When it comes to choosing a suitcase, one of the primary decisions you’ll need to make is whether to opt for a hard shell or a soft shell suitcase. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s explore the pros and cons of hard shell suitcases and the alternative suitcases you can choose from.
If you’re looking for new luggage before you travel, check out our buying guides: best suitcase deals | best suitcases under £50 | ultra lightweight suitcases | checked luggage for international travel | aluminium suitcases | underseat suitcases with wheels | zipperless suitcases | extendable suitcases | suitcases for cruises | extra large suitcases | durable suitcases | Tripp suitcases. And for essential travel accessories, we recommend: compression suitcase packing cubes | GPS luggage tracker | passport covers | vanity cases
Hard Shell Suitcase Pros
- Durability: Hard shell suitcases are known for their durability and ability to withstand rough handling during travel. They offer excellent protection for fragile items and are less likely to be damaged by impacts or mishandling.
- Water Resistance: Hard shell suitcases are generally water-resistant, keeping your belongings safe from rain or accidental spills. This feature is particularly advantageous if you’re traveling to destinations with unpredictable weather conditions.
- Security: Hard shell suitcases often come with integrated locks or combination locks, providing an extra layer of security for your belongings. These locks can deter theft and give you peace of mind while traveling.
Hard Shell Suitcase Cons
- Limited Flexibility: Hard shell suitcases lack the flexibility of soft shell counterparts, which can make them less convenient to pack. They have minimal give and cannot be expanded to accommodate extra items. This can be a drawback if you tend to overpack or bring back souvenirs from your trip.
- Weight: Hard shell suitcases are generally heavier than soft shell alternatives, mainly due to the rigid materials used in their construction. This can be a disadvantage when it comes to adhering to weight restrictions imposed by airlines.
- Limited Pockets and Compartments: Hard shell suitcases often have fewer external pockets and compartments compared to soft shell suitcases. This can make it challenging to organize and access smaller items or travel essentials.
Do hard shell suitcases crack easily?
Hard shell suitcases are known for their durability and ability to withstand rough handling during travel. However, like any product, they are not completely immune to damage. While hard shell suitcases are designed to be resilient and protect your belongings, there are circumstances where they can crack or become damaged. Let’s explore some factors that can contribute to the cracking of hard shell suitcases.
- Impact Force: Hard shell suitcases are generally made from materials like polycarbonate or ABS plastic, which are known for their strength and impact resistance. However, when subjected to excessive force or a severe impact, they can crack or break. Instances such as being dropped from a significant height, thrown around forcefully, or mishandled during baggage handling can cause damage to the shell.
- Overpacking: Overpacking a hard shell suitcase beyond its intended capacity can put excessive pressure on the shell and its seams. This can lead to stress points, weak spots, or cracks forming over time. It’s important to adhere to weight limits recommended by the manufacturer and pack within the suitcase’s specified capacity to avoid potential damage.
- Improper Storage: Storing a hard shell suitcase in extreme temperature conditions, such as in an unheated or non-air-conditioned environment, can make the shell more susceptible to cracking. Extreme temperatures can cause the materials to become brittle, making them more prone to damage. It’s advisable to store your suitcase in a cool and dry place to maintain its integrity.
- Poor Quality or Maintenance: The quality of the hard shell suitcase itself plays a significant role in its durability. Lower-quality suitcases may have thinner or less robust shells that are more prone to cracking. Additionally, if the suitcase is not properly maintained or if there are existing cracks or damages that go unrepaired, it can increase the likelihood of further cracking.
- Manufacturing Defects: In rare cases, manufacturing defects can contribute to the susceptibility of a hard shell suitcase to cracking. These defects could include weak points in the shell, inadequate bonding of materials, or improper molding. It’s important to inspect your suitcase upon purchase and report any defects to the manufacturer or retailer for resolution.
While hard shell suitcases can crack under certain circumstances, it’s essential to note that they are generally designed to withstand normal travel conditions and provide reliable protection for your belongings. Manufacturers continuously strive to improve the durability of hard shell suitcases by utilizing stronger materials, incorporating impact-resistant features, and conducting rigorous quality control measures.
To minimize the risk of cracking or damage to your hard shell suitcase, it’s advisable to handle it with care during travel, avoid overpacking, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for weight and capacity. Additionally, consider investing in a suitcase with a reputable brand known for its quality and durability.
In the event that your hard shell suitcase does crack, it’s recommended to consult the manufacturer or a professional luggage repair service for advice on possible repairs or replacements. Some manufacturers offer warranties or repair services that can help address the issue.
Alternative Suitcases To Choose From:
- Soft Shell Suitcases: Soft shell suitcases are made of fabric materials such as nylon or polyester. They offer more flexibility and are generally lighter than hard shell suitcases. Soft shell suitcases often feature exterior pockets and compartments, providing convenient storage options. However, they may be less durable and offer less protection for fragile items.
- Duffel Bags: Duffel bags are a versatile alternative to traditional suitcases. They are lightweight, easy to carry, and provide ample space for packing. Duffel bags are particularly suitable for shorter trips or when you need to pack irregularly shaped items. However, they lack the rigid structure and organization features of suitcases.
- Backpacks: Backpacks are a popular choice for travelers who prefer to carry their belongings on their backs. They offer hands-free convenience and are ideal for those planning on doing a lot of walking or traveling in areas with uneven terrain. Backpacks come in various sizes and often have multiple compartments for organization. However, they may not be suitable for formal or business travel and can cause strain on the shoulders and back when carrying heavy loads.
- Hybrid Suitcases: Hybrid suitcases combine elements of both hard and soft shell suitcases. They often feature a soft exterior with a reinforced frame or hard shell sections. These suitcases offer a balance between durability, flexibility, and weight. They typically have additional pockets and compartments for better organization. However, hybrid suitcases can be more expensive compared to other options.
Ultimately, the choice of suitcase depends on your personal preferences, travel needs, and budget. Consider the pros and cons outlined above, as well as factors such as the length of your trip, the nature of your destination, and the items you plan to pack. By weighing these considerations, you can select the most suitable suitcase for your specific travel requirements.
Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API