For long trips, nothing beats a big ol’ basic wheely suitcase. Eagle Creek’s No Matter What Flatbed series makes the perfect gift for hardcore travelers, who, like myself, tend to use luggage long past its “best-by” date.

This two-wheeled 32″ style does everything I need and nothing I don’t, with one giant compartment, a pair of oversized zippered mesh pockets inside the full-sized, D-shaped zip lid, a pair of external compression straps, and a small top pocket for stuff I need to get to right away.

The collapsible handle’s big enough to accommodate the pass-through pocket for my big Timbuk 2 messenger bag, and the wide plastic foot opposite the wheels makes a stable base that doesn’t tip over when the No Matter What Flatbed suitcase is overloaded in this manner.

Twin, slightly oversized, loops on the main double zipper pulls ensure ease of lockability. If the idea of a single interior compartment intimidates you, check out Eagle Creek’s Pack-It sets, an assortment of expandable, zippered flat cubes that control small items and keep folded shirts looking nice. I like to use them, color-coded-style, to keep clean and dirty socks and underwear sorted, and to stow small electronics and magazines/maps. Five colors.

Also available in 20″, 22″, 28″ sizes, Eagle Creek’a No Matter What Flatbed suitcase has the standard Lifetime Warranty, plus the No Matter What Warranty. Bonus: In addition to basic black and blue, the Flatbed 32″ comes in three additional bright, easy-to-spot-on-the-carousel colors: Canary, Firebrick, and Grape.

Bottom line: Non-nonsense, clean-lined, affordable luggage with just a few key features.

Manufacturer’s site:
$220, On sale for $176, plus free shipping at Amazon. Also at buy-nowMoosejaw.