Arranging for a trip and confused upon deciding for which type of luggage you should opt for – Hard case or soft case? Most people use soft-sided luggage, but hard-sided has made a comeback.

Decades ago, most luggages were hard case. Remember the metal-framed valise?

Back in 1980s, composite fabrics that were pliable, strong, and lightweight led many people to start buying soft-sided luggage. Today, soft-sided luggage covers up the bulk of the market.

But hard-sided luggage is making retaliation thanks to new materials that are rigid and lightweight.

If you’re looking out for new luggage, here are some tips on what to consider.

Soft-Sided Luggage

Soft-sided luggage is made of fabrics usually woven nylon, such as cordura, ballistic, or ripstop.

  • Cordura is more textured than ballistic, a little softer, and more abrasion-resistant.
  • Ballistic is the smoother and shinier of the two. Also, ballistic can abrade, but abrasions will not compromise the fabric’s strength.
  • Ripstop nylon is the very lightweight fabric frequently known as “parachute material,” regularly used in unstructured or semi-structured bags.

Numerous soft-sided pieces of luggage come with exterior pockets; mostly they have two or more interior compartments along with zipper closure; newer bags may have an integrated lock.

You might opt for soft-sided luggage if you’re looking for lightweight pieces that can flex and compress to fit into compact spaces, such as the overhead bin in an airplane or storing at home in less space.

The cons, is that it won’t provide as much protection as a hard-sided piece of luggage. It’s also vulnerable to ripping if it’s not of good quality.

Hard-Sided Luggage

Today’s hard-shell or hard-sided luggage is made with high-tech plastics such as acrylnitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate, which are lightweight and durable.

ABS is the lightest, but polycarbonate features maximum durability. The most robust, but also the heaviest, is aluminum.

Hard-sided luggage often features a 50/50-split opening, allowing you to pack two sides equally and stabilize the contents with an interior strap or a divider.

The clamshell design requires double space to spread it open. Most hard-sides are built this way, but there are few in the market that has a lid opening as well.

Hard-sided luggage is best suited for packing fragile items. It offers better security than soft-sided baggage because it can’t be ripped open easily and it usually has integrated locks.

Aluminum luggage is most secure and features metal draw bolt latches instead of regular zippers.

Drawback of using hard shell luggage is that it’s prone to scuffs and scratches too easily. If you tend to over pack, a hard-sided piece it will restrict; since there’s no chance of over stuffing it. It’s rigid, so you can’t squeeze in extras if the need arises.

You’ll also need a fixed storage space, which can be a challenge for apartment and small-house dwellers.

Wise travelers don’t waste money on familiar fabric patterns and unnecessary frill. Airlines seldom accept liability for damage even for the most expensive pieces of luggage.

So instead of blowing your travel budget on luggage, equip yourself with smart pieces of luggage that will hold everything you need and won’t wear you out on the walk through the airport.

Resilient and sturdy luggage from discount stores will last far longer than you expect, and by purchasing practical and low-cost luggage, you can use more of your money to enjoy your trip.