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How Do I Choose the Best Men's Luggage?

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  • Originally Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 01 July 2016
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Choosing the best men’s luggage is usually dependent at least on part on the preferences, style, and needs of the man who’ll be using it, and budget is often a factor, as well. In most places, there are a lot of options, and what’s best for one person isn’t necessarily best for everyone. One of the first things you’ll want to think about is sizing. Some luggage is sold as a set, which includes various pieces — commonly carry-on sized or overnight bags, garment hangers, and larger suitcases all in matching or coordinating patterns. It’s also usually possible to buy bags individually. If the luggage will likely experience heavy use, it might make sense to look for something that’s really durable and easy to clean. Ease of use, including things like retractable handles and built-in wheels, might also be something to consider for a veteran traveler, and security features like locks durable closures are often popular, too. The man taking only occasional weekend trips may not need these features, however. In general, the best approach is to first identify your goals, then look at the market offerings to see what you can find that meets most if not all of your criteria.

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Distinguishing Characteristics

Luggage isn’t normally sold as specifically male or female, though there are some suitcase characteristics that can make a piece seem more masculine. Men’s luggage is typically made from heavy-duty material that is dark in color and austere in styling. Zippers and clasps tend to be durable and sturdy rather than ornate and flourishing. Most men prefer brown, black, or tan luggage. This often presents a professional image that matches both casual and business attire, and is normally pretty easy to keep clean, as well.

Patterned luggage might also be something to consider provided the pattern matches the personality of the man who will carry it. Flashy geometric patterns are often perfect for young men or those with very exuberant personalities, though more understated plaids or hounds tooth designs may come off as more professional and polished.

Decide on a Size

Men’s luggage is often sold as a set, and baggage experts often recommend buying sets of at least three. This advice is often particularly useful if you plan on giving the bags as a gift; a set often provides for maximum flexibility, and can help the recipient through a wider variety of situations. A basic starting place includes a small carry-on or laptop sized bag, a suit hanger, and a larger case suitable for about a week’s worth of clothing and accessories. Other possibilities include duffels, wheeling “roll aboard” commuter bags, and backpacks. Choosing what’s best usually depends almost entirely on the recipient’s intended use, and if you’re not sure, a set with a couple of options may be the way to go.

Consider the Material

Once you know what size specifications you’re looking for, you’ll need to decide on a material. Again, there tend to be a lot of options. Some of the least expensive bags are made of fabric or synthetic materials, but you can also get luggage made of leather, hard plastic polycarbonate, or even metal. Color and pattern choices are often more limited with metal options, but these do tend to offer the most durability; stainless steel or reinforced suitcases can often withstand tremendous abuse but still look new decades later.

Ease of cleaning and how quickly the material will wear should usually also factor into your decision. A bag used primarily for weekend excursions probably won’t need to be as durable as a suitcase that’s going to be regularly checked on overseas flights, for instance. You should also think about whether the luggage is meant to fill an immediate need or whether you want it to be more of an “investment piece” that will stand the test of time. This might help you decide how much you want to spend and what sort of quality, both in workmanship and durability, you’re looking for.

Security

Most modern luggage features security locks, and this is something you may also want to consider. Locks typically come as key locks or password combination sets. These types of luggage provide an added security feature for business travelers who travel with sensitive information. Airline security in many places won’t allow checked luggage to travel locked, however, as this can impede routine and random checks by police and other air safety personnel. As such, you should make sure that any locking feature can be easily disabled to allow for the most flexible use.

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Discuss this Article

Sara007
Post 4

@MrSmirnov - I think that men's leather luggage is great for carry-on baggage because it looks professional and is sturdy enough to take a few knocks. I think you are too worried though about caring for your leather. It is honestly really easy.

My husband has a nice men's leather briefcase and he just wipes it down with a damp paper towel every once in awhile if it is looking dusty. You can also buy some leather conditioner, but you don't need to do that very often. Maybe once every six months or so, or where you get a really bad scuff. Honestly, leather is lovely and not as hard to take care of as some people think. It is a great choice for luggage for men.

MrSmirnov
Post 3

Do you think that leather luggage bags are a good option if you just want to have carry-on pieces?

I am going to be quite a bit of traveling for business and I am hoping that I can get away with some sort of briefcase luggage and a carry-on, as I absolutely hate packing a lot of stuff. If I can avoid having to retrieve checked baggage all the better.

I like the idea of a nice men's leather briefcase and carry-on, but am worried that it will require a lot of upkeep. I don't want to have to constantly wipe down my luggage to keep it looking stylish and clean.

SailorJerry
Post 2

@EdRick - I think these days, the people with expensive designer luggage use luggage delivery services! I'm sure those placed take good care of it, but I've never used one myself and will probably never have that kind of money!

I have exactly one criterion for my luggage: practicality. Will it last forever? Is it easy to carry? Does it hold exactly the items I want to bring? And most importantly, will it fit in the overhead bin? I don't care if it has Hello Kitty all over it as long as it answers "yes" to those questions.

EdRick
Post 1

Does anyone remember the days when traveling with new luggage meant you were "common"? Your luggage was supposed to be worn, showing that you had always had money and travelled often. Guess those little clues have gone by the wayside.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with fancy Italian leather luggage if I was ever going to check my bags. Haven't you ever seen an airport luggage cart standing out in the rain? But I suppose experienced business travelers never check bags anymore. I don't travel all that often, but I haven't checked a bag in years. It's just not practical anymore.

Even a garment bag can go in the overhead bin if it is selected carefully and packed correctly. I've been able to get away for several days with nothing but a "personal item" (like an attache case or satchel) and a garment bag! Very practical.

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