Quality Luggage Buying Tips
Frame: The Backbone of Your Luggage
Frames can be made of metal, fiberglass or plastic. Fiberglass
is generally more durable than plastic, unless the plastic is
reinforced in some way. When choosing luggage with a metal
frame, look for aluminum frames that are strong but lightweight.
If you’re buying a backpack, there are internal and external
frames available. Internal frame packs are more flexible than
external frame packs which can be awkward.
Wheels and Zippers: The Finer Points of Luggage
Wheeled luggage allows you to maneuver your luggage easily. They
also protect the bottom from wear and damage. Especially durable
are in-line skate wheels. Depending in what kind of case you
choose, there will be two or four wheels. Look for wheels that
are screwed onto the frame rather than riveted. Zippers come in
two basic styles: coiled or toothed. A coiled zipper can take a
lot of pressure from over packed bags. A toothed zipper can be
either metal or plastic and is extremely durable. If a coiled
zipper pops open it can be re-closed; toothed zippers are almost
impossible to re-close if they pop.
Materials Used: Durability in Construction
Hard-sided luggage is generally made using an injection molding
process for plastic. Another version of this luggage type is
boxed frame covered over with leather or vinyl. The boxed frame
contains wood or metal on all six sides for maximum rigidity.
Hard-sided cases have the added security feature of combination
locks. Soft-sided cases
are usually made of fabric with partial frames and reinforcing
plates where needed. You can purchase separate zipper locks for
this type of case. Check the denier of the fabric on soft-sided
luggage. Denier refers to the fineness of the yarn used. The
higher the denier, the more durable the fabric will be. If the
fabric is advertised as “ballistic,” it means that it is woven
in a similar manner to bulletproof vests. Make sure your
soft-sided luggage is waterproof or water-repellant.
Interior and Exterior Features: Staying Organized
The interior of your luggage should have pockets and
compartments to facilitate packing. Mesh pockets are handy
because you can see the contents. They also provide ventilation
for the contents. Many cases have straps inside that keep the
contents from shifting. On the exterior, stress points like
where straps and handles are attached should be reinforced with
either stitching or rivets. A zippered external pocket or two is
desirable. On upright cases, the telescoping handle assembly
should be on the inside, not the outside of the case. On many
uprights, there is an auxiliary strap to which you can attach
your tote bag or other small piece of luggage to make moving the
items easier. A zippered gusset is available on some models.
When unzipped, the gusset expands the suitcase up to about 4
inches to accommodate all those extras you’ll be bringing home.
Conclusion: Quality is Always the Right Choice
People who think nothing of spending thousands of dollars on a
vacation often underestimate the importance of their luggage.
Quality luggage is always worth the investment and will serve
you well long after the memories of your vacation fade. Take the
time to do some research and analyze your needs. Then buy the
best well-made luggage you can afford. Your vacation will be all
the more enjoyable for it.