The ULTIMATE Luggage Test ft. Jen Atkin x CALPAK
Have you ever thought, “I wonder if this is really durable?” We’re here to say that all of our products are durable AND beautiful. We believe in doing everything in our power to give you a reliable product that you can feel confident being seen with and traveling with.
But how do you know you can trust us when we say we’re doing our best? We took a trip to visit all of our factories, and put one of our new collections to the test. Check out the video below to see how mean we were to the Jen Atkin x CALPAK trunk, and keep reading to see a breakdown of each test, why we require it, and how it helps make travel better.
Step #1 : Add Weight
Before we begin any testing, we apply a, “testing standard,” which means we have to decide how durable it needs to be. Does it need to survive the average baggage handler, or the Apocalypse? In the case of the Jen Atkin X CALPAK collection, we set the standard pretty high (at 75 pounds) because Jen’s luggage sees so many airplanes, and holds much more weight than the average traveler.
The process: All pockets are opened and filled with large sand bags to reach the weight requirement. The luggage is closed, and all locks are secured.
Step #2 : Handle Strength Test
The process: Once the luggage is filled with 75 pounds, it goes through a test called, “Handle Snatching.” The operator will raise the luggage up, and attach the trolley handle, top handle, front handle, or side handle to this claw-shaped arm and begin the test. Each handle will experience a free fall drop 1000 times. Once the luggage has dropped at least 150mm with 75 lbs. inside, it will recoil and bounce up and down for a couple of seconds, then repeat.
What we’re looking for: Is the handle performing the same at 75 pounds as it does at 0 pounds? Is there any damage to the frame or the shell, because of the stress on the handles? Has any part of the handle been broken, cracked, or deformed? If all results are positive and the handles have passed, the operator can move on to the next test.
Step #3 : Treadmill Terrain Test
The Treadmill Terrain test, otherwise known as the “Rolling Road Test,” is one of the easier, but longer tests to complete. There are two different versions: one where the luggage is leaned back and rolling on only two wheels, and the other, where the luggage is being rolled on all four wheels.
The process: On this “treadmill,” there are several metal brackets of different heights and widths that the luggage has to overcome. For the 2 wheels, the trolley is extended and attached to another claw-shaped hook. The luggage is leaned back at a 45 degree angle, and run for 20 miles, at 2.5 MPH. For the 4 wheels, the luggage is standing upright and attached to one of the machinery bars by a heavy duty, nylon strap, and again run for 20 miles at 2.5 MPH. An additional sand bag is placed on top of the luggage to ensure the luggage stays level throughout the test.
What we’re looking for: Has the wheel compromised the integrity of the shell? Are there any signs of cracking? Are the wheels coming apart from the shell? Do the wheels show any damage beyond normal wear and tear? We know, “normal wear and tear” is very subjective between a company and its customer. But to be more specific we should say that normal wear and tear is seeing the rubber wear down over very long periods of time or seeing a change in color because of dirt, dust, and age.
Step #4 : Drop Test
If you’ve ever seen one of those horrible videos of the baggage handlers throwing someone’s luggage off the plane… that is why we perform a drop test. We can’t predict what happens to your luggage from the moment you check in your bags, to the moment you receive them at baggage claim, but we can prepare for it. Remember: the luggage has 75 pounds inside. It’s pretty freaking heavy.
The process (and yes, it’s painful for us to watch): The machine for this test has a platform that can be raised or lowered, depending on the size of the luggage, and has two swinging doors that will release the luggage when the “Go” button is pushed. Beneath the swinging doors will either be a smooth concrete floor, or a smooth metal platform. The luggage has to be dropped on every side, and every corner (14 drops total).
What we’re looking for: After the test is complete, we have to look past scratches and dents, because that unfortunately is not something we can prevent. So, is the shell cracked anywhere? Have any parts broken off? Are the handles intact? Are the wheels intact? Are the corner protectors intact? Can you still open the locks? Do all parts function properly, the same as before?
Step #5 : Tumble Test
This test probably is the most fun to watch. It’s like putting the luggage in a giant dryer. Instead of putting it on, “Tumble dry low,” we’re putting it on, “Throw it down baggage claim.”
The process: The tumble machine has a steel interior with large steel parts sticking out, like a spike or a sharp edge, to determine if it could handle a harsh impact. The operator (and probably a few helpers) will lift the luggage and place it in the middle of the machine. Once the machine has started, it will rotate clockwise for 25 full rotations. You aren’t allowed to shift or touch the luggage in any way while the test is in progress.
What we’re looking for: Is the shell cracked anywhere? Have any parts broken off? Are the handles intact? Are the wheels intact? Are the corner protectors intact? Can you still open the locks? Do all parts function properly, the same as before? How significant are the dents in the shell (if there are any)?
Step #6 : The Assessment
If any results of these tests are negative, we will go back to the drawing board, redesign the luggage or the individual parts, and try again. If the results are all positive, the factory can give us the all-clear and we can go ahead to produce the product.
Want to know more about the process? Leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you, and tell you all about why we do what we do.