Best Hardside Luggage – Top Choices In 2020!
Have you decided on buying a new hardside suitcase, but don’t know which one to choose? Well, congratulations, my friend, you’ve come to the right place! Haven't we promised to always find the best and most durable luggage for you?
Indeed we have! We have searched the market and picked the ones we believe to be the best hardside luggage out there in 2020.
Hardsided, Softsided, Carry-On, or Checked Luggage?
One of the major and unavoidable decisions you have to make when looking for a new piece of luggage is whether you should buy a hardside or a softside.
What the best choice depends on your personal preferences and what qualities you are looking for in a bag. Since you're here reading this article, we assume you have already made that decision!
We have picked both hard case carry-on luggage, as well as the best hard suitcases. Most of the items we review are part of a line or collection and can be bought in more that one size.
This means that if you find a carry on that you like, the chances are that you can also find a piece of checked luggage in the same collection.
Read all the way or use the table of contents above to go directly to the most interesting heading!
Chester Luggage Minima Carry-On, Regula Checked Suitcase, and Maxima checked Suitcase! You cannot go wrong with these hardsides. Use the exclusive discount code TRAVELGEARDEPOT and get an extra 10% off your Chester purchase at the Chester site. Read about the Chester bags here.
Quick Comparison Table Best Hardside Luggage
|Bag (Click on name for price and availability on Amazon)||Size||Weight||Warranty|
|Aleon 19" International Carry-On||19.4" x 14.1" x 7.3"||9.3 lbs.||Limited 10 Year|
|Delsey Paris Chatelet Hard+ Carry-on||20.25" x 14.25" x 9.5"||9.3 lbs.||Limited 10 Year International|
|Enkloze X1 Carbon Fiber Carry-On 21"||21.3" x 14.6" x 9.5"||8.2 lbs.||5 Year Limited|
|AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage 21"||14.9" x 10" x 21.6"||7.34 lbs.||3 Year Limited|
|Kenneth Cole Reaction Scott's Corner 20"||22” x 14” x 9”||7.05 lbs.||10 Year Limited|
|Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside 21"||21" x 14" x 10"||8.2 lbs.||Worldwide Limited 10 Year|
|Samsonite S'Cure Spinner 28"||29.75" x 20.0" x 12.0"||11.2 lbs.||Limited 10 Year Global|
|Briggs & Riley Sympatico Expandable CX 30"||30″ x 20″ x 12″||13.5 lbs.||“Simple As That” Lifetime|
|American Tourister Moonlight Expandable Hardside||30” x 19.5”x 12.5”||11.5 lbs.||10 Year Limited|
|COOLIFE Luggage Expandable 28"||30.3" x 20.1" x 11.8"||10.8 lbs.||Limited 2 Year Global|
Buying Guide for Hardside Luggage
Choosing a piece of hardside luggage from the hundreds of options available can feel overwhelming. The easiest way to go about this is to narrow down on the specific features of each bag. Here are the main factors you should focus on:
Hardside Luggage Material
Many hardshell suitcases last longer than their softside counterparts. But even then, some materials offer a little more durability than others.
Aluminum suitcases are as durable as they are lightweight, which is one of the reasons why they’re so darn expensive.
This explains why only a few manufacturers use this material to make their suitcases. Often, this is only used by luggage brands like Away and Rimowa, which make luxury suitcases for the high-end consumer.
Are you willing to splurge on a piece of quality luggage that can weather all the wear and tear in a rather beautiful way? Then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t invest in an aluminum suitcase.
For the budget consumer, a more economical option is luggage made of polycarbonate. Such a suitcase is constructed using a lightweight thermoplastic polymer.
While this material offers slightly less durability than aluminum, it’s also lighter. This makes it an excellent choice for travelers who don’t want to haul too much weight.
Polycarbonate hardside luggage also offers more colors and patterns to pick from compared to aluminum.
Another perk of choosing polycarbonate is that it’s highly resistant to impact. If your suitcase gets bumped against something, this material will simply flex to absorb the impact, then go back to its original shape.
Also known as polypropene, this is another type of thermoplastic polymer. The key difference between this and polycarbonate is that polypropylene is lighter. This makes it a great option for travelers who want to keep the weight of their bags to a minimum.
Like polycarbonate, it’s also resilient, meaning it has some resistance to impact. However, it’s not as durable as polycarbonate, and hence not that common in luggage.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS is another popular thermoplastic that’s used to make hardside suitcases.
It’s lighter than polycarbonate, but it’s also less durable. This is why suitcases made of ABS are often cheaper than those from polycarbonate.
However, not all ABS luggage is inferior; there are a few luggage brands that use thick ABS to boost the durability of their products. A good example is the AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage.
Sometimes a combination of ABS and polycarbonate is used. This makes for luggage that is lighter and cheaper than polycarbonate but more durable than ABS.
Two Wheels vs. Four Wheels
Once you’ve decided on the material you want for your luggage, the next step is choosing between two- and four-wheel units.
Most hardside cases today are designed with four wheels to offer more maneuverability. That is not to mean that there aren’t any benefits to using two-wheeled luggage.
Frankly, inline skate wheels (two wheels) are the most durable and reliable wheel option. They are usually well protected in the corners of the bag, and thus not as prone to being knocked off in transit.
Personally, though, I prefer a hardside luggage with four double spinner wheels. It’s much easier to navigate, which is very important when you’re walking through crowds of people or down a narrow airplane aisle.
A spinner also boasts a better distribution of weight- a factor that keeps weight off your arms and shoulders.
If you decide to go for 4-wheel luggage, look for one that has double spinner wheels. These are more reliable on all kinds of surfaces since they don’t get stuck in crevices as easily as single wheels. They're also more stable.
If you’re going on a holiday, you’ll want to spend most of your time unwinding and relaxing, not worrying about your belongings in your suitcase. So, for reassurance, look for luggage with additional security features.
Some bags are equipped with tamper-proof zippers. This means that a potential thief cannot pry the zipper open with some kind of sharp object. This is actually quite easy if you have an old bag you’re about to throw away, try it and see for yourself!
Bags with more than one compartment may have multi-pocket TSA-approved locks. This means every compartment (if there is more than one) has its individual lock, and this makes it harder for thieves to access your bag’s contents.
You could also opt for a clip lock system, which simply means that the bag has a zipless locking mechanism. Then there is no zipper that someone can jam open with a knife or even a pen.
If the hardside case you’re considering doesn’t have integrated locks, make sure it’s possible to attach a padlock to the zipper pulls.
You may also want to check out our article on anti-theft backpacks.
If you’re going to spend perhaps hundreds of dollars buying some nice hard case luggage, then it’s vital that you make the right investment. One of the factors that you should look for is the warranty.
Now, while suitcases with a lifetime warranty will be a little pricier, they’re worth every penny. The manufacturer guarantees to cater for any defects that may be the direct result of poor workmanship on their part for the life span of the bag.
Note that this only applies as long as the one who purchased it stills owns it.
There are actually some warranties that cover any kind of damage to the bag, no matter if it’s due to poor workmanship or exterior forces. One good example is Briggs & Riley's Simple As That® Guarantee.
Anyhow, don’t settle for less than a 5-year limited warranty.
This feature shouldn’t miss in the luggage you’re planning to buy. It prevents you from having to support the entire weight of the bag on your hands and shoulders. You also avoid the bag hurting your heels while pulling it behind you.
When looking for a telescopic handle, pay attention to its extendable feature. Can it be configured to different heights? Are you able to lock it into its different positions?
The material is also important. An extendable aluminum handle (also called trolley handle or pull handle) is certainly more durable than a plastic one.
Have you ever noticed that your belongings tend to increase when you’re coming back from a trip? When you were packing to go for the trip, everything seemed to fit snugly. But now that you’re packing for your return trip, nothing seems to fit.
If you’ve experienced this a couple of times, you might want to invest in an expandable hardside luggage. This gives you a space allowance where you can pack a few more items.
However, keep in mind that filling your expandable carry-on suitcase to the brim might mean it won't fit in the overhead bin or underneath the plane seat anymore.
Compartments And Pockets
If you like keeping your items neat and organized, look for a suitcase that has pockets, compartments, and dividers. An external compartment might also come in handy if you want to be able to access some of your items with ease.
Regardless of how much effort you put into taking care of your luggage, if it was poorly built from the beginning, it’s not going to last. To confirm that your luggage is durable, here are the aspects you should focus on:
The handles are among the first elements to break on luggage, so you should check their quality before making any purchases.
If you have collapsible handles, they should extend and collapse with ease without getting jammed. Any side handles and shoulder straps present should be equally durable.
Try lifting the bag using the carry handle. Does it feel smooth and comfortable? Cheap and less durable handles are often edgy and uncomfortable. Also, check that the handle is firmly attached to the case and that any seems to appear robust.
Another vital component that you ought to check is the zipper. After all, your suitcase won’t be of any use if the zipper isn’t working. Poorly-made zippers might break within the first few days, and if they break in the middle of your trip, they’ll cause massive inconvenience.
Follow these tips to select quality zippers for your luggage:
Larger zippers are preferred for luggage bags
Bigger zippers simply hold up better than slim ones. Some manufacturers state the size of the zippers, a #10 zipper is a good choice for luggage.
For the handle, make sure the seams attaching the zipper look robust, and there are no loose ends.
Opt for water-resistant zippers
Even though a hardside luggage is good at protecting delicate items, it’s advisable to go for waterproof zipper systems. This way, you’re guaranteed that no water or moisture will accidentally get into your bag and damage your belongings.
Best Hardside Luggage - Carry-Ons!
Aleon 19" International Carry-On and 21" Classic Carry-On
- Exterior measurements: 19.4" x 14.1" x 7.3" (for 19") or 20.9" x 15.7" x 9.0" (for 21")
- Interior measurements: 15.7" x 12.3" x 6.7" (for 19") or 17.6" x 13.7" x 6.7" (for 21")
- Weight: 9.3 lbs. or 10.6 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 10 Year Warranty
Read our detailed review on the Aleon Hardside Carry-On Aluminum Luggage. We present the International 19" as well as the Classic 21" carry-on.
Delsey Paris Chatelet Hard+ Hardside Carry-on Spinner Suitcase 21"
- Case size: 20.25" x 14.25" x 9.5"
- Weight: 9.3 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 10 Year International Warranty
In a hurry? Click here to go directly to Amazon for the current price and availability!
Looking for a classy and robust carry-on that will fit most overhead bins on international flights? Then look no further my friend, this vintage-looking piece is all you can ask for!
We have to admit, this is on the heavier side, but we forgive it for that because it's so lovely in other respects. It does not come in bright colors, but even we with our soft spot for colors think the black, brown, and champagne are just right for this bag.
This Delsey hardside carry-on luggage is built from Makrolon® Polycarbonate. This is a sturdy type of plastic that is impact resistant and tolerates extreme temperatures. It's equipped with Japanese Hinomoto® spinner wheels, providing a smooth and pleasant rolling experience.
And you know what? You can actually put a brake on the front wheels to prevent it from rolling away from you! And it's really clever too because you can still roll it along on the back wheels like an inliner. We're in awe...
Ok, then, back to business. There is a dual-trolley handle with non-slip coating, a recessed integrated TSA lock, and top and side carry handles.
On the back is an identification code, unique for every bag. You register your bag via the Delsey site, and then you and your bag can connect again if it gets lost. It doesn't matter if your luggage tag has been ripped off.
The interior of the bag gives quite a luxurious feeling. It is fully lined, of course, with two separate compartments, one with a zippered divider and the other with tie-down straps.
Now this sounds average, right? But you also get two interior bags for your smaller stuff and a travel garment hanger.
Actually, we have nothing bad to say about this Delsey Chatelet carry-on. It is not ultra-light, so if that is your top priority, this is perhaps not your best choice. But we have no doubts that this is a top-quality piece of the best hardside luggage.
Enkloze X1 Carbon Fiber Carry-On 21" - 4 Wheel Spinner
- Overall size: 21.3" x 14.6" x 9.5"
- Weight: 8.2 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty
If you are in a hurry, go directly to Amazon for the latest price and availability!
We are thrilled to present this hard case carry-on luggage! It has so many fabulous features, and you know what? Despite the lack of colors or patterns, we actually adore the look and design of it. It has a strict and no-nonsense appearance. We think it looks a little like tweed actually!
But hey, let's slow down. We haven't even begun to describe it or look at its qualities, and we're already raising it to the stars. Facts then:
- Made from 100% polycarbonate with an aluminum frame and corner reinforcements
- Height-adjustable aluminum pull rod
- Zippered and lockable front compartment for laptop, with several smaller pockets
- Two (yes, 2!) TSA-approved locks, for front and main compartments
- Japanese Hinamoto spinner wheels
- Clam shell main compartment with dividers and x-shaped tie-down bands on both sides along with zippered mesh pockets on the divider panels
- Available in black (with grey stripes) and white (with light grey stripes)
On the front pocket that is zippered, and there is a 3-digit combination lock, so you can quickly access your passport and other important documents. One reviewer actually says that "I even dropped the need for my backpack since I can put everything in the front-loading accessory compartment".
Users have reported that you can fit a 13" Macbook and an iPad or "a 14" Razer Blade, and a Dell XPS 15" in the front. Plus, pens, passport, ticket, and other small stuff!
The main compartment is not zippered. To close it, you slide the lock into place after making sure that the aluminum frames are lined up evenly. No risk of zipper breaking or someone cutting into the bag through the zipper.
The main compartment is then locked with a key. Good or bad? Well, if you lose the key, you're out of luck, of course. You get two keys though, so there is the possibility of keeping the extra key in your inner pocket or someplace elsewhere. It's safe. But we can't help wondering why Enkloze chose to use a lock with a key instead of a combination lock?
The inside is quite clean and simple, but well organized. With the two sides each having a divider panel with mesh pockets on them, and adjustable straps on both sides as well, it's easy to pack and have your clothes staying in place. The inside fabric is light enough to make your stuff easy to spot but colored enough for stains not showing easily.
You have most likely already understood that we are rather enchanted by this hardsided carry-on. It fits in among the best hardside luggage without a doubt, but there is one thing we would like to see on future editions: a side handle! That would help a lot when hauling the bag into the overhead compartment.
The brand Enkloze was created by a group of ex-consultants, that used to travel the world in their jobs. The bags are therefore created with the frequent business traveler in mind.
However, we would not hesitate to use it on a vacation or weekend getaway. If it's good, it's good. Right?
We are also not alone to endorse this bag; users are nothing less than enthusiastic! (Except for one who stated it to be "cheap plastic junk." Go figure!)
AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage - 21 Inch
- Overall size: 14.9" x 10" x 21.6"
- Weight: 7.34 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 Year Limited Warranty
We wanted to present an inexpensive case among the best hardside luggage, and the AmazonBasics Spinner Luggage is a popular option. We have chosen the carry-on here, but it's also available as a medium and a large suitcase and a 3-piece set.
As you might have noticed from our reviews, the majority of hardside luggage is made of polycarbonate or a variation of this material. However, lower-end suitcases like the AmazonBasics are made from simple ABS material.
This still offers a couple of benefits. For one, it’s relatively lighter than polycarbonate. Two, it drives the price down due to lower production costs.
According to the manufacturer, the type of ABS used for construction is thick.
Admittedly, this kind of counteracts the fact that ABS is lighter than PC. But seeing that ABS is less durable than PC, it's probably a good thing that it's thick!
Based on our research, it does seem to hold up pretty well in terms of its resistance to scratches and impact.
You can get it in black, navy blue, blue, or orange. It's expandable , giving up to 15% more packing space when expanded.
This luggage sports a clamshell design. One half is fitted with a zippered divider while the other half has luggage straps. The compartments are completely lined and have three zippered pockets to enhance the organization. The lining is made of 150D polyester, which is quite a tough material.
The main and extendable handle performs fairly well. Once you extend it fully, it might feel wobbly during use. But given the price, this is expected. It also has top and side carry handles, which makes it easy to carry on the side in crowded areas. According to Amazon, they've been securely mounted and thoroughly tested.
The AmazonBasics Spinner Luggage has a good average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 possible , but there are issues to take note of. The extendable handle gave some users trouble by breaking or failing to extend, collapse, or stay in the wanted height.
Like with many other spinners, some have also had the very troublesome experience of wheels getting torn off in luggage handling.
You know the saying you get what you pay for? Our verdict will be that this is probably true here as well.
Kenneth Cole Reaction Scott's Corner 20" Hardside Expandable Spinner Carry-On
- Overall size: 22” x 14” x 9” (11” when expanded)
- Weight: 7.05 lbs.
- Warranty: 10 Year Limited Warranty
We like this hardside a lot and are happy that it also comes in two larger checked sizes. You can have a set if you like and mix the five colors as you like! They are (as shown above) rose gold, charcoal, stone blue and not also shown red and navy.
But the colors aren't all, will it serve you well on your travels? Let's find out!
It has double spinner wheels, always a more reliable choice than single wheels. The trolley handle reaches 41 inches at the most and has a push-button locking mechanism.
There are top and bottom handles (thank you, Kenneth, makes it so much easier to toss into the overhead bin!) but no side handle, perhaps not that important on a carry-on.
The two compartments are fully lined, one has cross-straps and the other a divider with a large pocket on it. There doesn't seem to be any other organizational pockets, something we might have wished for. But there is always the possibility of using packing cubes!
The bag expands 2 inches and then becomes 11" deep, but beware that it may not be allowed as a carry-on with those measures. Not expanded it's 9" deep, which is allowed on most airlines (but always check before you go!).
Our favorite feature is the material! The Scott's Corner is made with PET, a recyclable hard plastic. Isn't that great, when you're done using your hardside luggage it can be recycled and perhaps become a park bench in its next life! We love that thought.
It's fairly lightweight and as durable as they come, "practically indestructible," according to the manufacturer. We don't know about that, but we haven't seen any reports about a bag breaking or getting dents either. For extra protection, there are corner guards as well.
TSA-approved combination lock, check.
Great bag! And we're not alone to think that either, can you believe that not a single reviewer has rated it one star? The average rating on Amazon is 4.3 stars out of 5.
The (so far) single 2-star reviewer had trouble with the lock and wasn't allowed to take it on board on two flights. Was it perhaps expanded?
Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels
- Overall size: 21" x 14" x 10" (12" when expanded)
- Weight: 8.2 lbs.
- Warranty: Worldwide Limited 10 Year Warranty
Are you looking to make a bold fashion statement? Well, the Helium Aero Hardside Carry-On is a showstopper that will have other travelers turning their heads to gaze at it.
Delsey is a brand that’s known for premium designs, and this suitcase is enough proof. It’s elegant and chic and has that Parisian vibe.
We have chosen to look specifically at the small carry-on, because of one of its awesome features only that has (more on that below). But this luggage comes in several sizes and gorgeous colors (more than in the image above). You can choose the perfect travel suitcase for your needs.
The Delsey Aero Helium is made with polycarbonate plastic, a plastic known to be lightweight and durable, and often used for luggage because of these properties. The case is expandable by up to 2 inches. Note that using the expansion may mean you have to check it.
As on all the best hardside luggage, there is a TSA-approved combination lock to keep your stuff safe and letting customs access your bag with ease.
Inside, you find a fabric lining and a fabric divider with a large zippered pocket. On the other side are cross straps and a smaller zippered pocket.
So, what's the awesome feature then?
Hardsides seldom have an exterior front pocket, but this cutie has exactly that! You can store a 15.6" laptop in a padded sleeve as well as travel documents, perfect for a smooth passage through security. Only this size of the Paris Aero Helium has this feature. It's so convenient!
If you feel the need to lock the front compartment, you need a padlock.
You can pull your bag with the metal expandable trolley handle that locks in two extended positions or carry it using the top or side soft-touch carry handles.
We're happy that this carry-on is equipped with double spinner wheels. Those feel and are more reliable and stable than single wheels.
Now that we've looked at all the features of the Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Carry-On, it's time to take a look at the ratings and the quality. Will it fit into the best hardside luggage category?
There are reports on broken shells and failing zippers, but the average rating of all the reviews we've found on the web is a stunning 4.4 out of 5 possible. It's hard to believe that can happen if the overall quality isn't good.
So, based on this fact and what we have read about it in the reviews, we dare to recommend this beautiful and very functional carry-on!
Best Hardside Luggage Checked Suitcases - Choose Your Favorite!
Samsonite S'Cure Spinner 28"
- Overall size: 29.75" x 20.0" x 12.0"
- Weight: 11.2 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 10 Year Global Warranty
Don't have time to read the full review? Then go directly to Amazon to check out the latest price and availability.
With the S'Cure Spinner Samsonite has abandoned the zippered suitcase concept. Instead, there is a three-point locking system with clips and an integrated TSA-approved lock. Is this better than the zipper? Honestly, we don't know. Zippers can break or jam, but so can clips.
The pro for this kind of lock lies perhaps more in the opening- and closing experience. It's quick! And it cannot be opened by manipulating a zipper with a pen or something like that, so that's another pro, of course.
This is a polypropylene suitcase - the material is called Flowlite™ Polypropylene, another durable plastic apart from polycarbonate. The surface of the bag is textured and seems to withstand scratches rather well actually.
There are top and side handles, as well as a bottom grip. The dual push-button handle can be locked in several positions.
There are four double spinner wheels. The interior is not lined at all, but there are a zippered divider and cross-straps. One reviewer actually loved the interior not being lined as it made it so easy to clean. Well, that's something we haven't considered before, but it does make sense!
There's a zigzag-shaped compression strap on the side and a divider on the other. Nothing fancy but does the job of keeping your clothes in place.
What’s more, the manufacturer has incorporated a rubber frame gasket to make it waterproof. The rubber gasket also prevents dust and moisture from entering your luggage.
On the back is an integrated ID tag, behind a little plastic window. The window can be a little difficult to take off, but you just have to pull hard at the top of it. It will pivot at the bottom.
So, cons to this bag then? Well, most reviewers (we've read about 400 of them) are very satisfied with their buy. Among the few complaints we've seen, there are a couple about wheels getting knocked off during airline handling.
A couple more concerns the lock or clips faltering, and some people experienced dents. But that's about all.
The bag comes in black, dark blue (not 28"), aqua and crimson red. Guess which color we prefer?
So, what's our final verdict on the Samsonite S'Cure suitcase? Well, we definitely believe it's a good quality buy and fits among the best hardside luggage, but you've got to like a "naked" interior and latch locks (which we do). If you're also fine with that, go for it!
Briggs & Riley Sympatico Expandable CX 30" Spinner
- Overall size: 30″ x 20″ x 12″
- Weight: 13.5 lbs.
- Warranty: “Simple As That” Lifetime Warranty
In a hurry? Click here to go directly to Amazon for the current price and availability!
Briggs & Riley are top everything. Top scored in Consumer Reports' luggage rating, top warranty, and a top smart expansion system. What else is there to wish for?
Oh, well, since you ask, how about some lovely colors and patterns? But we won't be petty-minded, they have some nice austere colors in their collections. The burgundy is actually very nice!
The Briggs & Riley Sympatico Expandable CX 30" Spinner Suitcase is no exception to the top rule. This is, as far as we understand, the only hardside luggage with a warranty that covers the repair of damage caused by rough handling for the lifetime of the bag.
You can't go wrong when buying a hard suitcase with that kind of back-up.
The Sympatico bag features the CX™ expansion-compression system. This increases the packing capacity with up to 17% and then compresses it back to its reported measurements.
There is one feature we want to highlight a little extra. Being a hardside, the Sympatico does not have any external pockets. But this line has coordinated the hard side with 3 different soft bags. There is a tote, a weekender, and a backpack that all can be slid over the telescopic Outsider® handle.
Some other tech specs then:
- 3 layer Makrolon® polycarbonate , providing elasticity and resilience
- Built-in TSA-approved combination lock
- Aircraft-grade aluminum 3 stop trolley handle with an ergonomic grip that goes on the outside. This means more space inside and also a flat packing surface
- Soft-touch top and side carry handles
- SmartLink™ system strap to transport another bag piggy-back style
- Double spinner wheels
Besides being flat inside due to the Outsider® handle, the interior has some other nice features. There are garment compression panels with speed buckles and a large mesh pocket. Behind the pocket, there is a hanger that can hold one suit or 2-3 shirts.
Fully lined? Of course. According to Briggs & Riley themselves, the "soft-touch interior lining gently cradles clothing."
It seems almost redundant to state that we are extremely pleased (well, apart from the color thing then) with this Briggs & Riley hardside. Full stop.
American Tourister Moonlight Expandable Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels
- Overall size: 30” x 19.5”x 12.5”
- Weight: 11.5 lbs.
- Warranty: 10 Year Limited Warranty
Short on time? Then go straight to Amazon to check out this beauty!
Love at first sight... if that exists when it comes to luggage, it definitely applies for when we first laid eyes on this fun and happy hard-side. Colorful yet dignified. There are more colors and patterns than the ones above, how about Palm Trees or Purple Storm?
But, the burning question is, does this beauty also deliver in terms of quality and usability? Let's find out.
First, at the time this is being written, there are 463 reviews on Amazon. The average rating is 4.4 out of 5 stars. Wow.
The shell is made from a blend of polycarbonate and ABS plastic, with a print and textured finish. The fact that it's textured (in a kind of checked pattern) makes it somewhat scratch resistant. However, there are some complaints about the bag getting scuff marks when getting tossed around by baggage handlers.
The bag is equipped with single spinner wheels. As far as we can deduce from the reviews around the web, they hold up fine.
The pull rod, or trolley handle, is metallic and operated with a push-button. It retracts completely when not in use. It's also beveled for a comfortable grip.
The retractable top and side handles are soft for easy grab and go and for lifting the Moonlight off the baggage carousel.
The interior is pretty simple, cross straps on one side, and a mesh divider on the other. No pockets whatsoever.
Another penny saver for the manufacturer is that if you want to be able to lock the bag, you have to buy the TSA padlock yourself.
Is this bag for you? If a good quality budget alternative is what you're looking for, we think it is. If you're looking for a superior quality top-level bag, perhaps not. The decision is yours to make!
COOLIFE Luggage Expandable 28" Suitcase
The COOLIFE brand came into existence in 1999. They state that “Our dream is to offer an expansive selection of superior quality travel luggage that are young, high-quality and functional at an affordable price”.
Sounds promising! Let's see if they manage to live up to that dream and if this expandable suitcase will fit into the category best hardside luggage.
The hard shell on this suitcase is made from a combination of ABS and polycarbonate materials, providing a strong, durable, lightweight, and seemingly scratch resistant surface.
The COOLIFE comes with a 3-level aluminum telescoping handle as well as cushioned comfort-grip top and side carry handles. According to user reviews, it seems to work perfectly.
An integrated TSA-approved combination lock makes customs happy.
Four double spinner wheels that apparently glide smoothly and silently. Out of 281 reviewers, 5 have had problems with them, meaning a wheel was knocked off in transit.
It's so hard to evaluate what's going on when this happens, spinner wheels do stick out from the case and are vulnerable to damage when the luggage gets tossed around.
No reports of wheels getting jammed, though!
No less than five colors are available. In addition to the orange, green, and white grid seen above, there is also navy and wine. Choose orange and you will never again hesitate on which bag is yours on the carousel!
On arrival, your bag will have a protective film on the outside. On the inside, the design is good but not fancy. It has tie-down straps on one side and a divider on the other. There are three zippered pockets for organization purposes.
We're happy to say that COOLIFE seems to live up to the promise in their dream. This colorful luggage is functional, high quality, and if you ask us also good looking. Fits well into this best hardside luggage article!
How To Make Your Hardside Luggage Last Longer
If you’re like most travelers, you probably don’t give much thought to your luggage. Not unless you find yourself with a torn bag or broken handle.
Many always assume that luggage is designed to withstand the test of time. While this holds true for well-built bags, it’s still a good idea to care for your bag. This helps to extend its lifespan, ensuring that you can use it for a long time.
Here are a couple of things you can do:
Store Your Luggage Properly
Where do you keep your luggage when you’re not using it? If you’re like the majority of travelers, you probably just squeeze it under your bed, in the attic, crawlspace or closet, without giving it much thought.
But you need to keep in mind that storing it properly is just as important as using the luggage in the right way. So, before you store it away, consider doing some routine checks.
If it has inner pockets, zip them all up. If you’re dealing with expandable luggage, then be sure to fold it in its most compact form before storing it. Does it have detachable straps? Remove these and store them nicely in one of the inner pockets.
Any outer pockets should also be zipped up to prevent any creepy-crawlies from accessing the bag’s contents and from turning your precious hardside luggage into their residence.
Ideally, the storage space should be completely dry and cool. It should not be humid as any traces of moisture can lead to the formation of mold and mildew.
Also, it should not be a spot that receives direct sunlight. The reason for this is that the UV rays can cause the color of the case to fade quickly. The material may also disintegrate somewhat from the sun.
In the event that you have a luggage set, you can save on storage space by nesting the smaller into the bigger one, where they will also be protected.
Make sure that all the items you’re storing in your luggage are clean and organized. In fact, we recommend putting them inside plastic bags first before arranging them in the luggage.
When packing, you may get tempted to overstuff your suitcase if your items don’t fit. While this may seem like a good idea at the moment, it’s only jeopardizing the bag’s durability by exerting pressure on the zippers and fabric seams. Pack only the items that you can comfortably fit into your suitcase.
Similarly, if you’re carrying any sharp objects like a pair of scissors, then be sure to wrap them up first. It’s also advisable to pack such items in the middle to avoid the risk of coming into contact with the outer shell of the luggage.
Also, exercise caution when carrying liquids. You can keep separate bags for toiletries and liquids. This will protect the rest of your gear in the event of liquid spills.
An extra tip to enjoy your new hardside even more! We have reviewed the best packing cubes, and we are pleased to say that there are some really good ones out there. High quality, good functionality, and excellent organizers. We love travel packing cubes!
Keep Your Suitcase Clean
If you want your luggage to last, then keep it looking as new. Scrub off any dirt that it might have picked up during your travel before storing it.
Keep in mind that the cleaning method you use will depend on the material it’s made of. In the case of hardshell luggage, this involves cleaning with warm water and a mild detergent applied with a soft cloth or sponge.
How do you pack items in a hardside luggage?
It’s advisable to start by making a packing list a couple of days before your scheduled departure. Once you’ve listed everything you plan to carry, start packing the heaviest items at the bottom (where the wheels are). This will give the bag a center of gravity close to the ground, making it as stable as possible.
When packing clothing like shorts and t-shirts, use the superb Army Roll technique. This involves folding in the sleeves and then rolling the piece of clothing until it’s more compact. Not only does this save you space, but it also means that your clothes will have fewer creases. For bulkier attire, consider packing them in compression cubes.
If you’re packing shoes in your suitcase, make the most of them by storing items inside them. You can fill them with socks, undergarments, and accessories. However, if they’re dirty, keep them in a separate plastic bag first to avoid soiling the rest of your belongings.
How can I maximize space in my luggage?
To save on storage space, consider replacing the material with the digital equivalent. Do you plan to carry your mobile phone, tablet or laptop? Then why not use them to store reading material such as translation maps and travel guides?
Another tip is to use multi-functional items, especially when it comes to clothing. While some trips require that you carry special outfits, most trips don’t. For such instances, look for attires that can be easily dressed up or down.
On the same note, consider wearing bulky items. Do you plan to bring a bulky jacket that occupies half the space in your luggage? A smart move would be to wear it and save that space. Alternatively, you can look for fabrics that can keep you warm without taking up excess space.
If you plan on bringing several belts, try wrapping them inside your shirts' collars. This not only saves you space, but it helps to keep the collar stiff.
What size of luggage should you travel with?
Travel suitcases come in all sorts of sizes. Choosing the perfect size is a personal and practical decision that varies from one traveler to the next. Lay the piece of clothing out flat, then start by folding the bottom two inches.
What you need to keep in mind is that carry-on bags should be small enough to fit underneath a plane seat or in the overhead bin. For the majority of airlines, the dimensions of a carry-on should not exceed: 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 9 inches deep. Always make sure to check with your travel agent or the airline itself, though!
Also, remember that you might not be able to bring a carry-on if:
- You’re traveling in a smaller aircraft
- All the overhead bins are filled
- You overpack the bag to the point that it doesn’t fit in either of the designated compartments
How do you clean a hardshell suitcase?
Luckily, the materials used to make modern-day suitcases need very little maintenance.
If yours is made of polycarbonate, ABS, or polypropylene, all you need is a mild detergent, some warm water and a soft cloth or sponge to clean it. Once you’re done cleaning the shell, wipe it off with a clean damp cloth and then with a dry one to avoid watermarks.
Is hardshell luggage and the extra cost really worth it?
Since the materials that make hardsided luggage today are much more durable than before, purchasing this kind of luggage is definitely a good investment - especially if you find that you are a more frequent traveler. It is also a lot more lightweight and versatile than ever before as well.
Does hardshell luggage crack?
Hardshell luggage has been known to crack at times and fall apart more easily than softsided luggage. However, when the luggage is made from a highly durable and strong polycarbonate material, it is scratch resistant and much more resilient than other luggage types.
We hope you have found our best hardside luggage guide and the reviews interesting and useful. Is there a bag you think we should include here? Let us know in the comments!