If you travel domestically once in a while, the choice of hard versus soft sided cases may not seem like much of an issue, but for frequent travelers or people who are looking at traveling to a far off destination, choosing the right piece or pieces of luggage for their trip can be critical to the enjoyment and success of their trip. No one wants to spend a vacation stressing about a ripped bag or try and drag luggage from place to place with broken wheels. Having your garments arrive wrinkled or damaged can be a disaster if you have a business meeting shortly after arriving. Your destination and your purpose will have a lot to do with the luggage you choose.
Hardside cases and softside bags have very different purposes and they need to be packed differently to each other. You also need to allow for how long you are going to be traveling, your other modes of transport besides aeroplanes and plan ahead. When looking at the destinations you will be traveling to, it is important to look at the weather and the possibilities of your luggage being exposed to harsh weather conditions. Snow, sand, rain and more can have an adverse effect on your luggage. How long will you be traveling for and is there somewhere you will be able to wash your clothing on your trip? If you have access to laundry facilities, you may need to pack less. Softer luggage allows you to squeeze in a few extra shirts or shorts whereas your hard shell luggage has no room for extras once full. If you are using public transportation at your destination, a soft shell case might be a better option as you can squeeze it under seats and in overhead luggage compartments easier, but there will also be more wear and tear on this type of case. If your soft shelled bag is packed too tightly, it might still be a problem if it can’t compress further to fit into narrow spaces, so pack appropriately.
It is important to plan what is going to go into your case before you purchase as well. If you travel with items that are fragile or delicate, then choosing a hard shell case will definitely be a better option for you. You could look at wrapping the items in bubble wrap and clothing to prevent damage, but this is less safe than using a harder case. If you are planning on buying gifts at your destination that may prove fragile, you might want to opt for a hardcase as well. Just make sure you leave a little space in your case to pack the goods for the trip home. You also need to look at how often you will be traveling as hardcase luggage and softcase luggage are subject to different amounts of wear and tear, especially if they go in as checked luggage as opposed to carry on. Hard shell luggage of a good quality is a lot more durable than soft side luggage of around the same value.
Believe it or not, hardside luggage can be a lot lighter than some of the softcase varieties, depending on the material used and any added features such as handles, wheels, straps, bags, smart features and so forth. Some of the hardside cases are made from strong, durable, lightweight materials and if you are going with hard side luggage, look at the weight of the unpacked bags when making your choices. softside luggage is generally made from various types of fabric and it is difficult to reduce weight of fabric cases without a reduction in quality. Look for quality in both hard side and soft side if you want a case that is going to be durable and last any length of time. Poor quality softcases can rip, wear and snag fairly easily and bad quality hard shell can crack, scuff, lose wheels and pop zippers quite easily as well. For longer lasting luggage, choose a good quality item to start with and you will reap the benefits over the long term.
Breakdown of the options
Good quality hardshell cases are generally sturdy and well made. They are able to stand up to adverse weather conditions and are generally waterproof. If you shop carefully, you can find hardside cases that are lightweight and made of materials that are easy to clean and don’t scuff as easily. Hard side cases are more protective of the contents and allow for stacking. Soft shelled cases allow for a little extra expansion and compression to pack that small extra item and to squeeze into smaller areas. The empty bag is easier to store when not in use. A good quality softsided case will not show marks and wear and tear as quickly as your hardsided case. There are usually exterior pockets and add on garment bags available for your softshell case. Remember to check that no one adds anything into your exterior pockets before you go through customs on the other side to prevent contraband being carried unknowingly. Seal or lock any outside pockets or bags or make sure you check them for tampering when they come off the carousel.
Luggage can be quite an investment, so it is important to choose luggage that suits your requirements as well as being durable enough to last you for your travels. The more you travel and the longer distances you go away from your home base, the better the quality of your luggage should be to ensure you get a reasonable amount of use from your cases. Make sure you know your airline restrictions and then take in to account all the other aspects related to choosing the best luggage for your unique needs. Make sure your luggage is manageable and suitable to your travel requirements and can fulfill their ultimate purpose of allowing you to bring along the necessities for an enjoyable and minimal stress business or holiday trip. You should be aware of these things.