Nothing makes life easier when traveling with clothes, a laptop and accessories than a rolling case. The Slappa "BottomLess Pit" Aura Trolley promises to give you enough room to carry (or pull) an 18-inch notebook, three days of clothes and every accessory you might need on your next vacation. Take a look and see what we think of this rolling notebook case.
Features and Specifications:
Build and Design
At first glance the Slappa "BottomLess Pit" Aura Trolley looks like a simple piece of rolling luggage with little in the way of design elements that make it stand apart from other bags in an airport. That description doesn't do justice to the fact that Slappa designers spent roughly two years designing and field testing this rolling case so that it not only stores your travel clothes and toiletries, but also has enough room for every mobile electronic device you might need.
This rolling notebook case and travel trolley glides on two in-line skate wheels and includes a two-tier telescoping locking handle so you can easily pull the case behind you while you travel. The main selling feature of this trolley (other than the fact that is a rolling case) is the fact that it offers "7 gallons of storage space" inside its main compartment.
The 7-gallon main section can either be opened while the bag is in the "standing" position or you can fully open the compartment for packing larger items. The laptop compartment/pocket is located opposite of the main storage space and Slappa claims it will fit up to an 18-inch laptop. I'd say you can fit a 17-inch MacBook Pro in this space, but larger 18-inch gaming notebooks like the Toshiba Qosmio X505 will have to be stored in the main compartment rather than the laptop pocket.
Our only complaint in terms of the laptop storage space is that the laptop pocket doesn't have as much padding as we typically like to see. You won't run into any problems if you have clothes packed in the main storage area next to your laptop, but if you have a bunch of hard items in the main compartment, then your laptop might be at risk.
The front "quick-access" section has eight separate pockets (four mesh and four nylon) for laptop accessories, hard drives, passports, power and USB cords, cameras, or just your airline ticket. Like the main storage compartment, the quick access section is covered in the Slappa "DAMASK" nylon lining that gives the interior of the bag a bit more class.
Three zippered outer pockets (one on the top and one on each side) make it easy to quickly grab a pen, a passport, keys or a snack. All of the outer pockets and main storage areas feature molded alloy zipper pullers.
While testing the BottomLess Pit Aura Trolley, it became obvious that Slappa understands that modern travelers frequently need to access a variety of small electronic devices, and the BottomLess Pit gives you plenty of space to store them and makes it easy to stay organized. All this storage space is both a blessing and a curse.
Although the BottomLess Pit Aura Trolley was designed to function as carry-on luggage, Slappa is quick to point out that due to the varying carry-on standards of each airline, you need to check with your airline to confirm their carry-on requirements. I brought the BottomLess Pit with me on two trips (four flights) flying on Delta airlines. On two of the flights, my aircraft was large enough that the BottomLess Pit fit inside the standard overhead compartments. On the other two flights I was stuck on a smaller regional jet with much smaller overhead compartments and I was forced to check the BottomLess Pit at the gate.
Other than the fact that the BottomLess Pit doesn't "always" fit in the overhead compartment (a problem that every luggage manufacturer faces due to variable compartment sizes on airlines), I only encountered two problems while using this rolling case.
First, the telescoping handle is supposed to be a "locking handle" so that the trolley is easy to pull and push through crowds while traveling. Unfortunately, the locking mechanism on our review sample wouldn't stay in the extended and locked position when more than a few pounds of pressure was applied. This means that if you try to push the trolley instead of pulling it the handle will collapse. Likewise, if you take off your coat in the airport and rest it on the handle, then the handle will collapse under the weight of your coat.
If the locking pin was just a little longer, then I suspect the trolley handle would stay in the extended position until you pressed the release button.
The second minor issue I encountered is the lack of a Velcro strap on one of the two carrying handles on the top of the BottomLess Pit. It's no surprise this case gets pretty heavy when you pack it completely full. When I needed to grab the carry straps to lift the bag into the overhead compartment, one of the straps usually fell in the opposite direction, meaning I had to lift the entire bag with a single strap. If there was a piece of Velcro to hold the straps together it would be easier to lift the bag when I'm on a flight.
Despite a couple of pretty minor inconveniences, the Slappa BottomLess Pit Aura Trolley turned out to be a very well built and well thought out travel case. It's a little big and heavy for someone who just needs a rolling laptop case, but if you want a piece of rolling luggage that is also designed to hold your notebook and a bunch of accessories, then this bag makes perfect sense.
In the end, we recommend this case for anyone looking for a rolling case for several days of travel with all your favorite electronic gizmos.
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