It’s summer in my part of the world currently and yesterday was the kind of day no one stays indoors - it was truly glorious. Big blue skies, no wind and beaches beckoning. The kind of day that screams “picnic, picnic, picnic”!
So that’s what we did, we headed north about 1 hour out of the city to a favorite little “hamlet” known as Matakana and to the nearby beaches at Tawharanui Regional Park. A picnic at the beach - you can’t beat it!
Now … I know … I know … you’re thinking … “what’s this got to do with an American Tourister luggage review”? I’m interested in knowing more about the “American Tourister luggage splash 21 upright suitcase” … not what someone had for lunch at a beach bbq?
Well here’s the “twist” folks … earlier that day we had visited a cute local pottery and I marveled at all the glorious colors of the pots (so much so that I was compelled to take a pic - see here).
Color is the spice of life and as I sat here today at my computer reading the many positive reviews of the American Tourister Splash range, it struck me how many people remarked on the great colors and how easy they were to spot on an airport luggage carousel. We’re never too old folks to add a little color to our lives … I hope you agree!
Now … if "quality at a great price" is what you’re looking for, then I recommend you take a closer look at this review. Most reviewers commented on the quality for the price.
As one happy reviewer put it - the American Tourister Splash 21” is, quite possibly, everything you would need in a carry-on luggage suitcase. “High 5s” all round? - I think so!
American Tourister offers three sizes in the Splash range:
- American Tourister Splash 21” (carry-on size)
- American Tourister Splash 25” (checked)
- American Tourister Splash 29" (checked)
Many of my comments focus on the 21” carry-on size but the style and design is repeated in the larger sizes too.
As one happy reviewer commented:
“I've been searching for the perfect piece of luggage for years, and I believe I've finally found it.”
Let’s get “down to business” … I feel a “review” coming on … ha ha …
LIKE IT ... WANT IT ... GET IT NOW!
I recommend the American Tourister Splash 21" ...
For many people, researching suitcases is all about finding the best airline-compliant carry-on. I always include online reviewer comments related to airline compliance as a means of helping my readers to ascertain if the bag will meet their carry-on needs, but I never guarantee this information as it can vary on the day of check-in, from airline to airline. Consider it as a guide only.
From the many comments I have read, it would appear that the American Tourister Splash 21” is able to be stored in the overheads of all flights except small regional commuter flights.
It has to be noted here that not all 21" bags are the same size (in dimensions) and not all airlines have the same requirements! Don’t assume all 21” bags are compliant.
The American Tourister Splash 21” is expandable and will allow a further expansion of about 2-3 inches. It also has three front pockets which, if full, can expand the depth of the case. Please be aware that using either, or both, of these features can cause your bag to become non-compliant.
One traveller who left an excellent review explained that technically, doesn't meet USAir & United carry on requirements because of the 15" width and the overall measurements
Please “go here” to locate your airline’s baggage conditions and restrictions.
At just 8.2 lbs (3.72 kg), the American Tourister Splash 21” makes the cut as a “distinguished” member in my “stable” of lightweight luggage reviews! This weight has been confirmed at the American Tourister manufacturers website.
At 8.2 lbs - this upright case is suitable as a carry-on. Please refer to the dimensions of this case in the next section below - as a double check against your favorite airline’s luggage carry-on restrictions.
The overriding comments on this bag are that it is very good quality and considered lightweight by most reviewers.
The American Tourister Splash 25” weighs in at 10.4 lbs (4.7 kg)whilst the American Tourister Splash 29” weighs in at 12.1 lbs (5.5 kg). Both are only suitable as checked luggage.
DIMENSIONS | STORAGE CAPACITY
- American Tourister Splash 21” = 21.0" x 14.5" x 8.0"
- American Tourister Splash 25” = 25.0" x 19.0" x 9.0"
- American Tourister Splash 29” = 29.0" x 21.0" x 10.5"
The American Tourister Splash 21” is considered by most airlines to be suitable as carry-on luggage. In order for airlines to determine if a bag qualifies as carry-on luggage they measure your luggage by the linear inch. The linear inches of this bag are listed as 43.5”.
I would question this as I believe that does not include the height measurement correctly. Most airlines will measure the bag height from the ground up to the highest point of the bag which is the top handle (not simply to the top of the body of the bag). This would mean a further 3” approximately being added to the height. Therefore, I would calculate the linear inches to be closer to 46.5”.
As an aside related to dimensions and storage capacity of carry-ons, here is a great comment made by one reviewer which made a lot of sense:
This reviewer prefers “upright carry-ons” like the American Tourister Splash over “spinner wheels carry-ons” because, as she so rightly points out, she would rather have the space the spinners take up (which airlines include in height measurements) included in her packing capacity within the bag, which is what you get with an upright bag. She felt spinner wheels on a 21” carry-on bag aren’t necessary as the bag is small enough/light enough to manage/maneuver without them. Good point worth considering!
WHEELS | MANEUVERABILITY | STABILITY
The American Tourister Splash range is fitted with in-line skate style wheels, or as sometimes called, rollaboard wheels (not spinner wheels) and, as such, are described in the luggage industry as “upright” cases.
Their stability is dependent on the fixed resting extension (see pic right) on the underside of the bags - directly in front of the rollaboard wheels.
A number of the reviewers discussed the propensity of the bag to fall forward or tip over - one commenting …
“It tipped on two occasions, but I rearranged the contents and it didn't tip again. It very much depends on how you choose to pack the case.”
I must admit this was a common thread in the reviews I read, and looking at this bag compared to other similar bag brands, I would be inclined to believe these complaints. The multiple pockets on the front of the case do tend to make it look more top heavy. Care would definitely need to be taken during packing.
There were very few negative comments made about the smoothness of the wheels. The integrated design of the wheels adds to their longevity.
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS | DURABILITY
The American Tourister Splash 21” and the other sizes in the range are made of highly durable 1200 X 900 denier polyester. This fabric is thick and designed to wear well and be long lasting.
I noted in approximately 10 reviews that people made the same comment about the bottom seam of the bag starting to fray after only one or two uses. Some said this seam wears out quickly around the bottom edges.
The solar rose and turquoise colors tend to lose their coating on the fabric rather quickly. The black color is definitely less likely to show scuffing. Scuff marks are easily removed using an oxygen style cleaning product and a wet cloth.
This reviewer summed up the general opinion of these bags:
“It seems to be a well-made bag, with strong fabric and strong zippers”.
POCKETS | STORAGE | NAMETAGS
As you know, I spend a considerable amount of time reading online reviews as research for writing this review.
Overwhelmingly, people commented on how happy they were with the storage capacity of the American Tourister Splash 21”…
Comments such as:
“very spacious with a lots of individual pockets”
“you wouldn't believe it but I was able to fit 7 days worth of clothing in this bag”
“holds so much stuff for a cabin bag. Definitely more usable space than my last cabin bag”
“as a typical woman I like to wear something different every day. I was able to get a weeks worth of clothing into this bag and still had space left over - awesome bag - husband was happy because I was happy”
Ok - so let’s go over where all the various pockets are located:
The “front door or lid” of the case offers three external separate compartments which are zipped on three sides (horse shoe style). The outer most compartment also has a zipped slide-in pocket which would be suitable for magazines or maybe a net book. Care would need to be taken placing a net book in here though - as it would be prone to bumping as the lid/door tends to protrude noticeably.
This lid also offers an expander zip which allows a further 2-3 inches of storage capacity if need be. The expander is zipped on three sides and opens out in a “v” style from the flush surface of the door/lid. Please be aware that using the expander whilst trying to use this bag as a carry-on is not advised as it will make the bag too deep, meaning the bag is likely to fail the airline dimensions restrictions.
Internally, there are a further two zippered pockets on the inner side of the door/lid. One pocket is mesh whilst the other is solid. The “split” is 50/50 for these pockets. The solid pocket can easily take three pairs of shoes. The mesh pocket is perfect for makeup or underwear.
HANDLES | LIFTING AND TELESCOPIC
The one comment repeated over and over about the handles on this bag is that the bag is very suitable for tall people. I’ll explain more below …
1. The Lifting Handles
There are effectively 3 lifting handles (as opposed to the telescopic handle) fitted to the American Tourister Splash range. One on the top (horizontal), one on the right hand side looking at the front of the bag (vertical), and then one handle/bracket/grip on the underside - this doubles as a bag stand to stabilize the bag. Many reviewers found the handles “either end” a real boon - and especially helpful when having to lift the bag on and off transport and airport trolleys.
The grips on the top and side handles are padded for extra comfort.
2. The Telescopic Handle
Tall people love this bag - so many reviewers described how suitable it was for people over 6 foot. The telescopic handle is longer than most bags making it particularly suitable for tall people. Of course the reverse applies with one person who was 5”3” saying the telescopic handle was simply too long. The grip on the handle is hard black plastic. Please note - that the telescopic handle in not adjustable - it only has two positions - fully extended in the upright position or fully down in the integrated position. It locks securely in both positions.
LATCHES | LOCKS | STRAPS | ZIPS | HANGERS
As with most soft-side luggage, the zips play a critical part in the integrity and usefulness of the bag.
If there is a deficiency in the design of the American Tourister Splash range it may well be with the zips, going by a number of reviewer comments related to the use of the zips.
Comments about the zips included:
“the top zip broke after just one use”
“on the first go, the zipper on the bag split open completely - not happy!"
“too many zips - they all jammed or split open”
There are multiple zips on this bag, so many in fact, that one person was compelled to comment that there are “so many zips on the front of the bag that it is easy to get confused and find the actual zip that opens the main body of the bag”. I had to chuckle but , to be honest, I could see where she was coming from with this comment!
There are, in fact, 6 different zips on the front door of this bag. One is the zip which opens the main body of the bag, one is the expander, and the remaining 4 are various storage compartments. Many reviewers love these extra compartments but others expressed views that overuse of these compartments can make the bag unstable, and too thick for the overhead lockers on an aircraft - effectively limiting their usefulness. Of course, you can always purchase a luggage belt - these offer the twin advantages of securing and restraining the bag at the same time.
I tend to feel the more zips and openings a bag has, the more there is to potentially go wrong. Bear this in mind when considering the American Tourister Splash range.
The pull tags on the zippers appear well constructed and attached. One reviewer remarked on how big the holes at the ends of the tags are - making it so easy to thread thicker/stronger luggage padlocks on to the bag.
The American Tourister Splash includes one set of compression elastic tie-down straps inside the body of the case. On the rear of the case there is also a slide in address tag holder for your identity details.
VISIBILITY | STYLE | APPEARANCE
The American Tourister Splash range is available in three colors:
Turquoise, Solar Rose (some people describe this as a plum shade), and Black .
Most reviewers loved the colors as they were considered easy to spot on an airport carousel.
Of those who had bought the brighter colors, all remarked that, although they showed more marks after each use than an equivalent black case, these marks were easy to clean and remove with a damp cloth and a little diluted detergent.
American Tourister is now part of the Samsonite group of companies, and as such, offers the same 10 year warranty as offered on Samsonite branded bags.
For further details on the warranty - please go here …
COMMENTS | TIPS | SUGGESTIONS
As I read through the various online reviews I always try to take note of any clever or helpful usage tips reported by owners. Here are a few of the more inspiring ones I found for the “American Tourister Splash”:
- Lean the bag against a wall if it has a tendency to tip over or repack to distribute weight more evenly.
- Locate videos on how to pack a carry-on to best advantage when traveling for a week or more. Here's a great one … how to pack a carry-on!
- Purchase a flat cosmetic case to place on top of your clothes inside the case - takes up much less space.
- Purchase a good luggage belt and strap it on tight - preferably lockable. It will hold the front pockets close to the bag and also help with identifying the bag on an airport carousel (buy the brightest color you can find).
One of the comments that was repeated over and over in different ways went something like this:
“I chose this bag because it offered the best combination of price and quality of any upright carry-on I could find - no question!”
So what are the Pros on the The American Tourister Splash range:
- The 21” , as a rule, fits most major airline carry-on dimension limits. Please check with your airline first. Not suitable for regional commuter aircraft.
- Plenty of room inside the 21” - no complaints from anyone on storage capacity.
- Multiple deep compartments for storing a wide variety of objects. One smaller (more shallow pocket for passports, etc). Many favorable comments about the pockets.
- Good sturdy padded handles, well positioned and plenty of them.
- Very popular pull up telescopic handle ideal for medium to tall users.
- Smooth integrated wheels for easy maneuvering. These work well.
- Fabric is sturdy and maintaining it is easy.
- Expandable if required
- Great colors which make the bag easy to spot at the luggage claim.
- Exceptional value for money given the quality - many many comments about this from happy customers.
Not too many negatives this time - I think many commentators understand that you “don’t get it all” for under $60.00. But it's fair to say that with the American Tourister Splash range you get a lot more than expected in this price range …
- Tends to be front heavy unless carefully packed.
- Zips definitely have some weaknesses and, even more so, because there are so many of them, meaning more chances of problems.
- Carry-on status can be challenged by some airlines - please check with your preferred airline if you need this bag as a carry-on.
- The lighter colors tend to mark easily.
- No multiple locking positions for telescopic handle.
- Telescopic handle too long for shorter folk.
- Lower front edge of the bag is prone to fabric fraying.
CONSUMER RATINGS | RECOMMENDATIONS
So this is where I tell you what I think of this bag in my American Tourister luggage review “wrap up”.
Let me say, right off the bat, that my overall feeling about this range is that it offers above average quality at a price point that simply cannot be ignored. “Hats off” to American Tourister for this achievement.
Having said that - I have some genuine concerns about stability - you only have to look at the bag to notice that it appears front heavy - even before you load it. Really, how practical are all those front pockets if filling them with items prevents you from squeezing the bag into an overhead locker? Does the bag become even more front heavy if these pockets are used? Four external compartments seems a little over the top to me - do you agree or disagree?
There is a part of me that is wondering if all these pockets and the bright colors are nothing more than “buy me - shop floor - eye candy”. Forgive me if I sound too cynical.
I know personally, I seldom use the external pockets on a bag when I travel as they are often difficult to access and of limited practicality due to their slimness of shape.
Another reason I hesitate with this bag is the fact that with all these extra compartments comes a lot of extra zips which means more chances for things to break or go wrong. Keeping designs simple means less headaches.
The American Tourister Splash range attracts an online rating of 3.9 to 4.5 out of 5. The American Tourister Splash 21” carry-on receiving the rating of 4.5. I am somewhat surprised at this high rating - I would have thought 4 max personally. A little overstated given my discussion earlier.
Given the internal capacity, the carry-on bag is more than suitable for up to one week journeys or short business trips. In fact it is ideal for business travelers given the extra pockets and compartments for paperwork, laptops etc.
As a closing comment I will leave it up to one very “happy chappy” who proclaimed in his online comment:
“Don't look at any other carry-on luggage. This is the one!”
And maybe it is?!
I hope my comments will go some way to assist your decision making.
PRICE | BUY IT NOW!
On price everyone agrees - the American Tourister Splash range, at under $60.00 for the 21” carry-on, represents great value for money …
Prices vary constantly - and can also vary by color - so double check what the prices are for all the colors.
Always take special note of any potential shipping costs. You really should get free shipping, but some companies compel you to spend more by having a minimum spend level before free shipping applies. I don’t like this policy and I’m sure you don’t either.
I find Amazon has consistently good pricing on the American Tourister Splash range.