Samsara luggage is betting that the current crop of smart suitcase buyers are more interested in design upgrades than additional (and sometimes unneeded) integrated tech features. Its premiere design is currently 5x overfunded on Kickstarter, and is primarily hype-worthy not for its tech, but for its design and what it’s made of: aluminum alloy.
Aluminum suitcases, while more expensive than hard-top alternatives in other materials, boast a number of advantages, but at the top is durability. Samsara’s not only the first to create a smart aluminum alloy suitcase, but with a price tag of $690, it’s cheaper than most selections from other brands. (For comparison, Rimowa’s similarly sized aluminum Topas is selling for $746.25 with no integrated tech.)
The tech offered in Samsara’s suitcase has some similarity to what’s offered from other companies like Raden and Samsonite, most notably with charging capability: there’s a removable power bank with a USB-C connection, which Samsara says can power a mobile device up to 10 times.
The case also comes with an app, which, among other things, will notify you if the case was opened out of your sight, and monitor the battery percentage. It’s unclear if there’s the ability to track the location of the case, too, which seems like a necessity — imagine being notified your suitcase was opened but not having the ability to find out where it is.
Tech aside, the design is where Samsara really shines. Two rubber stripes along the case’s sides are meant as a buffer against scratches, and its flat top means it can be used as a portable working surface. It also comes with six wheels that are integrated into the case instead of tacked on underneath, allowing the body to be extended by nearly two inches for extra pack space. Lastly, it has an LED light inside that will automatically turn on if the case is opened in dark conditions.
Samsara expects to ship its suitcases in November of this year, but while its team has extensive design experience (one of the company’s co-founders is also the founder of online gallery and retailer Design Boxes), it doesn’t appear to have ever mass manufactured a product.
Kickstarter skepticism aside, the app is nifty, but it’s the ergonomics of Samsara’s suitcase that really appeal. Because a simple thing like a hard, flat top is entirely more useful for travel than gimmicks like the ridiculous-looking motorized Modobag.