Osprey Shuttle 32 ($279)
Let's face it: Skiers haul a lot of junk around. On any given ski trip, we need jackets and layers to cover conditions ranging from snow to rain and enough socks and T-shirts to go for a week or two without laundry access. Plus, there's bulky gear like helmets, ski boots and shovels. You need a piece of luggage big enough to push the airlines' 50-pound limit and tough enough to keep your gear from disgorging all over the tarmac. Oh yeah, wheels. It'd better roll.
WHAT IT IS:
The Osprey Shuttle 32 is "the biggest, most easily manageable piece of luggage, designed in the lightest way possible," says Osprey founder Mike Pfotenhauer. It holds 110 liters of stuff and rolls on 4-inch-high urethane wheels, and when it's empty, it tips the scales at just eight pounds. It's stable standing on end or rolling over the cobblestone streets of Chamonix. The Shuttle is tall, rather than wide, at 16-inches across. "It's the right width for the size and load," Pfotenhauer says. "Any narrower and it would tip over; any wider and you couldn't maneuver it."
WHY IT RULES:
How'd they keep the bag both light and sturdy? Taking a page from Osprey's 35 years of backpack craft, the frame is tensioned by the bag's walls, making for a rigid bag without a lot of weight. They added lightweight foam for sidewall padding and wrapped the whole thing in ballistics nylon -- the stuff developed for bulletproof vests. Plus, Osprey gets the details right. It has a waterproof compartment to keep sweaty long underwear or hot-tub-soaked bathing suits separate from the rest of your gear. There are two long padded pockets for delicate or sharp items like probes or a camera tripods. The side and top handles on the sides are strong enough for a roof tie down and heavy-duty external straps can squeeze the stiff sidewalls down to lower the bag's volume if it isn't riding with a full load.