The Pitfalls of Buying Cheap Luggage
- Your new luggage will not roll properly if the rollers are made from cheap plastic. It will tip immediately while going through airport parking lots or as you attempt to roll it on thin airport carpet. You will end up dragging it along on its side.
- If the pull handle fails to lock into place it can quickly result in a bent handle after you check it at the airport. If it slides out while traveling through baggage, you risk having it show up with a bent handle. Once the handle is bent it is no longer a useful tool.
- A big cheap metal zipper will spread apart quickly if you put too much pressure on it by over packing or if it gets squashed by bigger heavier suitcases in the luggage compartment of an airplane or on the baggage trucks. There is no quick or inexpensive fix for a broken zipper.
- Warrantees on cheap luggage often contain too much double talk and really do not cover much of anything. Most of the time the cost to send it to be fixed isn't worth it.
Be very careful about purchasing expensive luggage from designers that are not in the luggage business. Often times the luggage is poorly manufactured using low quality materials. The designer may design your favorite jeans but that does not mean they know anything about well constructed luggage.
Quality Inspection for Luggage
What Size Should You Buy?
- Know before you shop of how you plan on using your new luggage and the size that you will need.
- Many well made suitcases offer expandability for additional packing space which might be a good option for meeting different travel demands.
- Be certain to open the luggage completely and check the actual packing space inside. If you have a piece of older luggage that meets your needs, measure the inside and compare it to the new piece that you are considering.
- 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.
Recommendations Based on the Length of Your Trip:
The Outer ShellDeciding on the type of suitcase that you want depends a lot on how you plan on using it.
Hard-Sided CasesThese 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 CasesThese 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.
Soft-Sided CasesA 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.
FabricationThe 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 longevity.
- 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.
- If you select a piece of luggage with a retractable handle be sure to test it to see if it slides up and down easily and if the handle comes up far enough for you to use it comfortably.
- You will also want to make certain that it has a locking system so that if you decide to check it at the airport, the handle won't slide out while in route and become damaged.
- Lifting handles should be available on both the long and short sides of the bag and should be securely attached with screws or bolts.
- Any piece that is going to endure a lot of stress should have extra stitching such as the gliders that the shoulder straps go through.
- Straps should be double stitched and adjustable.
- Shoulder straps should include padding.
- Interior straps should be in place to help hold your garments and keep them neat.
ZippersMetal zippers are strong but if they split apart they are difficult to repair. A better choice may be the synthetic zippers made of interlocking nylon coils. These zippers have a slide that repairs a split by just running it back over the zipper.
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