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GEAR & GADGETS

March 19, 2006|Judi Dash

Innovative manufacturers are introducing luggage and accessories aimed at reducing the hassle of traveling. Both of the following items have been tested by this writer.

-- Judi Dash

Expandable carry-on

The race is on for bags that provide the most space within an airline's rules. Eagle Creek's new Cross Roads nylon expandable wheeled bags are winners. The 22-inch wheel-aboard model weighs just 7 pounds, 9 ounces and has an impressive capacity (3,900 cubic inches when expanded). It and its 25-inch cousin convert to backpacks via built-in shoulder straps.

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Cross Roads 22-inch wheeled bag is about $200; 25-inch model, $230; (800) 874-9925, www.eaglecreek.com.

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Mobile security

Sad to say, a tight grip on your tote may not be enough to foil thieves, who these days may come armed with knives for cutting free shoulder straps or slashing a bag's bottom. Enter the ToteSafe, a roomy 17-inch nylon bag that has stainless steel-fortified shoulder straps (one of which has a clip for lashing to any secure fixture), slash-proof steel mesh-reinforced front and bottom panels, and a zipper that latches shut. With all the reinforcement and compartments, it weighs just 23 ounces.

\o7ToteSafe (LB321) is $64.85 from Magellan's; (800) 962-4943, www.magellans.com\f7.

Gear & Gadgets appears monthly.

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