For most of our married life we had to replace our luggage every few years – either because of wear and tear on the fabric, or broken handles / ripped zippers thanks to baggage handling technology.Even a set of hard sided luggage succumbed to the inevitable bumps and bruises of travel.

All that changed around 2004 when we purchased the tanks – a four piece set of nested luggage made by Roots. Here you see the 27 inch Pullman case with a 25 inch bag inside and inside that a 21 inch carry-on. These bags have been industrial strength. No gorilla-like baggage guy or grind it out carousel has made a dent in their tough nylon and heavy rubber piping. They are great value for money unless you want to use them for serious travel. There is also a tiny tote which Maria wants to keep for overnight car trips and that is fine.

It’s that very heavy indestructibility that has led to their undoing. We long ago ceased using the largest case because even before you actually pack it, it has the needle quivering on the scale at Air Canada. It’s a classic heavyweight bag and nobody in the airport wants to see it, let alone handle it. The 25 incher is barely usable. On our last trip we took the 21 incher as a carry-on and wherever we went the folks at the airline desk wanted us to check it anyway.

There is an additional problem with the wheels on the cases which are purely one directional (don’t spin or handle in a lineup very easily.) Not the best for checking in or wheeling through an airport.

We have a couple of lighter weight 25 inchers we used recently but at Christmas Dave and Sarah solved our problem with a new matched set of lightweight strong Swiss Army luggage. This will give us a larger bag for a change and with the carry-on we should be able to pack for a 2 week cruise and stay well within weight and number guidelines as far as our luggage is concerned.

And the tanks – too heavy for travel but too good to throw away, they are going to a friend of Sarah’s for basement storage of old clothes. They’ll be bullet proof and should last until the 22nd Century if past performance is any clue to future results.