Buying Luggage Tips

Here are a few tips on what features to look for when purchasing luggage:

  • Wheels - Look for wheels that have a wide track, a bearing system, and are recessed into the actual frame of the bag.
  • Fabric - "Denier" measures the weight of the thread. A higher count indicates a heavier thread. Solid materials like nylon or polyester will hold up better in the seams than most blended materials. "Ballistic" anything isn't actually bulletproof-- it just means it uses a basket type of weave in the fabric and is more resistant to tearing. Don't get fooled by manufacturers that say "ballistic type" but are not really using a basket weave.
  • Frames - Most soft luggage uses a narrow metal band for the main support and then uses thin plastic boots on the rest of the bag to give structure. Better frames are called honeycomb memory frames. These use a highly resilient, corrugated plastic that is much wider than basic frames and will flex instead of bending and breaking.
  • Pull Handles - Look for recessed handles that are not exposed to damage. The exception to this rule is the Outsider® handle by Briggs & Riley. Their handle effectively addresses the problems of exterior handle systems. Thicker tubing is desirable.
  • Zippers - Look for name brand zippers like YKK. The larger they are, the easier they are to zip. An easier zip means less wear and tear and a longer life.
  • Size - Buy the sizes that will best suit your needs for future trips as opposed to buying for one particular trip. The most popular sizes for uprights are 26" and 22". Tote bags are also extremely popular and versatile.