March 13th 2024

Rimowa Original Check-In M Vs Hybrid Check-In M: First Impressions & Review

Rimowa Hybrid and Original luggage side by side

Recently, I decided to take the plunge and buy my first ever Rimowa. For years, I used my trusty Samsonite soft luggage on my travels, but I decided it was time for a change.

Rimowa has long been synonymous with luxury and quality in the world of travel accessories. While their iconic aluminum suitcases steal the spotlight, the Hybrid collection brings a fresh perspective to the table.

In this review, I'll share my firsthand experience comparing the Rimowa Original Check-In M and the Hybrid Check-In M. From design and features to practicality and price, you’ll gain insight into which option might best suit your travel needs

Design and aesthetics

The Rimowa Original is undeniably iconic. Its aluminum shell, latch system, and signature grooves are so timeless. Compared to the Classic Collection, the corners of the Original are a lot rounder and softer, which I prefer. I went for the classic silver color as it felt like a nod to the brand's heritage and renowned aesthetic. I had also done my fair share of research, and many people advised not to go for the black as the black paint does scratch off, revealing the silver underneath. This makes scratches look even more prominent. You might be okay with that, and Rimowa is pro-patina, but personally, I prefer the silver finish as any scratches blend in more seamlessly.

Rimowa Classic vs Original Luggage Corner Close Up

Image source: Rimowa

Within the Original Collection, Rimowa offers 10 different sizes (6 of which would classify as Check In luggage), which is significantly more than their offerings for the Hybrid collection. I opted for the Check In M size because it seemed to be a good in-between, not too small and not too big. Rimowa advertises it as being able to fit enough for about 10 days, which is typically the amount of days I go on a holiday at a time.

Rimowa Luggage Sizes

Image source: Rimowa

On the other hand, the Rimowa Hybrid Check In M is the best of both worlds. It features a lightweight but durable polycarbonate shell, and aluminum corners as well as a latch closure, just like the Original.

Rimowa Hybrid latch close up

I picked up the white one as I prefer a glossy finish as opposed to matte. I think it would be nice if Rimowa could release more colours like in their Essential line. Currently, they have white, steel blue and matte black.

With both luggage having a hardshell, the suitcases are very rigid as you would expect, especially the Original Check In M which is made from high-end anodised aluminuim. Though the hybrid has slightly more flex. On one hand, this sturdy construction means your belongings remain well-protected and free from being squished, but I have to say, coming from only using soft suitcases on my travels, there is very little wiggle room to overpack.

Unlike soft luggage, which flexes and moulds to accommodate various items, packing the Rimowa requires careful consideration. If you’re attempting to squeeze in an extra pair of shoes, you really have to rearrange the contents of your bag. Though in a sense, it forces you to be strategic in what you pack. It makes you question, will you really be needing 4 pairs of shoes for a 7 day trip?


Flex Dividers

Both luggage have compression panels, or “Flex Dividers” as Rimowa calls it. This allows you to open your luggage and not have everything fall out. One really thoughtful feature of the straps to the Flex Dividers are that the velcro teeth are not your usual ones; it seems to be made of a silicone/rubber material which means it won’t damage your clothes. You can compress your clothes by pulling the strap tight. In terms of the grip, I would say it is not as strong as your typical velcro, but it still functions quite well.

Rimowa flex divider strap close upRimowa flex divider compression panel

Prior to owning Rimowa luggage, I’ve never had experience with compression panels, only mesh zipper compartments and y-shaped straps to hold everything in place. So that was something to get used to. If you overpack one section, sometimes the flex dividers shift and obstruct the closing, so that’s something to be careful of.

RIMOWA Multiwheel® System

In terms of the wheels, they are certainly one of the smoothest wheels I’ve ever experienced (though Tumi comes very close!). When I first unboxed the Original Check In M, I had it on my hardwood floor and the wheels were so buttery, the luggage rolled off itself. Rolling it from a smooth, hardwood floor onto thick carpet with a full suitcase, the transition is very seamless. I think it’s just something you need to go in store to try out for yourself, only then you truly understand.

Another thing that I don’t see people mention, is you can sit on the luggage! I love rolling around on my Rimowa.

Telescopic Handle

The one thing I would say I'm not the biggest fan of, is the handle top. Both the handle tops are slightly angled, rather than flat, which makes it a little uncomfortable and awkward to hold in the hands. But, I can see why Rimowa designed it the way they did. It being slightly slanted, makes it sit flushed to the back, and it makes the luggage look very seamless and pleasing to the eye. 

Rimowa handle close upRimowa handle close up

Aside from that, the handle itself is very sturdy, and you can adjust it to any height you want, rather than only having a few set “stages”, which is great.

Upon measuring, the telescopic handle can be raised to 42 cm, perfect if you are tall! If you have a handbag or backpack for example and you like to put it on top of your luggage as you walk around, you can adjust the handle accordingly, so that you can hold both the luggage handle, and your handbag at the same time.

Rimowa telescopic handle extended all the way up

Some extra little details you may or may not want to consider:

The side handles for the Orignal Check in M are on the right hand side, while the side handles on the Hybrid Check In M are on the left side. Both are flap-back handles, which I really enjoy. They feel sturdy and I can get a good, easy grip on them. For myself personally, even though I am right handed, I prefer my side handles on the left side, as when I am loading it onto the conveyor belt, it is a lot easier to tip the luggage down. I use my left hand to hold the top handle and my right hand to steady it down.

Rimowa side handles on the Original and Hybrid

TSA-Approved Locks

Both Original and Hybrid Check In M have TSA approved locks which means it can be accessed universally by airport security if needed, without damaging your bag.

It took some time for me to get used to the latch locking mechanism as all my previous luggage had been zippered ones. But it really is much faster to just pop open the locks, rather than unzip all the way round to open the bag.

Closing it is sometimes a bit difficult, there's less flex, and you really have to make sure nothing is in the way or else it won’t close. I normally have to sit on my luggage to press everything down and close it shut.


I purchased both luggage in-store at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne towards the end of 2023.

Of course, Rimowa being a luxury brand and the top tier of the luggage game, they are definitely pricey (especially after being acquired by LVMH).

The Original Check In M cost me $2,420 AUD, while the Hybrid Check In M was $1,815 AUD. That's $605 cheaper. I think it is well worth it, especially for the sturdy latch locking mechanism, which is identical to the Original. If you compare that to the Essential Check In M, which is already $1,540.00 and it is a zipper closure, you’d probably be better off forking out a little extra for the Rimowa Hybrid. Zippered polycarbonate luggage is quite common these days and you can definitely find some high quality ones for a fraction of the price.

Despite the steep price tag, Rimowa does offer a lifetime guarantee for suitcases purchased from July 25, 2022. While in the store, I did see many suitcases lined up, waiting to be repaired. The salesperson also mentioned you can bring your luggage to select participating 5-star hotels for repairs. It’s good to know if one of my handles breaks or the wheel falls off, that they should be able to replace it for me free of charge. Though I have yet to use their service (hopefully not anytime soon!).

One thing to note!

Rimowa's lifetime guarantee does not cover “cosmetic damages” for example, scratches and scuffs. So if you’re concerned about that (like I am), definitely consider purchasing a Rimowa luggage cover for an added layer of protection.

Size and Dimensions

In terms of the size, despite the Original Check in M being 3 cm taller in height and 0.5cm wider (based on their website measurements), it has slightly less capacity compared to the Hybrid (60L vs 62L).

Rimowa Original vs Hybrid Height.jpg__PID:3ba3593b-054c-4c4d-ad1a-c68e63c60865

While the all-metal shell is ultra durable, it is undoubtedly heavier coming in at 5.4kg, vs 4.9kg. Around 500g difference. Since I got a check in size, the weight isn’t much of a concern but definitely, if you’re purchasing a cabin size, where there are normally restrictions imposed, a heavier bag= the less you can pack (especially if you’re only traveling with one carry on).

Here are the dimensions that i measured myself:

-Rimowa Original Check In MRimowa Hybrid Check In M
My Measurements66cm x 42cm x 25cm64cm x 41cm x 25cm
Website Measurements69cm x 44cm x 27.5cm66cm x 44cm x 27cm

What can you fit inside?

For the Check In M size, Rimowa advertises that it can fit around 10 days worth of clothes, or 8 outfits. I've packed the Original Check In M with Summer clothes, more lightweight and less bulky, and winter clothes into the Hybrid Check In M, so you can compare and have a look at what can fit inside.

For the Hybrid

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I could fit inside, even with my bulkier winter clothes taking up a lot of space. I managed to squeeze in 2 thick coats, 3 long sleeves, 3 knitted sweaters, 2 hoodies, 4 pairs of pants/jeans, along with my toiletries, makeup, two extra pairs of shoes, socks, underwear and themal leggings.

You may be able to fit more or less, depending on your lifestyle. Personally, I lean towards simplicity and versatility, preferring basic items that I can mix and match easily. However, if you're someone who loves having different outfit options each day, you might feel restricted by the Check In M's size. In that case, upgrading to a larger suitcase like the Check In L or Trunk could be a better fit for your needs.

Something else to consider is your shopping habits. Speaking from my own experience, I'm not the biggest shopper. But if you're planning on picking up lots of souvenirs or gifts during your travels, you might find the Check In M a bit limiting. I found that my suitcase was pretty much full after packing (with my winter clothes), leaving little room for any additional knick-knacks I might have wanted to bring back.

So, if shopping is on your agenda, it might be worth opting for the Check In L to ensure you have enough space for your new finds..

Rimowa hybrid insideRimowa hybrid insideClothes laid out

For the Original

Since I packed it with summer clothes, I could easily fit in a lot more than 10 days worth of clothes. This time though, I used packing cubes that I got from July, for easy organization, as my summer clothes are thinner, more flimsy and harder to fold neatly.

I packed 6 tops, 4 denim shorts, 1 lightweight denim jacket, 2 skirts, 1 dress, 3 pairs of shoes (1 pair sandals, one heels and one pair sneakers). Packed my usual toiletry bag, makeup bag, 1 hand bag, my straightner, my beach towel and other miscellaneous items.

While it's not immediately obvious in the photos, I did have some leftover space for any spontaneous shopping. However, if I planned on bringing back more souvenirs or gifts than expected, I'd probably have to rely on my carry-on. There's definitely some space remaining after packing (with summer clothes), but not an excessive amount.

Rimowa Original insideRimowa original insideClothes laid out

The Verdict: Which one should you pick?

Both the Original and Hybrid Check In M suitcases have their similarities, but for me, the Original really embodies Rimowa's legacy and reputation. That said, the Hybrid has its own perks—it boasts a polycarbonate shell and lock mechanism like the Original, but at a slightly lower price and weight. However, it might not quite capture the same attention-grabbing essence as the classic aluminum Original.

One of the main things to consider is if you'll be okay with the dents and scratches on the aluminum Original. The aluminum shell is susceptible to dings and dents from general use and rough handling during baggage transit (it is metal after all). In contrast, while the Hybrid may show some black scuffs and marks, it's less likely to suffer from dents due to its polycarbonate build.

Some people argue that it's luggage and you can’t expect it to look pristine forever, as long as it functions as it should, then that's what matters most. Which I suppose is true, but, given how much I spent on the luggage ($1800+) –if there was a way to maintain its appearance for as long as possible, like putting on a luggage cover, count me in.

Ultimately, your choice will depend on your personal preferences, travel habits, and budget. Compared to all other luggage I’ve owned (Antler, Samsonite and a cheap ebay set), these definitely come out superior. Yes they are pricey, but they feel and function exceptionally. They are super stylish and beautiful in real life, and the lifetime guarantee is a huge plus for me!

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