What Are The Best Luggage Brands?
How do you make a choice when buying your your luggage? Price? Style? Size? These days it really isn’t a one size fits all kind of world. I’m sure that like me you’ve fallen prey to the “too much clothes or too little” trap when on a jaunt. The main problem is, that there are often so many factors to take into account when planning for a time away.
The weather, length of stay, activities, and the type of appointments you are planning to keep are all factors that affect whether you go for the smooth and easy carry-on approach, or head full-on into the more executive luggage brands with a classy spinner as well as a carry-on.
So here you now have an across the board look at the few best luggage brands which combine at least some, or all the factors you should consider when going in for the one item that can make or break your time on the move.
In the name of total fairness we haven’t ranked these names, in keeping with the horses for courses approach which is only fair, as we’re all trying to make an individual choice based on our own preferences.
First up is the omnipresent Samsonite. One of the oldest players in the game, Samsonite makes high quality luggage. This well stablished and savvy member of the top rated luggage brands leaves no stone unturned in it’s quest to provide you with the largest range of affordable and reliable baggage options on the planet. From the business travellers stalwart Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2, right through to the New York Cityscape Spinner 20- Samsonite has done a fantastic job of appeasing most crowds and purposes. Samsonite rolls in as the mid-priced German car of luggage brands- solid, reliable, and with enough style to keep a broad range of passengers safe and happy on their journeys.
In 2012 Trip Advisor in effect decided to start doing it’s own luggage reviews as a part of their service to support travellers by creating the Travelers’ Choice Awards. Over 100,000 travellers a year give their input on the awards, which now includes prizes for the best luggage brands. Samsonite was lucky enough to get their award for the best carry-on luggage in both 2013 and 2014.
In covering so many bases, Samsonite has formed a series of partnerships for kids luggage including:
Disney By Samsonite
Marvel By Samsonite
Star Wars By Samsonite
The Parisian big hitter of luxury luggage brands, Delsey has a an eye on the more chic and sleek traveller. The great thing about most Delsey bags is that they ooze class. Check out this innovative take on the standard small size backpack:
Delsey Starcktrip Bogotack Backpack
100% Polygiene – an innovative material that prevents the existence of microbes on the inside and outside of your bag.
Great for casual use but staying clean and dry
Multiple pockets- well suited to technology and accessories such as cables and power cords
Anti-theft data protection system
This is the kind of new look that sees the sophisticated girl about town breaking the mould of handbag versus backpack ( a common conundrum in the modern world of tablets and laptops) with style and panache- expect more to come from Delsey in this area.
Another huge name in American luggage brands, Olympia runs a similar show to Samsonite- sturdy, solid bags that you can trust. It’s general reputation has kept Olympia consistently in the best luggage brands in recent years and this doesn’t look likely to change.
The Olympia range of luggage is pretty diverse. They make a lot of different classes of bag, and they are generally well worth a look. We’re happy to include the Olympia Gen-X Rolling Backpack in our list of luggage reviews.
The Gen-X is much more of throw-it-around item. It’s the kind of thing more suited to the young outdoors adventurer or traveller. Someone who’s expecting a bit of mud and dust along the journey. This bag is great for literally chucking anywhere and dealing with it.
I’ve owned one of these myself and its the kind of thing that seems to magically fit way more in then I was expecting.
Yes, the Olympia Gen-X comes through in the luggage reviews as the best throw around bag we’ve come across in some time. Definitely a useful buy for the outdoor enthusiast or young traveller. Don’t be deceived by it’s holdall looks. It comfortably fits on your back like a rucksack when it’s jammed full of stuff and needs to give your arms a rest. This one has been a personal favourite in the past and comes highly recommended. You won’t find yourself falling in love with this rough edged beast, but what you lose in romance, you gain in piece of mind. This one is built to last.
In the past Olympia has been described as no-frills which I personally think sounds a little unfair, as I rate it as one of the best luggage brands out there. If no- frills is a by word for solid and reliable, then personally I’m in!
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Purchase
It’s not complicated to deal with buying a bag form any of the luggage brands listed, but we’d still like to give you a quick rundown of our list of things not to forget when getting yourself a good buy.
Do I Need Wheels?
Good question. I most cases the answer is yes, unless you are going for the backpacking or ultralight approach.
Luggage moves on either 2 or 4 wheels these days with spinner suitcases being the four wheeled variety. the two wheelers are sometimes know as uprights and tend to have bigger wheels to compensate.
As a general guide, four wheelers tend to run better on smoother surfaces, whereas two wheel suitcases deal with rougher surfaces a bit better.
Wheels are either plastic or rubber. The more expensive luggage brands often tend to have rubber wheels which are quieter when on rough surfaces- the plastic ones can get a bit noisy. This is the sort of detail that is hard to find in reviews
What size suitcase should I choose?
If you’re flying to your destination, be aware that the airline will impose baggage restrictions on the size of hold luggage. This is an important factor when choosing and packing your suitcase.
Larger suitcases can be appealing to families but be sure to check the airline’s luggage restrictions before you travel to avoid excess luggage charges.
Suitcases with expandable compartments are a good option for travelers who switch between shorter and longer, winter and summer holidays, when the amount of baggage you take may vary.
There are no standard measurements used to classify medium and large suitcases. If you’re after a slightly smaller or larger case than those in our luggage reviews you can expect durability results of large and medium suitcases within the same range to be similar, but ease-of-use ratings are more susceptible to change.
We would, however, expect less variance in the ease of use if downsizing from a large case to a medium-sized version within the same suitcase range as opposed to going up in size from a medium-sized suitcase to a large-sized suitcase. For smaller carry-on luggage, it’s best to read our dedicated hand luggage reviews which are tailored to these smaller suitcases.
Does the suitcases trolley handle affect comfort?
Trolley handles can be fixed height or adjustable. Choosing a suitcase with an adjustable handle means you can set the trolley handle to a height that best suits you.
Suitcase trolley handles vary between luggage. Most are plastic, but some are padded or ergonomically shaped with the aim of increasing pulling comfort.
Most handles retract into the suitcase when not in use. When buying luggage, open the suitcase to see how much internal space the handle takes up and whether this affects the useable packaging space.
Try before you buy
To find the best suitcase for you we recommend you try before you buy.
Head out to the high street to try out some of these suitcases first-hand. Trolley handle heights and grips will vary, so choose one that suits your body frame.
See how easy it is to lift the suitcase using both the top and side handles, ideally with some weight in the case. If it’s going in the car boot, then think about size, especially when traveling with more than one case.
There is a mix of two and four-wheeled suitcases. Generally four-wheeled cases are easier to pull on smooth floors, while two-wheeled suitcases fared better in our tests on rougher ground. Bear this in mind when trying out a case on a shiny department store floor.
As a lifelong adventurer, both as a holiday maker and as a long-term traveller, I have a depth of experience in getting it wrong when it comes to what to take away with you and how much of it.
They say that your life is fuller, and more successful because of your past failures. If this is true, then I must now be one of the most successful people alive when it comes to lugging things around the planet. A shameless 30+ countries and covering everything from an army style backpack to a Gucci holdall as my faithful companion, I’m not proud of my mistakes, but they’ve meant that I’ve made some so that you don’t have to.