How to Choose a Suitcase: The Complete Guide
People who travel often know it well: you have to pay close attention to the choice of your suitcase. Your main selection criterion should be based on the type of trip you will be traveling and its duration. Indeed, depending on these parameters, you will not need the same type of luggage. All this seems a little too complicated? Rest assured we will give you all the information you need to choose your future suitcase to leave in peace in 2019!
The different types of suitcases
As its name suggests, it consists mostly of “hard” materials to provide effective protection to its content. Hard luggage often weights higher than the average, it is suitable for people moving regularly or for travelers by plane who need to place their luggage in the hold.
The soft luggage is made of textile materials and is therefore very light. With this feature, it will be perfect for travel by car or train. Be careful not to forget to protect the fragile objects that you decide to carry in this type of luggage.
Cabin luggage is a model of luggage whose reduced dimensions allow it to travel in the passenger compartment without having to place it in the hold. This is a popular model for people who travel very often for short periods.
It stands out from other models thanks to its handle to pull it easily without unnecessary effort. It is appreciated by people traveling often or having problems or physical difficulties.
It is a model that wants to be both fun and practical at the same time to seduce the youngest. It has all the features similar to adult luggage. It will obviously be preferred by all parents who travel frequently with their child.
The different sizes of suitcases
Small suitcase (size S)
This category refers to models with a total capacity of fewer than 50 liters. They are also referred to as cabin luggage and are perfect for short stays.
Medium suitcase (size M)
The models in this category have a capacity of between 50 and 69 liters. You will use them for stays of one week.
Large suitcase (size L to XL)
The volume offered by the sizes L and XL varies between 70 and 120 liters. It is ideal for stays of a fortnight.
Very large suitcase (size XXL)
This category includes all models with a volume greater than 120 liters. This is the perfect capacity for long-term stays (beyond three weeks).
The different materials of manufacture and their advantages
Curv (patented by Samsonite)
It is a technology developed by the company Samsonite to enable it to offer its customers a lightweight yet resistant suitcase. It consists of several layers of polypropylene that perfectly meets this need. It is the most technologically advanced manufacturing material to date.
This material is a polymer resulting from the combination of bisphenol and phosgene. Polycarbonate thus obtained inherits properties such as strength and resistance to high temperatures. It allows models using this material to be very strong and therefore durable over time.
This acronym stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. This material is, for example, the one that makes up the Lego bricks. It also has the virtues of impact resistance that remain well below Polycarbonate. In addition, it can turn yellow when exposed to heat.
Polypropylene is a material similar to polyethylene and obtained by the principle of polymerization of propylene. It has very good resistance to shock and heat. This is the ideal material for rigid suitcases as it costs almost the purchase.
Which size of a suitcase to choose according to the duration of the trip?
Short stay / Weekend
It is advisable to turn to models called “cabins” with a height of 40 to 56 cm. Corresponding to size S, they are very manageable.
Stay of one to two weeks
Favor models with a height from 56 to 70 cm (either size L or M). They offer enough capacity and will remain fairly easy to use.
Stay of 3 weeks and more
For these long stays, opt for a model whose height will be greater than 70 cm because you will need a maximum capacity. These are sizes XL or even XXL.
Which type of suitcase to choose according to the mode of transport?
This is really the mode of transportation with which you will not ask many questions about the type of model to use. Installed in the trunk or in the back, your suitcase has all the necessary space regardless of its dimensions.
Restrictions begin to be imposed, especially through low-cost companies (such as the OUIGO offer), which allow you to take only one piece of free hand luggage. In all other cases, your choice of model will be completely free. Attention you will still be obliged to secure and clearly identify your property.
Airlines are imposing even tougher measures than those in rail. Indeed, if the size is, again, regulated, you will undergo in addition to many controls during which you will have to present the contents of your luggage. Also, be aware that these will suffer many shocks during the various handling operations carried out the ground staff. It is therefore essential to opt for a model with regulatory dimensions, solid and anti-scratch. If you are traveling to the USA, be sure to add a TSA lock or padlock (See later).
The general criteria for choosing a suitcase
This is the first criterion that should guide your choice. Indeed, this type of luggage must be able to protect all of what is in its interior. Especially since it is an object that undergoes many shocks including handling for air transport.
This term refers to all the tips and features that will make handling and using your luggage easier. The brands compete with ingenuity in this area and offer you for example a telescopic handle, multidirectional wheels, multiple storage compartments or a simple and durable maintenance.
Obviously, the quality of the manufacturing materials will strongly influence the overall quality of your suitcase. And not all will offer you the same level of performance, indeed you should not expect exceptional strength for a fabric model for example (do not hesitate to reread our chapter about different manufacturing materials and their benefits for obtaining more information).
Be attentive mainly to the quality of finishes. Indeed, it is mainly they who will be damaged first in case of malfunction. Check the elastic straps, the zip fasteners on each compartment, the zippers, the wheels and the resistance of the handle used to carry it.
Also, be sure to choose a suitcase whose empty weight remains low. This will facilitate its handling but above all, it will save you from the wrath (and a possible surcharge) of low-cost airlines that allow a limited number of kilograms of luggage for each of its passengers.
This is a criterion that may be important for some people, especially those who travel frequently. Thus, some will prefer a clean style and sober colors to blend in with the crowd while others will choose more vibrant colors. Design is totally a matter of personal taste!
Here is a criterion that seems to be a lot determinant as design. Between two models with identical functionalities and materials, it is the price that will guide your final purchase decision. Be careful though, a high price does not necessarily imply a high level of quality. If you travel frequently, it would be wise to invest in models of high standing qualitatively.
The most popular luggage brands for travelers
When Jess Shwayder started his luggage factory business in Denver, Colorado, USA, he did not imagine that he was going to be the source of a huge industrial and commercial success. In fact, in 1910, it launched the Samsonite brand, which was to become, a few decades later, simply the world leader in the luggage industry. Better still, this brand is today a reference for all its competitors. Currently, the head office of the company is located in Luxembourg. Buying a Samsonite suitcase (whose name comes from the character of the Samson Bible) inspires a strong sense of trust. The models designed by the company’s research and development departments are in fact largely imitated (even copied) throughout the world without achieving an equivalent level of quality.
The TOP 3 Samsonite suitcases:
The company Delsey was founded in 1946 by Mr. Delahaye (originally specialized in the manufacture of camera cases, boxed sheaths for typewriters and electrophones) and the Seynhaeve brothers. Since this fruitful association, she has been involved in the design and marketing of luggage. Delsey is a French company headquartered in the city of Tremblay-en-France. In the spirit of the brand’s fans, the Delsey suitcase is both practical and elegant and even daring. The brand also strongly emphasizes its sometimes irreverent style but always subtle and design. This is his main line of communication. Its know-how also allows it to be present on almost the entire planet (one hundred and ten countries) and on five continents. It has more than 6,000 points of sale to distribute its products.
The TOP 3 Delsey suitcases:
Who makes American Tourister luggage: American Luggage Works was founded in 1933 by Sol Koffler in Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America, with a strong idea: to provide the world with solid luggage for only one dollar. Sixty years after its creation (in 1993), the company was bought by the giant Samsonite and became one of the most successful subsidiaries. This union has allowed American Tourister to experience a new boom, particularly with the strong development of its activities on the international scene. To date, it is present in more than 90 countries. The American Tourister suitcase has a strong image of solidity and durability over time. Moreover, one of the most famous commercials of the brand staged a gorilla maltreating an American Tourister baggage, which of course resisted him without any difficulty.
The TOP 3 American Tourister suitcases:
It was in 1952 that Monte Goldman founded the company under the name of Eastern Canvas Products USA Inc. It originally worked for the US Army by providing sacks, backpacks, and other safety equipment. When the founder’s son, Mark Goldman, joined the company, a reorientation of commercial policy took place. Indeed, the company turns in 1977 to the market of the sports bag. It was in 1999 that the brand achieved a smashing entry into the luggage market with the first wheeled bag. The following year, it was bought by VF Corporation, a giant of clothing and accessories. For consumers, an Eastpak suitcase is often synonymous with innovation and technological research. Thus one of the latest born models, called Tranzshell, offers to all the protection of a shell and at the same time the flexibility of a canvas bag.
The TOP 3 Eastpak luggage:
David Jones is an old brand from Australia. Indeed, she opened its very first store in 1838 in Sydney. It is also the oldest stores in the world still operating while retaining its original name. Since then, the company has obviously grown and now has several hundred outlets spread over most of the planet. It also has an online sales site. The logo of the brand is easily recognizable as it is a Welsh rider on his mount carrying a spear and a shield (in tribute to the Welsh origins of its founder). He appears on every David Jones suitcase. Fans of this brand appreciate the wide variety of its models (whether from the point of view of design, color or ease of use). They are also seduced by the company’s constant desire to innovate.
The BEST David Jones suitcases:
The brand belongs to the German company Sagenta GmbH. Its headquarters are in Berlin . It is easily identifiable thanks to its very simple logo representing a suitcase on a yellow background with the name of the brand inside. Moreover, like this sober logo, the Hauptstadtkoffer suitcase inspires robustness and solidity. To develop its business, the brand has specialized in rigid and hybrid luggage. Two of the ranges it markets are very successful. This is the Alex range (whose sleek design and hard-shell hard models have four wheels and an aluminum double trolley) and the Q-DAMM range. The models belonging to the latter are characterized by their aluminum monotube trolley and their four wheels. In addition, they are easily identifiable by everyone thanks to the brand logo that proudly appears on the front of the hull.
The TOP 2 suitcases Hauptstadtkoffer:
Jump suitcase logo Mr. Menzer, one of the most important French leather goods of the time, founded in 1960 the Alsacienne de Maroquinerie. It is really under the impetus of Mr. Bernard Ehret, who arrived in 1969 as General Manager, that the results of the company improved thanks to the design and manufacture of diving bags and technical sportswear by the after. By the early 1980s, the company was even the European leader in the sports bag business. It was at this time (specifically in 1979) that the Jump brand for the marketing of luggage was launched. Each Jump Suitcase stays true to the company’s philosophy of cleverly combining aesthetics with the practical and useful side. The brand is also known to play cleverly with different shapes, colors, and materials. His bold style allows him to stand out from his competitors by breaking the usual codes.
The TOP 3 of Jump suitcases:
Suitcase 4 wheels or suitcase 2 wheels: What to choose?
This might seem like a futile criterion, but in reality, it is an important criterion of choice. Baggage with two wheels certainly has the advantage of being less expensive to buy, however, their use is not as easy as with four-wheeled models. In fact, they remain easy to slide on the ground without you force to tilt the suitcase. For large luggage (and therefore heavy), the presence of four wheels becomes almost indispensable and a real asset.
Opt for a suitcase with TSA lock for added security
We have already mentioned them somewhat when we have detailed the regulation of air transport. TSA locks or padlocks meet the standards set by the US authorities and are therefore widely used around the world. The principle is simple: the official and authorized US personnel has a specific pass to open this type of lock without damaging it. You, on the other hand, will not use a key to open it but a code that you have chosen beforehand. More and more manufacturers are integrating this solution directly into all models in their ranges. To find out if the lock on your suitcase meets the TSA standard, make sure there is a red diamond on the lock. You also have the option of purchasing a TSA lock if your current baggage does not meet this standard and you have to travel to the USA. The TSA lock for Europe is useless but if you are traveling to the US it’s a must.
The 55x40x20 luggage:
The ideal format for traveling in the cabin suitcase cabin size You are certainly aware that low-cost airlines are particularly attentive to the size of your luggage. Indeed, with such a process, they encourage their passengers to travel in a “light” way to optimize the flight of the aircraft and achieve significant savings on their consumption of kerosene. Thus, RyanAir company will not take charge in the cabin of suitcases whose dimensions would be beyond 55 x 40 x 20 cm or whose weight would exceed ten kilograms. With a few exceptions (such as EasyJet which allows dimensions of 56 x 45 x 25 cm), this rule is generalized to all low-cost companies.
The suitcase set: a practical and economical choice to choose a cheap suitcase
You will have largely understood, with all this information, that you should choose your luggage according to the specificities of your trip. If you are particularly interested in a suitcase model, we advise you to take a look at the sets or set. You can find really
cheap 4 wheel luggage sets for example. Indeed, the latter consist of the same suitcase (composition and features identical) but with different dimensions to meet all (or almost) travel situations that will be available to you. Sets are generally composed of three or four suitcases of various sizes. In addition, you will save your money. Indeed, if you had to buy each suitcase contained in a set individually, it would cost you much more than the purchase of the complete set.