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Is Monos worth it? I travelled with $1,132 worth of Monos luggage — here's my honest review

This Mother’s Day, save up to 15 per cent on luggage and 10 per cent on bags and accessories at Monos.

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I tried hundreds of dollars worth of Monos luggage — here's my honest review (Photos via Monos).

The more time I spend on airplanes, the more I am convinced that it's worth it to invest in high-quality luggage. I have travelled to 32 countries, and with my family on the other side of Canada, I fly domestically every few months. Therefore, even if only self-proclaimed, I consider myself something of a packing expert.

Much like my opinions on high-end bed sheets, I used to think expensive luggage was a waste of money. Why would you spend hundreds of dollars on an item you may only use a couple of times a year? However, just because I wasn't investing in good luggage doesn't mean I was saving money, either. Over the past decade, I have dropped hundreds on cheap department store suitcases, just for them to crack, break or tear after a handful of uses — buy cheap, buy twice.

In my quest to upgrade my luggage, I tried three best-selling travel essentials from Monos (a Canadian brand, by the way): the Hybrid Check-In Large, the Metro Weekender and the Metro Backpack — spoiler: the backpack is a long-time favourite.

After several weekend getaways, a two-week international trip, and countless hours spent on planes, trains and automobiles, read on to learn the pros and cons of the Monos suitcase, weekender bag and backpack, and, importantly, see if they're worth the price.

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Is Monos luggage worth the splurge? Here's my honest review (photos via author)

Shop the Hybrid Check-In Large in three colours: silver (pictured), obsidian (black) and champagne.

  • Durable polycarbonate shell
  • Comes with two TSA-approved locks
  • Incredibly sleek
  • Does not expand for overpackers
  • Easily scuffs
  • It's heavy — 13 lbs
$525 at Monos

I have had my eye on the Hybrid Check-In Large since Monos released its Hybrid collection a few years back. The suitcase is designed using resilient aluminum and aerospace-grade, water-resistant polycarbonate to withstand the wear and tear of frequent airport travel.

A check-in version of the Hybrid Carry-On — which is currently 15 per cent off for Mother's Day — the "large" bag is ideal for one-to-three-week trips, offering 97 litres of packing space. Inside the bag, you'll find two large packing compartments plus three zippered pockets for your shoes, socks, undies and more. The suitcase has two TSA-approved locks and its anti-microbial lining is made from 100 per cent recycled polyester.

It's stylish: In my opinion, this suitcase is the epitome of stylish airport travel. It has a refined metallic finish and anodized aluminum corner guards, so when you roll it into the airport, you feel like a first-class traveller, even if you're destined for the back of the plane.

It's roomy: Beyond aesthetics, it's a large suitcase — there's ample room for everything you need, including a full ski suit and boots, as per my last trip.

It's durable: Thus far, it's proven to be an extremely durable bag, although only time (and rough handling) will tell its lasting durability.

It's not for over-packers: Prior to the Monos suitcase, I had never had a bag without exterior zippers (the two TSA-approved locks keep the Hybrid closed). Having now tried both, I prefer a zippered suitcase with the expansion option. I realize the lack of a zipper makes the bag durable; however, as an over-packer, you don't have a ton of wiggle room to fit in a heavy-handed shopping trip.

It's heavy: At 13 pounds, it's a heavy suitcase. The hard polycarbonate shell makes it durable, but as the bag eats up over one-fifth of your airport weight limit, it's something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase.

Shop the Metro Backpack in 10 colours, including nylon and vegan leather options.

  • Has a built-in trolley sleeve
  • Separate laptop compartment
  • Detachable front kit
  • It's heavy
  • It's expensive
$252 at Monos

The Monos Metro Backpack is water and scratch-resistant and made from vegan materials. It has a dedicated 15-inch laptop compartment and a hidden back pocket with a quick-access magnetic closure, perfect for your passport, wallet and more. The bag has a removable Metro Classic Kit and a trolley sleeve to secure it to a suitcase handle while travelling.

The backpack comes in 10 colours, with nylon and vegan leather options. A fan-favourite in the Yahoo Canada office, three of us own the Metro backpack, with the vegan leather version having the slight upper hand.

It's durable: The backpack has been my carry-on bag, grocery store companion, and daily accessory when I trek to my office — all without any indication of wear and tear.

It's versatile: Whether you're en route to the airport or the office, the Metro Backpack is a "checks all the boxes" kind of backpack. It has a dedicated laptop compartment and plenty of spots to house your personal belongings, gym shoes, lunch bag and more.

It's cute: I have the (currently sold-out) lilac version of the bag, and a week rarely goes by without it earning a compliment from a passerby. The vegan leather looks and feels high-quality, so you feel like you are wearing a backpack made for adults instead of stealing one from your kid.

It's expensive: After more than a year of almost daily use, I've only noticed two downsides for the backpack. The first is its obviously high price tag. The vegan leather version of the bag rings in at $280 ($252 on sale), while the nylon is slightly less expensive at $240

It's heavy: At three pounds, the backpack is on the heavier side. I own the vegan leather version, so I can't speak to the nylon, but it's not the lightest bag in the world.

Shop the Metro Weekender in seven colours and both nylon and vegan leather options.

  • It's durable
  • There are a ton of pockets
  • It's carry-on size
  • It's heavy
  • It's clunky for long-haul trips
$355 at Monos

The Metro Weekender is a sleek option for organized weekends away, thanks to its myriad of pockets and separate storage area for shoes. It's made from water-resistant vegan leather (there's also a nylon version) and comes in seven colours.

If you're heading to the airport, the bag has a built-in trolley sleeve and a laptop-specific sleeve for a 16-inch computer. With 47.5 litres of storage space, the duffel has a handful of pockets to store your essentials and its vegan leather version rings in at 5.34 pounds (the nylon bag is slightly lighter at 5.18 pounds).

It has a ton of pockets: If staying organized is your thing, you'll appreciate all of the pockets on the Metro Weekender. In addition to a 16-inch laptop compartment, the bag has a handful of interior and exterior pockets, including a separate lower compartment to house your shoes or dirty gym clothes.

It's carry-on size: At first glance, I (and those working at the Air Canada security gate) did not know if the Metro Weekender would fit as a carry-on bag — spoiler, it does. Some Monos reviewers even use the Weekender as their personal item in addition to a standard carry-on suitcase. Who needs checked luggage anyway?

It's heavy: Technically, the vegan leather Weekender weighs 5.34 pounds. However, when you're carrying it in an airport and it's full of your in-flight essentials — water bottles, laptops, books and whatever else — it's incredibly heavy. Unlike a backpack where you have extra support, carrying the Weekender on its own is not fun when it's filled to the brim.

Only one handle is comfortable: To piggyback off my last point, only the long strap is comfortable when the bag is heavy. If you want to use the shorter handheld strap, especially over your shoulder, it's pretty uncomfortable, especially as the bag itself is rather large.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.