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Luggage to Withstand Airline Handling

I travel a lot — usually one international destination a month. So I am always on the lookout for the very best in packing tools: the right luggage, packing cubes, RFID totes, and so forth.

My beautiful, hard-sided luggage was, shall we say, a little mistreated by several airlines this past year. With each trip, little by little, cracks began to appear until there was a hole in one corner. Not good.

Planning for a trip to South Africa, I was in need of a new piece of luggage. Not only had my last suitcase become a victim, the suitcase I was using before it had turned up on the baggage claim conveyor belt with a big dent in it the very first time I used it.

What’s positive about hard-sided luggage is obvious: it protects what’s inside, including your precious souvenirs. I love to shop in foreign lands and often fill every nook and cranny with my purchases.

So what’s the answer? I’ve seen rips and tears in soft-sided luggage as well, and the protection isn’t there, so I decided to do some research before deciding on the next piece of luggage.

My conclusion? It’s about the “bones” of the piece — material and zippers. I know that may sound too simple, but there are vast differences in all three. After reading a lot of reviews and descriptions, I found three I felt would serve me well:

Briggs & Riley Transcend 24″ Expandable Upright

Photo courtesy Briggs & Riley

The North Face Longhaul 26″

Photo courtesy The North Face

Eagle Creek Gear Warrior AWD 26

Photo courtesy Eagle Creek

All three are excellent choices, but I chose the Gear Warrior AWD 26, mainly because my Eagle Creek backpack has served me well, price and design. When it arrived I knew I had made a wise choice. It is made out of the same durable material as my backpack and has all the features I was looking for.

Although I chose a soft-sided piece, I packed all my South African purchases in between clothing to the center of the luggage or carried items in my carry-on. Everything arrived home safe and sound. And so did my suitcase!

If you travel by air, it is worth the research to find a good quality piece that will serve your needs. Once you check that bag, it’s out of your control!

Published on Apr 18, 2017

Grit Magazine

Live The Good Life with GRIT!