Step by Step Guide to the right luggage type for you.
So many choices!
And this is the first thing to decide upon.
• Do we just need carry on luggage for flights? Luggage sets if checked luggage, or for car travel
• How many pieces do we need?
• Appearance (sophisticated, plain, style conscious, colourful, jazzy)
• Value point (quality luggage brands, or more luxurious)
• Features (what will we pay more for? Name ? Smart suitcase perhaps?)
Ask yourself these questions!
And then your next decision is this.
Which do you prefer? This is both a looks and long term decision
Softside Luggage: Generally, this refers to baggage that flexes under pressure, and has a more material like feel. A nylon or canvas type of material. This has been more traditionally what suitcases have been made of. Most luggage has been soft sided luggage, but we are seeing more choices in today’s market.
Softside is more flexible than hardside. Canvas, nylons, etc. are materials that have more flex and give to them. Sometimes that little extra give matters. They fit better into tight spaces or perhaps they can collapse down to allow for extra space. Softside can also have an expanding feature so if you make some purchases you have room for them. It might allow you to treat yourself to a few things, without a whole other bag.
Many also look softside, but have interior structures which make it very strong.
They are actually very forgiving to marks and dings which easily happen in all modes of travel.
To clean softside luggage, we recommend spot cleaning with a mild soap (i.e. dish soap) and water. If this is not successful, try a product used for spot removal on clothing such as Spray ‘n Wash, or using a foam type cleaner used to clean car mats or automobile carpets (sold at car parts stores). If the luggage has an offensive odor, use a vinegar (1 part) and water (5 parts) mixture. This may take the odor out but it will then need to be aired out for a few days. Also, we recommend placing charcoal in the bag for a day or more (depending on the strength of the odor) and close the bag. The charcoal will absorb the smell.
The hard sides do look quite cool, and are quite trendy right now for sure, but do have some disadvantages to be aware of. They are rigid, so are not flexible. The size is the size! A good ding to it is more apt to puncture and cause more serious damage than soft side.
They do tend to be lighter in many cases which may offset the damage issue. Let’s face it, lifting a heavy bag into an overhead is not always easy. And especially if you’re a smaller built person like I am, or a woman in a higher heeled shoe, or any other challenge you may find yourself with.
They generally have no outside pockets or sections to put things you want quickly. It is nice going through security checkpoints, and quickly getting settled in your seat to be able to have important necessities close at hand and easy to access.
There are solutions of course, which we will talk about in Travel Solutions.
Wear and tear will show more on your hard side luggage, so if you want to keep your luggage a long time, consider this. On the other hand, if you like to stay current and on trend, this won’t matter as much to you. As well, see the next section on hardside care.
To clean hardside luggage, we recommend using a gentle soap and warm water, rinsing well. If you would like to wax the case after cleaning, any good silicone-base automobile or furniture polish will preserve the luster and add resistance to the covering. We do NOT recommend, however, that you try to clean the luggage with a combination cleaner-polish.
Storing your luggage of any type:
Extremes of temperature, as well as the extremes of humidity will tend to age luggage. Any Samsonite luggage which is being stored in an attic or basement should be taken out of storage, opened, and permitted to “air” regularly. This will help to prevent mildew from forming as a result of humidity. It also assists in maintaining the normal resiliency of the case itself. Followings storage where extreme temperatures prevail, we recommend cleaning the luggage (see cleaning instructions above).
Conclusion on soft or hard? Luggage of course has great technology these days and any good quality luggage sets should provide long term use for your travels. Like everything, you do get what you pay for.
Handles, zippers, closures, and every other material used to make a luggage piece is only as good as the quality of the material and workman ship that went into it. I highly recommend you buy the best products you can afford, and then take good care of them.
Spinner Wheels or fixed ?
Yes, another decision, but your almost done and ready to make your final selection!
For years we have had suitcases with two fixed wheels on one side of the bag. They pull quite easily behind us, and often even in front of us, and often can take another smaller bag on top for efficiency.
They move quite well, but it is a pull, push situation. They may not always be as stable as we would like, especially if loaded heavily, so can tip over when parked in standing positon. I have only once had a wheel break down, so they do seem to last quite well. A wheel on anything is not going to last forever.
The spinner wheels which we see a lot of now allow for less strain to move them around. They can turn and move in different directions with ease, and stay upright so there is little effort or strain. They are definetly easier to deal with, but as they have more wheels in the first place, they are going to have more of them break, and is a very frequent complain. I would not buy spinner wheels on any lower priced bags, but there are plenty of high quality one’s to consider and they are awesome.
The bonus is they are often very stylish and on trend!