Not all soft luggage bags are created equal—some will always be better than others. This makes luggage shopping not as easy as it looks. A suitcase that is good enough to help you carry and store your things is not always enough. If you don’t know how to pick luggage and suitcases wisely, chances are you are going to regret choosing the soft luggage you just bought after realizing that it cannot fulfill most of your travel and packing needs. So, if you are looking for some expert advice on what to look for when buying soft luggage, then you have come to the right place. Here is a brief luggage buying guide to help the travel bug in you get the best suitcase possible.
#1 Water-resistant fabric
If you are unsure about buying a soft-luggage bag because you are worried about splashes and drizzles, then worry not. You do not need to buy a hard-case or hard-shell luggage bag to keep your valuables from getting wet. Just make sure to look for a soft luggage suitcase with a water-resistant fabric as the outer cover. Water-resistant fabric is a type of fabric (mostly nylon and polyester) so tightly woven that water and other forms of liquid take time to seep through it, making the liquid less likely to reach the contents of your suitcase.
However, keep in mind that water-resistant is different from waterproof. While water-resistant luggage covers can only delay liquid infiltration, waterproof luggage cases are designed to completely prevent water from getting inside. Still, the good news is soft luggage with water-resistant fabric can prevent external spills, splashes, and light rain from getting your valuables immediately wet.
#2 Silent spinner wheels
If you are not familiar with spinner wheels yet, spinner wheels are luggage wheels with joints that can rotate up to 360 degrees, enabling the carrier to easily and smoothly maneuver the suitcase in any direction. Spinner wheels also allow suitcases to pass through narrow aisles where the luggage needs to be rolled sideways.
Aside from being convenient, spinner wheels are also ergonomic. In fact, an article published by the Freedom Physical Therapy Services S.C. recommends using spinner luggage and suitcases to reduce physical effort, therefore avoiding muscle strains on the back, elbows, and wrists. Also, remember that not all suitcases have silent spinner wheels, so make sure to look for the best spinner luggage if you prefer noiseless wheels or mute wheels.
#3 Ergonomic Handle
Speaking of ergonomic spinner wheels, another feature you should look for in a soft suitcase is an ergonomic handle. Ergonomic luggage handles are designed to make pushing and pulling easier for the carrier in order to avoid straining shoulder muscles and wrist joints. This means that you can identify an ergonomic luggage handle by checking if it has features such as extending padded handles that can swivel.
As you can see, what to look for in buying soft luggage is not just about how fashionable you look when carrying it, or how affordable the cheap luggage you bought is. It is also important to consider your health as a luggage carrier.
If you have experienced air travel at least once, you’ll know that having a light-weight suitcase is a huge relief. Not only will it be easier to lift, carry, and pull, but a light-weight luggage bag will allow you to pack more things without worrying so much about going over the package weight limit your chosen airline implements. Different airlines have different carry-on and check-in baggage weight limits, but choosing a superlight soft luggage bag can help you avoid overweight baggage fees because the additional weight of the suitcase would be very minimal.
So, when shopping for soft luggage, check the bag’s product tag to verify that its weight is no more than half of most airlines’ maximum weight limit. Or better yet, check the maximum weight limit of your airline to be surer on how light you need your suitcase to be.
#5 High-quality zippers
You might be wondering why zippers are included in a guide on how to buy luggage.
Zippers are a very small part of travel luggage and suitcases, yet they are just as important as the handles and wheels. Luggage bags with faulty zippers pose travel difficulties and danger to the traveler. Faulty zippers do more harm than just some inconvenience when they get stuck. They will decrease the security of your luggage content and can even lead to accidents. To avoid buying a luggage bag with faulty zippers, make sure to buy luggage and suitcases with high-quality zippers. You may evaluate the zippers yourself when you visit the physical store, or you can visit the sites of the suitcases of your choice and check how they do quality control on their products, and if their durability tests include zipper tests.
Another important question when asking yourself what to look for in buying soft luggage is if the suitcase is cabin-approved. After all, you are shopping for a suitcase that you will use for traveling. Even if it is just a road trip or sea trip that compelled you to look for luggage bags, it would be a good investment if you select one that you can also use for air travel. And when traveling by plane, you should use a cabin-approved suitcase.
A cabin-approved suitcase is a luggage bag that meets the plane or airline’s cabin baggage size requirement. These are travel bags that fit well inside the plane’s overhead compartment. Having a cabin-approved suitcase is a great advantage if you prefer to have your luggage with you onboard the plane instead of checking them in the plane’s cargo. However, keep in mind that cabin baggage size requirements differ per airline. You can check your airline’s check-in baggage size limits and use it as a luggage buying guide when shopping. If you have plans of riding other planes in the future, it is best to research the average cabin baggage size requirement in your country.
When shopping suitcases online, it is recommended to look for brands that sell their soft luggage designs in different sizes, so you would have higher chances of finding a cabin-approved luggage bag in the design that you want. Moreover, aside from having a suitcase that meets the cabin baggage size requirement of your airline, buying a cabin-approved luggage bag is also very practical. They are very compact, making them ideal not just for air travel but also for group road trips where all your friends’ things need to fit in one car, or for vacations that are more than two days but less than a week.
As you shop for the best soft luggage bag for yourself (or for a loved one), you’ll realize how many more things there are to consider—and how many soft luggage brands and styles there are to choose from! With so many options, you will surely find which soft luggage works best for your travel needs—just take heed on this advice on what to look for when buying soft luggage.