-on handle or hang it straight in the hotel closet—no need for a luggage rack. The five compartments act like packing cubes, allowing you to separate and organize your clothes. The suitcase is easy to open and close with the two-latch system. Plus, the ergonomic handle and 360-degree wheels make maneuvering through a busy airport a breeze.

The Carry-On Closet comes in two sizes. The medium is accepted by all airlines and easily packs up to eight days’ worth of clothes. The large is accepted by most US airlines and holds enough for up to eleven days. If you’re going on a longer trip or need more space, Solgaard also offers a check-in version of the Carry-On Closet, available in medium and large sizes as well.

How I tested it

Solgaard Carry On ClosetCourtesy Alice Chen

To pack, I laid the expanded shelf insert flat on the ground. When I first pulled the closet out, it looked like a typical hanging organizer from Ikea. I was skeptical that each shelf would be able to hold multiple items, especially thicker garments like sweaters, but I was impressed by how much I was able to fit in the closet.

For a week’s worth of clothes, I packed four pairs of pants, three sweaters and four shirts in the portable closet. I rolled my shirts and put them in the last shelf, which had compartments built in. The closet expanded quite a bit, and there was enough room for me to fit everything without struggling or squeezing. In fact, I only filled each shelf up about 70%. This is key to allow for compression. After everything was packed, I picked up the closet and pressed down vertically while pulling the two side straps to flatten. It took a little adjusting to make sure the closet compressed down evenly, but it was fairly easy to do. Once reduced, it fit nicely in the suitcase.

The suitcase itself also has straps to help you compress the closet further and secure it in place. On the other side, there are two slots for a pair of shoes, as well as space for any other bulky items. I also packed a jacket, sneakers and a toiletry bag. All in all, the Solgaard Carry-On Closet fit a surprising amount. Unpacking was a breeze as well. I opened the latches with a flick and simply pulled the closet out to place it on the extended handle. The buckle that connects the two sides of the carry-on ensured the case stayed upright, creating a stable stand to hang the closet on.

Pros

  • Comes in two sizes and eight colors
  • TSA-approved lock
  • Compression straps
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • USB charging port
  • Interior lining made from recycled material

Cons

  • May not be necessary for shorter trips

FAQ

How big is the Solgaard Carry-On Closet?

The Solgaard Carry-On Closet comes in two sizes. The medium is 20.8×13.4×9 inches and is accepted by all international airlines, including European budget airlines. The large measures 22.4×14.6×9.6 inches and is accepted by all US airlines.

How much does the Solgaard Carry-on Closet weigh?

The medium is 7.5 pounds, the large is 8.1 pounds, and the closet insert is 0.75 pounds. It’s important to check the weight of the suitcase before you travel to ensure it’s under the mandated 35-pound threshold for carry-on bags. Frequent flyers can invest in an inexpensive portable luggage scale to save time and stress.

What is the TSA carry-on size limit?

While TSA rules are more about what’s inside your bag, both carry-on weight and size requirements can vary by airline. “The most important feature is to make sure your luggage fits within your airline’s carry-on size guidelines. Most domestic airlines have maximum dimensions of 22x15x9 [inches] for carry-on luggage. It’s important to check your flight’s specific policy,” says Lau.

What other reviewers have to say

One reviewer had no trouble fitting everything they needed and more. “I used this carry-on […] with a small backpack on a 10-day cruise with three extra travel days,” says verified buyer Pam. “I actually ended up taking too many clothes in the carry-on! The luggage is amazing!!”

Another reviewer said the carry-on closet helps her feel at home on trips. “I’m an unpacker and I like to be settled wherever I am, even if it’s for one night,” begins verified buyer Rachel. “This packable closet system is so genius, it really helps me streamline what I’m bringing and I’m able to plan out the trip completely. I like the side straps on the closet to consolidate my items to make room for more toiletries/shoes on the trip. I’m amazed by the amount of items that fit into this luggage.”

“Really appreciated having this on my recent trip. The closet system is really well designed and kept my clothes nice and organized,” raves verified buyer Brandon. “I’m really glad I opted for the larger size; there was room to store shoes, toiletries, etc. in the bag around the closet and it still fit in the overhead bin as advertised. Construction felt very sturdy.”

Why you should trust us

I’m a Vancouver-based writer specializing in travel, beauty and wellness trends. As an avid traveler myself, I personally tested the Solgaard carry-on closet. My reviews also include testing other luggage for Reader’s Digest, such as the Béis commuter tote and anti-theft bags.

For additional insight into what makes a quality carry-on, we consulted Kevin Lau, a retail sales specialist at REI, a leading outdoor and adventure travel retailer. We also spoke with Lydia Mansel, a travel writer and founder of Just Packed, a traveler’s resource for packing lists and product recommendations.

Solgaard Carry-On Closet Review

It can be difficult to keep things tidy when your carry-on is packed to the brim. This option from Solgaard combines compression cubes and a portable closet in one sleek and durable suitcase. The Carry-On Closet is a spacious solution for organization while you’re away from home.

Where to buy the Carry-On Closet

Shop the Carry-On Closet on Solgaard’s website for $345 (medium) and $365 (large). Then say bon voyage to bag check and stay organized on the go with this carry-on closet.

Solgaard Carry On Closetvia merchant VIA MERCHANT

I Tried It

Solgaard Carry-On Closet

A carry-on bag that expands into a hangable closet? Packing just got a lot simpler.