For travel aficionados, a spacious and sturdy luggage is indispensable. Sure enough, a high-quality luggage can set you back by several hundred bucks, but trust me, it will be worth it. To help you choose a luggage, I’ll tell you what is the best luggage to buy in 2016.
When talking about luggage, most of us only think of travel backpacks and wheeled suitcases. But there’s really more to luggage than that. Depending on your travel needs and destination, there is a variety of bag types you can choose from.
Three of the most popular luggage options are backpacks, wheeled suitcases, and duffel bags. There really is no hard and fast rule when choosing a luggage, but a primary consideration should be how you intend to use it.
Backpacks, Wheeled Suitcases, and Duffel Bags
There are “hybrid” travel bags nowadays which combine elements of these three main types. For simplicity, however, I’ll only talk about backpacks, wheeled suitcases, and duffel bags.
Backpacks are one of the most popular bag types. They come in different sizes. They can also be with or without frames. Backpacks are very versatile and very easy to find. Even if you don’t travel a lot, you probably already own one.
This particular type of luggage is ideal for shorter trips and outdoor activities. However, while you can buy large backpacks, using them for trips aren’t really comfortable, especially if you have a very active itinerary.
Wheeled suitcases, meanwhile, comprise at least two-thirds of total luggage sales nowadays – and it’s easy to understand why. They can contain a lot of things and requires minimal effort to roll around. They come in generally two types: hard-sided and soft-sided.
Hard-sided suitcases are ideal if you are carrying fragile materials with you, especially electronics. Not only are they waterproof, but they also protect your belongings from damage during flight check-ins. The downside, however, is that hard-sided suitcases are more prone to cracking.
Soft-sided suitcases, meanwhile, are generally lighter and even expandable. Depending on the material, it can expand up to 25% to accommodate more items. You can also easily squeeze them in overhead compartments.
Finally, we have the duffel bag. Although stereotyped as a gym bag, duffel bags are actually pretty convenient travel bags. There are even those which come with wheels or retractable handles for easier carrying. Note that it’s advisable to use them only on short trips or when you’re traveling light.
Guidelines for Choosing a Luggage
A common misconception about travel packing is that all that’s important is to make sure that everything fits inside your luggage. If you’ve ever been to a crowded city lugging an oversized wheeled suitcase, then you know that choosing a luggage is not only about making sure you have a spacious bag.
Here are some things you need to consider when buying a luggage:
1. Length Of The Trip
The length of your trip is an important consideration when choosing a luggage because it determines how much you should pack for your trip. For shorter trips that don’t require you to pack a lot of things, a backpack or a duffel bag should be sufficient.
On the other hand, if you’re planning a week-long trip, then it would be better to bring a wheeled suitcase with you. This way, you can bring a lot of belongings with you, but you don’t have to endure hauling heavy luggage everywhere.
2. Mode Of Transportation
If you're just traveling cross-country and would be driving your car, then there's more flexibility as to the type of luggage you could carry. However, if you're boarding a plane, then you should be pickier when choosing a luggage.
If you’d be having multiple layovers or flights, it’s advisable that you choose a lightweight carry-on bag which can easily fit overhead compartments. If you’re boarding a direct flight, meanwhile, then your only consideration would be the maximum weight allowance.
Before you pack your things, make sure you already have an itinerary. Planning to spend most of your time outdoors? Then a sturdy and theft-proof travel backpack is what you need. This would allow you to move around comfortably even when carrying your luggage.
There are also certain types of luggage designed for a specific purpose. For example, backpacks designed for hiking have compartments for water bottles and other sports gear. On the other hand, there are suitcases specifically suited for carrying electronics and other gadgets.
Where you’ll be staying is also determinative of the kind of luggage you should bring. If you’re staying at a cottage house or a posh hotel, then a rolling suitcase will be more convenient for you. You can pack a lot of things and just unpack them after you check in.
Meanwhile, if you’re planning to camp out or move from one hostel to another, then you would want a lighter luggage. If this is the case, choose a backpack or a duffel bag which you could easily carry with you and place in compartments during transit.
5 Of The Best Luggage to Buy
Now that I’ve given you some pointers on choosing a luggage, here are my recommendations for the top luggage to buy in 2016.
- Has four oversized ultra-durable Dynamic Spin Wheels which offer effortless 360° directional mobility
- The back portion is made of textured polycarbonate for ultra-light durability. The material also effectively hides scuffs and protects the handle system
- Measuring 22 x 14 inches, this luggage is spacious enough to carry your valuables but small enough to bring as carry-on luggage. It can also easily fit overhead compartments
- It comes with a Coat Keeper to securely hold your outerwear (e.g., coats, jackets) to the luggage
- Has a Cargo Net for internal or external compression
- Covered by Eagle Creek’s Lifetime Warranty
- Lightweight at only 8 lbs 2 oz
- Has handles on all three sides for easy storage in overhead compartments. They also make the bag easy to pick up and carry
- The zippers can be locked, making it easy to secure your belongings
- Has several external pockets where you can store miscellaneous items
- The zippers have convenient pull tabs, making packing a lot easier. This feature is especially helpful when the bag is packed full
- Does not have wheel locks to keep the bag securely in place, especially during luggage check-in and check-out
- Expansion zipper is designed poorly as it gets caught on the inner fabric lining. You have to be very careful when using the expansion zipper
- High-quality and durable but rather pricey for such a small bag
- Made from high-density ballistic fabric with DuraGuard coating for maximum durability
- Has leather top and side carry handles for convenient carrying and transportation
- Its patented PowerScope aluminum extension handle minimizes wobble. It also three stops at 38 inches, 40 inches, and 42.5 inches
- Has tapered expansion capability of up to 2 inches
- Its two wheels at the back and two feet in front keep the luggage upright. The bag stays in place, as well
- The zippers, along with the expandable ones, are very sturdy. They are also well-positioned so they don’t get caught in the lining
- There are a lot of zippered compartments in addition to the exterior pockets. This luggage comes with a garment bag where you can store your suits and other clothes which could easily get wrinkled. There are also safety straps to hold your belongings in place
- This luggage is covered by a lifetime warranty
- Although not exactly cheap, this luggage is cheaper than most of its counterparts with the same quality
- Might be a little larger than regulation carry-on dimensions in certain airlines. You can squeeze it in most overhead compartments, but there’s a risk of damaging the bag
- If you like using packing cubes, then the multiple compartments and straps in the bag’s interior might be a turn-off
- Made from a combination of nylon, polyester, and water-resistant tarpaulin, this bag is lightweight as it is durable. The exterior of the bag resists wear, moisture, dirt, and abrasion
- The handle is installed on the bag's exterior, thereby providing more space in the bag’s interior
- Comprehensive warranty covers even airline damage
- Zippers are extremely sturdy – a very important feature considering that this luggage is expandable. The zippers zip and unzip easily even when the bag is packed full
- There are several exterior pockets. The interior, meanwhile, is divided into several compartments including a detachable clothes press
- Perfect size to fit overhead baggage compartments. The dimensions are for regulation carry-on luggage
- The wheels are very quiet. Weight distribution is also superb. The luggage does not tip over even when packed to capacity
- The handle is adjustable to suit people of different heights
- The laptop pouch doesn’t really offer much padding or protection
- This bag is sturdy and definitely well-made, but it is quite pricey. It might not be the best option for travelers on a budget and people who do not travel so often
- Although the handle is designed so that another bag can be strapped to it, the built is rather flimsy. You can feel the handle slightly wobble when another bag is attached to it
- Made from 100% polycarbonate, this luggage is extremely lightweight and durable
- Its spinner wheels ensure exceptional maneuverability. The wheels easily rotate 360 degrees, saving your arm from unnecessary strain
- The telescopic handle is ergonomically designed to fit snugly in your hand. It also offers maximum comfort and control and lessens arm fatigue
- The interior is already spacious, but the case itself still expands up to two inches for additional packing space
- The luggage is built with a secured travel fixed TSA-accepted combination lock for added security
- The classic look and design is also an added factor, especially for fashion-savvy travelers
- The luggage is easily scratched. While it doesn’t affect the integrity of the contents, it’s not very pleasing to look at
- This luggage is too big for short trips. Also, since it’s very spacious, it’s easy to go over the weight limitations in airlines
- The Samsonite Winfield2 is a lightweight and durable spinner which features 100 % polycarbonate construction with sharp molded details
- Has an elegant brush stroke pattern which hides any potential scratches from exterior
- Has a fully zipped interior divider with pockets for increased organization
- The fully-lined interior also has cross-straps and a privacy curtain
- For added security, the luggage comes with a TSA-approved combination lock
- This luggage is specially made to absorb impact by flexing while under stress than popping back to its original shape, thus eliminating dents and dings while protecting its contents
- It also comes with a luggage cover to keep the luggage clean during storage or transit
- The full capacity squared design provides for a very spacious interior, allowing you to carry a lot of things in varying sizes
- The wheels have a 360-degree swivel, making this luggage extremely easy to pull around, even in busy airports and other crowded areas
- The waterproof exterior ensures that the inside of the luggage remains dry
- The exterior paint seems to chip rather easily. While chipping paint isn’t very noticeable given the bag’s design, it might be a turn-off for some, especially those who are rather nitpicky about their luggage
- The zipper is not very sturdy, so you can’t really stuff the luggage full
- The telescoping handle doesn’t really break easily, but it feels rather flimsy
For me, the winner of this round-up is the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 22 Inch Express Rollaboard Suiter. Although a little too big to use as a carry-on luggage, it is compact enough to comfortably roll around during travel without scrimping on storage space.
I usually carry a travel purse when traveling, so I don't really mind if it's too big to carry on board during flights. However, I appreciate that it has top and side handles, making it easy to pick up and load on compartments.
It’s not the most durable travel luggage out there, but considering its price range, the Travelpro Platinum Magna is certainly a bang for the buck.
Have a favorite travel luggage? Share it with us in the comments below!