Let Us Help You Find the Best Soft Sided Luggage After 2016
There are two main types of luggage: hard and soft. Hard-sided luggage is making a comeback, but soft-sided luggage is what most people tend to use. Composite fabrics in the 1980s helped push soft-sided luggage into the spotlight.
eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel (Green Envy)
Our favorite for 2017
Travel Select Amsterdam 25″ Expandable Rolling Upright in Navy
A very close runner-up
Athalon Luggage 21 Inch Hybrid Travelers Bag
A really great case
The fabrics allow for added strength, a light weight and pliability.
A polycarbonate suitcase is the perfect example of why hard-sided luggage is making a comeback. But people still prefer soft-sided luggage due to its abrasion-resistance and light weight. Exterior pockets are also offered as an added bonus.
When trying to find the best soft sided luggage, you’ll need to consider:
- Pockets: How many pockets do you realistically need? If you have a lot of small items, you may need 6+ pockets. If you plan to bring multiple pairs of shoes, you’ll need an elastic pocket designed to hold shoes. The number of pockets is something to consider and will be based on your travel habits.
- Material: Most soft-sided luggage is made of heavy duty polyester. Learn about the fabric strength and choose a strength that meets your durability needs. Higher numbers often coincide with a stronger material: i.e. 600d is not as strong as 1200d poly.
- Carry-on or Check-in: Do you need a carry-on, check-in or both? Luggage sets are an option if you need to have a variety of luggage at your disposal. Frequent travelers ought to have a luggage collection, but if you plan on building up your collection over time, you’ll need to determine your immediate needs.
We’ve listed some of the top, soft-sided luggage options below to help you narrow down your luggage choices significantly.
Reviews of the Best Soft-Sided Luggage
eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel – The TLS Mother Lode mini is guaranteed for life, and the premium materials put into this suitcase allow eBags to remain confident in their products. The suitcase offers a soft side that makes it easier to pack more in a little space.
A telescoping handle allows users to comfortably transport the suitcase by extending the handle to heights of: 40.5”, 42.5” and 45.5”.
YKK zippers are incorporated in the design along with photo-reflective cords that allow for optimal nighttime safety. Two wheels allow for easy transport.
The upper compartment has space of 21” x 14” x 3.5,” while the lower compartment spans 21” x 14” x 5.5.”
Travelers Choice Travel Select Amsterdam – Travelers Choice offers rolling luggage that comes in four unique color options and has a size of 25” x 15” x 9.” The weight of this luggage is 11 pounds, and the upright suitcase has a push button handle system to allow it to retract or extend as needed.
Corner protectors protect the suitcase from damage, while the inline wheels make it easy to lug around the airport.
The interior includes a large mesh pocket with a zipper, an elastic pocket for larger items and straps to tie down clothes and other items inside the luggage. This is a great, durable piece of luggage that’s great for heavy-duty items.
Athalon Luggage 21 Inch Hybrid Travelers Bag – Athalon Luggage is made of 100%, 600d polyester with a nylon lining and a zipper closure. The suitcase’s dimensions are 21” tall and 14” wide. This suitcase combines the best of a suitcase and duffel bag in one to provide the utmost in flexibility when traveling.
Front feet ensure the bag can remain upright and stand on its own.
In-line skate wheels allow users to maneuver the suitcase easily. A wide, zippered opening allows users to pack delicate and smaller items tightly inside the case. An elastic lid pocket secures shoes in place, while garment straps and a zippered mesh pocket keeps other items firmly in place.
Olympia 33 Inch 8 Pocket Rolling Duffel – Olympia’s 33 inch rolling duffel has 8 pockets to store every item imaginable in your suitcase. This suitcase is 33” in length with a height of 15.5”. The suitcase includes 100% polyester material with a textile lining and 1200d poly.
In-line skate wheels allow for easy transport.
A hide-away, retractable handle keeps users from having to bend over and move their luggage along. The 8 pockets allow for ample space to keep small items, and there is a U-shape top opening to make access to the interior more efficient.
This is a check-in bag. When you need a lot of space, this is a great option.
Steve Madden 4 piece Spinner Luggage Collection – Steve Madden offers a 4-piece luggage collection, which is ideal for couples traveling together and families. These luggage pieces allow you to have variety when you travel.
The set includes a carry-on that’s 21.5” x 14.2” x 10.2”. A medium piece spans 25.5” x 16.2” x 11.7”. The large piece is 29.5” x 18.2” x 12.8”.
There is also a satchel offered that’s 18” x 12” x 10” in dimension. All the pieces aside from the satchel come with 360 degree wheels, multiple zippered pockets and ample interior space. Extendable handles are also available.
The interiors of the suitcases are fully lined, and every piece comes with a 5-year warranty.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Right Soft Sided Suitcase for You
You’ve made the decision to use a soft-sided suitcase, so you’re on the right track to pick a good suitcase for you. The next decision you must make is whether you want a large or small suitcase, which suitcases fit into your budget and which model is durable and long-lasting.
Choosing a specific suitcase is much harder than it looks, but these tips can help you move the buying process along:
- Size: What size suitcase do you need? Are you planning to go away for just a weekend? If so, a carry-on is a good option and will save you some money, too. If you go on long vacations and need a week of clothing, you’ll need a larger suitcase that allows you to pack more items into a check-in bag. You’re paying to check-in at most airports anyway.
- Price: Luggage is expensive, and this is why people recommend spending more on a quality piece of luggage rather than spending less for a piece that will break. Make a budget and choose the highest quality piece of luggage, or a set, instead of trying to be frugal.
- Reviews: Suitcases are expensive, so it makes sense to sit down and read through reviews beforehand. Reviews allow you to learn more about a piece of luggage and make a smart purchasing decision. Take your time and do your own research before plunking down money on a suitcase that might tear if it taps a wall.
There’s a suitcase that’s perfect for your needs – and it may be listed above. But it’s up to you to pick a suitcase that’s right for you.