My clear choice in this category is the MEI "Voyageur" pack (pictured at right), which is the maximum permitted carry-on size of 22×14×9 inches (56×36×23cm), made of 1000 denier Cordura with an interior urethane coating, and incorporates parallel (removable) internal aluminum stays; it weighs 3.5 pounds (1.59kg)... Read more.
From the tiny California company that makes what I consider the best leisure bag comes the MEI "Executive Overniter". And while I find neither the spelling nor the connotation of "overniter" appealing, there is no denying that much of what makes the company's leisure bag so successful can also be found here.
The Executive Overniter is the largest of my recommended dual-purpose bags, at a maximum carry-on size of 21×14×10" (53×36×25cm), and weighing 4.1 pounds (1.88kg).
After much deliberation and review of the Flyertalk Forums, I pulled the trigger and ordered a MEI Executive Overnighter. It came this week and I already used it on my first overnight trip. I will post a longer review once I can get my photos uploaded, but I wanted to pass along the following impressions since I know this bag has very little recent info online.
1. Ordering - I emailed to get more info then talked to Salim and ordered over the phone. Salim was very polite. He asked me when I needed the bag and it actually arrived UPS ground one day before promised.
2. Construction - Very sturdy. I have a Tumi briefcase and a Briggs and Riley backpack and it also featured nice cordura and beefy zippers. The older reviews I saw did not mention that there is closed cell foam on the inside/back panel and them between the middle front panel to give the bag contents in the two largest pockets more protection. The foam is not on the smaller walls of those panels.
3. Features - nice compressions straps in all three of the clothing compartments plus external compression straps. Outside full width panel has organizer slots almost like a briefcase.
4. Carrying - the rubber handle on the top both looks better than in person and was comfortable in the hand. Shoulder strap is nicely padded (but not to the level of the absolute strap I have). I'm a little nervous that the weak point in the bag is the shoulder harness d clip closure which is a pretty small gauge piece of metal. It reminded me of a briefcase strap clip I had before the Tumi that failed on me. It also had backpack straps that show MEI's practice building camping bags - so beefy padding on those that when stored they actually make the bag thicker.
My first trip was just a suit and an extra set of casual clothes so it wasn't much of a weight test. The exterior compression straps let me shrink the bag to fit no problem in an ER-170 and Q-400 overhead bin on completely full flights where conventional carryons we're being gate checked left and right because of inadequate storage. Read more.
15 Years Going Strong - My Favorite Suitcase
Where ever you find me when I travel, you find my favorite ultimate suitcase, the MEI Convertible. It has become my trusty travel companion and I highly recommend it. I have had this bag for over 15 years, with nary a tear or scuff.
Why do I like this bag so much?It converts to a comfortable backpack with a waist-belt and shoulder pads. I have walked miles with this pack. You can stow the straps away and use the side shoulder strap or handle to change the bag to a standard suitcase.It is small and malleable – fitting under your seat on nearly any plane or on overhead rack on a bus. It fits smaller adults, such as me, quite well. I recommend it for adventure cruises where space is minimal such as on our Turquoise Coast Odyssey.The MEI convertible bag is high-quality, USA-made by a small company in California, Genuine Gear. It seems to be impervious to damage even after months and months of non-stop use in the most remote and dirty destinations!It is easy to organize without too many pockets. I put books in one front pocket and valuable items in the other than secure the pocket with a small combination lock. The smaller pockets are great for papers, cords and small items you would like easy access to. Read more.
MEI Executive Overniter - Reader Review
Well-designed 3- zip carry-on, similar to the Tough Traveller Tri Zip. Comfortable, well thought out shoulder straps. Hold-downs in main compartment. Outside snug straps to lessen bulge. High quality materials, handmade in the USA. Excellent packability. Read more.