Shopping for Luggage: Hard-Sided Bag Materials

While the popularity of soft-sided luggage has boomed in recent years, many travelers prefer a hard-sided bag for its perceived durability and compression resistance. Travelpro provides several hard-sided options, but I want to talk about the three types generally available in the marketplace. We can think of them as good, better, and best.
Travelpro Maxlite Hardside Collection
GOOD: Polypropylene. This material is popular because of its price. It’s durable and flexible to some degree and is offered in a wide variety of colors. It is usually manufactured in solid colors with a matte finish and smooth texture.
BETTER: This next one is a mouthful: ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a hard-sided material that is thermalformed to add strength to the structure of the luggage. It is very durable and is the most popular and most affordable option offered by many companies. ABS bags can have a variety of looks, including textured patterns, embedded prints, and images, due to manufacturing processes that incorporate ABS and polycarbonate.
BEST: Polycarbonate is our top-of-the-line hard-sided material choice on the market. Although it can appear to be the most rigid, it is actually very flexible and it can be manufactured to resist the effects of temperature changes without cracking. It is rigid in that it won’t expand while you squeeze in that last pair of pants, and it won’t crush inward as you nudge it into an overhead bin.
Like ABS, polycarbonate can be manufactured with many different images, textures and designs. Textures are important to consider when purchasing luggage because they help camouflage wear and tear.
TravelPro is innovating in the hardside product category with the creation of ChromaShift™. This exclusive technology combines durable scratch-resistance with compelling visual appeal. As the light changes, so does the color of the bag! It is available in the upcoming MaxLite® 4 Hardside collection which will launch in the beginning of August 2016.
As you can tell, there are benefits to each level of hard-sided material used in this type of luggage, and there are reasons for choosing one material over the other. Do you have a hard-side piece of luggage, or are you considering one? Have any questions you’d like to ask? Leave them in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.