Best Softside Luggage Reviews: Top 7 of 2017
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Ladies and Gentlemen, Travel Gear Depot proudly presents: The best softsided suitcases and best soft carry on luggage! Please take your seats and be ready for some awesome bags on stage 🙂
Softside luggage has advantages and features that most of the hardsides don’t have. You can read more about this in our excellent 😉 article on the benefits and drawbacks of both types of luggage.
Read all the way through, or just click below on the bag you are most interested in!
- Quick Comparison Table Top 7 Softside Luggage
- Softsided Suitcases - Safe To Check
- Soft Carry On Luggage - Easy To Fit In The Bin
Quick Comparison Table Top 7 Softside Luggage
Softsided Suitcases - Safe To Check
Bric's X-Bag 25 Inch Spinner
- Overall size: 25.6" x 15.8" x 9.8"
- Weight: 6.4 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty
We make a flying start by reviewing a bag from the Italian brand Bric’s Milano! This brand has been in business since 1952 and is known for great design and quality. Does this X-Bag live up to these expectations?
The X-Bag is made from 100% durable polyamide, which makes it a lightweight suitcase. The polyamide has a waterproof PVC-coating. As a design feature there are leather details on it. Zipper pulls, handles and brand name tag are all made from brown leather.
The zipper to the main compartment is lockable using a padlock.
We do perhaps not consider it a beautiful bag, but it does have an air of sophistication about it!
There are top and side carry handles, a dual trolley handle that can be hidden in a zippered “pocket”, and four spinner wheels. On the front are two zippered pockets.
The inside is fully lined with a dark polyester fabric. In the lid is a large zippered pocket, and along the side in the main compartment is a pocket for smaller items. Two compartment straps helps to hold your clothes in place.
Any cons then? Well, this is a softside, and that means you cannot put another bag on top of unless it is stuffed with clothes. It is not collapsible, but indeed soft.
So what do people say about this bag? Mostly only good things. Very durable, lightweight and easy to manouver. The only con we’ve been able to detect among reviewers is that it's prone to fall over when packed and standing on its own. However, this can be helped by putting the heavier items, like the toiletry bag and shoes, to the bottom.
One person was a bit disappointed that he or she couldn’t use it as a carry on. But hey, it’s a 25” suitcase! 😉
We have no problem recommending Bric’s X-bag. It’s durable and lightweight, and if you are looking for a soft luggage to check you will not be disappointed.
Pacsafe Toursafe EXP34 Anti-Theft Wheeled Gear Bag
- Overall size: 33.9" x 16.1" x 12"
- Weight: 11 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty
We have found ourselves a new favorite brand! Bold statement perhaps, but we are so impressed with all the thought out details in this marvellous bag.
There is so much to talk about it’s almost hard to know where to start! If you like, watch the video further down the page right away and you will get a good overview of the bags features and how the Roobar™ looking system works.
Pacsafe has taken luggage security one, or perhaps several, steps further. Their eXomesh® Slashguard is a metal net built into the fabric of the bag. This protects the bag from opportunistic thieves slashing your bag, as well as from getting ripped during handling at the airport.
The zippers cannot be opened using a ballpoint pen or some other pointy object due to the so called ToughZip™ construction. Thus, your bag is protected from forced entry through the zipper. This also means nobody can sneak things into your bag that they want you take through customs for them… like drugs or other contrabands!
The locking system is so smart! First, you can lock both the front pocket and the main compartment (in most softsiders you can only lock the main compartment). You only need one padlock to lock them both, and at the same time you can attach a locking cable to it as well. AND, the padlock is protected under the flap cover so there is no risk it will get ripped off during handling.
There is a 3 mm steel cable included when you buy the Toursafe bag, so you can lock your bag to some kind of secure fixture. The cable is then attached to the locking system and locked with the same padlock that locks the zippers. You can safely take a nap or sit down to eat without risking that somebody snatches your bag away and runs off with it.
Okey, that was a lot about locking and security! Which is as it should be, since these are prominent features in this bag. But what about the rest of the bag?
This is perhaps one of the most durable bags, or rather luggage brands, we have encountered. Something that contributes to this is the fact that this is an inliner. That is not common these days, but as we have stated elsewhere here at Travel Gear Depot, we strongly believe that spinners cannot be as durable as inliners with two wheels. Having said that though, spinner wheels nowadays are much better than they used to be.
There is one side handle and a top handle, both padded. The dual trolley handle is made from aluminium. There is a zippered luggage ID pocket.
The bag is made from nylon of various deniers, and coated with waterproofing PU. It is fully lined with light colored polyester fabric. The main compartment has compression straps, two zippered mesh pockets and two zippered pockets in the lid, which opens fully.
The back is made from molded EVA, and has protective rails, corner bumpers and a kick plate.
The bag comes in black, navy blue and olive/khaki. The blue is our favorite 🙂
Did we mention that it is an extremely durable bag? Actually, we should perhaps have put it in the review article on durable luggage 🙂 But, being a softsider, it fits in well here too!
We have not managed to find any negative reviews of the Pacsafe Toursafe EXP34. Okey then, one actually. So what was that about then? Well, the reviewer was disappointed because “the front top side of this is collapsible”. Hmm, well, it is a softside you know...
Needless to say, we totally endorse this large softside travel bag. It is perhaps not fashionable design, but it will last you a lifetime.
Victorinox Werks Traveler 5.0 WT 27 Dual-Caster Spinner Suitcase
- Overall size: 27.2" x 20.1-22.6" x 12.6"
- Weight: 10.1 lbs.
- Warranty: Global Lifetime Plus Limited Warranty
We already know that Victorinox produces high quality gear, and this soft suitcase is no exception. The one slightly negative review we’ve found says that “the removable garment cover is a poor design”. What the problem is? We don’t know.
Our opinion here at Travel Gear Depot is that this soft spinner suitcase is the perfect business travel luggage! Let us explain:
- It has a removable garment suiter that will hold your best business outfit in impeccable condition.
- It also has a Pack More divider that is adjustable in height. This allows you to pack your shirts separately on a perfectly flat surface.
- It has an attach-a-bag strap that holds an extra bag to the front. This extra bag can weigh as much as 30 lbs!
- There is a U-shaped front pocket that can hold a 17” lap-top.
- There is a TSA-approved combination lock included.
- Finally, the exterior (ballistic nylon) gives a strict and professional impression. (No, we don’t mean boring! We do accept that pretty patterns and colors are not always right. Or, at least we try to accept that. But on the other hand… 😉 )
See what we mean about it being perfect for business travels?
The bag is also equipped with dual spinner wheels (as you might guess from the name 🙂 ), a dual trolley aluminium handle that locks in three positions, soft top and side handle. It is also expandable with 2.5”, for when you need to pack some extra warm sweaters or leisure shoes. Or perhaps you need your own pillow to sleep well 🙂
The warranty for the collection this bag is a part of is better than many but not the best (think Briggs & Riley or Eagle Creek!). For the first five years, it covers all kinds of malfunction of the bag, including damage caused by so called common carriers. For the rest of the lifetime of the bag, it’s more like a regular warranty. It covers manufacturing defects in material and workmanship.
Business persons around the world, you can stop looking for the bag you need for your business travels. The Victorinox Werks Traveler 5.0 WT 27 Dual-Caster Spinner Suitcase is the one!
Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista 28-Inch 4 Wheel Expandable Upright
- Overall size: 30.5" x 20.5" x 11"
- Weight: 10.2 lbs.
- Warranty: 10 Year Limited Warranty
In our review article on hardside suitcases (that you can read here) we enthusiastically reviewed the hard version of this beautiful paisley patterned bag. Are we in love with this pattern? Oh yes, we most definitely are 🙂
But, we know our calling here, we have to look at the function and the features of it as well. And actually, if it doesn't meet our criteria, we won’t like it in spite of it’s beauty. (This is not true, we will love it anyway, but we won’t recommend it to you, promise 😉 ).
To begin with, it actually comes in plain graphite, charcoal, iris purple and grape as well, so if you’re not a fan of patterns this can still be a bag for you!
This is a large suitcase, but very lightweight for its size. It is not collapsible but has a glass fibre frame to sustain the shape of the bag. The outer material is ballistic nylon. We have not been able to find how many deniers the nylon is, but none of the user reviews we have read have had any issues concerning the durability of it.
The few negative reviews have been about one broken inside zipper, two instances of zipper pulls getting ripped off, and one of the suitcase being too large and hence it will make you overweight. We leave it to you to contemplate the last statement ;-).
The multi stop dual trolley handle is ergonomically designed, and has a textured grip just like the hardside that makes it comfortable for the hand. The handles on the top and the side are cushioned and gentle on your hands.
This is a spinner suitcase, and as you may know by now we’re are always slightly wary of spinner wheels. But, we have to admit that they have improved a lot over the last years, and are often acceptable. We have seen no complaints on the the wheels for this bag at all. They seem to be “smooth and quiet”.
There are two front pockets on the outside, these are zippered but not lockable. The lid to the main compartment opens fully along the side, and has a large zippered mesh pocket where you can put the clothes that wrinkles easily.
There is also a smaller mesh pocket along the side. Instead of cross straps in the main compartment (that is lined with a patterned fabric) there are two adjustable mesh panels to keep your clothes in place. We think these are less prone to wrinkle your clothes than the traditional straps.
Oh, we almost forgot to mention that it’s expandable as well! You can add another 2 inches of packing space.
As with the hardside version of this bag, we have no problem recommending it. In fact, we think it’s an amazing bag sold for a very reasonable price. We agree with what one reviewer happily exclaimed at the end of the user review:
“I do not see how anyone could be unhappy with this luggage!”
Soft Carry On Luggage - Easy To Fit In The Bin
Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista 20-Inch 4 Wheel Expandable Wheelaboard
- Overall size: 22.5" x 15.5" x 9"
- Weight: 7.2 lbs.
- Warranty: 10 Year Limited Warranty
Ricardo Beverly Hills, again? Well yes, we felt bad not to tell you that this great bag is part of a collection. There are two carry on sizes, the smaller one is presented below.
Actually, we won’t go through all the features one more time. All you have to do is scroll one bag up and read, the carry ons have everything that the large suitcase has, they’re just smaller 🙂
As you can see in the bullet list above, the overall size of this 20 inch carry on is 22.5 inches. This means that it may not meet the cabin baggage criteria of some airlines. Luckily, there is a smaller size as well, just look below 🙂
Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista 17-Inch 4 Wheel Expandable Wheelaboard
- Overall size: 19.5" x 14.5" x 8.5"
- Weight: 6.2 lbs.
- Warranty: 10 Year Limited Warranty
If you need a piece of soft sided luggage in the smallest carry on size, this is as great a choice as the 20” and the 28” versions of the bag (look above, and at the 28-inch bag for a full description and review). Being so small, it’s slightly different organized inside.
Instead of the mesh panels it has ordinary straps. This works well since it’s so much smaller than for example the 28” suitcase, the clothes are nicely held in place. There is no long mesh pocket, but two smaller fabric pockets for socks or the like.
In the lid is a padded compartment for a laptop of maximum size 15.5”. If you don’t have a laptop to put there, you can use it for folded clothes instead. There is also a mesh pocket in the lid on top of the padded compartment, here you can put smaller items.
A feature we totally like with this carry on is the water bottle holder on the side. If you don’t have a bottle, use it for your cell phone or something else small. Nothing at all to put in it? Then hide it with the zipper. Neat, right? 🙂
Nothing to complain about. If a 4-wheel softside, yet sturdy, small carry on is what you need, this is a great choice.
Hadaki Plane Hopping Roller 18-inch Carry On
- Overall size: 18" x 14.75" x 8"
- Weight: 4 lbs.
- Warranty: 30 days (!)
This is a happy bag! We made the decision to review this nylon bag despite its outrageous warranty, that is only 30 days. The company tries to justify it like this: “Our products are guaranteed for 30 days from the date you receive the merchandise. Given normal day-to-day use this should be sufficient time to determine if the item has a manufacturer's defect.”
We’re not that sure 30 days is enough to determine if there’s a manufacturer’s defect, especially as you may not always use it that much at once. But, we have only encountered positive reviews about the quality of the Hadaki bag, and that along with the features of this bag made us decide to let it slip into the realm of Travel Gear Depot 🙂
There are no less than 17 different colors and patterns to choose from! No, we did not put an extra figure in there. You can have a black bag, a floral bag, a striped bag, or a plain turqoise bag. And all of them are fully lined with a nice fabric in a color or pattern that agrees with the exterior. The outer fabric is water repellant and the inside is easily wiped.
This is a very ultra lightweight carry-on, it weighs only 4 lbs. As the height is only 18 inches it will certainly meet the size requirements for most airlines. Being soft and squishy it is easy to fit into tight spaces.
Some users claim it’s so small it can be used as a personal item to be stored underneath the seat in front of you when flying. We think you need to check that with the airline first, especially if you also use a carry on to put in the overhead bin. Otherwise you risk ending up having to check one of the bags since you’re only allowed the one bag in the bin.
A feature we are very happy with are the wheels. This is an inliner, which means it has two wheels that are well protected. They do not protrude like the wheels on a spinner. We think that spinner wheels on a carry-on is not necessary, since it’s small and will not be as heavy as a checked suitcase.
On the front are two large pockets, one zippered. The telescoping handle only stops in top position. As usual there are top and side grab handles, and there’s a substantial protecting bottom/kick plate.
Your clothes can be packed in two separate compartments since there is a lid on the top half (the bag opens almost at the middle), or you can leave the lid open and get one large main compartment. There are no smaller pockets, so packing cubes would probably be a good addition.
One of our aims here at Travel Gear Depot is to help you travel sustainably. So far we haven’t devoted much time or attention to that, but the Hadaki brand from Kalencom corporation actually represents a step in that direction. All of their products are eco-friendly when it comes to chemical usage. They do not use AZO, phthalates, DBP, BOP or any other chemicals known to be harmful.
Yay to that!
We don’t understand why the warranty for this softside carry on, or any of the Hadaki bags, is this ungenerous. 30 days? Come on!
But setting that fact aside, there is no reason not to like this bag if you’re after a truly soft and ultra lightweight carry on.