Purchasing a durable piece of checked luggage will not only save you from mini-meltdowns on the road, but it will also save you time and money in the long run. When purchasing luggage, you will want to choose a bag that is the perfect size for your needs, has ample compartments, looks nice, and that is well-made from a sturdy material.
Over my years of travel, I can’t tell you how many bags I’ve gone through, and I’m so tired of poorly-made bags that fall apart! However, because I’ve gone through so many suitcases, I’m now well-equipped with knowledge of which ones are poorly made and which are the most durable of all.
A list compiled through experience, here are my top tips for purchasing quality luggage, and the most durable checked luggage you can find!
10 Most Durable Checked Bags in 2021 (Buying Guide)
Most Durable Hard Shell Luggage
Bellagio 2.0 Ultra Light 27 Inch Medium Spinner Trunk
One of my favorite suitcases of all time, the Bellagio 2.0 Ultra Light is made of an extremely tough polycarbonate exterior, is super lightweight for a hard shell case (it weighs just 8.8 lbs), and comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
While on the pricier side, this bag is absolutely elegant, comes with a TSA-approved combination lock, and is water-resistant to boot!
Delsey Helium Aero Expandable Spinner Trolley
Made from 100% polycarbonate, the Delsey Helium Aero not only has a sleek exterior but will last you years of travel. In addition to the durability, the Helium Aero is also known for its maneuverability — it has double spinner wheels that won’t strain your arm and allow for easy rolling.
Additionally, this hard shell suitcase features TSA-approved locks and an expandable main compartment.
Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside 24″ Luggage
Samsonite is one of the best-known and purchased luggage brands, and for good reason — Samsonite is known for making quality luggage that stands the test of time. The Winfield Hardside 24” Hardside Luggage is made from polycarbonate that absorbs impact by flexing and then returning back to its original shape. It’ll take an extra level of abuse to put a dent in this one!
The case also features a brushed pattern that makes scuffs and scrapes a lot less noticeable.
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner Luggage 29-Inch
A sleek polycarbonate hard shell case, the Travelpro Maxlite 5 is an extremely lightweight luggage option that will delight you with its impact-absorbing flexibility. Standing by their products, Travelpro offers a lifetime limited warranty that will cover the cost of airline-related repairs for one year after purchase.
Victorinox Spectra 2.0 Large Hardside Spinner Suitcase
Made from the same company that manufactures Swiss Army Knives, the Victorinox Spectra 2.0 is made with break-resistant bayer polycarbonate that also features a scratch and scuff-resistant coating. In addition to its durability, the Spectra also features 360 degree maneuverability, an option to expand by up to 47%, and two main compartments.
Nautica Flagship 28 inch Hardside Spinner Luggage Suitcase
With a textured ABS hard shell, the Nautica Flagship 28-inch is an extremely durable and maneuverable piece of luggage. The bag features an eight spinner wheel system, a 2” expansion option, TSA-approved locks, and a 5-year warranty.
For the durability and features, the Nautica makes a great mid-budget option!
Most Durable Soft Shell Luggage
Briggs & Riley Baseline Expandable 25″ Upright
The Briggs & Riley Baseline is easily one of the most widely-recognized durable soft shells on the market. This suitcase is made from ballistic nylon, meaning it’s water, wear, dirt, and abrasion resistant, and the handle is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. Plus, the case features a hybrid fiberglass frame that is flexible and will help the suitcase keep its shape.
While definitely not on the cheaper end of the spectrum, this piece of luggage is worth every penny!
Read more: The Best Travel Backpacks For Every Budget
Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 Expandable Spinner Suiter Suitcase
A soft-shell option from Travelpro, this highly-rated suitcase features high-density ballistic nylon fabric with a special duraguard varnish for extra protection. The Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 also comes with a leather top and supra zipper heads that are specially designed to resist damage from stress.
Samsonite Aspire XLite 29″ Spinner Blue Dream
The Samsonite Aspire XLite 29″ Spinner Blue Dream is a highly maneuverable soft shell option with extra durability features. In addition to the standard Samsonite quality that you can trust, this bag is made of rugged polyester with a steel wire construction.
Most Durable Duffel Bag
Eagle Creek No Matter What Flashpoint Rolling Duffel
If you’re looking for something a little more casual that offers peak flexibility, you can’t go wrong with the Eagle Creek No Matter What Flashpoint Duffel. This duffel bag is made of bi-tech fabric, meaning it’s abrasion and weather resistant, and it even comes with a storm flap to keep it safe in extreme weather conditions.
The bag also comes with over sized, heavy-duty wheels with a kick plate, seam reinforcement, and, just like any good duffel bag, is collapsible.
What to Look For in Durable Luggage
If you’re spending a pretty penny to purchase quality luggage, then I highly recommend you buy from a company that offers lifetime, or even limited, warranty. Warranty on luggage generally covers things like damage caused by airlines and general wear and tear.
Making sure your luggage has quality zippers is a super important, yet often overlooked, thing when purchasing a suitcase. After all, if something goes wrong with your zipper then you’ll be hard-pressed for a way to fix it if you’re at the airport or abroad.
Standard zippers usually come in either chain or coil, with chain being the more durable, reliable of the two options.
Before purchasing the luggage, make sure that the bag not only has four wheels, but that the wheels roll 360 degrees, are connected to the luggage by multiple screws, and are made of thick rubber or plastic.
Wheels are usually one of the first things to require repair on luggage (cobblestones + wheels do not a great match make). Due to this, know that if you do need to replace them, you can usually do so in most luggage shops or purchase a new set of wheels online.
Hard shell suitcases are generally considered more durable due to usually being made out of polycarbonate, ABS, aluminum, and polypropylene. These materials handle the usual bumps that come with flying with ease and will keep your belongings safe.
That said, there are a lot of very durable softshell luggage options on the market as well. In purchasing a strong softshell option, look for ballistic and Cordura nylon.
How to Choose the Best Checked Luggage for You
Before you purchase your luggage, consider what you’ll be using it for. Are you someone who travels mainly for business, do you like to take long-term sightseeing trips, or do you prefer more nature-based adventures? Each of these options will weigh into what kind of suitcase would suit your needs and be the most convenient for you on your trip.
Speaking of convenience, size is a big factor in choosing checked luggage. If you take short business trips, then smaller, more compact luggage will probably do the trick. Conversely, if you’re on a longer trek, something larger and more flexible is probably what you’re looking for.
Don’t let your bag get lost in a sea of other black bags on the carousel, and purchase a bag with a little color! I love buying uniquely-colored bags and then personalizing them with tags and other identifying features.
Are you someone who tends to come back from a trip with way more stuff than you left with? If you are, I totally get you, and you’re either going to want to pack super light before you leave, or purchase a bag that expands.
Considering the weight of your bag without any items inside is important both if you’re someone who tends to overpack or if you like to keep your load as light as possible. Either way, just make sure you end up packing a weight that’s compliant with your airline so you can avoid those annoying overweight baggage fees!