When looking at luggage, you want to distinguish between different types. One type that’s dependable and a popular choice is so-called hardside luggage. This is also termed hard-shell or hard-case without a standardized term for it.
Basically, it’s usually a standing luggage on wheels that sports a hard, outer shell made of something durable instead of fabric. The idea is that the harder outer shell protects the interior from knocks or impressions that might damage what’s stored inside the luggage itself. With that out of the way, what are the top features for best hardside luggage?
Polycarbonate is a good outer shell material which is usually shiny and sometimes reflective. Thermoplastic polymers make up carbonate. It’s a material that’s engineered to be durable. It’s also light, so luggage made using polycarbonate might only be around 6 pounds. Travelers Club offer a case that uses an aluminum frame with ABS plastic for robustness with the case body. This is a less common combination but still a good choice.
Different locking mechanisms include a coded lock and zips to close up. Clasps and other options are sometimes provided. It depends on the model and manufacturer. A flexible divider system is often employed when opening the case once it’s been unlocked successfully. The case is divided into two sections at that point.
Wheels and Turning Circle
Castor wheels is the common option here because they will usually turn 360-degrees with a little effort. Quite often, these cases will have double castors which provides greater stability and prevents one from freezing up and toppling over the case while it’s been wheeled along. Using castor wheels in the design allows you to change direction or turn, as needed, when wheeling your hardside luggage along in the airport terminal or hotel foyer.
A telescoping handle that pushes down at the back of the case to hide it when not in use is the most common option. Some handles offer a push button at the top to release it and then a multi-stage process to decide how long the handle should extend out to. Other cases have fewer stages of handle length selection or a single default length when extended.
The internals also matter. When clam shells split open in the center, they will have tie down straps to hold clothes in place within either section. This ensures nothing falls out when opening the case up. Separate sections including zippers for some of those are useful to avoid items fall out of place. Also, all zippers need to be robust with pulls that won’t snap off during use. Don’t always expect luggage to be transported in a stable manner – items will get moved around so anything you can do to strap them down internally is recommended, including the use of packing cubes.