Luggage to withstand airline handling

 

I travel a lot; usually one international destination a month. So I am always on the lookout for the very best in packing tools — the right luggage, packing cubes, RFID totes and so forth.

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My beautiful hard-sided luggage was, shall we say, a little mistreated by several airlines this past year. With each trip, little by little, cracks began to appear until there was a hole in one corner. Not good.

Planning for a trip to South Africa, I was in need of a new piece of luggage. Not only had my last suitcase become a victim, the suitcase I was using before it also turned up on the baggage claim conveyor belt with a big dent in it the very first time I used it.


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What’s positive about hard-sided luggage is obvious; it protects what’s inside including your precious souvenirs. I love to shop in foreign lands and often fill every nook and cranny with my purchases.

So what’s the answer? I’ve seen rips and
tears in soft-sided luggage as well and the protection isn’t there, so I decided to do some research before deciding on the next piece of luggage.



briggs & RileyMy conclusion? It’s about the “bones” of the piece, material and zippers. I know that may sound too simple, but there are vast differences in all three. After reading a lot of reviews and descriptions, I found three I felt would serve me well: Briggs & Riley Transcend 24" Expandable Upright, The North Face Longhaul 26” and Eagle Creek Gear Warrior AWD 26. All three are excellent choices, but I chose the Gear Warrior AWD 26 mainly because my Eagle Creek backpack has served me well.

Although I chose a soft-sided piece, I packed all my South African purchases in between clothing to the center of the piece or carried other items in my carry-on. Everything arrived home safe and sound. And so did my suitcase.

1282_brilliant_blue_l1543_slate_blue_l If you travel by air, it is worth the research to find a good quality piece that will serve your needs. Once you check that bag, it’s out of your control!

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I have two favorite suitcases I use when needing checked luggage.  Both have similar construction, having a hard base and sides, but a soft expandable top.  Hence, they combine the protection of a hard suitcase for the most part, but offer the advantage of being somewhat expandable.  I wrap delicate purchases in laundry or a jacket, place near the hard base of the bag and without exception nothing has broken in transit (so far).  

One bag is also an Eagle Creek bag and the other is made by PacSafe.  Both bags are excellent.  The PacSafe bag has the advantage of being difficult for thieves to break into, but is slightly more expensive.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Last edited by DrFumblefinger

We alternate, depending on trip configuration, on two "soft" but not very 21" Delseys and a single 25" Swissgear of similar construction. They're all from a lower-price territory than Eagle Creek, but have worked well for us.

But my experience with the Swissgear has taught me to watch one thing I didn't think so important before: the wheels. The Delseys are a 'trolley' style with two wheels; they're easy to move over almost any terrain, even cobblestones. But the Swissgear is a 'spinner,' with four wheels, built too low to the ground to conveniently tilt and roll on two wheels as the trolleys do. Just fine on a marble airport floor. Nearly uncontrollable on all but the smoothest sidewalks!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

PHeymont posted:

We alternate, depending on trip configuration, on two "soft" but not very 21" Delseys and a single 25" Swissgear of similar construction. They're all from a lower-price territory than Eagle Creek, but have worked well for us.

But my experience with the Swissgear has taught me to watch one thing I didn't think so important before: the wheels. The Delseys are a 'trolley' style with two wheels; they're easy to move over almost any terrain, even cobblestones. But the Swissgear is a 'spinner,' with four wheels, built too low to the ground to conveniently tilt and roll on two wheels as the trolleys do. Just fine on a marble airport floor. Nearly uncontrollable on all but the smoothest sidewalks!

Good point about the wheels.  It was while pulling a suitcase across cobblestones that I became devote to the trolley-style wheels.  Even Eagle Creek and Pacsafe bags can be purchased on sale or at discounted travel supply vendors.  Whatever you buy, be sure it is a well constructed bag with heavy duty zippers and latches that won't fall apart on you when you travel (which has happened to me with a cheaper duffel-style roller made by Sierra Design).

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

We bought a couple of sturdy Samsonite hard cases in 2003; one is still going strong, the other sadly passed away last year - after being bounced up several flights of stairs by a hotel porter in India. We were very disappointed with the two new Samsonite spinners we bought following this incident. Expensive, but quite flimsy. We have already had to put in warranty claims on both of them and I doubt whether they'll see much of 2018.

Professorabe posted:

We bought a couple of sturdy Samsonite hard cases in 2003; one is still going strong, the other sadly passed away last year - after being bounced up several flights of stairs by a hotel porter in India. We were very disappointed with the two new Samsonite spinners we bought following this incident. Expensive, but quite flimsy. We have already had to put in warranty claims on both of them and I doubt whether they'll see much of 2018.

Isn't is aggravating to get a new piece of luggage from a reputable company and it just isn't the quality of its 'ancestor'? I'm sorry to hear this, but glad they were under warranty.

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