Burton vs. ZUCA : who’s shredding the beauty trail?

Increasingly, I have noticed that there is an influx of hair and makeup artists who are using popular brands of snowboarding bags as their kit bags when on location shoots. I was in the market for a new bag myself, (my trusted Swiss Army bag was literally falling to bits after two years of hard core location/ NYC street travel) but  I had no idea where to start.  I’d seen a few possible contenders on set and asked a lot of my colleagues about why they chose the ones they did etc, etc. but in the end, I did what I usually do and went online to suss out the various bag configurations, body shapes and brands . I knew I needed a bag that was robust, with great wheels ( skater wheels are the best as the bearings are made super strong to handle tough terrain and easy to replace if needed ) and it had to be stylish too. No self-respecting freelancer would run around town, country or world with a crappy looking bag in tow!

Zuca Versus Burton Rolling bags

First on my agenda—I had to work out what size would hold all my gear and as that varied from job to job, I decided that what I really needed were two bags. Bag one, for when I was on makeup only assignments which was at least 65% of the time and the other for when I was booked to do both hair and makeup. I also wanted something that was soft sided ,at least on the front side in case I needed to add a few things to my kit while on the road. I had ny eye on a particular Burton bag but was also drawn to the one exception to the influx of snow bunny bag infiltration. My pal Ashleigh Ciucci, had a lot to say about her Zuca Pro bag (http://www.zuca.com), which I thought was really impressive. For those who are strictly makeup, ( or pack a very small hair kit) I think it’s a pretty perfect makeup bag. Multiple sized insert zip bags that you can swap out and reconfigure to suit totally got my my Virgoan engine going! And to have the amazing organizational capabilities to swap in specific product, made quick changes a snap. The hard aluminum frame also doubles as a great set- seat and keeped the interior bags from getting knocked around, especially in airports while the smooth telescoping handle felt very sturdy. Ashleigh recently had to replace the interior shell of her bag, but was able to get everything she needed from Zuca’s website. It was all very Easy-Peasy. I give this bag top marks for looks, packing capabilities and efficient use of space. The price is a little steep with the basic model coming in at $285.00, but with the lifetime warranty in place, it is well worth it as I doubt you would need any other bag once you had this baby. For me however, the hard shell was a bit too confining so the search continued.

The brand at the top of the snow/skater bag pile is Burton (http://www.burton.com).  Second in line would be Gravis bags, who my friend Maribel swears by. Personally, Burton won out as they offer several sizes that would suit both hairdressers and makeup artists alike and with the double-flex mesh interior zippered segments, the bag protects the gear well even with the most aggressive treatment. Think of all those brutish luggage handlers…Like the ZUCA Pro, it also had a smooth running telescoping handle and while it did feel a bit wonky at first, it was really strong and sturdy when in use.

Burton employs the IXION™ Wheel System, which are super robust and easy to swap out if they break down. Also like the Zuca Pro Bags, Burton offers a lifetime warranty in case of mishaps or damage. I was pretty sold on the Overnight Wheelie for my makeup kit , sized at 22.5 by 13.25, it offered enough space to get all my equiptment I would need to for any job. As I already had my product packed in individual zip bags ( courtesy of Ebags, http://www.ebags.com/) I was able to organize each half of the bag to use the space really effectively.  I liked the patterns offered and every season Burton rolls out new designs and patterns so there is something to suit everyone. I went for a black and white floral print which is snazzy but understated. This bag set me back about $150. (which was a great deal as the retail for this bag runs about $225.00) But as this was to be my primary bag, it was well worth it. For my second bag, I went for Burton’s Wheelie Cargo, which is the next size up from the Overnighter Wheelie . It has access from the top and the center and also has double- flex mesh zippered compartments that keep everything from shifting around during travel. I have used this one almost exclusively when traveling by air and it’s handled every trip with ease. For me, being able to work out of it in a location van is key. I could isolate all the gear I would need easily and access my interior bags yet I didn’t have to pull everything out to find what I needed. I was able to find a bag at http://www.sierrasnowboard.com for $60. bucks which was a major deal. Burton is trend oriented and pretty much all their bags have a certain amount of style so no worry there. While you might not always get the most current patterns , if you are looking for saving a few dollars on a great bag, then this may work for you.

Final say: While I do get a little torn when I see Ashleigh’s sleek and sexy Zuca wheels,in the end, I am really happy with both my Burton bags.

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Comments

This is a great review, thank you! I’m thinking of buying a Burton bag, so this might just have sealed the deal for me! I had a Zuca bag for almost two years, and was fairly happy with it, but one of the wheel axels broke, and Zuca’s response was basically “Tough sh*t”. They’re customer service was virtually non-existent and not helpful at all. And the “lifetime warranty” is only for manufacturers defects, so if they don’t consider your issue with the bag to be a manfacturer’s defect, you’re out of luck. I just want people to know about that before they buy a Zuca.