Travel Gear: Carry-On Breaks Apart

Name: The Truco Carry On

What it is: The Truco (Travel Utility Carry On), manufactured by Miami-based Balanzza, is a modular carry-on bag that can be broken down into three units — a main piece for clothing, a second that functions as a briefcase or laptop case, and a third designed to carry electronics, valuables or documents. The sections snap together to work as a typical roller bag.

The good: It's a great idea. Your things are compartmentalized so you know where everything is. Need your laptop? Unsnap the unit and it's at your fingertips. The Truco also has two zippered exterior pockets for boarding passes or other documents. It seems solidly built, with sturdy zippers, and has an attractive exterior. Theoretically, at least, you could carry a personal item and this bag, which is really three bags snapped together as one. That gives you four carry-on items, twice what is allowed. Congratulations. You have beaten The System.

The bad: The main compartment seems a little small, with just enough room for a short trip. Pack judiciously, and you shouldn't have a problem (the other two pieces can pick up any slack an d hold socks, underwear or other smaller articles of clothing). There has been some criticism of the overall size; its 10-inch depth is an inch more than some airlines allow. One grumpy gate supervisor could cause trouble; a traveler might have to break the unit down and reconfigure the baggage (however, I went through two airports, flying an airline with a 9-inch requirement, and no objections were raised). I also thought the handles could be bigger for a more comfortable grip. Cost: $199 Available from: