Hard vs Soft Luggage For Traveling (Here’s Why…..)

By James Smith
hard vs soft luggage
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Hardshell luggage vs soft side luggage – what do I need to know before traveling?

Are you looking to buy a new suitcase?

Perhaps your old one is worn out and needs replacing?

It could be that you have a big trip coming soon?

Maybe you’ve caught the travel “bug” and you’re ready to take the first step in journeying to new, exotic lands?

There are many options when it comes to luggage and it can be confusing.

That’s why I’m going to help you out by giving you all some tips you will need in order to answer perhaps the most important question when it comes to luggage.

Here’s the answer to the best hard vs soft luggage.

The Benefits Of Hard Shell Luggage

  • Durability may be the most important factor. Particularly if you travel regularly and expect to make many journeys in the years to come. A few scuffs here and there are to be expected, but the overall structure of the hard exterior will stand a better chance of staying intact.
  • Traditionally, the hard sided cases were regarded as “heavy” and “bulky”. In recent years, however, the use of more lightweight materials is much more commonplace and more easily affordable.
  • The exterior is usually of a strong, tough material, so a would-be-thief may struggle to penetrate and get to the contents inside.
  • The solid rectangular structure allows for maximum packing space, with no soft folds or creases competing for space, helping to make packing more organized and less stressful.
  • The hard shell will protect any goods, particularly valuables that are inside.

The Disadvantages Of Hard Shell Luggage

  • Usually, there is no expander section. When packing there will be no compromises. You have to make sure all your clothes and other items fit within the confines.
  • If you’re traveling over a bumpy surface or difficult terrain then wheels don’t work particularly well if you’re planning on dragging your hardside luggage. Consider that you may be carrying for a while. Again, this depends on the type of traveling you expect to be doing.
  • If you want to make minor adjustments to packing, it can be inconvenient and space consuming. For example, if you. want to add a couple of shirts and take out a pair of jeans, you have to lay the case flat and open right up.
  • The suitcase can take up a lot of space. Especially if you’re traveling in a car with several passengers and multiple baggage items. You may have to get used to playing a little game of Tetris with your luggage.

The Benefits Of Soft-Side Luggage

  • The softer option of baggage will usually give you multiple pockets, making it easier to make last minute adjustments and grab your jacket while on-the-go.
  • Packing into tight spaces becomes much more viable. You can bundle easier into the overhead locker on a plane or cram several bags into the back seat of a car.
  • Your soft side luggage will usually have an expander section, allowing you to adapt and add items as you go along. Particularly useful if you plan on taking a shopping trip where you’ll be bringing back more than you left with.

Disadvantages Of Soft-Side Luggage

  • The outer surface may be less durable and the structure could become ruined over time.
  • The lack of a solid outer shell provides less protection for the contents inside. This is a particular problem if you’re planning on carrying valuables such as glass or electronic products inside. However, If you’re only packing clothes and fabrics then this shouldn’t be an issue.
  • There can be a greater security risk when it comes to theft. Multiple pockets and a softer outer material that is relatively easy to cut through can provide a better opportunity for thieves and pickpockets.

What Type Of Traveller Are You?

Here are some things you need to consider that what type of traveler you are.

Where are you going to go? Are you going to be flying?… If this is the case there will be weight restrictions imposed upon you.

Are you going to be traveling many times each year?… If you are then durability would become a big factor.

Thinking not only about your upcoming trips in the short term, but those you expect to be making over the next few years is a very important first step.

New luggage can be a big investment. 

Especially given the major technology developments we’ve seen over the last few years, where we have seen a slight shift in popularity from soft to harder suitcases.

While lightweight materials and increased concerns in the lack of care of handling staff at the airport are two of the reasons for this, it’s worth taking the time and thought to get this type of investment right.

So, let’s dive into the details and begin helping you make a more informed choice, looking at the benefits and disadvantages of the two types of case.

Before You Settle The Hard-side Luggage vs Soft-Side Luggage Debate:

As we mentioned before, the most important thing to think about is the type of traveler you are and how will you be using the suitcase?

If you’re a well-organized and methodical packer who doesn’t like to open your case until you reach your hotel destination, then the hard shell may be more appropriate.

If you’re more of an on-the-go traveler and like to adapt and change along the way, constantly dipping in and out of your baggage, then the soft shell, with an expander section will be better for you.

If security is a concern to you or you’re carrying glass or other valuables then a harder exterior will give you better peace of mind, allowing you to concentrate on the enjoyment (or business) of your trip.

Other factors, such as price, warranty, the credibility of the brand and will also be important in your decision-making process.

However, we hope you feel a little more informed after reading about the hard vs soft luggage options.

Whatever your choice, try and visualize yourself traveling over the next few years at all stages of the journey, whether it’s packing, storing, checking-in. This is the best advice to help you to make the right decision.

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Hi, I'm James Smith, I love traveling and always looking to optimize the traveling life to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible. I especially love to nerd out about choosing the right luggage.

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