Right Way to Choose Your Suitcase
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Now This is the Right Way to Choose Your Suitcase!

The average working woman knows a lot about fabrics, and the pros and cons of different materials for traveling. But one type of fabric may still be a mystery to many – and that’s luggage fabric.

Not many of us know exactly what fabric our luggage is made out of and why? It pays to know a little about your luggage’s strengths and weaknesses for a more or less care-free travel. Or at least when it comes to your precious possessions. By the way, here  are some handy tips on how to stay well-organised during travel.

According to Luggage Direct, the decisions that people make when choosing their luggage can make or break their travel plans. The type of material that the luggage is made of is a very crucial factor to consider before deciding to make any luggage purchase.

Best Luggage Material

So what is the best material that luggage should be made of? There’s no easy answer to that because there is not a single best luggage material for the simple reason that each material has its own pros and cons. Luggage can be made of leather, metal or different types of plastics and nylon fabrics.

If your luggage is made of leather and you proudly proclaim it to be the best luggage in the world, well and good. Luggage made of leather is both handsome and very durable indeed. But it is expensive and far heavier to carry than a not-as-impressive-looking piece of luggage of the same size that is made of nylon.

Metal luggage is easier to clean and maintain, but again it’s more expensive and heavier when empty – unless it’s made of very lightweight aluminum, which will be even more expensive. So for those reasons most people opt for luggage made of plastic materials or nylon fabrics.

Soft and Hard-Sided Luggage

The very first question that usually confronts luggage buyers is whether to go for a soft-sided or hard-sided bag. Up until a few years ago, more often than not, buyers would go for hard-sided luggage if they wanted something that was durable. But times have changed.

Nowadays the question of whether to go for soft or hard-sided luggage is almost irrelevant. The combination of innovative luggage design and modern technology has made soft-sided luggage just as reliable and durable as their hard-sided cousins.

Cutting-edge technology and design have likewise made it cheaper and easier to produce hard-sided luggage, which considerably lowered its price to be on a par with the price of soft-sided options. The luggage buyer therefore now has only to consider the pros and cons of the material that the luggage is made of, rather than ponder on the question of whether to go soft-side or hard-side when choosing luggage.

Ballistic Nylon vs. Polycarbonate

Ballistic nylon is a durable synthetic fabric and very easy to clean. Luggage made of ballistic nylon falls under the soft-sided luggage category. It is very resistant to tearing and abrasion and can endure the beatings of severe use. Although almost unlimited in strength, this type of luggage has limited color choices, because ballistic nylon fabric is so compact it is hard to dye. It usually comes only in black and dark colors, which is why you see so many black bags on the airport arrivals carousel.

Polycarbonate luggage falls under the hard-sided category and is made of impact-resistant thermoplastic polymer. The elastic quality of polymer allows the luggage to flex when it is hit by blunt force during rough handling. It immediately flexes back to its original shape after impact. Unlike ballistic nylon luggage, polycarbonate luggage comes in a wide array of color choices.

Cordura vs. Polypropylene

Cordura is another formidable soft-sided luggage fabric. It is lighter and slightly cheaper than ballistic nylon, but not as strong as far as its tear strength is concerned. However it is more resistant to abrasions than ballistic nylon. The fabric is also much easier to dye than ballistic nylon, which leaves you with more color choices.

Polypropylene thermoplastic polymer is the hard-sided luggage answer to soft-sided’s Cordura nylon fabric. This material is the lightest of all the thermoplastic polymers. Luggage made of polypropylene is ideal for those who want to travel light. The polypropylene polymer comes second to polycarbonate in terms of durability.

Polyester vs. ABS

Last but not the least in the types of materials used to produce soft-sided luggage is the dependable polyester fabric. If you are looking for good quality soft-sided luggage without the high price tag, grab one that is made of polyester. While it may not be as tough as ballistic nylon and Cordura, it can last as long as the other fabrics if it is given proper care and not subjected to too much rough handling by airport baggage handlers.

Luggage made of ABS (which stands for acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) is the cheaper option in the hard-sided luggage offerings. Another good thing about ABS luggage, besides being priced the lowest, is that it weighs the lightest. ABS luggage is not heavy-duty, but it will take you to a lot of places when taken good care of.

What is Dernier Rating?

When looking for soft-sided luggage, you may often see references to the dernier rating of the fabric. The bag’s denier rating is your ultimate guide finding out how strong and durable the luggage fabric material is. It is a measurement of the thickness of the fiber from which the fabric is made. Generally speaking the higher the dernier rating, the stronger the fabric is.

If you are looking for luggage intended for heavy usage, go for options with a denier rating of more than 500. Dernier ratings can go as high as 2000. For those who travel less frequently, luggage with a denier rating below 500 is satisfactory enough if you look after it.

Now you know as much about luggage fabrics as you do for all the fabrics inside your travel bag. In fact, you may now know even more!

Mae has travelled to over 40 countries and lived in over 8. Born in St. Petersburg, Mae grew up in Lithuania and has spent most of her adult life in the UK. She has been blogging for over 8 years and is the lead editor on Travel Belles.

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