Note: Durability Matters is reader-supported. When you buy through affiliate links on our website, we'll make a small commission, without impacting your price. Thank you. Learn more.
Who doesn’t like to travel? There really is no place like home, but we all like to get away and discover new lands, be it for a week in the sun or a year-long trip around half the world. Coming back home is nice, but the opportunity to see different places, people, and cultures is a part of what life is all about.
If you have ever been traveling (and I am sure that you have), you know that there are few people who care about your luggage. Sometimes it can seem as if you are the only person in the world who actually cares about your bag, and you may just be right.
If you are tired of broken and bashed up luggage (sometimes caused by mishandling but often caused by cheap and flimsy materials), then it is time for an upgrade. The most durable luggage will be with you for life. Tough and strong luggage can take the knocks which you know it is going to take, and the unexpected ones too.
No matter where you go in life, long-lasting luggage is the best traveling partner. Here is how we chose from some of the most durable luggage on the market.
Hard vs. Soft
You have two main options when it comes to the outer shell of your luggage; you can opt for a soft shell or a hard shell. Both come with their advantages and disadvantages.
A soft shell is more flexible and gives you the option to pack in slightly more if you need to add one more shirt. That flexibility also means that you have less possibility of having to check your bag if you are taking it as a carry-on. If you can squeeze it into the slot (and the overhead compartment), then you are fine. With a hard shell, you may not have the option. The same goes for packing your luggage into a car (or anywhere else). A soft shell will give you a little more flexibility.
With a hard shell, you are opting for more protection. They may not have the flexibility of soft shells, but they will give your belongings ultimate protection. They cannot be ripped or torn (accidentally or intentionally) and will protect what is inside if the luggage takes a knock. They generally feature good locks which will hold everything together and prevent anyone from getting into your stuff.
Because hard shells are made from durable materials, they are usually heavier than their soft-shell counterparts. If you are going to be wheeling around or carrying your luggage a lot, then you may want to trade a little security for a lighter bag and a more flexible one.
Are you packing your bag with a lot of stuff? Do you need help carrying that stuff? Wheels are your answer. A set of wheels on the bottom of your luggage can save you from having to carry your bag (and save your back too).
You will find that there are two types of wheel at your disposal. You can choose between spinner wheels and skate wheels.
Spinner wheels usually come in a set of four, with one wheel at each corner of your case. These wheels can move freely in any direction by being able to spin. They are larger than skate wheels and make it extremely easy to move your case around without having to take any of its weight. On the downside, being large, they stick out from the bottom of your suitcase. They may make it easier to move your suitcase around, but they are easier to break too.
Skate wheels usually come in pairs and are partially hidden in your suitcase. Think about the wheels on a skateboard. As they are hidden and less flexible than spinner wheels, they have less chance of breaking with any impacts. They still work to take the brunt of the weight of your suitcase, but you will have to drag the luggage behind you, taking a little of the weight.
Zippers vs. Latches
For the longest time, you only had latches on a suitcase. Then we had zippers. Now, latches are becoming common again (but not the old and flimsy ones). As with the shells and wheels, you are compromising when you choose between a zipper and a latch.
Zippers are easy to use but can run into problems if mistreated. The puller can break off (so make sure to look for a durable zipper when choosing your bag), the teeth can get crooked, and the zipper can get stuck. Problems with zippers are more common than problems with latches, but they are also easier and cheaper to fix. Having the zipper repaired or replaced entirely is cheap to do.
Latches are more durable and secure. They have less chance to become stuck or broken when compared to zippers, but they are more difficult and costly to fix. Latched luggage is definitely more durable in the long run but may end up costing you more money over time and can be a headache.
When looking at the tradeoffs, the more durable you want your luggage, the more you will have to pay. Of course, we always strive to find you the best items at the best prices. All of the luggage on our list is durable, tough, and long-lasting while remaining affordable.
Our Top Picks
Showkoo Expandable & Durable Luggage Set
This luggage comes with a hard shell to protect all of your belongings inside. Each piece is crafted from extra-thick 100% ABS materials which is not only light but is also durable and impact-resistant. The textured finish also protects the hard outer shell from scratches (which can be common with hard shells). You get three pieces with this purchase, a 28”, 24”, and a 20”. The 20” piece is perfect for use as a carry-on.
You will love the multi-directional spinner wheels. They can move in any direction, so simply push on the handle at the top of the bag, and you can move the heaviest bags with ease. The lubricating balls inside of each wheel keep your bag rolling smoothly and silently. There are a few tests which have been done on this bag which we like. A walking test shows that you can move quickly with the bag (even when it is heavy) without the weight taking a toll on the wheels. The wheels have also been drop-tested. These wheels are as durable as you can get for spinner wheels.
The three-step telescoping handle gives you options and flexibility. When fully extended, you have a lot of control over the movement of the case, and when compacted down, space is saved. Reinforcement brackets on the carry handle add toughness and strength. The bags also come with password locks, so you have key-less entry into your bag. Never again worry about keeping track of your key.
A great set for families traveling together. There is enough space to pack everything and enough durability to protect it too.
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Suitcase
This piece of luggage is set apart by how light it is. The suitcase is expandable and ultra-durable but remains light and easy to carry (provided that you do not pack it full of heavy items). The polyester fabric is resistant to tears and rips and gives you flexibility when packing your items. If you need to squeeze in one more pair of pants, then you can. The fabric is also stain-resistant, water-repellant, and strong.
The suitcase comes with four spinner wheels on the bottom, allowing you to move the suitcase with ease should it become heavy and overloaded. You will also benefit from the telescoping handle which has a patented contour grip. The rubberized grips help to bring your comfort and also bring durability to the case. The unique bottom tray on the case also lengthens the life of the wheels and gives optimum stability.
When you are packing your case, you will notice that you can overstuff the case and gain an extra 2”. When you do, the natural tapered shape will ensure that the case does not tip over. Side and bottom carry handles give you flexibility when you are transporting the case from one area to the other. Great for a single traveler on a long trip or a business trip.
Travelpro Bold Expandable Bag
This bag is rugged, durable, and tough. The high-density polyester fabric is strong and tear-resistant. It has been coated with a water-repellant coating which will protect from water damage and stains. You will love the flexibility you get with this fabric, allowing you to stuff extra items into your bag, or larger items. You also have storage areas for your smaller items. On the back of the bag, there is a hidden pocket which is perfect for the items which you need to get at quickly, such as keys and cash. The bag will also extend as you pack it while keeping a low center of gravity, preventing tipping.
On the bottom, you will find a pair of skate wheels. The ball-bearing wheels have been designed and built for high-milage travel. They will roll almost forever. Combine this with the aircraft-grade aluminum handle, and you have a bag which is going to last you for a long time.
We particularly like the addition of a large zippered wet-pocket. Perfect for carrying all of your toiletries without worrying about them contamination the rest of your suitcase. A great bag for a solo traveler on a long journey.
Samsonite Omni Hardside Suitcase
When you buy luggage from Samsonite, you know that you are investing in quality. The outer shell is hard and durable, with a micro-diamond texture which is scratch-resistant. This luggage looks great and will continue to look great, trip after trip. The full-zip also allows you to open this case and fold the two sides flat like a clamshell. There is an interior divider and cross straps which will hold all of your belongings in place and make it easy to pack up.
The push-button handle is easy to use and one of the most comfortable handles which you will find. It has been crafted from aluminum to remain light. Combine this with the spinner wheels, and you have a case which can go in any direction with the slightest touch.
There is a TSA-compatible lock which means that you can lock your case, but a TSA agent can still get into the case without causing any damage. The less damage our luggage takes, the better. This is a great case for almost any traveler and will be perfect on a business trip.
Traveler’s Choice Silverwood Durable Luggage
This case has taken the spinner wheel system and revolutionized it. The wheels are patent-pending, and have a dual-cyclone system which provides a wider wheelbase for better stability and traction while retaining the functionality and maneuverability of classic spinner wheels. There will be no weight on your arms, shoulders, or back when moving this luggage around so feel free to pack it as heavy as you like.
If you do like to overpack your luggage, then you will benefit from this case being expandable. You have an extra 2” at your disposal, increasing the capacity by up to 25%. This is amazing for a hardshell suitcase.
The handle of the suitcase is also patent-pending. The T-shaped design gives a more natural hand position and allows you to maneuver the suitcase easier. The wheels are also shock-resistant, increasing the durability of your case while minimizing the noise. Combine all of this with a TSA-friendly lock, and you have a case which is going to stay out of harm’s way as much as possible.
This is a great case if you have a lot of belongings to take on your trip with you. The interior has a lot of room, and the exterior has a lot of protection.