Hardside Luggage Buying Guide

Hardside Luggage Buying Guide

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, luggage is essential. Soft-side luggage grew in popularity beginning in the 1980s as travelers looked for a lightweight option. As of 2016, manufacturers are able to produce hardside luggage with similar lightweight qualities but greater protection for the bag's contents. If it is time to replace your luggage, try these hardside suitcase options.

Luggage Sets

Luggage sets contain two or more pieces that match in color and design. Sets offer a quick way to purchase enough pieces for family travel. They normally include at least one bag sized for use as carry-on luggage and larger bags you must check when flying.

Traveling with a matched set of luggage makes it easier to find your bags at the airport baggage claim. You can decrease the chance of someone grabbing your bag by mistake by selecting a set with a unique print on the exterior. A second advantage of the matched set is you can open all the luggage locks with a single key.

Open Stock Luggage

Some travelers prefer to build their own luggage collection. If you need two bags or more that are the same size, this might be a better option for you. Choosing from open stock luggage also allows you to choose a different color bag for each family member.

Travelers who often transport specialty equipment for sporting events, outdoor activities, or sales may also prefer picking and choosing appropriate bags to protect the equipment. Open stock bags are often a better choice if you need to check electronics when you fly.


Adding wheels to your luggage makes it easier to transport from your vehicle to baggage check or your hotel room. Bags with inline skate wheels generally have two casters so you extend the handle and tilt the bag to pull it behind you. Bags with spinner wheels usually have four casters, which allows you to push or pull the bag in an upright position. With matched luggage sets, the un-wheeled carry-on bag is often designed to sit on top of one of the wheeled pieces to lighten your load.


Travelers who like to pick up souvenirs along the way often find they need a little more room in their luggage for the return trip. With expandable hardside luggage, you open a zipper and have a larger suitcase. The expandable feature is also a great idea for a road trip when you need to add one more pair of jeans or shoes to your luggage before you leave. If you do not need the additional space, close the zipper and the bag returns to its normal size to save space in the trunk of your car and for storage.

Multiple Compartment Bags

Multiple compartment bags provide separate spaces for keeping your delicate clothing items separated from heavier items, such as jeans that could cause a snag. With hardside luggage, many manufacturers offer a clam shell design that splits the suitcase in half. This option allows you and your significant other to share the space for a short trip without mixing your clothing.

Carry-On Luggage

Since airlines are adding fees for checked baggage, many travelers are shopping for carry-on bags that maximize the items they bring on the trip while meeting the carrier’s size requirements. Hardside carry-on bags provide the same protection for their contents as the larger hardside luggage that gets checked. The carry-on only option works for short trips and offers the advantage of skipping the wait at baggage claim, but even if you check your larger bags, you should have a smaller one for personal items, such as medication and electronics. Look for bags that are check-point friendly and reduce the hassle when passing through airport security.