Briggs & Riley BRX Adventure Travel Gear

Get Out and PLAY Event – Day 35

While in San Diego for BlogHer, I received what is quite possibly the coolest email ever and made me a hero in both my husband’s eyes and our daughter’s.  My mission: go to an outdoor retailer and shop for luggage.  But, not just any luggage… the Briggs & Riley BRX line that is not only amazing travel gear, it’s the kind of stuff that makes you want to plan your next adventure immediately. 

BU122X_26e_150 The email was perfect timing for a variety of reasons, most namely the fact that I was going to need an extra bag to get souvenirs home from San Diego, and secondly, the fact that my husband and daughter have never found an outdoor store they didn’t want to explore and a new town just meant a whole list of stores we don’t have at home.  Spending the day shopping for luggage at all the stores in the San Diego area with the family was better than an amusement park {no lines! tent parties! glow sticks! three-way mirrors!}, but leaving with two brand new bags that we all adore was just icing on the cake.

I should start our tale by explaining that we are, in fact, luggage snobs.  We’ve seen more than our share of luggage in the 14 years we’ve been together and it has been all over the world with us.  Some of it has been awesome, some of it awful, and some of it was perfectly fine… for someone else.  For us to keep it, store it, and use it regularly, it has to pass our exceedingly high standards for quality, design, and ultimately, functionality.  The Briggs & Riley BRX luggage line nails all three perfectly, as well as adding in another level entirely: retro sophistication.

BP118_27e_150 Don’t believe me?  Check out this gorgeousness, which can only be referred to as “rugged good looks”.  Taking a cue from old school luggage with its timeless and classic design, Briggs & Riley has created a line that just might be perfect.  Not just for day trippers or adventure travel, the Briggs & Riley brand has universal appeal that makes it seem at home no matter where your travels take you. 

Since we were so excited to see the brand in person, we started our search for Briggs & Riley adventure gear in downtown San Diego by the convention center at Le Travel Store.  Even though we had no idea at all what we were looking for, you really couldn’t possibly miss the large display of the Briggs & Riley brand at the store.  Located along the right wall of the shop, right across from the registers in a place of honor, was a beautiful display of the line.  From upright wheeled luggage of all sizes to backpacks, duffels, and daypacks, it was clear the BRX luggage line covers everything a true adventure seeker could dream of. 

Le Travel Store BRX
Since our travels usually have a hefty dose of “adventure”, we already knew we were in the right place.  When we found out that Briggs & Riley was having an awesome promotion where you got a free set of packing cubes with purchase, we were even more excited.  If you’ve ever traveled with packing cubes, you will know why this was so exciting to me.  Never again will I search aimlessly for socks and underwear in an overstuffed bag because now everything I bring with me is organized, secure, and nearly wrinkle-free, thanks to packing cubes. 

Le Travel Store BRX Shopping
The clerk at Le Travel Store was really sweet, allowing us to try on everything, wheel it around, and basically play with the entire line, popping over occasionally to offer assistance and tell us about the piece we were looking at.  I also got a chance to look at the Briggs & Riley catalog while my husband explored the bags in person, and I promptly fell in love with something Le Travel Store did not have in stock – the Excursion Messenger.  We made note of what other pieces would be the most practical for our needs but decided to check out the next store to see if they had the Excursion Messenger in stock before we made our decision.

The next closest retailer that stocked Briggs & Riley BRX was Adventure 16, a store that we all immediately liked upon entering.  It had a very different feel to it than the last store with a laid-back and rugged atmosphere and gadgets and gizmos just begging to be played with.  One look at the display tents, rustic lodge décor, and the mountain of Briggs & Riley BRX selections and we knew that this time we would bring in the troops so the whole family could make themselves at home while we shopped. 

Adventure 16 family shopping
And, oh boy, did we make ourselves at home.  After telling us how she liked the cool colors of the Briggs & Riley bags, our daughter ran to the line of tents where she happily spent the next twenty minutes or so pretending to sleep in every tent she could get into.  The sales staff at Adventure 16 had a great time playing along with her as they helped us look through the luggage, and soon she was dancing in the aisles, dressing room, and even while modeling some of the BRX line for us.

Speaking of the BRX line, we were really impressed with the selection at Adventure 16 and dove right into checking each of the pieces out.  Even though their wheeled line is simply gorgeous and surprisingly lightweight, we knew we were looking for pieces that we could take anywhere with us – over cobblestones, unpaved roads, or even backpacking, which means that wheels were out of the question.  With this in mind, we focused on their smaller bags and duffels, which are also incredibly light, but seemed more suited for us.

Adventure 16 BRX
After much debate over colors that culminated in a family vote, we ended up walking out of the store with the perfect adventure travel gear for our family – the Excursion Messenger and Exchange 26 Duffel.  Throw in the free Packing Cubes, and you can see why we were simply giddy with excitement as we left Adventure 16.  Luckily we didn’t have to wait long to use them, because we got to try them out on the way home from San Diego just days later.

After using them for the last leg of our California trip, we realized very quickly why Briggs & Riley is so highly rated in the outdoor luggage department.  There seriously is not one thing they didn’t think of when designing these bags.  In terms of functionality, quality, and durability, they have exceeded our expectations and then some, which is why they actually made another journey with us a few weeks later.

In fact, I am so in love with the Excursion Messenger that it’s now my go-to bag for even just a few hours out of the house.  Some of the features I love are the padded laptop compartment {that even has a security strap that doubles as a pulley for easy removal}, a large main pocket, and highly organized zippered front compartment {with four pockets – one of which is padded for cell phones, cameras, etc – and two pen holders}, as well as a large flap that also has a huge zippered pocket. 

BRX Messenger on tripBesides being able to organize and store all my gear, the Excursion Messenger has some really cool external features such as a rubberized bottom, a handle on top to carry the bag briefcase-style, and a cushioned and adjustable shoulder pad.  But, after using the bag for two vacations and numerous weekends out, the feature we are simply raving about is one that is surprisingly simple, and that is the fact that the upper buckle of the main bag closure is fixed securely to the bag front.  This means that you can easily open and close the buckles one-handed since only one side of the buckles is moveable.  While this doesn’t seem like that big of a thing at first, it quickly becomes your favorite feature as you are searching for your boarding pass while juggling your infant, a bottle, snacks for your toddler, and the coffee you need to get through your trip.

The Exchange 26 Duffle has also become a fixture in our travels, easily replacing our other soft sided suitcases.  The extremely lightweight design paired with the fact that it converts from duffel to backpack makes it truly versatile for all sorts of travel.  Of course you can use it for a weekend away or for air travel, but when it really shines is when you don’t know where your day will take you.  Whether you’re riding a camel to your yurt or taking a taxi to your suite, the Exchange 26 Duffel is easy to carry and able to cram into any tight space you need it to fit, thanks to its pliable, soft sided design.

BRX on trip
Beyond the basic design of the bag and its go-anywhere feel, what we really love about the Exchange Duffel is all the little details.  The first thing we fell in love with is the hidden backpack straps that not only are incredibly comfortable, they also have mesh, breathable undersides.  As a bonus, the flap that hides the straps when using it as a duffel folds down and becomes built-in lumbar support for the bag, making it ideal for carrying even long distances.  Next on our list of raves are the padded handles which are located strategically around the bag to make carrying and moving it as natural as possible.

BD126X_25e_150 Add in the fact that it also has a removable carry strap, a zippered expansion that adds 610 cu. in., pockets galore, a hide-away ID tag, compression straps, hidden stow-away pockets for the shoulder strap buckles, contrast lining to help find small items, rugged and oversized zippers and zipper pulls, and about 10 dozen other cool features, and you can see why this “review” is really a “rave”, right?  It's really no wonder that the Exchange 26 Duffel was named the National Geographic Adventure Gear of the Year 2010. 

As functional and practical as the Excursion Duffel is, it also just looks really cool, which might be what immediately sold my husband on it.  Without being flashy or conspicuous, it manages to still look elegant and sophisticated, which means it’s the kind of gear that you won’t outgrow in just a few years.  This is ideal, because all Briggs & Riley bags come with a lifetime guarantee, so you know we will be sporting our new luggage for decades on all our many journeys.  We are going to add the Explore 22 Upright to our holiday wish list with the hope that we can eventually add a wheeled piece to our BRX luggage collection and be covered no matter where we’re headed.

Leanne Signature 2 This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  All opinions are 100% ours and no form of monetary compensation influenced this Rave Review.

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