Thank you for the question. Below, I have outlined the advantages of
both types of luggage with additional information on shopping for
luggage. Hope this suits your needs.
COMPARING HARD AND SOFT LUGGAGE (and in between):
What To Look For When Shopping For Luggage
"The Outer Shell
Deciding on the type of suitcase that you want depends a lot on how
you plan on using it.
These are mostly molded and although a lot heavier than its
counterparts, a hard-sided suitcase is tough, stain resistant, and
will help protect fragile items. Although the sturdiest among the
choices it can dent or crack if dealt a hard blow. Today's hard-sided
cases usually come with wheels and a pull straps although navigation
is not as smooth as with the soft-sided cases.
Semi-soft Sided Cases
These have become more popular over recent years because they are
partially framed and offer good durability, some protection, and often
have expandable packing chambers. They come with wheels and pull
straps and because of their weight, they usually glide successfully
through airports and on hotel carpets.
A popular choice for carry on luggage, soft-sided cases are the
lightest weight of the three choices and seem to grow as you pack
them. Another advantage is that they can be squeezed into tight
overhead luggage chambers.
The term 'denier' is used a lot when talking about luggage
fabrication. It is a unit of fineness for nylon, and other fibers,
based on a standard mass per length of 1 gram per 9,000 meters of
yarn. Generally speaking with luggage, the higher denier, the better
although the type of fabric is also important.
* When choosing either the semi-soft or the soft-sided cases, aim for
the more expensive fabrications that offer superior wearability and
* Less expensive bags are usually made of 600 to 1800 denier (d) polyester.
* The higher quality bags are will be made in 500 - 1000 Cordura,
known for its ability to resist punctures and 800 to 2500 denier
ballistic nylon which is smooth, resists lent, and is used for many of
the high-end merchandise."
ADVANTAGES OF SOFT LUGGAGE:
"The best review source we found for luggage is the Travel Insider.
This Web site is devoted to all kinds of travel issues, including
packing and luggage. Consumer Reports also has a comprehensive review
that includes most mainstream brands. However, editors have not
covered luggage since 2001, and many of the recommended luggage lines
are now discontinued. Even so, much of Consumer Reports' buying advice
is still valid.
We found luggage reviews in a variety of specialized magazines.
Rangefinder Magazine, Outdoor Photographer and Photography Review
focus on luggage to transport photo equipment. Laptop Magazine and PC
World look at computer bags. Outside Magazine is a helpful source for
One point come across loud and clear when reading the experiences of
travelers and professional reviewers alike: Avoid buying luggage that
has hard plastic sides (like you will remember from the old Samsonite
commercials) unless you have a specific reason for wanting the hard
sided kind. Reviewers say that soft-sided luggage offers more
flexibility to fit luggage into various sized spaces and to cram in
that last item you want to bring. The best luggage in our Fast Answers
tables is generally tough enough to withstand abuse, and offers more
packing flexibility, with more pockets and expandable zippered
compartments. You'll also find a larger variety of styles and price
ranges among soft-sided luggage."
ADVANTAGES OF HARD LUGGAGE
"Soft-sided luggage is recommended most often for travelers, but there
are some reasons you may still want to consider hard-sided luggage.
Although hard-sided luggage is heavier and offers less packing
flexibility, the rigid case will take more abuse than soft-sided
In addition, hard-sided luggage is a good choice for those who need to
travel with electronics or other business gear. Most photographers
prefer not to part with their camera gear, and business travelers are
not fond of being separated from their laptop. These travelers want to
feel confident their luggage is as safe and secure as possible, and
that electronics are protected from jostling in overhead bins. We
found several great hard-sided luggage pieces that withstand abuse
while keeping the interior items safe and sound."
RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS:
What To Look For When Shopping For Luggage
"Recommendations Based on the Length of Your Trip:
* For trips from one to three days: Recommendation - 22-inch carry-on.
* For trips from three to seven days: Recommendation - 24-inch upright case.
* For trips from a week to 14 days - 27-inch upright case.
* For trips from 14 - 21 days - 30-inch case."
Here's what the experts say to look for when purchasing luggage:
* Construction. Choose woven nylon or polyester over less sturdy
leather. Look for screws rather than rivets for easier repairs. A
soft-sided bag is more likely to fit in compartments than a hard-sided
* Packing aids. Look for a suit carrier, a zippered waterproof
compartment for holding toiletries, expandable compartments and
* Weight. Less expensive luggage can often be heavier, and of course,
larger bags weigh more. With airlines becoming increasingly strict
regarding baggage weight, it pays to look for a lighter weight bag.
Soft bags weigh less than hard-sided luggage.
* Handles. Look for handles on top and on the side for easy lifting.
* Feet along the side. This will help your luggage stand upright.
* Balance. Look for a bag that isn't "side heavy."
* Hooks or webbing attachments for a briefcase or smaller luggage.
* Stair Sliders. These minimize damage and help negotiate steps and curbs.
* Expandability. Look for a zippered expanding compartment that allows
for more packing flexibility.
* Look for inline-skate wheels. In addition, four to six wheels can
make for easier maneuvering. Most wheeled luggage however, has two
REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF SPECIFIC PRODUCTS:
"Editors at Consumer Reports magazine say to expect to pay as little
as $85 for a durable wheeled backpack or $125 for a carry-on.
Depending on your budget, you can find a basic luggage piece with
upgrades such as exterior pockets, suit carriers, and waterproof
compartments. Less expensive bags are available but testers found
inexpensive models to simply be less durable. We found some mixed
reviews for the Atlantic Infinity line (*est. $100 to $150, depending
on size). While Good Housekeeping cites the Atlantic Infinity 29-inch
Laundry Locker (*est. $125) as a good value, another reviewer found a
similar Infinity bag to be too fragile, with hardware that could let
rain and snow get into the main compartment. Yet another Atlantic bag,
the Atlantic Professional (*est. $170), did very well in torture
One line however, gets no mixed reviews. Travelpro luggage is
consistently rated highly by experts. This brand's Crew5 line was
originally developed for flight personnel, but reviewers say it's a
good choice for all travelers. Travelpro luggage performs well in both
real world and simulated durability testing, and we've included it in
ConsumerSearch Fast Answers."
The Flight Crew
Washington Post Travel Section
Monday, December 13, 2004
"Tucson, Ariz. : What is the most durable brand luggage for carry on?
KC Summers: I've had really good luck with my reasonably priced,
lightweight, 20" carry-on from Travelsmith.com. It's come through
three years of hard use (not only do I use it, but my daughter borrows
it incessantly) with flying colors. So to speak.
I also have a combo backpack/suitcase that I bought from good old Rick
Steves that has been dragged halfway around the world and has held up
really well. So, in my opinion, no need to pay the big bucks for bags
like Tumi or Travel Pro."
The New Breed of Luggage
Mar. 3, 2004
Europe for Visitors
Travelpro Crew5 Luggage Review
"The founder of Travelpro, a Northwest Airlines pilot named Bob Plath,
invented the wheeled upright suitcase in 1989. Since then, Travelpro
"rollaboard" bags are said to have been used by more than 425,000
pilots and flight attendants--including Plath himself, who logged more
than 16 million miles in his airline career. The Crew5 line is the
newest generation of Travelpro's flagship brand for business and
Airline Carry-on Luggage Allowances:
Air Traveler Association:
Wheeled Luggage Tips:
GOOGLE SEARCH TERMS:
"soft luggage advantages" OR "advantages of soft luggage"
"hard luggage advantages" OR "advantages of hard luggage"
"hard or soft luggage" OR "soft of hard luggage"
"buying luggage" OR "shopping for luggage"
I hope this helps. Please request clarification if you need any
additional assistance. Have a great trip!