Review: You can ride on the Jurni carry-on case, but don't ride it too hard
Towards the end of last year, Trunki – best known for its ride-on suitcases for kids – unveiled a carry-on bag for grown-ups. The Jurni is aimed at making travel more bearable by allowing users to sit on it to rest, ride on it when queueing, and pull it along like a conventional wheeled case. Intrigued by the concept, we put one through its paces.
The first thing to say is that the case we received is what Trunki calls a "golden sample." It is virtually the final design, but is still open to the minor tweaks should any issues be flagged up.
Looks-wise, the Jurni is handsome enough without being anything to write home about. It has a simple black body with textured surfaces that add a little interest for the eye and cheerful highlighting available in a range of colors. Ours was blue.
It has to be said that the case itself, made out of polypropylene, does feel a little cheap. It is aimed at young travellers, though, so affordability has no doubt taken precedence over quality in some places, which is understandable. Fundamentally, though, the Jurni provides a tough shell to protect its contents and Trunki's two-year warranty for the case should go some way to setting users' minds to rest where lifespan is concerned.
A mix of plastic buttons and sliders are used to provide access to different parts of the case. The two sliders used to open the main compartment are a little stiff, but there are finger rests that make them easy enough to squeeze open with a thumb. It's likely that the sliders will loosen up with a bit of use and the compartment door pops open with a satisfying spring.
One of the best features of the Jurni is its tough pop-out compartment at the top of the case. It allows users to keep hold of the belongings they might need, such as a book, headphones and so on, while storing the rest of the bag in the overhead locker of a plane or bus, for example. It also provides quick access to items when secured in the case.
As with the sliders for opening the main compartment, the button to open the pop-out compartment is a little stubborn and it's also difficult to tell whether the compartment lid has actually opened at times, as it doesn't spring open in the way that the main compartment door does. The buttons to release the compartment from the case require a bit of force too.
When the pop-out compartment is secured into the case, its lid hits the rear of the section into which it slots when it is opened. This means it won't stay open without being held or, if pushed too far, will force the compartment to pop out. While this is by no means a major problem, it surely could have been avoided with a tweak to the design. In addition, the compartment can't be locked into place and isn't lockable itself, which is a bit of a shame, but, all that aside, it is undoubtedly useful.
When the pop-out compartment is secured into the top of the case, it doubles as a seat for the user. There's a curve to accommodate the user's backside, and the case felt sturdy to sit on even under this reviewer's not inconsiderable weight. Indeed, Trunki says the case can support up to 220 lb (100 kg).
The telescopic handle for towing the Jurni is probably the feature that most lets the case down and feels most likely to fail. When extended, there is a lot of lateral movement in the handle and it doesn't feel as strong as you would hope. It also doesn't stay up of its own accord as there are no built-in stoppers to keep it extended. This means that the case can only be towed along and not pushed, as the handle will simply collapse. While it's unlikely anyone would want to push the case around for an extended period, its does make maneuvering the case a little trickier.
In contrast, the wheels of the case feel very sturdy and durable. There are two side-mounted wheels for use when towing the case and two in-line wheels for either sliding the case sideways or propelling the case forward when you are sat straddling it. The wheels feel weighty themselves and are mounted on thick axles, with very little lateral movement.
Pulling the case along is, of course, easy enough, but it's also easy to propel yourself forward while sitting on it. This is one of its main selling points and really does make it an ideal travelling companion for times when you're stuck in airport queues. It should be said that there's not a lot of clearance for the wheels, so any undulations in the ground have a tendency to catch the bottom of the case. The bottom of our sample case was pretty well scuffed after one stroll with it.
The main compartment of the Jurni has a capacity of 23 l (5.1 gal). With some tight packing, we were able to fit in two pairs of shoes, two sweaters, three t-shirts, three pairs of socks and three pairs of underwear. There are some handy straps on the inside of the compartment door for storing magazines, and these could also be used for holding a tablet or a small laptop.
One thing to note is that the compartment door wouldn't stay flush, or even shut at times, if luggage was at all squeezed in. When bags or cases have a zipper, it is, of course, possible to force them shut when packing is a bit tight. Here, that is best avoided. The Jurni has slots to lock the main compartment with a padlock, and will be offered with a padlock as an additional accessory. This would keep the compartment door shut, albeit not by virtue of the plastic catches and not with the edges flush. Prudent packing, though, keeps this from being an issue.
Our biggest concerns with the Jurni are that the plastic buttons and sliders feel like they might fail with repeated use, and they won't keep the main compartment door shut of the pop-out compartment in place if a little force is applied. In addition, the telescopic handle is a bit flimsy.
Ultimately, though, the Jurni does what it is designed to do without breaking the bank. While it's perhaps not as refined in places as it might be, this is arguably a reasonable compromise based on the current US$129 Indiegogo pledge price and the two-year warranty.
The video below shows the Trunki team unboxing one of the sample Jurni cases.
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