Zuca: rollaboard luggage with drawers doubles as a chair

Speaking of bags and luggage, Ben Hammersley swears by the Zuca Pro, an overhead-legal rollaboard bag that you can sit on, and that organizes its contents into drawers. It's been years since I've bothered with rollaboards (I hate gate-checking luggage), but this is pretty danged cool, and Ben is one of the few people I know who logs as much mileage as I do.

I imagine those drawers are seriously useful, especially if you pre-packed a bunch of them like travel cartridges ("beach," "business meeting," "in-room coffee stuff") and stacked them as the trip required.

• 41" Telescoping handle

• Aluminum alloy frame is light, super strong and rated to safely support 300 pounds

• The removable, hand washable, insert bag is made from premium water resistant 1680D ballistic nylon and coated with water resistant polyurethane

• 4" lightweight polyurethane wheels absorb shock and make for a seriously silent ride. And, because the wheels are recessed, the luggage meets FAA specifications for carry-on baggage

• A gear platform to carry additional loads

• Feet, made of nylon 6, go easy on scratchable surfaces

• Chrome plated, rust resistant screws

Zuca Pro (Thanks, Bill!)


  1. Theses bags as super popular at my kids’ school. Although they are ridiculous for a 6 years old, I can see how they can be very useful when traveling  That say, they are not collapsible or even squish-able, not even a little bit, so if the overhead space is limited, that bag is NOT going to get under the seat in front of you.

        1. I think the frame will. We have about 6 years to go. I’m sure we will change out the insert 1 or 2x by then but after 1.5 yrs the insert and frame are in perfect condition. Other rolling backpacks had broken wheels, ripped fabric and broken handles after a few months. What a waste of money. Also, the kids can sit on the frame and do homework while they wait to get picked up. It really functions like a rolling locker. Also, they are hugely popular with Figure Skaters. Now you know that too. lol

      1. no, that must be $300 with those insert options. A normal one is like $149 i think. Believe me, it’s a worthy investment. After spending $50 on rolling backpack after rolling backpack, 1 per kid per quarter at school,  I went for the Zuca bags and they’ve been used for a year & a half already. The wheels are amazing, the frame is guaranteed and the insert is about $40 to replace if it gets worn out! 

    1. This is THE bag at our school too. Without the inserts. I got them for both kids after spending $50 per quarter/per kid on lesser quality rolling backpacks that would fall apart quickly. It’s been a good investment. The inserts are only about $40 to replace if you want to change style or they become worn out. The frame is guaranteed. The kids have a way of tipping them over and riding them too lol

  2. I have this bag for my court reporter’s equipment (sold by the Stenograph Corporation with special inserts). Fits all my equipment, including a very expensive, somewhat delicate reporter’s stenograph machine, safely and neatly. Using it as a chair… it’s doable, and it’s even more comfortable than some chairs I’ve been offered in even the fanciest law firms.

    Only drawback: the narrow width. It can easily tip sideways and torque your wrist.

    1. you’re right, it does tip. It happens to DS at least 1-2x on the way to school each morning. Looks like you can hurt your wrist easily but he’s been ok so far.

    2. “court reporter”

      I must be weird, but when I read that, I first thought about kings & queens rather than judges.

      1. Not weird.  We’re a profession plagued by an outdated name.

        I’m not a journalist on the crime beat.
        70% of us don’t work in court at all.
        c. 20% don’t even work in the legal field,  (Court reporters provide closed captioning for live broadcast, “CART” — sort of private captioning for the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing in classroom, business meeting and other settings.)

        Plus, to add to the confusion, there’s a disagreement on who/what is a “court reporter.”

        The National Court Reporters Association is a 113-year-old association of shorthand (Gregg/Pittman pen writers, nearly extinct) and stenographic reporters.

        But there are also professionals who fill the jobs designated as “court reporters” who use a voice shorthand (known as StenoMaskers, after the trademarked device for recording proceedings by voice without being audible in the room and “voice writers,”and those who use voice shorthand and voice recognition software, in conjunction with the same computer-aided transcription software as the stenos, and can produce realtime – just like the stenographers – transcripts in court, deposition, or the CART and captioning fields).

        And there are digital audio operators and transcriptionists who are also often designated as court reporters.

        Never heard the royal court connection.  But as a former professional juggler, I like the idea of the jester/scribe!


  3. If it had four wheels instead of two (and thus also a brake mechanism) I’d go for it. I’ve learned that pulling two wheeled cases gets very hard on the arms and shoulders too quickly.

  4. I had a similar Zuca bag a few years ago and wasn’t very happy with it. IIRC it had less drawers, but it didn’t have much space inside at all. Also, as other people mentioned it tends to tip over and is not very comfortable to sit on. Traded for a Pelican case.

  5. Zuca bags (no inserts, not the pro version) are the favored bags for ice-skating – our daughter has one, as does most of her synchronized skating team.  They stand up to the punishment of being hauled around ice arenas.  The non-pro version has double wheels (one above the other) to make it easy to pull up steps.  

  6. A guy with one of those was in front of me in line for a hotel shuttle at the  Las Vegas airport just a couple of days ago.

    It looked so rugged that I expect it to still be functional when some scavenger is dragging it through a post apocalyptic landscape years from now.

    I assumed it contained some kind of specialty AV rig for a freelance documentarian… nice to see it’s so versatile.

  7. I recently bought my gf the Zuca Pro for her professional makeup equipment. Those are pouches not drawers so the bag is configurable as you would please. While the price is high, so is the quality. One drawback is the bag is essentially turned 90 degrees when compared to a normal carryon so it can tip if your not paying attention while pulling it.

  8. As a dedicated one bagger ( http://www.onebag.com/ – I have no connection to the site) I find this is exactly the kind of proto-tank that makes me shake my head in airports, or duck my head in airplanes as a tired traveler across the aisle tries to hurl it into the overhead bin on my side. 

    This sucker weighs 12lbs empty and is going to wind up gate checked more times than not on 737s or smaller.

    Look into getting a Tom Bihn Aeronaut or a Red Oxx Air Boss (or something similar, if you find those too pricey) and get rid of the wheels.

  9. The drawers wouldn’t help me much, but I’m really liking the solid frame. I do photography and my current method of transporting my lights & sandbags has proven to be much weeker than i’d like.

  10. I looked at the Zuca (at a local sports shop) when Cool Tools highlighted it a few years ago.  I was ambivalent – not to mention, it was expensive.  So I restarted my decades-long quest for the near-perfect toolbox. 

    I found it, the Porter Case – I have no idea how I managed to not find these earlier.  Hard plastic case, a range of inserts and foam, wheels, it converts into a perfectly-balanced hand truck truck with a capacity of 150 lbs, and it’s approved for carry-on.

    I’ve had mine for about four years, I use it day-in/day-out, through snow, rain, and airports, and haul heavy parts with it and I use it as a seat all the time.  It’s about as perfect a tool case (or even luggage) as I’ve ever found. 


  11. I don’t get it.

    Typical limit for a carry-on is 9″ wide max, even smaller for European flights. These are way too big, so they will have to be checked in. Then what’s the point of its chair capability?

  12.  Yeah, Stenograph only sold it for a couple of months before withdrawing it.  My theory:  In a profession that’s c. 90% female (thin wrists) and whose practitioners make their livings with their hands, it’s a bad combo.


  13. I’ve been travelling with this bag for the last couple of years.

    – It is really nice to have a place to sit, particularly in airports that have still located their power for cleaners and not passengers.

    – The inline skate wheels are almost silent. No more announcing yourself to the world while dragging down a rough sidewalk.

    – The frame is tough as hell. It seems to hold up really well (see caveat below).

    – Repairable. The thing is bolted together, so when something breaks, you don’t have to buy a new one.

    – Looks techno-cool–way cooler than me.

    – It isn’t very big for carrying stuff. It fits more than you might expect, but less than other bags that are fit to the max overhead dimensions. And I no longer use the pouches–I just roll my clothes and stuff them in. They might work for some people, but they really don’t do much for me.

    – When something does break, don’t expect a lot from the company. I had the handle break on mine. Someone fell down an escalator in Vienna and took it with them… definitely beyond spec. I was disappointed, but no big deal–handle assy can be unscrewed and replaced. Maybe it can, but so far I haven’t been able to get Zuca to sell me a new handle.

    – Sharp edges. Yesterday, I got back from a trip to Europe. When I grabbed the bag at the handle, I scraped my knuckles badly on the handle. Just like a dozen other times. At least people think I am bad-ass because I always show up to places with bloody knuckles.

    – Not motorized.

    In sum, I’ll still use it. I actually replaced the bag with a new one when I couldn’t get them to sell me a new handle. My mom has one, and she loves the ability to sit when she needs to, and the ease with which it is pulled. But it isn’t perfect.

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