So, you’re all excited about your next vacation or planning that business trip presentation in your head already, but are you self-sabotaging the whole experience by not considering your luggage? There are so many options out there for durable and good-looking baggage, as well as a wide range of prices. So how do you even go about determining which are the best luggage brands to choose from?
The 18 Best Luggage Brands For Your Long-Overdue Trip
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What We Look For in Luggage
"Luggage is something you're not going to think too much about, until something goes wrong with it or it goes missing," says Jennifer Hawkins, president of Hawkins International Public Relations. In her decades of traveling the world for clients of her boutique luxury travel agency, Hawkins has had luggage mishaps and triumphs alike, and suggests shoppers think long and hard about what sort of travel you'll be doing most, then collecting the most useful pieces first. She swears by Tumi and Royce and Rocket brands, but takes into account aspects such as durability, size, expandability, wheels, resistance to scratches and water damage, weight and that old bugbear, shakiness of retractable handles. For short trips, Hawkins recommends "finding sturdy stylish luggage that will fit on the overhead in a plane. Get something light, because you want to be able to lift your own bag when filled. And when you’re going on longer trips, a chic hard shell bag is optimum." And finally, she says "spinning wheels are very handy and I like luggage that has a matching carry on case that slides over the handles.…it's convenient, feels more secure and looks more elegant." We tested the cases on our list personally, or did deep dives into brand profiles, including user reviews, to come up with our recommendations. Here's our list of 18 favorites to accompany you.
The Best Luggage Brands at a Glance:
- Best Overall Luggage: Victorinox
- Best Budget Luggage: U.S. Traveler
- Best Luggage for Families: Samsonite
- Best Luggage for Frequent Flyers: Travelpro
- Best Luggage for Business Travel: Arlo Skye
- Best Luxury Luggage: Tumi
- Best Hard Shell Luggage: Delsey
- Best Softsided Luggage: Bric’s
- Best Lightweight: Rimowa
- Best Matching Set: Coolife
- Best Color Range: July
- Best Micro: Calpak
- Best Looking: Paravel
- Best for People Who Hate to Pack: Solgaard
- Best Wheeled Duffle: L.L. Bean
- Best Capacity: Briggs & Riley
- Best Sporty: The North Face
- Most Durable: Away
The sweet spot in luggage overall with value, strength, inner capacity and lightweight construction, the Victorinox line has a variety of soft and hard side models to choose from. Though Victorinox has only been in the travel case business since 1999, it’s respected for its utilitarian styling (recalling the brand’s signature product, the Swiss Army Knife). The Airox Frequent Flyer carry-on, for example, is only a shade over five pounds and dual-caster wheels that endure all those airport curbs and other indignities.
Best Budget Luggage
This carry-on has two in-line wheels rather than the four 360-degree wheels so popular on spinner bags these days. But that’s nice, actually, since when you stand it up, you don’t need to worry about it rolling away from you. And the tote bag, which comes in a set with the 21-inch rolling case, has a “piggyback strap” to fit onto the larger case. And we appreciate the easily retractable handle, since we’ve struggled a few too many times trying to get a suitcase handle retracted while an Uber driver is hustling us out of the airport.
Best for Families
Samsonite began 100 years ago as a trunk maker, and today makes low-to-mid-price bags that are long on durability and value. The softside bags with spinner wheels include a wet pack for when your little one just has to take that last swim in the pool before you make your way to the airport. And in a clever design innovation, the smallest spinner bag has a rear strap that lets you stack it on top of the largest spinner bag, so that you aren’t going mad at the airport chasing multiple bags in case you are also chasing multiple children. Parents will appreciate the USB port for charging devices, because you won’t always be near an airport charging center.
Best for Frequent Flyers
Created by a commercial airline pilot more than 30 years ago who needed an extremely durable and ultra-light bag that was not ultra-expensive, Travelpro is the bag of choice by working aviation professionals. Also, the little details here are so well thought-out: An exterior pocket fits laptops up to 16 inches and the four spinner wheels are self-aligning, so travelers can avoid forward movement freezing due to wheels pointed every which way, as so often happens on other spinners. Oh, and did we mention the lifetime warranty?
5. Arlo Skye
Best for Business Travel
Arlo Skye specializes in smart bags with powerful removable chargers and all the bells and whistles that business travelers demand. The Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket, for example, is only 8.1 pounds and has an exterior hard-shell pocket that's going to protect your electronics when you hoist it into any standard-sized overhead bin. The power bank comes with USB C and A ports, and promises to charge your phone halfway in less than 30 minutes. The high-performance polycarbonate comes in five fashion hues included sea sage and lemon, and there are extras: each bag comes with two shoe bags, a laundry bag and a cotton storage cover. (Pro tip: For a real B-O-S-S touch, spring for a laser engraved monogram.)
Best Luxury Luggage
The luxury luggage brand, Tumi, deserves its rep with sleek styling, thoughtful design and a sturdiness that makes it the suitcase you’d grab if you needed to look chic while racing through an airport at the end of the world. Both hard-sided and fabric cases are in the lineup; we especially hold the lightweight aluminum case in esteem. It's got the patented impact-resistant X-brace telescoping handle that won't get stuck as you hurriedly fold it up, a removable garment sleeve to keep your clothes from wrinkling, compression straps and interior pockets with security zippers so that you don’t have the entire contents spilling out when you’re just poking around to make sure you remembered your jewelry case. To top it all off the Tumi tracer program means that your lost luggage can be traced back to you, a sense of security that’s priceless.
Best Hard Side
This Parisian company is a historic leather camera bag maker that introduced its first hard-sided case 50 years ago, and still specializes in hard cases today. A scratch-resistant twill finish and lightweight, durable polycarbonate shell makes this a durable and stylish option in the mid-price luggage range. Minimalist inner design is utilitarian but simple, which means lightweight—elastic tie-down straps and a mesh divider. And for the vacation collectors among us, Delsey's cases expand up to two inches for your trip home.
Best Soft-Sided Luggage
This Italian-made brand debuted in 1952, and there’s something about the bygone glamour days of the emerging jet set in its styling. Bric's X Collection comes in water-resistant polyamide fabric accented with durable Tuscan leather trim. We like that it’s well-priced, and comes in a wide range of styles and colors. Interesting fact: The whole collection began with the Sportina, a globally patented shopper tote that’s water-resistant, washable and folds into its own matching envelope. Now the line includes backpack, duffels, spinner bags and more.
At less than five pounds, the ultra-lightweight Essential Lite carry on demonstrates how a super-strong case doesn’t have to be super-heavy. Ball-bearing mounted wheels with cushioned axles glide along as you pull the telescopic monohandle, and there are zipped mesh dividers inside to make sure everything stays just as neat as when you packed it. Plus, the glossy colors really stand out in the overhead bin, from the lipstick red to the glossy green options. And there’s a history of quality behind this case: The styling of this polycarbonate iteration is based on the original Rimowa high-end aluminum suitcase launched in Germany in 1950.
Best Matching Set
A great value, this three-piece set by Coolife includes 20-, 24- and 28-inch suitcases made of vividly hued heavy duty oxford cloth fabric with nylon lining. Multi-directional spinner wheels (and a sturdy telescoping aluminum handle) make moving even the largest one, stuffed with lots of vacation purchases, easy to maneuver to the check-in counter. And a two-year warranty means that even if a baggage handler mistreats one of your suitcases, you’re safe in the knowledge you can get it replaced.
Best Color Range
The 12 colors of polycarbonate carry on suitcases range from the chic sand to the bold rose quartz, and this Australian luggage brand sells a wide range of tote bags and packing cubes that coordinate with their luggage. Recently launched in the U.S., July has put a lot of thought into its designs, from totes with a laptop sleeve and a flap that holds it onto your luggage handle to a hidden laundry bag and a water-resistant hardbody clutch bag that you can use as a crossbody in transit.
Calpak has a full range of colorful polycarbonate and soft-sided luggage and travel accessories including matching luggage organizers. We're especially sold on the recently debuted Hue Mini Carry-on. Measuring a petite 16 x 14 x 8 inches, this hard-sided case is compact enough to fit under most airline seats and in overhead bins of commuter planes...take that, last-minute gate check announcement!). And the Hue Mini comes in six cute colors including moss and linen, complete with all the organizational extras including zippered interior pockets and TSA-approved locks.
Our reviewer rated this a solid 95 out of 100 for its sturdy yet lightweight shell made of polycarbonate that’s harvested from 15 recycled plastic water bottles. Vegan leather trim is set into the exterior of the cases and bags, as well as fashioning the top and side handles. And with Paravel, the inside of your case is as great-looking as the outside: there’s vegan leather trim there, too, as well as a zip compartment and internal compression board that keeps your pressed clothes crisp in transit. This line gets top marks for its refined styling paired with high-tech performance—for example, the Cabana Tote is spillproof thanks to a protective silicone covering which makes even a spilled cup of coffee wipe right off without staining.
Best for People Who Hate to Pack
If you constantly find yourself in a packing anxiety spiral, unable to fit everything in or rearranging over and over, this ingenious six-shelving system invented by company founder Adrian Solgaard after living on the road for three years will help you out. Basically, you pack and unpack this suitcase with it standing on end, the handle outstretched so that you can pull the interior compartments (the “closet”) upward so that folded clothes fit neatly inside. Then you collapse the closet and use a strap to fasten it while you close the case. The whole thing is even perfectly balanced so that it doesn’t fall over while you are using it. Now if we could only keep our home closets as tidy….
15. L.l. Bean
Best Wheeled Duffle
L.L. Bean duffles are beloved by generations for their ability to withstand repeated abuse thanks to ultra-durable 420-denier nylon with water-resistant polyurethane coating as well as a reinforced base and corners. The smooth-glide wheels don’t get stuck, nor does the telescoping handle. And the extra-long zipper doesn’t do all that terrible sticking and getting off track that cheap zippers do. Plus, the bag’s been tested in a 24-hour deep freeze to see if it would crack (it didn’t) and dragged, fully loaded, across 50 feet of concrete to see if it was truly abrasion resistant (yup). We’re giving the monogrammed Rolling Adventure Duffle as a gift to all the adventurous teens and young adults on our list.
Briggs & Riley has innovated a better mousetrap, since it has exterior-mounted hardware that leaves extra room for your interior shoes and whatnot. And there’s a wide range of shapes and sizes, including a 22-inch two-wheeled carry on that has lots of little extras (a padded hanger, pockets to easily remove electronics at security, a mesh zip on the lid to keep smaller items in place). It's all in ballistic-grade nylon, and you have the security of knowing that in the unlikely event of a mishap, each case comes with a warranty.
Tough materials and dependably rugged construction make this wheeled duffle in water-repellant material the suitcase equivalent of a pair of duck shoes, and just as outdoorsy-cool. There’s an internal mesh pouch on the top flap, but you’re not buying this back for lots of micro-managing. You want dependably non-stick wheels (so eye-catching in red) and a durable single-piece molded polycarbonate back panel, all at just over 7.5 pounds. And the large North Face logo is a cool design flex.
While many hard-sided cases are made of both molded ABS and polycarbonate, the Away suitcases are 100 percent polycarbonate, making for a stronger, more shatter-proof exterior. The 360 spinner wheels are partially recessed, which helps protect them from too many blows in case you decide to check it, and there's both a 100-day no-questions-asked return guarantee and a lifetime guarantee for repair or replacing the bag if something happens to make it unusable.
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