What to look for when buying a suitcase

Finding the perfect luggage to suit your various trips is no easy task. One of the most important considerations is of course durability, whether it’s a hardshell or softshell suitcase, and its construction.

Here are a few things you need to consider before purchasing luggage for your upcoming trip, as compiled by Travel+Leisure.

Check the wheels
Wheels should be the first things to check when choosing a suitcase, according to Brad Meyer, cofounder and design director at bag manufacturer Boundary Supply.

“This part gets abused the most and when they break, it’s like driving on a flat tire,” said Meyer.

As the number of wheels is a matter of taste, it is recommended to get some made of rubber instead of plastic. Also, check if it’s possible to replace them individually in case you need to.

Good handle
The next important feature is the handle, which should be telescopic and extended easily without wobbling or protruding. Side handles matter as well and should be firmly attached to carry the weight of the suitcase and its contents.

Hardshell or softshell?
When it comes to choosing between a hardshell or softshell case, protection and flexibility should come in mind. A hardshell cover is water resistant and provides better protection for your belongings. However, you have to accept the risk of it breaking easily and of more visible wear and tear. Also, it is less flexible when packing. The most resistant materials to rough handling are aluminum and virgin polycarbonate.

In comparison, a softshell case is less protective but has a longer lifespan. Thanks to exterior pockets, you can usually pack more. Cordura and ballistic nylon are convenient materials for this type of luggage due to their resistance to abrasion and tearing.

Durable material
Jeff Rang, design director at OGIO, knows that even the most durable materials do not matter if they are held together with weak seams.

“Using an ultradurable ballistic nylon doesn’t matter if the zippers are cheap and fail first. A piece of luggage is only as durable as its weakest point, so it’s really important to choose a bag that doesn ́t cut corners on either material [fabric and hardware] or construction,” he said.

Choose a well-known brand
No matter what kind of luggage you choose, accidents can always happen — even with high-quality items. Therefore, chose a brand that offers a fair warranty and a service to fix your luggage.

“There is no such thing as indestructible luggage. If there were, it would weigh a ton and cost more than anyone could afford,” said Don Chernoff, former materials science engineer and president of SkyRoll Luggage.

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