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Comprehensive Luggage Buying Guide

Important things to consider when selecting your luggage

Size

A suitable size for you will depend on whether you will be using your case for business or family vacations.

You can easily over pack a large suitcase and end up with excess baggage charges. This is why it’s important to check your luggage weight allowance on all legs of your journey. Internal domestic flights to and from Perth usually have a lower weight limit than international flights.

If you are renting a car at your destination, the size of your cases will also be important, you want to be sure your family and your luggage will all fit in the hire car.

Weight

The weight of your luggage is critical in terms of helping you avoid the excess baggage charges for exceeding weight limits, and also for your own comfort while using it.

You need to consider weight vs. functionality. For example, four wheels and extra pockets may add a few grams but it will improve useability.

Luggage is significantly lighter today than it was a few years ago. An approx range of weights generally still considered ‘lightweight’ are:

Small/carry on 48cm - 56cm 2kgs - 3kgs
Medium sized 60cm - 69cm 3kgs to 4kgs
Large sized 70cm - 79cm 3.5kgs to 4.5kgs

Quality and durability

1. Materials: Luggage manufacturers have made enormous strides in recent years developing lighter weight fabrics and hard-shell plastics that are extremely durable. Nylon fabrics are usually a little more expensive than polyester but are stronger with more resistance to scuffs and abrasions. Hard-shell luggage comes in three main types of material – ABS resin, polycarbonate and polypropylene. ABS is more prone to cracking than the others as it is less flexible.

2. Handles: Telescopic handles - do they lock in various positions to accommodate your height? Do the handles feel solid and glide in and out smoothly as they will be bearing the weight of a fully packed case. Exterior lift handles - the case should have a top and side handle for carrying the case down stairs and lifting in and out of cars etc. A third grip handle is often incorporated into the base stand making it easier to lift from all directions.

3. Wheels:For both 2 wheeled and 4 wheeled cases look for solid looking wheels that are mounted to the luggage well. Look for adequate corner protection around the wheels. In the case of spinner luggage (4 wheels) should be mounted as far apart as possible for overall bag stability. Test manoeuvrability by spinning the case in a circle.

Should I choose 2 wheeled or 4 wheeled luggage?

Four wheeled cases are becoming the most popular cases to buy for their ease of use. They are easy to manoeuvre and you’re not lifting any of the case’s weight as you wheel it along. A cabin bag usually balances well on the top. Two wheeled cases can still be easier to use on very rough and uneven surfaces. For cabin luggage 2 wheels as still popular as you are not loosing some of your size allowance to the extra height of the wheels that are on a 4 wheel case.

Should I choose soft side or hard-shell luggage?

It really comes down to personal preference. Each type has it own advantages.

Soft sided

  • Generally lighter than hard sided
  • Usually have an expander zip for extra capacity
  • Usually have external zip pockets
  • Open from the top for access of cloths in one area
  • May have more matching pieces available

Hard sided

  • Some are still available with combination locks for those who don’t want zips
  • New lighter weight cases now available
  • Can offer greater protection for delicate items inside
  • Less prone to scuff marks
  • Open in half for packing lid and base separately