Luggage Set Buying Guide

If you travel, whether it is every once in a while or very often, you will want to buy a good luggage set. Luggage sets are sets of suitcases and/or bags of varying sizes and types. Having a set means you look more put-together than if you have mismatched luggage.

Types of Luggage Sets

Hard Shell

Hard shell luggage sets, depending on the number of pieces in the set, can come with a smaller, carry-on suitcase and a number of larger suitcases for checked baggage. They are often chosen for better durability and more choice in colors and patterns. Made of polycarbonate, hard shell luggage is more durable because of its ability to flex against drops and maintain a clean, smooth surface. These luggage sets often have a wider variety of colors and patterns available, since soft shell luggage is more likely to get a lighter color or pattern dirty. While not fully water-resistant, these suitcases are easier to keep dry in rain, snow, and puddles, due to the non-porous surface. Finally, hard shell suitcases are often more manageable in air ports because while soft shell luggage usually has two wheels that turn ninety degrees, if at all, hard shell luggage typically has four wheels that can turn up to 360 degrees.

Soft Shell

Soft shell luggage sets, depending on the size of the set, can come with two or more of the following pieces: a tote, a 20-inch carry-on suitcase, a 24-inch checked, a 28-inch checked, and a 30-inch checked suitcase. The set might also come with organizational pieces such as a toiletry bag or dividers, allowing for easier to divide your different travel gear. They are easier to fit extra luggage in, such as gifts and souvenirs you collect during your travels. Soft shell suitcases are also more likely to fit in overhead baggage due to their manipulability. They also give more access to small items through the front pockets, which can store a book, tickets, a child's toy, a toothbrush, and much more.

Pay Attention to

Sturdiness of wheels

There are many types of wheels available for luggage. The least sturdy type is plastic wheels that mount on the sides. With time and wear, these will loosen and fall off or chip and crack. The next step up from these are plastic, desk chair-style wheels that are mounted two or three inches from the outside of the suitcase and are sometimes coated with rubber. The rubber will likely deteriorate when exposed to freezing temperatures or extreme heat, leaving you with just the plastic mold. The best wheels for any suitcase are made in the style of inline skates and are ninety percent rubber with metal rims. These are also the type that is likely to rotate 360 degrees, giving you maximum maneuverability.

Sizes available

Luggage sets come with various sized luggage pieces. Hard-shell sets often come with a twenty-inch, a twenty-four-inch, and a twenty-eight-inch suitcase. Two piece sets of hard-shell usually come with the smaller two of the three. Soft-shell luggage sets can come with an overnight tote, a twenty-inch, a twenty-four-inch, a twenty-six-inch, and a twenty-eight-inch. A two-piece set usually comes with the twenty- and twenty-four-inch pieces, while a three-piece includes the overnight tote with the smaller two pieces. Some soft-shell luggage sets also come with a toiletry bag as well. If you are traveling mostly for business, you will likely just want a two-piece, while if traveling for pleasure, you may prefer a three-piece. The larger sets are good for family travel and long-term vacationing.

Type and quality of material

Hard-shell suitcases are made nowadays out of polycarbonate, a flexible but sturdy material that is often used for contact lenses. Most hard-shell suitcases are made of the same high quality of material, so buying from one brand over another is a matter of preference. Soft-shell luggage, on the other hand, can be made of nylon, denim, or canvas; this variety in material also affects the quality of the material. Rip-stop nylon is the best quality material for suitcases, while denim is the lowest quality material. What brand you pick also has an effect on the quality of soft-shell suitcase material. This is why you want to seek out the best quality brand for your soft-shell suitcases.

Number and sturdiness of handles

Most suitcases have a retractable handle to pull the suitcase with and two others for carrying the luggage, one on the top and one on the side. Some suitcases have an additional handle on the bottom, where the wheels are, to help lift the baggage. The sturdiness of the handles truly depends on who makes the luggage set. However, two poles for the handle tends to be more study than one.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Samsonite

One of the best brands and the most popular one is Samsonite. This company, founded in 1910, makes both hard-shell and soft-shell luggage sets, and also make luggage under the names of American Tourister and TravelPro. One of its set of hard-shell luggage is the Winfield 2 Fashion Hardside three-piece set. It features a flexible and scratch-resistant hard shell with interior clothing straps and a privacy curtain with its own organizational pockets.

Fox Luggage

A much newer company, Fox Luggage was started in 2008. They have become a quick favorite among some travelers, though they cannot beat the reputation of Samsonite. One of the reasons travelers love Fox Luggage's Rockland suitcases is because they come in such a large variety of colors and patterns, with some patterns too cute not to buy for your kids. The Rockland Impact Spinner four-piece luggage set comes with 18-inch, 22-inch, 26-inch, and 30-inch luggage pieces. Storage is expansive, and there's a zipper extension for extra room. Best of all, the quality is great for the price you get it for.

Pierre Cardin

Founded by Pierre Cardin himself in 1950, this company is known for its geometric and space-age fashions for both men and women. Its signature four-piece Spinner luggage set comes with a tote and luggage pieces in three sizes: 21-, 25-, and 28-inch. Stylish, it comes in a light gray color with a black diamond pattern and is quite expensive. The luggage pieces have teleccopic handles as well as two carry handles and also have lots of pockets for organizational purposes.