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Hardside vs. Softside Luggage - Which is Best for You?

Deciding between softside and hard shell luggage doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be about more than just looks. The best luggage for you is the luggage that best fits your needs. Here, we cover the top five factors to compare when choosing hard or soft luggage.

When shopping for new luggage, being informed will help you choose the best carry-on or checked suitcase, duffel, weekender or garment bag for you. Aside from the myriad features available, like interior organization, USB charging ports, and other built-in extras, you have color, size, style and even shape to consider. But one of the most significant differences to compare is softside vs. hardside luggage.

Maybe you’ve always carried a soft, fabric-style suitcase but like the sleek look of hardside luggage. Or maybe you’ve been carrying a bag with a hard shell but want exterior pockets, like most softside bags offer. Maybe you just don’t know what you want. We can help.

When you don’t know how to decide between hard luggage set or soft luggage set, start by identifying your needs. Below, we unpack the pros and cons of soft- vs hardside luggage along with a bit of insider info you probably never thought to consider.

There is a perfect suitcase for you. You just need to know what to look for–and why.


Let’s talk money first. While cost shouldn’t be your main decider, it will probably factor in at some point. The prices of softsided and hardshell luggage can vary greatly. You’ll find inexpensive luggage in both categories, but be wary of cheaply made bags.

Luggage doesn’t have to cost a ton, but it is worth investing in bags that will last and that can handle the physical demands of heavy-duty packing, rough baggage handlers, bumpy sidewalks and carousel pileups, among the other abuses your bags are likely to take.

If your budget is limited or you just like a great deal, shop the sales. Most luggage companies release new models every year or so, and when they do, you win. To make room for the newest inventory, the previous models are often put on sale with big discounts.

To get more bang for your buck, buy luggage sets. Since you’ll probably need both a checked bag and a carry-on at some point, it makes sense to buy a set. Not only will your luggage match, but the price is usually much better than buying two single bags.

Whatever your budget, don’t let price be the only factor in choosing your luggage. After all, you wouldn’t choose your vacation lodging solely because it was the cheapest place you could find.


Consider how you would feel watching your suitcase come down the baggage carousel split open with the contents spilling out among everyone else’s luggage. Or imagine the impact of a lost or stuck wheel when you have blocks, or even miles, yet to travel. Durability–like running water or electricity–is easy to take for granted, until you are without it.

Your luggage is something you will depend on greatly while away from home. Durability should be one of your top priorities, whether you’re buying hard or soft luggage, a large checked bag or a compact carry-on.

In general, hardsided suitcases and softsided suitcases are durable in different ways. It’s a common misconception that hard shell suitcases are always tougher than bags constructed with fabric. In reality, the bag’s “toughness” depends heavily on what type of materials it’s made of.

Similarly, softsided bags can tear or rip if the wrong fabric is used. For built-in durability, look for luggage made from high-density fabric treated to resist moisture and staining.

Though neither type is considered completely water resistant, the outer shells of hardsided suitcases should repel liquids and wipe clean if anything is spilled on them. You can safely clean and disinfect them with certain cleaning products, but be sure to follow the directions and spot test first.

Fabric bags treated to repel liquids and stains should not be cleaned with cleaning products that could compromise the anti-moisture coating–but they shouldn’t have to be. The coating should cause most of the liquid to just roll off, rather than soak in.

Whether you choose a hard or soft bag, always look for reinforced stitching, resilient zippers that stay on track and stay closed, sturdy handles and strong extension handles that don’t bend or buckle.

Other important durability features that will help keep both hard and soft bags looking and performing well include corner guards, reinforced molding on high-wear points and, for rolling bags, ultra-strong wheels with well-designed, protective wheel housings.


When it’s time to move, how do you like to roll? Do you prefer to pull the suitcase behind you or next to you?

Hardsided luggage almost always comes with four 360°-rotating wheels. Four-wheeled luggage–also called spinner luggage–works best rolled next to you upright and is great through twists, turns and obstacle courses. If you prefer two-wheeled bags, you may be hard-pressed to find a hardshell bag to suit you.

Softside luggage is widely available in both 4-wheeled and 2-wheeled models. Two-wheeled luggage handles rough terrain and high speeds a bit better. For help knowing how to decide between 2-wheeled vs. 4-wheeled luggage, check out our comprehensive comparison HERE.


If you wouldn’t dream of carrying a basic black bag or you just love to stand out, both hard and soft luggage is available in multiple colors. Hard shells can serve as a canvas for stickers that distinguish your bag from others, but any bag can be personalized with accessories, like luggage tags and handle wraps.

Ultimately, the decision between hard shell and softsided luggage should be led by the way you travel and what you pack, combined with your personal tastes. Then, buy the best luggage that fits your budget and look for reliability warranties that will protect your investment for the long haul. Happy Travels!

Difference Between Polycarbonate And ABS

In this post, I will let you know the difference between polycarbonate and ABS. If you are in the market for some new luggage, it is important that you know the qualities of the two.

Not all plastics are the same, they have different properties that can drastically change how long they last and the condition they end up in. You really need to know the difference especially if the luggage is quite expensive.

We know that there are a number of materials on the market that luggage is constructed from and polycarbonate and ABS are just a couple.There are also others such as nylon, polypropylene, aluminum and leather. Let’s focus our attention on polycarbonate and ABS.

1.What is polycarbonate?

What we really need to know is that polycarbonate is near enough impossible to break. It is used in so many things purely because of this toughness. From outdoor furniture to eyeglasses, you would be surprised how common the use of this material is.

Polycarbonate is a very lightweight material with great strength quality. It is impact resistant, which a very desirable quality in luggage. It is also flexible which means it can handle weight pressure when other luggage is stacked on it.

With its strength and impact resistance, you would think this is the perfect material for luggage. It is resistant to weathering, excellent resistance to UV which should help in keeping its color and it can also handle high and low temperatures.

Additionally, they are really easy to mold so you can offer interesting designs and shapes.This is why polycarbonate luggage is desirable.

2.What is ABS?

ABS is actually a combination of three properties. The three properties are acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene.It is considered a low-cost material mainly due to it’s low level strength. In luggage, this means that cases made from ABS is likely to damage easily with cracking very common. Essentially, ABS offer the worst durability.

However, ABS’s low cost and light weight means that it is still used in ABS luggage set manufacture. When comparing to polycarbonate, you can see the inferiority. We will highlight the differences next.


Polycarbonate is considered the more durable material and therefore more desirable in luggage. It has better impact resistance and flexibility meaning that it can be pushed back into shape.


ABS is the lighter weight of the two but that is only one factor when considering what luggage to buy. Lightweight luggage is desirable as it means you can pack more of your own belongings within the limits of an airline. However, this has to be balanced against the risk that damage may occur, a greater risk if your luggage is made from ABS.


ABS luggage is cheaper to manufacture and retail when compared to Polycarbonate. It is therefore popular in budget luggage markets where the pricing really reflects the quality. Mid-range luggage markets use Polycarbonate or other materials like Aluminum where the durability and quality is better. If you are using pricing as a guide, be aware of what you are buying and its limitations.

-ABS vs Polycarbonate luggage

ABS luggage dominates the budget market because it is lightweight and cheap to buy. It is not particularly durable and is prone to damage, especially when checked in at an airport.

You should only consider ABS if you have a limited budget or are not buying it for international air travel.

Polycarbonate luggage is normally offered and mid to upper price tiers. It is a much more robust material therefore more durable. Any dents can literally be pushed out and back to its normal shape.

It is preferable to choose this material over ABS as you are getting a better quality and robust material.

You will therefore get much more value from polycarbonate luggage as it will last longer than ABS luggage…in most scenarios.

What to Consider Before Buying Soft or Hard Shell Luggage

Can’t decide between soft and hard shell luggage? There are a lot of options out there, and making the right choice can seem tricky. Price points for both soft and hard shell luggage can vary greatly, so it’s important to identify your needs before making a big purchase. Here are some things to consider before buying soft or hard shell luggage.


Durability is a common concern for travelers, especially considering most people travel with laptops, iPads, cameras, and other delicate electronics. Hard shell cases are appealing if you want to protect anything fragile. Though most cases are not considered completely water resistant, hard shell luggage is much easier to keep dry in rain, snow, or puddles, and it provides better protection against general spills and accidents.

The same is true for keeping the luggage clean, which is a huge perk for anyone who has been stuck carrying a muddy, smelly suitcase from city to city (or country to country). Softer cases can absorb water, and are more susceptible to stains and smells. If you plan to travel in the winter, or to more rugged locations, you may be better off with hard shell luggage.

2.If You’re Going Shopping

Travelers who plan to do some shopping along the way may find it more difficult to fit extra items into hard shell luggage. Although many hard cases, especially those made from polycarbonate, are expandable, soft luggage can still stretch more around the edges. Soft luggage set is also easier to manipulate into small spaces, such as overhead bins or luggage racks on buses, whereas hard cases really compete with other bags.

3.Two Wheels vs. Four Wheels

Hard shell luggage tends to be easier to handle in airports or train stations since most have four wheels rather than two. Although it is possible to find soft luggage with four wheels, it is less common, whereas it is a standard feature for the hard shells. It makes maneuvering cases much easier and, since they tend to utilize 360 degree wheels, it’s harder to flip, drag, or lose the balance on heavy bags. This is a huge perk for those who need to get to multiple flights or have heavy items in their luggage.

4.Customizing for Convenience

Different colors and patterns are more common with hard cases, making them easier to spot among the dozens of black bags that come bouncing onto the baggage carousel. Soft cases do come in various colors, however, colored luggage tends to get dirty after a few trips, and general wear and tear is easy to see.

Customizing your luggage, regardless of which kind you prefer, is always a good idea. Personalized luggage tags, ribbons, stickers, or even duct tape can help your bag stand out and remain easy to spot.


Accessibility is another perk of soft luggage. Having pockets on the front of the bag is very convenient. You can reach for things you’d like to keep handy, but may not need in your carry-on, such as a change of clothes, toiletries, a sweater, or an extra book.

This is especially true for parents traveling with small children. Having an extra blanket, pacifiers, a favorite toy, or extra clothes in an outside pocket is a nice alternative to jamming extra supplies into a full diaper bag.


Backpacks are quite possibly the perfect bag for just about everyone. They are lightweight, simple and handy and they are great for everyday use. No matter what you need to carry, from books and your laptop to camera equipment, clothing, lunch or your gym gear, a backpack will make the task that much easier. In fact, travel experts from all over the world recommend using a backpack as they can make travelling easier and a lot more fun.

With the importance of a high-quality backpack for everyone from students and athletes to professionals, travellers and more, we want to share some of the benefits of using a backpack so you can see just how useful they really are. Let’s take a look:

6 Benefits Of Using A Backpack

Stay Organised- a quality backpack will have enough room to carry your important essentials and enough pockets and compartments to help you stay organised throughout the day.

Comfortable- backpacks make carrying around everything from books to clothing and other essentials more comfortable. No matter what you are carrying in your backpack, or how much it weighs, it will be much easier and safer. With a backpack, the weight is more evenly distributed and your hands will be free to use your smartphone or hold your latte.

Safety- a backpack enables you to carry your belongings safely. Most backpacks are waterproof, lightweight and flexible, and they provide maximum protection for the products inside them. Using a backpack also means that your belongings are kept closer to your body, making it difficult for thieves to steal.

Can Be Carried For Long Periods Of Time- because backpacks use two soft, padded shoulder straps to distribute weight more evenly, they can be carried for long periods of time without experiencing discomfort.

Trendy- backpacks are trendy and it seems that a good quality backpack will never go out of style. In fact, there are several stylish backpacks of all types and sizes available on the market to choose from.

Convenient- backpacks are incredibly convenient as they give you access to your items easily and with very little effort. You can see what’s inside at a glance and everything is within easy reach.

Duffle Bags: Pros And Cons

Duffle bags are sturdy and spacious, but they're not every traveller's go-to choice. Whether you're looking for luggage that's nice and roomy, a chic travel accessory or something super practical, choosing a suitable bag is essential to enjoying a hassle-free journey. To help you make the right decision, we can tell you everything you need to know about duffel bag luggage.

1.Advantages of Duffle Bags

There are lots of good reasons to go travelling with a duffle bag. Offering a flexible structure, durable exterior and superior spaciousness, it's not hard to see why this style of luggage is so popular. Here are the advantages of duffel bags broken down in detail:

-Spacious and Easy to Pack

The best thing about duffle bags is how roomy they are. Their cylindrical and unstructured shape is perfect for travellers who need lots of room for bulky gear. Many duffel bags can also be opened from the side, allowing for easy packing. This feature can come in handy if you need to stash items like diving gear or snow boots in your bag.


Unlike the slightly more rigid structure of a suitcase, a duffle bag's flexibility makes it easy to squish into small spaces. Anyone who's ever tried to wrestle their bag into a tightly packed overhead compartment will appreciate the advantages of travelling with such a pliable piece of luggage.

Together with being flexible, many duffle bags are also fashioned from water-resistant materials. This can make getting caught out in bad weather merely annoying rather than a complete disaster (keep in mind that water-resistant is not the same as water-proof, so don't go throwing your duffel bag into a pool or anything).


They might not be known for their sophistication, but fashionable duffle bags do exist. Leather styles like the Cairo or Oran radiate rugged style, or if you prefer eye-catching colours, check out Eagle Creek's range of duffel bags.

2.Disadvantages of Duffle Bags

Of course, every style of luggage has its imperfections. These are the disadvantages of travelling with a duffle bag:

-Lack of Security

Duffle bags can be slightly more difficult to secure since they don't have built-in locks like most suitcases. To protect your belongings, look for a duffel bag with lockable zips. You can also reduce the risk of being targeted by slash-and-grab thieves by investing in a duffel bag fashioned from durable fabric.

-Hard to Carry

Duffle bags are fine for carrying over short distances - especially styles with padded shoulder straps. But if your trip involves plenty of trekking, you might want to go with a backpack or wheeled suitcase instead.

Got your heart set on buying a duffle bag? Some styles can be converted into a backpack, giving you the best of both worlds. You can even get duffle bags with wheels and a retractable trolley handle that allow them to be transported like a suitcase.

-Difficult to Keep Organised

No matter how carefully you fold your clothes, keeping a duffle bag organised can be tricky. Because most duffle bags come with a spacious main compartment, it can be difficult to prevent things from shuffling around while you're on the move. Travellers who prefer to keep their luggage neat and compartmentalised may be better suited to a different style of bag.

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