Luggage Buying Guide
The hotel is booked, airline tickets snagged and the itinerary is halfway there-all signs that point to a trip in your very near future. Whether you’re a seasoned business traveler or taking a much-needed getaway, packing is your crucial final step. You know you need some good quality luggage, but what kind? It’s hard to know which type of luggage will provide the best all-around solution for your needs, or whether you should invest in a luggage set that has the pieces you’ll need for any type of trip.
A set is a wise way to get each type of bag that you’d need now or in the future-all at once. Sets vary, but most include multiple-sized suitcases as well as a carry-on. Sets come in hardside or softside.
Carry-on luggage is especially essential these days with all the new, additional fees applied to checking luggage. Because of this, every traveler’s goal is to carry on as much luggage as possible, and this piece is designed with TSA measurement guidelines in mind.
This type of luggage is what you want for a short jaunt. And the design has come a long way from the duffels you used as gym bags. Compartments make this a carry-on worth its weight (or lack thereof) for the busy traveler.
Thick fabrics of polyester, nylon, cotton or canvas designed to be flexible and lightweight make this a great option. Higher denier ratings refer to yarn weight and will add to your bottom line but also to quality and durability. This is a popular choice due to design flexibility and the option to expand for heavier packers.
Everyone knows the necessity of this luggage piece when traveling to a formal affair. Garment bags keep everything from dresses to suits protected and can reduce wrinkles by keeping items hanging rather than folded in a suitcase. It’s also a sure-fire way to make certain nothing gets lost en route to your destination. Just ask any bride how important that is.
Everyone deserves a nice piece of luggage whether you’re headed on a vacation or to a weekend at grandma’s!
Construction & Materials
First things first. You need to decide what style fits you and the way you travel best: softside or hardside? Softside fabrics most commonly include polyester, nylon, cotton or canvas. Softside luggage features include exterior compartments for extra storage to stash magazines or snacks. Pay careful attention to denier rating as well as thread count. “Denier” refers to the weight of the yarn; the higher the number, the bulkier the yarn which can measure the fabric’s resistance to abrasion and tearing. Compare deniers before you purchase, but understand sometimes larger deniers do not always equate to better quality and should be viewed in combination with the type of material. Hardside bags are increasingly popular and can be just as durable and lightweight as softside depending on materials and construction. Polycarbonate is a flexible and resilient material which means bags can be stronger while still lightweight. 100% polycarbonate is typically resistant to dents and scratches. ABS is a sturdy plastic, second in strength to polycarbonate but often lighter weight.
Though they may appear so, not all wheels function the same. These days most luggage styles include wheels—even carry-on styles. There are two types of wheels: spinner wheels, which rotate 360 degrees or in-line wheels, which proceed in a straight line unless lifted for a quick change in direction. In-line wheels are favored for their durability through many flights while spinner wheel styles are coveted for their ease of use.
Handles are designed with one goal in mind: comfort. Whether that’s achieved through the fabric or PVC options, grip placement, ergonomic design, or extra padding, what works for you is more a question of personal preference than “best”.
Luggage manufacturers have your back on this. New technologies and materials help them keep both hardside and softside options lightweight enough to keep up with TSA regulations, as well as easy to manage.