If you need a new suitcase for the year ahead, pay extra attention to these factors when buying the right luggage.
Suitcases, cabin luggage, and even backpacks have loads of commonalities. They typically come with wheels, a handle, and zippers or a clamp. Not all suitcases are created equal though. Whether you plan to give luggage as a gift or simply need to buy new luggage before traveling, you might find out the differences the hard way. Buying a quality name brand suitcase like a Samsonite, American Tourister, Lipault or Gregory comes with certain benefits that the no name/ cheap/ flee-market suitcase just cant compare to.
4 Wheel Spinners:
Most luggage sold today comes with wheels. The challenge is to figure out whether you should get four wheels or two. Travelers who prefer four-wheeled suitcases like them because they can spin 360 degrees, making them easy to maneuver. With four wheels, you can easily wheel the luggage beside you, in front of you, or behind you. It’s also easy to navigate in airplane aisles and other tight spaces.
2 Wheel Spinners:
A two-wheeler, on the other hand, only goes forward and backward. It’s less ergonomic than a four-wheel spinner, but if you’re going to be walking along city streets, two-wheelers are better for clearing curbs and rolling on sidewalks, cobblestone streets, and other uneven surfaces.
Zero in on the zippers:
If a zipper breaks when you’re traveling, it can be a headache. So vet the zippers on your luggage before you buy. They come in two types: chain and coil. A chain zipper has two sets of interlocking teeth, usually made of metal. It’s better and stronger than a coil zipper, which slides on two parallel coils, usually made of polyester. Chain zippers are much more difficult to break into. Coil zippers can be pulled apart with a ballpoint pen. Also, some savvy buyers consider zippers as a proxy for the overall quality of the bag, so you may want to take a close look.
Whirl the wheels.
When it comes to durability, wheels can be a weak spot. Check that the wheels roll smoothly and stay in place. Gently jiggle them with your hands to make sure they’re firmly attached. The wheels on four-wheelers are mounted externally, leaving them vulnerable to snapping off with rough handling. For a more secure attachment, check that the wheels are attached with screws rather than rivets. A two-wheeler has recessed wheels, which means they’re protected from snapping off. Also, like the wheels on in-line skates, they roll forward and backward, causing less wear and tear than the 360-degree spinning four-wheelers.
Hold the handle.
For maximum durability, the handle should have little to no wiggling or rattling as you pull the bag. One that retracts completely inside the bag is less likely to sustain damage. Also check for smooth movement as you pull it up and retract it.
Choose a high-denier material if you want soft-sided luggage because it’s lightweight and allows you to stuff in “just one more” item. (Denier is a measurement of fabric weight.) If your highest priority is protection from rips and protection of your packed items, a hard-sided bag would be better. It can’t be torn or intentionally ripped open with a blade.