Most Durable Luggage 2018 – Top Carry-Ons And Checked Luggage!
The Most Rugged Luggage - Why You Need It
Updated August 12, 2018
Is there anything more annoying than trying to zip up your bag at the hotel and the zipper breaks? And it can be really stressful as well if you have a plane or train to catch, and not really the time to rush to a store and buy new luggage to put your stuff in. (And how would you ever manage to find out what is the most durable luggage when you have so little time?)
Or what about running through the airport actually CARRYING a heavy bag, because one of the wheels just broke and made it impossible to either pull or push?
Here at Travel Gear Depot we don't want you to have such bad experiences. Thus, we have scrutinized the web and picked out what we believe to be among the most rugged luggage you can find. We have chosen 3 carry-ons and 3 suitcases. Often there is a product line, which means you can find suitcases from the same line as a carry-on we have recommended, and vice versa.
We will start with some general questions about durable luggage, and then dive into the specific product reviews. Enjoy!
- The Most Rugged Luggage - Why You Need It
- Are Hardsides Among the Most Durable Luggage?
- Quick Comparison Table
- How Durable Is Polycarbonate Luggage?
- What Is the Most Durable Luggage Material?
- Is There Luggage With Durable Wheels?
- Who Makes the Most Durable Luggage?
- Chester Minima Carry-On Luggage
- Aleon Hardside Carry-On Aluminum Luggage
- Victorinox Spectra 2.0 Dual Access Extra-Capacity Carry-On
- Travelpro Platinum Elite 20" Expandable Business Plus Carry-On Spinner
- Briggs & Riley Baseline Commuter Expandable Upright
- Eagle Creek Tarmac Awd 26 Inch Luggage
- Samsonite Luggage Inova Spinner 28
Read everything from top to bottom, or hop to the heading you're most interested in by clicking on it in the table of contents above.
Are Hardsides Among the Most Durable Luggage?
There seems to be a common view that soft side luggage by default is more durable than hard sided. This may have been true earlier on when the plastic that was used for manufacturing was far more fragile than the materials used today.
Nowadays, new durable materials have seen the day of light. This has made the statement that hard side bags are not as durable false, in our opinion. There's no need to avoid hard side luggage for the sake of durability anymore!
Quick Comparison Table
How Durable Is Polycarbonate Luggage?
The answer to this question is quite simple: it's very durable! The main reason for this is the fact that polycarbonate is flexible and thus impact resistant. It simply flexes back into shape after a thud onto a hard surface.
Polycarbonate is also very lightweight, more so than aluminum and many soft side bags.
What Is the Most Durable Luggage Material?
If you're after durable luggage and are happy with a soft side, ballistic nylon is the material to look for. But, there's more to it than that.
Ever heard of denier? The most common everyday place you might hear of it is when you buy tights. 10D tights are very sheer, and leggings would be around 200D. So denier is a measure of the thickness of the threads going into the fabric.
For a suitcase, the denier should be at least 1000 and up to 2000. Otherwise the nylon will not be abrasion resistant enough.
But if you prefer a hard sided suitcase or carry-on, which luggage material will be the most durable then? Well, as stated above, polycarbonate is indeed durable as well as lightweight. Another material that is even more durable is aluminum.
The downside with aluminum might be that it will add a few extra pounds to the weight. But, if you are looking for a hard case that will be your travel companion for many years to come, aluminum is probably your safest bet. After all, aircraft are built with it!
Is There Luggage With Durable Wheels?
Now this is a tricky one!
We normally consider the inline roller bags with two wheels, also called inline skate wheels, more durable than spinners. The latter has four or eight wheels. This is mainly because the wheels of the inliners are far better protected than the wheels of the spinners.
However, here as well as with the hard side bags, there has been development and progress. Spinner wheels are not as fragile as when they first got popular, and may hold up very well if the luggage is a high-quality piece. This is especially true when it comes to carry-ons that will not get rough-handled by airport personnel.
It also matters what material the wheels are made of. Most durable is polyurethane, a kind of plastic that is highly resilient and flexible. Other plastics and rubber may wear down too fast, making the wheels not so round and prone to jam.
Our answer to the question in the heading is then a yes, there most certainly is luggage with durable wheels out there! We have taken this point into consideration when reviewing the bags in this article.
Who Makes the Most Durable Luggage?
If the question above about the durability of wheels was a tricky one, this is even more so. Most luggage brands have several product lines. Some of them are low budget ones made with less expensive materials, while others are more designed for quality and outstanding longevity.
Our five product reviews in this article are about bags from six different brands. This shows that it's hard to nail down one specific brand as the most durable one.
(You may also like to read our article on what we believe to be the best luggage brands today.)
Alright then, let's get on with our reviews!
Chester Minima Carry-On Luggage
Chester Travel Luggage has only been around since 2017, but they are already making a name of themselves as creators of durable and thoughtfully designed luggage. The Minima Carry-On is their first product, and it was with great anticipation we looked into the features of it. We have also read through all reviews found so far on the web. We have to admit: we are deeply impressed!
You can read our detailed review on the Chester Minima Carry-On Luggage here, or go directly to the Chester site here.
Aleon Hardside Carry-On Aluminum Luggage
- Body measurements: 19.4" x 14.1" x 7.3" or 20.9" x 15.7" x 9.0"
- Weight: 9 lbs. or 10.6 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 10 Year Warranty
The Aleon luggage company is a newcomer in the market. They manufacture high-quality aluminum luggage and launched their first collection, the Classic Collection, in April 2017.
Seasoned travelers took the well designed carry-ons to their hearts immediately, and the 21" carry-on was mentioned in the online magazine Condé Nast Traveller as being rock-solid. Not to shabby for a new aluminum case in the market!
Interested? Then read our detailed review of the Aleon aluminum 19" and 21" carry-ons, or go directly to Amazon to check it out by clicking on the button above.
Victorinox Spectra 2.0 Dual Access Extra-Capacity Carry-On
- Overall size: 21.7'' x 16.5'' x 9.8''
- Weight: 7.94 lbs.
- Warranty: Global Ten Year Limited Warranty (covers manufactural defects only)
Victorinox has a well-earned reputation for high-quality products. Did you know that the company started off with making knives already in 1884? The name Victorinox is composed of the name of the founder's mother, Victoria, and the international term for stainless steel, Inox. Hence, Victorinox!
Fun facts, but let's dig into the features of this bag.
First of all: The Spectra 2.0 Dual-Access Extra-Capacity Carry-On was awarded with 2014 Red Dot Award for Design Excellence, as well as the Travel + Leisure Design Award for Best Luggage! Awesomeness. Let's find out why!
A very special feature of this bag is the innovative quick-access door which allows you to open the bag to search for what you need, without actually open the whole thing up. Works like a charm!
Inside the door is a removable electronics organization panel. If you don't need it, leave it behind and use the space for packing other items. There are also pockets for pens, calendar, cell phone, or other smaller items.
The shell is made of extremely durable Bayer polycarbonate. Due to the matte finish it also manages to be highly scratch resistant.
It is equipped with 4 soft-tread, dual-caster spinner wheels. We have seen a couple of reviewers complaining about the quality of these. But, our overall impression is that they are definitely good enough. The complaints were actually that a wheel broke and fell off. We somehow think that if this happens on the odd bag, it is due to some manufactural once-in-a-while error. The warranty should definitely cover this.
The bag has a dual-trolley aluminum handle that locks in three heights, and a top handle for carrying and lifting it into the overhead bin.
We are happy that it is also equipped with a TSA-approved combination lock, so there is no need for a padlock. However, if you want to lock the quick access door you need a padlock for that. (To be honest, we think they shoild have added a combination lock for that too, but maybe it was not doable?)
The insides apart from the smart access door features have a zippered pocket, and Y-shaped cross straps. Works fine we believe!
Victorinox offers their Swiss Tracker™ Bag Tracking Program, which enables you to meet your bag again in case it gets lost, for free! All you need to do is register your bag's ID number at victorinox.com.
If you are afraid to forget the combination you've chosen for the lock (and we are and do!) you can register that too!
We are happy with this bag and believe it to be a very good buy if you are looking for a durable hard side carry-on!
Travelpro Platinum Elite 20" Expandable Business Plus Carry-On Spinner
- Overall size: 22.5" x 14.5" x 9"
- Weight: 8.2 lbs.
- Warranty: Built for a Lifetime Limited Worry Free Warranty
Travelpro keeps updating their carry-on luggage! The Platinum Elite collection supersedes the Platinum Magna one, with enhanced features both on the inside and the outside while keeping some of the innovations from the Magna series.
This sturdy carry-on is equipped with MagnaTrac ® self-aligning 360-degree dual spinner wheels. Reviewers are delighted about them, and they prove that spinner wheels have come a long way since they first appeared on rollaboard luggage.
The wheels are a part of Travelspro's new PrecisionGlide™ System. This also includes the PowerScope extension handle that is made with airline-grade aluminum. It locks at no less than 4 heights: 36", 38”, 40” and 42.5”. The grip is padded with cushioned touch points to make it comfortable to hold on to. The handle is quite sturdy and prevents wobbling.
The bag has a classy look to it, due to the leather details and the chrome zippers. The latter are equipped with SUPRA™ zipper heads that are claimed to be resistant to wear and tear. And indeed, we have encountered no complaints about the zipper quality.
High density nylon stand for tear-resistance and the DuraGuard® coating makes stains easy to remove. Top and side leather handles and a bottom handle cup makes it easy to haul the bag into the overhead bin.
Need to charge your cell phone or tablet? The Platinum Elite has an external USB port that connects to a dedicated power bank pocket. Very handy! Note though that you have buy the power bank yourself, it is not included with the bag.
The insides are lined with fabric and thoughtfully designed with compression panels, several zippered pockets and a wet bag for toiletries.
On the ouside are padded sleeves for computer (up to 15") and tablet as well as two large pockets. To protect your passport and pocket from digital theft there is an RFID-blocking Travelpro® ID TheftBlock™ pocket. There are also severel organizational pockets.
Colors are Bordeaux, Shadow Black and Vintage Grey. You gotta love those names! We do, and although we do love colors we actually like the Vintage Grey a lot. It's a soft, elegant color.
This is a fabulous softside carry-on! It is well designed, well constructed and of high quality. We have not managed to encounter any negative reviews so far.
But surely there must be some kind of con? Well, it is somewhat pricey, but we can't say it often enough: You usually get what you pay for! If you want a high quality carry-on that will continue to look good travel after travel, it won't be among the cheapest out there. That's just the way it is.
If it's a durable softsided carry-on you want, this one will not disappoint you.
Briggs & Riley Baseline Commuter Expandable Upright
- Overall size: 19'' x 14'' x 9''
- Weight: 8.1 lbs.
- Warranty: ”Simple as that® ” – covers the repair of all functional aspects, whatever the cause, for lifetime of the bag
Now this is a carry-on for the very frequent business traveler! It doesn't show off with beautiful design or vibrant colors. Instead, it delivers what its somewhat bland exterior seems to promise: functionality and durability.
This is a two-wheeled inliner, and inline wheels are usually the most durable choice. They are som much better protected than the spinner wheels.
There is actually so much that is good with this carry-on that it's hard to mention it all! But we'll pick out the best parts 😉
The bag has the awesome CX™ Expansion-Compression Technology, which allows you to expand and overstuff your bag and then compress it back to carry-on size. Magic!
There is a large front pocket and extra outside pockets on the front and on the back for those items you need to access quickly, like boarding card and passport. Or perhaps a foldable umbrella!
The trolley-handle has been fitted on the outside, so it doesn't steal any of the interior space, and leaves a flat surface for packing. The handle itself is made from aluminum and shaped in a V-groove to make it stronger and lessen the risk of jamming. It has three stop heights.
The bag is kept in shape by a hybrid fiberglass frame. The 1680 denier ballistic nylon effectively resists abrasion, dirt and water. A padlock for the main compartment is needed since there is no lock integrated on the bag.
The interior is lined with a lightly colored fabric so you can easily see your items against it. At the bottom is cinch-down mesh garment panels. They are perfect for keeping your garments from shifting and keep them as wrinkle free as possible.
The so-called Smartlink™ Strap enables you to tie another, smaller bag to this one piggy-back style, so you can handle two bags as one.
We can only bow to the perfection of this bag. If you're looking for a truly and completely durable carry-on bag, this is the one to buy. An extra plus is the size, at a height of 19'' it complies with the carry-on size restrictions of most airlines. But remember, always check with the airline you're flying with!
Eagle Creek Tarmac Awd 26 Inch Luggage
- Overall size: 26.5" x 17.5" x 12.5" (expanded 14.5'')
- Weight: 9.37 lbs.
- Warranty: No Matter What, covers repair for the lifetime of the bag, even if damaged in transit
Eagle Creek delivers as usual. When it comes to durable luggage we firmly believe that this brand is a winner. So what's so great about this bag then?
This is a hybrid, with a hard but lightweight Bayer Polycarbonate back shell and Bi-Tech™ 1000D Helix Poly Twill fabric front. This makes the bag sturdy and flexible as well as water and friction resistant.
Due to the soft front and an expansion zipper you can expand the suitcase 2 inches. When you are done packing and if you haven't completely stuffed the bag simply close the zipper to compress it back to its original size.
The four multi-directional wheels roll effortlessly in most terrain, due to the fact that they are large and treaded. They are likely to be durable because they are well protected in large wheel houses (and we have indeed seen no complaints whatsoever about concerning the wheels). There is a kick or skid plate so curbs and steps won't harm the bag.
All zippers are puncture resistant and lockable with pad locks. The main zipper locks at a central locking point.
In the smallest front pocket is an add-a-bag strap that makes it possible to secure a smaller bag to the front of the Tarmac.
We love the so called coat keeper! A very simple but very smart strap that securely holds your coat or jacket to the top of the bag.
No Matter What
Eagle Creek has an outstanding warranty, called No Matter What. Check out the short video below!
There is nothing more to wish for when it comes to durability in checked luggage. To keep your belongings completely organised, consider using it with Eagle Creek's Pack-It™ System, and you have a piece of luggage that will work for life.
Samsonite Luggage Inova Spinner 28
- Overall size: 29.75" x 20.0" x 11.0"
- Weight: 9.46 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 10 Year Global Warranty
This is another hard side polycarbonate bag, in checked luggage size this time. For a suitcase this size, it's fairly lightweight.
Most reviewers on the web are happy with this bag. It looks great and stylish with the textured metallic-like finish, and rolls easily on its four dual spinner wheels. We have seen no negative reviews concerning the wheels.
The interior is simple, two zippered dividers on each side of the fully lined bag and cross-straps. Nothing more.
The retractable handle is a mono bar, which seems to hold up nicely. As noticed before we are surprised on how comfortable the grip feels on a mono bar. There is a top and a side handle for carrying and lifting.
On top is an integrated TSA-approved combination lock. The zipper that goes all the way around the bag is protected with a kind of rubber lining. One reviewer pointed out that if the bag is not fully packed, the sides get squeezed together and difficult to unzip.
Although reviews are mostly positive, there are two possible cons we want to share:
A couple of reviews mention that the two sides are connected by rubber hinges that seem to be somewhat flimsy. Also, we have spotted a few users commenting that the bag gets easily scratched. However, this doesn't really affect the durability, which seems good, but more the looks. As one person put in his/her comment: if you are a perfectionist, do not buy this luggage.
This is a durable hardside, polycarbonate bag that holds up well when getting tossed around in transit. As for the hinges, we haven't actually seen anyone complaining that they have broken, so they might very well be good enough.
So, considering the many positive reviews we do recommend this bag, with the slight reservation about the scratching.
Want to optimize your packing? Check out our packing cube reviews!