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Hard-sided luggage is gaining popularity as consumers continue to show interest in them. And rightly so as they offer a number of benefits. You’ll definitely want hard-sided luggage if you’ll be packing breakable items like laptops, cameras, iPads, and other techs. They also have a good level of water resistance and will protect your belongings from rain and snow.
Hard-sided luggage also offers more security as thieves can’t rip them easily. And they usually come with integrated locks which provide extra security. Packing is also easy as they feature a 50/50-split opening. This luggage will rein you in and prevent overpacking.
Maneuvering this luggage is super easy thanks to the four 360° wheels that provide balance and don’t drag. There are travelers that love hard sided luggage just for their sleek design. They come in a range of aesthetically pleasing colors and decorative prints. You’ll also find out that they are also easier to clean.
Shopping for hard-sided luggage can be a bit tricky. There are many options in the market and they all seem to be the same. But I wouldn’t advise you to just buy any random luggage. That’s what I did for years and wasted a crazy amount of money. Let me show you here what I recommend.
I’ll be taking you through a guide that will tell you all you need to know about hard-sided luggage and the features to look out for. So here we go.
Samsonite S’Cure Hardside Luggage
Samsonite S'Cure Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Black, Checked-Large 28-Inch
$240.11 in stock
2 used from $215.87
I’ve used this luggage on many trips now and I totally love it! It’s luggage that gives you confidence and can also stand the test of time. There are two spacious compartments for you to keep your belongings. You’ll see elastic straps in the bottom compartment and a divider in the top part. The exterior of this luggage is made with a special kind of propylene material called Flowlite. This material combines light tweight and durability extremely well.
The shell of this luggage is super tough and will resist just about anything. I also like that the shell is anti-scratch and also easy to clean. A rubber frame gasket makes this luggage water and dust-resistant. The design is also eye-catching and there are multiple colors for you to choose from.
This luggage is also zipperless, a feature that’s anti-theft and also enhances durability. There’s a 3-point locking system with the main lock being TSA-approved. As you’d expect, this luggage has spinner wheels that rotate 360°. And this makes maneuvering this luggage extremely easy.
There are handles on the top, bottom, and sides. This allows you to carry the luggage from any position you find most comfortable. The main telescopic handle can be adjusted to your preferred height. The fact that the handles are made of aluminum is another advantage as this makes them lightweight and durable.
As I said in the introduction, I spent a lot of money on luggage that will inevitably come back with a broken wheel after the first trip. At some point, I got really tired of this and decided to spend the money and get a quality piece of luggage. I can testify that this one is a good choice. Of course, trip after trip, it gets a bit scratched here and there, but it’s very minimal and the wheels are still perfectly fine.
- Material : Propylene
- Available sizes: 20, 28 in & 30 in
- Capacity : 34L (20 in) / 102L (28 in), 138L (30 in)
- Weight :4 lbs (20in), 10.2 lbs (28 in) / 11 lbs (30 in)
- Eye-catching design.
- Excellent combination of weight and durability.
- Waterproof and sturdy exterior.
- Zipperless design.
- Anti-scratch design.
- TSA approved lock.
- 360° spinner wheels.
- Handles on the top, bottom and sides.
- Nothing so far, I am happy with it!
You can choose to just follow my recommendation or find another model that suits you better. I’ll now be taking you through a guide where you’ll know the features to look out for to choose hard-sided luggage. Here, you’ll know all you need to know about this type of luggage so you can make an informed decision when buying one.
How To Choose Your Hard Sided Luggage
Materials and Durability
Hard-shell luggage can be made from different materials with the most commonly used ones being aluminum, polycarbonate, and ABS. All these materials are very tough and are responsible for the extreme durability of this type of luggage.
Aluminum is the strongest, heaviest, and most expensive. It makes a very sturdy and durable exterior that protects your belongings from breakage. Cases made with aluminum are generally eye-catching. However, aluminum is a bit more prone to scratches than other materials.
Polycarbonate is another popularly used material that is virtually unbreakable. It’s all resistant to impacts, heat, and moisture, and comes in a wide range of aesthetically pleasing colors and designs.
ABS is made up of three other plastic materials and is resistant to heat and impact. Cases made with ABS are not as strong as their aluminum and polycarbonate counterparts. It’s also cheaper.
Due to the toughness of the exterior, hard-shell luggage is generally heavy. Thanks to advancements in technology, the latest generation hard-sided cases are incredibly lightweight without sacrificing durability. You’ll find out that the difference in the weight of hard-sided and soft luggage of similar size isn’t much.
Hard-sided luggage comes in various sizes. And the one you go for will depend on the amount of stuff you intend to carry. You may check airline requirements and choose luggage that fall within the maximum dimensions.
Small-sized luggage usually measures around 22 inches. Medium-sized luggage comes in the range of 25-27 inches while large-sized luggage can be up to 32 inches.
It’s important you travel with the right luggage size. Travel with large luggage when you need it. It’s not ideal to travel with large luggage that’s only half filled. Since luggage is usually stacked upon one another, other luggage may crush your own half-filled luggage. In this aspect, they are more fragile than travel backpacks.
Hard-sided cases usually come in a set of 2 or 3. This way you will always have a case for both short and long travels.
The best hard-shell cases aren’t necessarily the most expensive. It also includes luggage with excellent warranties. Many brands of hard-sided luggage usually have warranties of 10 years and above. There are also brands with lifetime warranties.
These warranties usually cover broken zippers, wheels, and handles. Users have been sent replacement luggage after reporting their issues.
It’s important for your luggage to have locks. However, don’t go for any type of lock. Always go for locks that are TSA-approved. Transport security agents can easily access your luggage if there is a need to check the content. However, pickpockets and thieves won’t be able to get into your luggage.
There is usually a keyhole at the bottom of TSA locks. Security agents insert a special TSA key to unlock your luggage.
Almost all modern suitcases have spinning wheels. People don’t really carry luggage again. You just pull the luggage using the telescopic handle. The number of wheels has an effect on maneuverability. 2-wheeled luggage is good but 4-wheeled luggage will give you the ultimate experience. You can even find luggage with 8 wheels.
You must know the quality of the wheels Is important. I’ve used $50 luggage in the past and the wheels always got spoilt after a trip or two. And luggage with broken wheels is practically useless. I bought another one and the same thing happened. It was only when I bought the more expensive Samsonite luggage that I stopped having broken wheels.
That’s why the hard shell cases are often quite expensive. You aren’t only paying for functionality. The durability of these cases are unmatched and you’ll hardly have issues like a broken wheel, handles, and the like. But should that ever occur, you are covered with warranties.
Your luggage can either be zippered or zipperless. Zipperless luggage has the benefit of being more durable. Also, they are more effective against theft. But for those that have zippers, it must be of high quality and be sturdy enough to withstand any attempt to be slashed, cut, or opened by would-be thieves in transit.
As you can see, hard-sided luggage provides superior protection and maneuverability to other types of luggage. They may be a bit more expensive but you’ll definitely get value for your money. Get one for yourself and things will be far easier for you on your next adventure.
I hope that this guide was valuable to you, and helped you figure out what is the best hard-shell luggage you can get yourself today.