Most Durable Luggage 2021 – Top Carry-Ons And Checked Suitcases!
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 reviewed carry-ons as well as suitcases.
Often there is a brand 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!
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.
The Most Durable Luggage - Why You Need It and How to Find It
If you are tired of having to deal with constantly breaking suitcases or making sure that the duct tape you used on your checked suitcase is going to hold until your destination, then you may be ready to hunt down some of the most durable luggage available in 2020.
Some suitcases prove to be a lot more durable than others, and this is ideal if you find that you are more of a frequent traveler. When we say frequent, we don't mean someone who travels only once or twice per year. If this is the case, you can probably get away with a much cheaper and more affordable luggage set option.
However, if you are a FREQUENT traveler, meaning you travel every couple of months or more, you definitely want to invest in some durable and long-lasting luggage. While you may pay more for it initially, it will definitely pay off in the long run.
Spinner Versus Skate Wheels
Spinner wheels have definitely gone a long way in revolutionizing travel. Spinner wheels on luggage make it much easier to maneuver your heavy suitcase through a busy airport terminal. It allows for much smoother movements and sharper turns in crowded areas. However, for the utmost in durability, you may want to consider skate wheels.
Skate wheels are definitely not as convenient as spinner wheels, but it is also much harder to damage them. If not, opt for something that has steel rods in the wheels to help with the sturdiness of the luggage.
Zipper Versus Latch Closures
Many things can go wrong with zippers. If they get stuck, they can break off or damage the zipper and cause it to go crooked. Latches, on the other hand, are much more durable and are much less likely to break or even get stuck. However, while it may be easy to fix a damaged zipper yourself, it will prove much more challenging to fix a latch.
Outer Shell Materials
Hardshell suitcases are often made with one of two materials. These materials include ABS and polycarbonate. ABS is a more scratch-resistant material that can keep your luggage looking its best for longer. However, polycarbonate is going to ultimately prove to be the most durable material. It is much more impact resistant than ABS or even polypropylene materials.
Aluminum is another strong and durable material and is considered one of the strongest of hardshell materials available for luggage. A suitcase with an aluminum shell is said to last you for several years.
Are Hardsides Among the Most Durable Luggage?
There seems to be a common view that soft side luggage by default is more durable than hardsided. 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 hardside luggage for the sake of durability anymore!
Alright, then, let's get on with our reviews!
Pelican 1510 Overnight Laptop Case
- Overall measurements: 22.00" x 13.81" x 9.00"
- Weight: 13.6 lbs.
- Warranty: Pelican's Lifetime Guarantee of Excellence
Even though the company Pelican has been around since 1976, I have not discovered their awesome products until now. Duh! But there you go, better late than never.
This is the most durable carry on luggage I have ever laid my eyes upon. The Pelican cases were originally created to keep first aid kits for divers safe from water, outside force and dust. Smart people quickly realized exactly how good the cases were at doing just that and started using them to protect all kinds of gear.
Fast forward and there are now several kinds of protectice cases from Pelican designed for various kinds of gear, as well as for regular travel.
If you're looking for the very best rugged carry on luggage, this is it.
So let's take a closer look at what to you get with this top-notch hardshell carry on. Note that this is about the case with luggage insert. You can also get it with various foam inserts for protecting gear, so if that's what you need then go for one of those. The luggage insert makes it into an overnighter.
Before we begin, let me point out the mindboggling average rating on Amazon of 4.9 out of 5!
- Detchable protective laptop sleeve and pouch for mouse, cables etc. These are attached to the lid by Velcro and can easily be removed and attached to each other.
- The laptop sleeve fits computers up to 14.4" x 11.1" x 1.7".
- Protected clothes compartment that opens up with a clever open-in-an-instance double zipper.
- The case is truly watertight, crushproof and dustproof. It's sealed with an O-ring and has an Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve. The purpose of this is to balance the interior air pressure to keep the water out.
- The bag is closed with Easy Open Double Throw latches. No zippers that can break or get stuck.
- You can use heavy duty padlocks to lock it safely, the diameter of the stainless steele padlock holes are 5/16".
- The Pelican brand has totally recognized that truly durable wheels mean skate wheels. As far as I can see they don't have a single product with spinner wheels. The wheels on this one are made with polyurethane with stainless steel bearings.
- Top and side handles are covered with comfortable rubber.
- Retractable trolley handle.
- Made in the USA.
Sorry for the bad quality in this video, but it gives you a nice overview of the case. And you can see how very quick and easy it is to close it!
Any cons then?
Well, being this sturdy means it carries a bit of weight. Make sure to check with your airline that the weight (with your belongings in it) will be accepted for a carry on. Also make sure (as always) the size will be accepted.
But truly, that's the only con I can come up with. All else is value based, meaning that you may not like to look of it, or prefer spinner wheels, or something like that. Quality wise it's just extraordinary.
Prefer using your own interior luggage organizers? If so, you can buy this baby just as a bare case. That way you will get all the protection and the durability but you can design the interior as you like.
Aleon Hardside Carry-On Aluminum Luggage
- 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
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 luggage size was mentioned in the online magazine Condé Nast Traveller as being rock-solid. Not too 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 buttons 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 hardside spinner luggage.
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 these hardside suitcases 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. It 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 manufacturing 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 should 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. It works fine, we believe!
Victorinox offers its 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 touchpoints to make it comfortable to hold on to. The telescoping 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 is 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 stands 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 to 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 outside 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 several 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 a very frequent business traveler! It doesn't show off with beautiful designs 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 so 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 telescoping 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 into 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 the height of 19-inches, 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 repairs 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 durable 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 wheelhouses (and we have indeed seen no complaints whatsoever 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 padlocks - 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 organized, consider using it with Eagle Creek's Pack-It™ System, and you have a piece of luggage that will work for life.
Samsonite Eco-Glide Softside Checked Medium Luggage with Spinner Wheels
- Overall size: 28.5”H x 19.25”W x 12.5”D
- Weight: 9.7 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 10 Year Global Warranty
The absolutely best feature of this bag is that it's made from recycled plastic bottles, both shell and lining. This is the way we need to go from here on. Whenever possible, use recycled materials that spare the limited resources on our home planet.
Apart from that, the Eco-Glide has quite a few other awesome features to boast about.
Our favorite is something quite basic: the zipper pulls. How many times have you said not-so-nice words when trying to grab those tiny pulls that hurt your fingers? I know I have more than once. The zipper pulls on this bag are genius in their simplicity. They are made with fabric, are long and best of all have T-bars that make them sooo easy to get hold of.
Spinner wheels are Saguaro™ Wheel System, which we don't know much about, but they are built to be lightweight and high performance.
There is a telescoping pull handle as well as top and side handles. A very handy addition is the bottom handle, makes it so much easy to lift and maneuvre the bag.
There is a zippered expansion, designed so that it protects the zipper to the main compartment when the bag is not expanded. Smart innovative thinking!
The vidoe below says Eco-Nu, which is actually the exact same bag as the Eco-Glide. For some reason Samsonite uses different names in different countries. Why? Go figure. Watch the vidoe for a quick rundown of the features!
We like this bag, a whole lot. Admittedly, the recycled plastic bottles contribute to that, but we are also very happy with the design and durability.
It has excellent reviews whereever we have spotted it in the web. Go for it, and travel with the knowledge that you've done the earth a favor.
Pro tip! The Eco-Glide Softside Underseat Carry-On is the perfect addition to the checked-medium size. It's averall dimensions are 18" x 14" x 8", so it shoild easily pass as carry-on luggage on the majority of airlines.
It's got a so called SmartSleeve™, making it very easy to transport on top of the larger bag.
Go check ths one out as well!
Want to optimize your packing? Check out our packing cube reviews!
Most Durable Luggage FAQ
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.
Denier is a measure of the thickness of the threads going into the fabric. For a durable 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 hardsided 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!
Which Luggage Has The Best 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 then is that the luggage with the best wheels is probably not that which is also the cheapest! Product development costs and the more sturdy materials also tend to be higher priced.
We have taken this point into consideration when reviewing the wheeled luggage 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.
Do you have or know of a really durable bag you think we shoiuld include here? Please let us know in the comments!
And of course, if you have any feedback on the ones above, we'd love to hear that as well!