| Published on: January 22nd, 2024
TL;DR I’ve been mostly satisfied with my Monos carry-on, though I acknowledge a few drawbacks. These are the key takeaways from my honest Monos Luggage Review:
- Monos is a modern and trendy luggage brand that’s chic and durable
- A Monos carry-on suitcase scuffs easily, especially if using a light-color
- Sale opportunities allow you to pick up a Monos bag at a better price
When I decided to make the switch to hard-shell luggage, the decision carried extra weight (no pun intended).
Up to that point, I’d spent my entire life using soft-sided backpack-style bags and luggage for traveling.
I was willing to invest a little to find a great suitcase, but I’m also a millennial who can’t help but enjoy something aesthetically appealing.
That’s what drew me to Monos and their simple but trendy designs.
If you’re like me, you’ve seen countless ads for brands like Beis and Away. Monos intrigued me because their luggage has a similar look and is slightly better priced.
So, how did my Monos luggage measure up? My honest Monos review will fill you in on everything you need to know.
- I travel often, so I wanted to love all parts of the bag I chose: the outer appearance is a big part. Monos’s bags are simple and sleek, and I like their color selections.
- This suitcase smoothly navigated through airports and sidewalks while traveling. The 4-way wheels are high-quality and easy to turn.
- I was impressed with the roller wheel quality but noticed other quality features like the zippers. They smoothly zip and unzip, even when the suitcase is pretty full.
- There are features you typically find on higher-quality bags, like a TSA lock. I haven’t needed to use it yet as I always do carry-on. Still, I could see this being nice when traveling on trains or in other situations where you might have to leave your suitcase unattended at points.
- The suitcase comes with some nice extras, like the two laundry bags and a cloth covering for storage.
- The handles on both the top and side offer easy maneuvering when putting it up in the cabin on a flight or loading it into or out of a car trunk.
- The Carry-on Pro has limited pockets.
- The hard shell easily gets scuff marks and scratches. I’ve noticed more each time I return from a trip. Realistically, signs of wear on suitcases are natural and unavoidable. If you’d like to reduce the noticeability, I’d recommend choosing a darker color.
- I chose the Carry-On size that will fit the requirements of any airline. Considering this is a smaller suitcase, you’ll probably pack it full. This can lead to problems with the telescoping handle.
- While I do recognize the nice details on my Monos carry-on, I still find it to be a bit pricey for what it is. That’s why I recommend getting it on sale (like I did on Black Friday). Still, it’s slightly cheaper than the main competitor, Away, for basically the same suitcase (although slightly more expensive than the other main competitor, Beis).
What is Monos?
Monos is a Canadian luggage brand that’s known for its suitcase designs. The brand bases its identity on conceptualizing everything with simplicity and beauty in mind.
Their brand name comes from the Japanese concept mono no aware: “the profound appreciation of the beauty in fleeting moments.”
While Monos is best recognized for its rolling suitcases, it sells a variety of other bags, travel accessories, and clothing.
Monos explains that its quality materials set it apart from other brands. They use aerospace-grade polycarbonate for the hard shell and high-grade aluminum tubes for the handle (compared to other brands using cast zinc tubes).
They also note that for the interior of their products, they use rPET, a fabric made from recycled polyester that is durable, water-resistant, and anti-microbial.
Are you hooked yet? I was! Everything about the composition of this bag sounded great to me– these materials helped me decide to give their brand a chance over others.
Monos Luggage Options
If you’re not sure which style or size of bag you’d like, allow me to shed some light.
The compare sizes page on Mono’s website is fantastic. They display the dimensions of each luggage style in a crisp, beautiful, and visually digestible way.
Monos Luggage Negative Reviews
I’ve seen a lot of great marketing and reviews for Monos online, but I’ve also come across a significant handful of negative reviews.
Some people love their bags; some people despise them. I’m honestly surprised at the amount of discourse.
The negative reviews center around a few details I’ve noticed with my bag, such as the sometimes faulty telescoping handles and the susceptibility to scuffs and scratches.
While I never considered returning my bag, many people are frustrated with the return process and customer support.
Monos Luggage Review: My Experience With the Monos Carry-On
I purchased the Monos Carry-On in Blue Haze, a lovely powder blue.
There’s nothing as satisfying as a good deal, so I grabbed my Monos bag during their Black Friday sale in 2022 and have been traveling with it ever since.
I chose the regular carry-on size because I knew it fit the size requirements for all airlines– even the budget ones.
There’s lots that I love about the bag, down to the details.
First of all, the bag feels so lightweight! The website page says it weighs 7lbs, but I swear it feels lighter than that.
When it comes to a hardshell suitcase, having something sturdy but light is the best of both worlds. The lighter the shell is, the more weight you have for your belongings.
I’m happy with the bag’s interior and the smooth vegan lining. Like many suitcases, one side of the bag has a zip-up cover with a large mesh pocket, and the other is open. On the open side, nylon straps and a built-in compression pad secure clothing or bulky items.
This was my first suitcase with 360 spinner wheels, and I’m a huge fan. Between the wheels and the adjustable telescoping handle, this bag feels very portable and smooth to travel with.
This suitcase includes three extra bags: two laundry bags and an outer cover bag.
Though this might not matter to most, I love the outer cloth bag. I always stow my suitcase away in this when I’m home to protect it between trips.
On the carry-on pro page description, Monos recommends this size bag for two-day to five-day trips. I, however, used this for a three-week family trip through the United Kingdom.
Keeping that in mind, this is a small suitcase. As someone who was used to backpacks where you could always manage to squeeze in an extra thing or two, I’m adjusting to the rigidity of a hardshell suitcase.
In a way, this helps me pack less. And hey– I could bring three weeks’ worth of clothing on my UK trip in there (though it was a tight squeeze, and I had a roomy personal item bag to go with).
Monos does offer the Carry-On Plus, which is the same suitcase style but slightly larger.
The difference is that while this carry-on will still fit in the overhead bins of major airlines and most planes, for smaller planes or budget airlines with stricter sizing limits, the bag may need to be checked.
The Carry On Pro also features a front pocket, ideally for something flat like a laptop.
Coming from using a true backpacking backpack, it was an adjustment to go down to so few pockets. When using my backpack for traveling, I was used to pockets galore. I easily found a place or compartment for everything.
In a suitcase like this, that’s not the case. Other than one small zipper pocket attached to the open side of the suitcase, there’s not much organization– just two large mesh areas secured by a zipper.
Prior to that trip, my dad was so impressed with my Monos carry-on that he got one of his own. He chose the olive green color.
This was a great opportunity to compare the level of bag scuffing. Both bags were still scuffed, but the markings on the olive oil color were less noticeable.
I’ve read that people recommend cleaning your Monos bag with baking soda and dish soap, though I haven’t tried it yet.
Monos also sells a luggage cover to protect from dirt and scratches when traveling (specifically when handling the bag on planes).
The handle extends and then securely clicks into two different heights: midway and fully extended. I’m 5’10, and the height works well for both me and my dad, who’s 6’6.
Many negative reviews complain about a specific issue with the telescoping handle. The more you fill the side of the bag with the telescoping handle, the higher the risk of messing up the handle’s track.
If that side of the bag is packed too full, or too much pressure is on top of the handle track, the handle doesn’t release smoothly and can get stuck.
Monos Luggage Discounts & Coupons
As mentioned, I got my Monos carry-on bag during a Black Friday sale.
I paid $199 at the time, compared to the standard price of $255.
Monos runs sales on other big holidays, and I’ve also noticed a banner on their website promoting deals for bundling luggage sets and saving.
If you’re considering a Monos suitcase, I’d recommend purchasing it around a holiday or sale season.
Monos Luggage Return & Exchange Policy: I’ve heard some complaints regarding Monos’ return policy.
Monos deducts the shipping cost for the return from your total refund. People have been charged $40 just to return the bag, which seems quite high.
This policy excludes any bag that arrived damaged, which you can return without paying the cost of shipping.
Is there anywhere I can return Monos luggage for free?
One potential way to avoid paying return shipping would be to purchase your Monos luggage from a vendor like Nordstrom and then return it in-store.
Does Monos have a lifetime warranty?
Each piece you purchase directly from Monos has a Monos lifetime warranty. A few third-party sellers may offer the coverage as well.
Cracks in the shell, broken zippers, and broken handles are all covered. Remember– you have to be the original owner to claim the warranty.
Additionally, Monos offers a 100-day return policy for luggage that has not been used. They recommend testing it indoors because you can’t take advantage of this policy if it’s in unsaleable condition.
FAQs About Monos Luggage
Is Monos luggage made in the USA?
Because Monos is a Canadian brand, its pieces are designed at its headquarters in Vancouver.
However, they don’t specify where their bags are manufactured other than saying they have global partners.
Does Monos have stores?
As of the end of 2023, Monos only has one flagship store in Vancouver. They plan to continue opening stores across North America.
Monos has started selling some of its products online and in-store at Nordstrom, so that may be a way to see the suitcases in person before purchasing.
What is the No. 1 suitcase brand?
It’s hard to say because each brand offers different things. Sure, a name like Samsonite is the most extensive and well-known brand…but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great suitcase elsewhere.
I love that smaller suitcase brands, such as Monos, are getting a chance to break onto the scene.
What is the difference between Beis and Monos?
Monos and Beis are quite similar in design and price points. Monos and Beis offer standard carry-on designs and designs that feature a front outer pocket.
I’ve noticed that Beis’s color selection tends to be brighter and bolder. Monos offers a selection of calmer, cooler colors.
How does Monos compare to Away luggage?
Like Beis, Monos and Away luggage have a similar outer look. However, Away doesn’t offer bag styles with the front pocket like the former do).
Our writer, Monroe, has an Away carry-on, so we compared notes. Monroe said she’s also noticed scuff marks on Away carry-ons, but they’re easy to remove and seem to occur less frequently than I’ve experienced with Monos.
When it comes to the composition of the interior, they’re nearly identical.
One difference: Monroe said she had not noticed the problem with the telescopic handle getting stuck depending on how full her Away carry-on is.
Is hard or soft side luggage better?
This comes down to a combination of personal preference and what you will use the bag for.
Although it was a big shift, I’ve been happy with my hardshell luggage.
Backpacking-style luggage was well suited for my lifestyle in my twenties when traveling around the world. I loved being able just to get up and go with my bag on my back at any point.
Now that I have a stable home base and my trips are designated and planned, I’ve enjoyed using hardshell luggage. I love how easy it is to roll the bag alongside me through the airports with my items thoroughly protected inside.
How long does Monos last?
Ideally, forever. Especially if you qualify for the lifetime warranty.
Realistically, it depends.
I’ve seen some people online report their bag has held up well over time and others who feel they notice multiple defects after three or four trips.
My personal experience is that my bag has remained intact other than the scuffing– and I’ve been traveling with it on all kinds of trips (road trips and flights alike) for over a year now.
Conclusion: So, is Monos Luggage Actually Good?
My honest review is that I’m happy with my Monos carry-on.
My only asterisks are that I find the bag to be a little expensive for what it is, and I dislike the handrail getting stuck when the bag is packed tight.
I love the baby blue color of my bag, but if I could go back, I would choose a darker color because of the scuffing.
Regardless, the bag is durable, and I appreciate the quality features, from the complimentary laundry bags down to the wheels and zippers.
I can’t say for certain that it beats competitors like BEIS or Away, but I’m content with my Monos luggage.
Ultimately, I recommended this luggage brand to my dad– therefore, I’m happy to recommend it to you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder & Editor-In-Chief
Mimi McFadden grew up in Santa Cruz, California, and founded The Atlas Heart in 2013. Mimi has always been into fashion to some extent, but really started paying attention to it more at the age of 28 when she no longer lived out of a backpack as a full-time traveler. Once she started owning her personal style (and had an actual closet), she focused on finding the perfect balance of comfort and versatility for her wardrobe. As one of the main clothing testers at The Atlas Heart, she is always on the lookout for fun new clothing brands to try out that can add style and comfort to her travels around California, especially those that focus on sustainability.
Monroe Dziersk is a twenty-something American who has lived in the USA, Italy, and Czechia. A self-proclaimed Europhile, she has a passion for international education, traveling, and becoming a global citizen, having visited more than twenty countries. You can often find her accompanied by a good book and her calico cat.
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