As someone who’s been a digital nomad off and on for about two years, I’ve tried it all — from giant backpacks to sleek suitcases, even a stint with a convertible backpack-to-suitcase. Some might call me a carry-on connoisseur. A luggage enthusiast. A suitcase aficionado. Needless to say, I know luggage.
Along this journey, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m by no means a minimalist. While I can comfortably live out of a suitcase and a backpack, I love my things! When it comes to luggage, I need space, I need durability, and I need it to all be wrapped up in a cute little package. I also need them to be easy enough to transport on planes, trains, and automobiles — as well as the occasional bus.
So I was stoked to try out Paravel’s Aviator100 Collection. Not only does the brand promise quality, they are committed to sustainability. Paravel believes in the transformative power of travel, and creates luggage and accessories that are “impeccably designed, multi-functional, and sustainable.” Since we know tourism contributes significantly to the climate crisis, I love to do what I can to help offset my impact. And the Aviator100 collection is the brand’s most sustainable yet, using 100% recycled materials.
I was lucky enough to be sent the Aviator100 Packing Cube Set Plus as well as their Weekender bag before a recent trip from the Pacific Northwest to New York City. Here’s my professional opinion.
Paravel’s Commitment to Sustainability
Paravel’s commitment to sustainability clearly shines through in the experience of their products. The company uses innovative recycled and post-consumer materials in everything they make. The Aviator100 suitcases are made from 100% recycled polycarbonate sourced from water cooler jugs which is what gives the bags their unique, natural shade of blue. Even their zippers and handles are made from recycled plastic bottles. There are recycled vegan leather details and negative nylon lining made from 15 recycled plastic bottles — love!
Plus the company has been certified climate-neutral since 2020, offsetting all emissions from sourcing, assembly, shipping, and delivery. They even include the estimated carbon emissions of your first plane trip with your bag in an effort to raise consumer awareness. I was a convert after hearing these commitments, and I couldn’t wait to take a look at the luggage.
The way packages are shipped offers a first glimpse at the ethos of a company. On this front, Paravel impressed. While my travel accessories were sent in separate packages, the Aviator100 Set Plus — including the Grand and the Carry-On Plus bags and two complimentary luggage tags — came stowed with one inside of the other to avoid separate shipping. There was also very little plastic or excess packing materials. All much appreciated.
Of course, the next thing I noticed was the color. Wow! Paravel’s Aviator100’s “glacial Blue” is unlike any luggage I’ve ever encountered. It’s punchy yet chic. It doesn’t matter how frumpy my travel outfit is when my suitcase and bags are sleek, I still feel put together. That’s exactly how these bags make me feel!
The Grand, the larger of the two suitcases (18.25″ x 28″ x 11″), needs to be checked. It is the perfect size for a long trip with its 77L volume. The smaller version, the Carry-On Plus (14.7″ x 22.7″ x 9.6″) holds 46.6L and meets TSA carry-on requirements in the U.S. International travelers should note that might be a little too big for some European airlines, though. Paravel has a handy guide on their site with more information about where this luggage will fit so you won’t be unpleasantly surprised.
To complete my set, I was also sent the Packing Cube Quad ($65) and Weekender (15″ x 15″ x 8″, $295), both in the same Glacial Blue. Made from durable, spill-proof EcoCraft Canvas®, the bag is super stylish and comes with a removable strap so you can use it as a cross-body or slip it over the handles of your suitcase.
I was gifted these items but I want to mention that Paravel’s prices are comparable to other mid-range hardshell suitcases. They’re not the most affordable option, but I’m usually happy to pay a premium for thoughtfulness and intention.
Taking Paravel for a Spin
Time to put these bags to the test! For my flight to New York, I grabbed the Grand, the Weekender, and the Packing Cube Quad .
I’m generally not a packing cube person except for smaller items like socks and underwear, but Paravel’s packing cubes held a lot and helped me stay organized, especially when packing the Grand. I was able to pack more than enough for a week with plenty of room to spare. That’s pretty impressive considering I packed an extra coat and a pair of heeled boots!
On that note, I try to avoid checking bags as much as possible, but for this trip, I gave it a whirl. My Grand popped out of baggage claim with no scuffs or marks. Phew. And I had no problem bringing the Grand and the Weekender up and down the stairs of the subway station and rolling through the streets of New York. (That being said, I am somewhat tall and comfortable carrying heavy objects, so that may not be accessible for everyone.)
As for the Weekender, I love all the pockets. It was surprisingly spacious! I was able to fit my laptop, water bottle, snacks, some warm layers, and my medium-sized purse with a little bit of wiggle room. Handy. It also slid easily below the seat in front of me on the plane, with no fear of things spilling out due to the full zipper.
I still wanted to see how much the Carry-On Plus could hold so I did a packing trial run. I was able to pack two pairs of jeans, plenty of tops, an extra pair of shoes, plus a mini bag of toiletries — plus I could squeeze in more if I needed to! It’s more than enough space for a weekend getaway, or a longer trip somewhere with warm weather. I have a bigger carry-on from another well-known luggage brand and this Paravel Carry-On Plus holds just as much. I will definitely be taking it on future trips.
My Future Travel Plans (with Paravel)
These bags could not have come at a better time for me. I’m skipping the Pacific Northwest winter by heading to a nice warm beach for a few months. Since I won’t be traveling around as much as I typically would, I wanted a nice big suitcase, like the Grand, so I can bring all my “amenities” — I’m looking at you, skincare, supplements, and my massive bikini collection.
When it comes to my personal item for airline travel, for ergonomic reasons I’ll probably be a backpack girly for life. That being said, the Weekender is perfect for a road trip or even as a cute work bag for popping over to coffee shops.
Overall, I’m super impressed with this line of luggage. I genuinely feel like these pieces will last for years, they’re easy on the eyes, and I feel at peace knowing the efforts that Paravel makes to take care of the planet so that we can continue to travel and enjoy it!
Natasha Weiss is a Pacific Northwest-based health and wellness copywriter and full-spectrum doula. When she’s not typing away, she loves immersing herself in bodies of water, wandering through ancient forests, and anything and everything to do with food. You can learn more about her work on natashaweiss.com or connect on Instagram.