Luggage Buying Guide

Luggage 101


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”.


Lightweight Luggage

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.