How Do I Choose the Best Hard Luggage?

Dan Cavallari

Hard luggage is a good alternative to soft luggage, especially for people transporting fragile items or electronics. The hard shell will protect the items from impacts that commonly occur as luggage is transported from cars to trains or airplanes. Choosing the best hard luggage starts with determining your needs while keeping in mind the storage methods of trains and airplanes. Many travelers have begun using much smaller pieces of luggage to act as carry-on luggage rather than checking a bag; checked bags often require paying a fee, so people try to avoid this using carry-on luggage.

Hard luggage with wheels and a telescoping handle make transport through airport terminals much simpler.
Hard luggage with wheels and a telescoping handle make transport through airport terminals much simpler.

If you fall into this category, you will need to choose hard luggage that will fit in the limited space in the overhead bins on airplanes. Find out what the typical dimensions are for storage in such bins and make sure the luggage you choose will fit these dimensions. Remember that hard luggage will not yield the way soft luggage will, so you will need to choose the dimensions of the luggage more carefully than you would if you were buying soft luggage.

Choose hard luggage with wheels and a telescoping handle. This will make transport through airport terminals or hotel lobbies much simpler. The handle should some lock into place when in use, and it should be durable enough to support the weight of the bag during transport. The wheels should be made of a durable material that will last a long time and provide stability during use. Gel wheels can cut down on noise when the bag is rolling, though they can wear out more quickly than hard plastic wheels. When the bag is sitting upright, it should be stable and should avoid tipping over unexpectedly, even with the wheels touching the ground.

The hard casing will not add too much weight to the unit, though it will add some weight. Be sure to test the weight of the hard luggage you are considering to ensure it is lightweight and durable. some luggage will come in sets with several pieces of luggage instead of just one. You will be able to choose from several sizes of bags to accommodate your travel needs; this is a good way to ensure your needs are met, and sets are usually less expensive than buying each unit individually.

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Discussion Comments


Telescoping handles and spinner wheels are my must haves for hard luggage. They just make rolling and maneuvering so much easier. These might seem like small details, but they make a huge difference, especially if one is running in the airport with them, trying to catch a flight!


@candyquilt-- Actually, hard luggage is lightweight, or at least it should be. That's definitely a factor you should be considering when purchasing one. If it's heavy, then it's not made of the right material. The best hard luggage will be light but very durable. It needs to be made of special materials for this reason. It is true that the most durable variety of hard luggage may be jut a little bit heavier because the casing is very thick. But the difference shouldn't be so large that you have to pack lighter in order to avoid an overweight luggage fee.

I highly recommend hard luggage. They are just so much better. Nothing gets damaged and I love that there are more color options with hard luggage. Mine is red, so it's so easy to find them at the pick-up area.


Although I need more durable luggage that will protect my belongings, I have not purchased a hard luggage due to two issues. One is that my luggage is always very full and heavy and if the luggage itself is heavy, then it will be even more difficult for me. The second issue is cost. Hard luggage costs more than soft luggage and considering the fact that the life of a luggage is really the life of the zipper, handles and wheels, it's probably not going to last forever. I travel a lot and I go through a lot of luggage.

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