Hard-sided luggage seems to get all the attention these days, but the reality is most of us are still buying soft luggage. There are features, such as outside pockets, hanging areas, and expansions that are hard to find in hard luggage yet common in soft luggage. Plus, for those who love to stuff their bag as full as possible, there is nothing like having a bit of flex in our bag.
The challenge for the consumer is to understand that not all soft luggage is alike. The materials used in the construction determine the durability of the case. Budget to mid-priced luggage tend to use polyester and higher-end cases tend to use nylon. Polyester is lighter but the material starts to pill then degrade over time. Nylon is heaver but much more durable and ballistic nylon is the heaviest and most durable. Some brands weave nylon and polyester together as a compromise. Therefore, if you are a frequent traveler you should narrow your selection down to nylon.
One nice thing about soft luggage is that some companies, like Travelpro and Briggs & Riley, offer both two and four wheeled options. If you are not sure about which one is right for you please check out this earlier blog. Other features to consider are if you want a suiter in your luggage. A suiter is a place where you can hang a garment rather than folding.
Once you have decided on the size, materials, and features of your desired luggage you might want to look at the warranties. Most luggage companies offer a limited warranty that will only cover defects in manufacturing. However, some companies offer warranties that cover airline damage. This will save you the hassle of trying to file a damage claim after a very long flight. Briggs & Riley is famous for offering this warranty for life on all their products. Other companies, like Travelpro, Victorinox, and Eagle Creek offer this warranty on some products only and/or have time limits.
One final tip is to make sure you are buying luggage from an established company whose primary business is making luggage. The internet is full of start-up companies that aren’t in a position to support their products or stand behind their warranties. Dealing with a quality luggage retailer such as Irv’s Luggage will help you avoid this situation. If you are not sure about a manufacturer, don’t be afraid to ask. Salespeople are more than happy to help:)