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We’re all about that Béis
Béis is a luggage brand for the travel obsessed. Sleekly designed without too many frills, chock-full of smart features without getting too technical — Béis’s suitcases, totes, and duffles have been meticulously created by actor Shay Mitchell with one goal in mind: “to make leaving the house an easier experience, no matter how far,” Mitchell tells PEOPLE.
Since its start nearly five years ago, Béis has steadily made a name for itself as a stylish luggage brand with a penchant for good pockets. Mitchell’s line of functional bags is a surprising departure from the ventures started by her celebrity peers — makeup, skincare, or clothing lines are more popular pursuits among A-listers — but the You and Pretty Little Liars actor tells PEOPLE exclusively, “I have always had such a passion for bags.”
It began with her obsession with Kaboodles, the colorful plastic organizers popular among teens in the ‘90s and early aughts. The Canadian actor fondly remembers childhood trips to Target, ignoring rows of lipgloss and body mists to make a beeline toward the toiletry bags. “It would be crazy for me to have gone into any other space other than this when this is really where my heart is,” says Mitchell. “I've always loved acting, I want to continue to act, of course. But I think even if I hadn't started acting, I would have ended up here.”
We at PEOPLE know something about good luggage (we’ve tested hundreds of suitcases, duffles, and bags in our labs), so we had to test out some Béis bags for ourselves — which we did in-depth. And after trying out all of the bags’ features (including giving the hard-shell bags a few smacks with a baseball bat), we discovered that these bags go above and beyond their comparably moderate price range. Mitchell’s thoughtful eye for design can be seen in every detail, from built-in luggage weight scales to comfortable padded handles.
Keep reading to discover the inside scoop on Béis’s best bags and luggage.
Béis The Weekender Travel Bag
If Shay Mitchell could have just one Béis bag, it would be The Weekender, she says. “I feel like that was my first creation,” Mitchell tells PEOPLE. “It’s the bag that you could fit everything in.”
The crossbody tote has top handles and a padded, removable shoulder strap to make the bag more comfortable to carry through the airport and beyond. Our favorite thing about the shoulder bag is just how much we were able to fit in it during testing. Much to our amazement, we managed to fit everything that we’d usually pack into a roller suitcase into this smaller, soft bag. The main compartment is structured and spacious, with a padded laptop pocket and multiple smaller slots for sorting your belongings. Zippered pockets on the exterior of the bag can hold your phone, passport, wallet, and anything else you need handy.
Another clever feature of Beis’s foundational bag is a zippered pocket that doubles as a suitcase handle passthrough, so the bag can sit on top of your roller luggage and free up your hands. We’re also big fans of the zippered bottom compartment, which we use to keep our toiletries and shoes separate from the rest of our belongings. With so many clever features and high-end finishes, we’d expect this bag to cost much more than it does.
The Weekender survived all of our crash and drop tests during testing, and our belongings inside stayed miraculously folded (perhaps due to the structural metal frame in the bag’s lining). We did notice a few scruff marks on the bottom feet after we pushed the bag off of a counter three times, but overall that didn’t detract from the bag’s luxurious feel. After all of our testing, we can conclude that The Weekender undoubtedly lives up to the hype.
Price at time of publish: $108
Type: Weekend cross-body | Dimensions: 19 x 9.8 x 15.7 inches | Weight: 3.86 pounds | Materials: Poly canvas, vegan leather trim
Beis The Convertible Weekender
We adored the Convertible Weekender as much (if not more) than the original Weekender bag. Like its namesake, the Convertible bag has an easy-access opening with a wire frame zip that helps you locate your items faster than you would with a standard tote bag. It also has a zippered trolley pass-through which can slide over the handle of your rollaboard luggage and allows you to carry the bag hands-free.
We found that the bag easily fit our two-day packing list, with a removable laptop sleeve and roomy main compartment. The biggest difference between this bag and the original Weekender is the removable bottom compartment, which can be zipped off to become an entirely separate packing cube, which we found to be the perfect size for a pair of shoes and some dirty clothes that we didn’t want touching the rest of our belongings. We were able to fit the bag into the overhead bin, even when it was fully stuffed.
After our durability testing, the only changes we could find in the bag were some small scuffs on the feet, which didn’t bother us at all. The bag can be carried so many different ways, but it also might feel a bit large to lug around the airport when it’s fully packed. And, though this bag is a few bucks more than its predecessor, we think it’s worth it for the removable bottom compartment and removable padded laptop sleeve. It also has the best organization of any weekender bag we’ve tried.
Price at time of publish: $128
Type: Weekend cross-body | Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 16 inches | Weight: 3.86 pounds | Materials: Poly canvas, vegan leather trim
Béis The Convertible Mini Weekender
Though this bag is marketed as a “mini,” we found that it’s actually spacious enough for a one to three day trip. The bag opens the same way the standard-sized Weekenders do, with a metal frame that butterflies open to give you access to more of your things at once. The interior has a few slip pockets, a zip pocket, and a removable padded laptop sleeve. We could easily fit two pairs of shoes in the bottom compartment, which also zips off to become a fully separate packing cube.
The only issue we had in testing this bag was with the zippers, which split after we threw the bag off a table, though we were able to reattach them and the bag was as good as new. This not-so-mini bag would make a great personal item when traveling, and we think it’s also a great size for a spacious work bag.
Price at time of publish: $118
Type: Weekend cross-body | Dimensions: 16 x 15.7 x 16 inches | Weight: 3.4 pounds | Materials: Poly canvas, vegan leather trim
Béis The Expandable Backpack
A comfortable, sleek backpack is a traveling game-changer: It’s more comfortable to carry than traditional totes and distributes the weight across your entire back rather than just one shoulder. The Beis Expandable Backpack looks like a luxury backpack that would cost double its price, and it performed exceptionally well in all of our testing. We were able to fit our entire packing list in this bag, including a pair of shoes and a bulky coat, as well as clothing and toiletries.
The inside of the bag is organized into several interior pockets, including a laptop sleeve, two large slip pockets, and two zipper pockets. The backpack has even more pockets on the exterior, as well as a luggage trolley pass-through. It also comes with a nifty water bottle holder that can be used on the outside or the inside of the bag. The bag felt super lightweight during our testing, even when we packed it full, and we loved how comfortable the padded shoulder straps felt. If we could change one thing about the Expandable Backpack, we would want it to unzip all the way around for easy access on longer trips. But that’s really getting nitpicky — because we were so impressed with this bag in every other way. And, for those already on the hunt for back-to-school finds, this bag would be a great backpack for high school and college students.
Price at time of publish: $98
Type: Backpack | Dimensions: 13 x 15 x 5 (7 when expanded) inches | Weight: 1.67 pounds | Materials: Poly canvas, recycled faux leather, nylon zipper
Béis The Sport Duffle
Don’t let the name fool you — the Sport Duffle was made for more than just towing to the gym (but you can definitely use it for that). The compact duffle looks sleek and sophisticated and comfortably fits enough things for a weekend away. We love the padded crossbody handle, which makes the bag more comfortable to carry even when we’ve packed the bag as full as it can be. The interior of the bag is segmented with handy mesh slots and smaller pockets that helped us keep the bag organized through our test travels.
What made this duffle stand out from all of the countless other duffle bags we’ve tested in our labs is the stow-away padded backpack straps, which unzip from a hidden compartment on the bottom of the bag and clip into hidden buckles to completely transform how you carry the bag.
Overall, we were hard-pressed to find anything that we didn’t love about the Sport Duffle. If we had to find a flaw, we’d say that you may risk getting your back a little dirty while wearing the bag as a backpack since the part that goes against your spine is also the bottom of the duffle. We’ll be reaching for this bag whenever we’re headed for a long weekend trip, a quick overnight, or a cute gym sesh.
Price at time of publish: $88
Type: Duffle | Dimensions: 10 x 17 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Materials: Wrinkle nylon, recycled poly
Béis The Carry-on Roller
Organizing a carry-on suitcase before a trip can be a stressful game of Tetris with no winners, but the Carry-On Roller from Béis made the packing process much simpler than we excepted. Just unzip the clamshell-style rollaboard to reveal a litany of pockets and dividers that’ll delight even the most type-A packer. And, if you’re anything like us — dreaming of a more organized trip — this bag is the perfect way to get started on your journey (literally).
Inside the hard shell bag, you’ll find: a detachable compression flap with two zip and mesh pockets, compression straps, a small zip pouch, and separate pouches for dirt clothes, shoes, and underwear. The bag is loaded with surprising features, like a built-in scale on the side handle that turns red if the bag weighs over 50 pounds and 360-degree spinning wheels that glided through our every test with ease.
Mitchell really thought of everything with this bag, down to the telescoping handle with light cushioning to make your journey through the airport that much more comfortable. We ran into some trouble during our durability testing and noticed that the exterior scuffed up a fair amount after dropping off a table. After slamming the suitcase with a baseball bat, the telescoping handle was dented, and we had a hard time extending it again. But, if you’re not planning on taking a bat to your suitcase (and we sincerely hope you’re not), then this bag is absolutely worth its price.
Price at time of publish: $218
Type: Rollaboard | Dimensions: 15.7 x 22.8 x 9.8 inches | Weight: 8.3 pounds | Materials: Polycarbonate, polyester, vegan leather, nylon zipper
Béis The 26 Inch Check-In Roller
The 26-inch Check-In Roller bag is the Goldilocks of checked luggage: not too big, not too small. The mid-sized rollaboard is, in every way, just right. The interior of the bag feels spacious, full of Beis’s signature slew of pockets and organizational features. It also comes in a larger size, which fared just as well in all of our testing, but we think the 26-inch version could hold two weeks of clothing if packed smartly.
During our roll test, we thought the hard-shell bag was a great size and weight that allowed us to maneuver it easily without worry. The zippers ran smoothly, and the cushioned handle was soft and comfortable in our hands. It rolled easily over the tile and thick carpet — in fact, we found this suitcase easier to roll around than our similarly sized Away bag. We also found that the wheels stood up to our aggressive baseball bat test, and we couldn’t get the wheels to fly off no matter how hard we slammed the bag. A small dent appeared in the bag after our durability testing, but it was almost not noticeable.
Now, for our favorite part: the pockets. Inside the sleek case (which comes in a variety of adorable colors, might we add) is a u-zip flat, zip pocket, PVC pocket, detachable compression flap, mesh compression straps, and a small zip pouch. The bag also comes with separate pouches for dirty clothes, shoes, underwear, and wet clothing. Compared to other checked roller bags on the market, this one is a great value.
Price at time of publish: $308
Type: Rollaboard | Dimensions: 17.7 x 28.3 x 11 inches | Weight: 10.2 pounds | Materials: Polycarbonate, polyester, vegan leather, nylon zipper
Béis Soft-sided Collapsible Check-in Roller
Soft-sided bags are great for molding into smaller spaces, especially stuffing into the trunk of the car or in the back of your closet. We tested Béis’s rendition of the checked soft-sided luggage and instantly fell in love with the spacious design and ample organization, including a butterfly opening for easy access and multiple pockets and dividers to keep your things sorted.
To make the soft-sided bag even easier to store, you can snap out the removable hard pads in the front and back compartments to fully collapse the bag down. The four wheels on the suitcase glide easily, and we had no trouble wheeling it over all of our test surfaces. Three handle options made this luggage easy for us to lift, and an added weight indicator on the side handle is a handy feature. If you’re looking for a checked bag that can hold two weeks of clothing but still fits in small storage spaces, then this one is a great choice.
Price at time of publish: $328
Type: Soft-sided rollaboard | Dimensions: 32 x 18.5 x 13 (6.5 when collapsed) inches | Weight: 12.5 pounds | Materials: Polyester, vegan leather, clear TPU, steel wire reinforced frame
Things to Consider Before Buying Béis Luggage
The first step in choosing your new favorite Béis bag is figuring out what you’re going to use it for. Are you looking for a bag that can hold enough clothes for a two-day trip? Then the Convertible Mini Weekender might be the best bag for you. Are you looking for a larger checked bag that can fit two weeks-worth of stuff? Then the 26 in. Check-In Roller could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Consider how you plan to store the bag before you buy it. If you’re tight on space, then it may be difficult for you to store a large hardshell bag. Softer, collapsable bags, like the Soft-Sided Collapsible Check-In Roller, are easier to store.
If you’re planning on taking your bag on vacation, then you’ll inevitably need to carry it. One of the great things about Béis luggage is that every bag has multiple ways to carry it (and thoughtfully designed handles). But, depending on which bag you choose, some are lighter and easier to carry than others. The smaller, softer bags tend to be lighter and thus easier to carry, though the larger rollaboard bags have wheels that can glide across any surface, which helps to lighten the load.
One of the things that Béis is best known for is its thoughtful organization options. Each style of bag will have slip-in and zip pockets, but some have more than others. The Carry-On Roller is full of pockets and organization slots that make it easy to keep your things sorted on the go. Having an organized suitcase takes a lot of the hassle and stress out of traveling, so make sure to think about how many pockets you’ll use and how many compartments you’ll need when choosing your bag.
Béis makes bags with organization at the forefront, so it’s not a surprise that every Béis bag that we tested has slots, pockets, and sections that will delight even the most organization-obsessed travelers. The 26 in. Check-In Roller is geniuosly laid out to help you sort your things and stay organized — plus, it comes with a set of soft zippered bags to separate your shoes and dirty clothes (but you can also use your own favorite set of packing cubes easily in the spacious luggage halves!).
How We Tested Béis Luggage
In order to find out how well Béis bags perform in the real world, we tested nine of the most popular styles in our PEOPLE Tested labs. We began by weighing the bag while it was empty in order to compare it to the listed weight on the website. We then examined the bag’s interior and exterior fabric, testing out the zippers, handles, straps, and any extra features.
After noting initial reactions and measurements, we packed each bag with a standardized packing list, depending on the bag type.
Carry-on luggage packing list:
2 long-sleeved shirts
3 pairs of pants
5 pairs of socks
5 pairs of underwear
2 pairs of shoes
2 toiletry bags
Checked luggage packing list:
5 pairs of pants
6 pairs of underwear
6 pairs of socks
3 pairs of shoes 2 toiletry bags
Weekender bags packing list:
1 long-sleeved shirt
1 pair of pants
3 pairs of socks
3 pairs of underwear
1 pair of shoes
1 toiletry bag
Once the bags were packed, we picked each bag up and carried it for five minutes, taking note of how easy or difficult each bag was to carry. We then tested the durability of each bag by pushing each bag off a table three times, then hitting them several times with a baseball bat on the sides, top, wheels, and handle. After all of our testing was complete, we sent some of the luggage home with our testers to be used in the real world on vacation. At the end of our testing, we came away with in-depth insights on the best Béis bags for every traveler.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Cai Cramer is a commerce writer at PEOPLE, covering the best and buzziest products across the beauty, fashion, health, and lifestyle spaces. For this story, Cai consulted extensive testing data from the PEOPLE Tested labs, which included durability and real-world testing on each Béis bag included in this story. Cai also spoke personally with Béis founder and CEO Shay Mitchell about how she started the brand, her favorite pieces in her luggage collection, and what sets Béis apart from other luggage brands.
What Is People Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
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Read the original article on People.