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Suitcases

Old 29th Nov 2023, 13:25
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Paxing All Over The World
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Suitcases

In the market for a new - affordable - large suitcase for long haul next year. Before I detail the problems and costs that I have experienced, please tell me yours. I am not looking for brands (as that would be against PPRuNe rules) rather, I want to talk about TYPES and STYLES of cases.

I first travelled long haul some 58 years ago when cases were very heavy before you put anything into them. I had my first case with wheels in 1975 and have much experience! Please let rip ...
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 16:32
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I have a truly hideous soft sided one that seems infinitely expandable - it's so horrible I can see it a mile off. Far better than the old hard sided ones..............
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 17:57
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I have hard sided cases broken by the system - just as much as soft-sided. I say 'the system' as it is not possible to know which human, which conveyor, which automated system did the damage. As a result, I now only buy soft-sided cases.
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 18:20
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Once we flew into San Fran and did not so much as collect our case as was given by the handlers a couple of plastic sacks as the case had disintegrated after we checked it in at Mexico City. Fair play to Aeromexico they 'gave ' us a lovely 'Hercules ' hard shell as it was their fault..4 wheel steering and we have used it the last 8 years. There is no way the loaders can harm this beauty ..Easily swallows 22Kg ..and more if we can get away with it 😁
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 01:49
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Have two soft sided cases, but they have a metal mesh between the outer and inner layers so difficult to slice open. They have been very robust.
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 13:31
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If you are going to countries with a higher crime rate, you might like a hard shell case with a built in lock. Some for about 60-70 online get good reviews. If you want the lightest possible, or least likely to suffer damage from impact, then soft sided. Depends on your priorities. I'm off to Guatemala shortly, I've chosen a hard shell.
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 14:33
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I would go for a rolling two wheel duffle, like this.
https://www.thule.com/en-gb/luggage/...cm28-_-3204028
Two-wheelers are easier to handle whenever you leave clean airports.
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 14:41
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agreed - thats the best combo - 4 wheels are fine if it's flat and clean but not everywhere is
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 16:32
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Avoid black, as that seems the most popular colour and is therefore likely to be mistakenly taken by someone else.

I've learnt that lesson.
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 17:25
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My current soft case is a Walmart special about $60 after previous case fell apart . Now 7 years old,, well over 100 trips and whilst battered and tatty, still functioning.
I gave up buying expensive, branded bags a long tome ago aa apart from them being a target, airlines and airports will wreck them just as easy as cheap bags.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 11:01
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I travel a lot and have definitely tested a few cases. If it's going into the hold, hard shell from a reputable brand. I put a security strap around it as well to distinguish it. I rarely use black for the aforementioned reasons. Soft cases are too easily damaged and can get soaked through in a heart beat. Don't get the absolute biggest as it's easy to exceed the permitted weight.
For peace of mind, I throw an AirTag in it so I know where it is.
Since Covid, I have not checked a bag in so have now reverted to a cabin size spinner.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 16:35
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Soft sided case can be sliced open.

Zippers can be opened with any pointed object.

Only hard sided with locks for me. And they are very hard to find these days. Luckily my current case gets little use these days.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 17:12
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I've largely given up on hard sided cases, unless I have something large and that will not cope with bending well [paintings, clocks or large electronics displays - don't ask....] Over the past decade & more of work & holidays all over the northern hemisphere, I've settled on a series of soft duffles. I tend to go for the type that have detachable sholder straps to turn them into a ruicksac and for the larger ones the addition of a couple of wheels to make them drag-able over rougher ground.

I've also favoured different construction for different routes. Where there is a chance of the bags being outside in inclement conditions, I've tended to favour a Scandinavian based manufacturer with matching initials who also do yacht & offshore work clothing. I agree with the advice from Saintsman & Redsnail - avoid black, Luckily they do a range of colours & fabrics. I prefer the barrel type duffel in international orange colour in the vinylised polyester fabric & welded seams. Largely bomb-proof and very robust zippers & padlocking arrangments. For trips where I'm likely to be more on the road than in the air, I've a preference for an american manufacturer named for a generic raptor and small river, Broadly similar to the Scandinavian manufacturer, except they are squarer and come with multiple attachment and tie down points, being designed for use unprotected on a roof rack, they are pretty weather proof as long as you place them sensibly. I tend to use extra coloured luggage straps around them helps to ID them and saves lookiing for something to tie them onto the roof rack if needed.
ZFT has good advice too. I've a couple of Walmart origin 2 wheel expandable cases that I got about 20 years ago for not much money that have done sterling service. Also I'd suggest that you might want to pre-distress your case. If you can put some distinctive marks on it, it makes it easy to pick out at the other end.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 17:18
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My thanks to all. Your stories largely mirror my own experience. The Spinners have become dominant and they are fine for airports and modern train stations. As soon as you move onto real pavement and car parks? the wheels get shredded by the tarmac. Getting replacements seems like a fools game as so many places say they can and - when faced with the case - suggest you buy a new one! You can buy replacements online but I'm not sure that is going to work either.

One or two companies are offering removable wheels - at bag drop - so am looking into that. My earliest 2-wheeled cases had retracable wheels and, whilst I saw articles about a new case with that feature - they are all dated 2015 and the company no longer has them on their website.

For journeys to South Africa, we do wrap the bags at LHR but their prices are getting ridiculous. The bag wrap at JNB is cheaper than LHR - even allowing for the rate of exchange! The staff are faster and friendlier too.

I am not planning on going to South America but thanks for the warning.
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 05:09
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Hard shell, 4 wheels, expandable, weight max 4kg.
  • Size (W x H x D): 50 x 78 x 30/35 cm
  • Handle height (fully extended): 103 cm
  • Volume: 111/129 l
  • Weight: 3.7 kg
  • Material: 100% polypropylene (outer material) / 100% polyester (inner material)
Had one to this spec for around 5 years, between 10 and 15 legs p.a. (mix of short and longhaul, loads between 23kg and 30kg, as good as new
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 07:14
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4 Wheeled American made for cabin and a Kevlar soft sided for hold when required. The later has done 23 years service but unfortunately the company no longer makes them ☹️

I have a shoulder Canvas bag made by a company in Carlisle that also sees extensive use. On my second in 30 years, Mrs Mac calls it my Palin Bag after the presenter, who used something similar on his travels. My first came before Round the world in 80 days so I think he came afterwards.

Cheers
Mr Mac
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 08:50
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Originally Posted by Donkey497
I've largely given up on hard sided cases, unless I have something large and that will not cope with bending well [paintings, clocks or large electronics displays - don't ask....] Over the past decade & more of work & holidays all over the northern hemisphere, I've settled on a series of soft duffles. I tend to go for the type that have detachable sholder straps to turn them into a ruicksac and for the larger ones the addition of a couple of wheels to make them drag-able over rougher ground.

I've also favoured different construction for different routes. Where there is a chance of the bags being outside in inclement conditions, I've tended to favour a Scandinavian based manufacturer with matching initials who also do yacht & offshore work clothing. I agree with the advice from Saintsman & Redsnail - avoid black, Luckily they do a range of colours & fabrics. I prefer the barrel type duffel in international orange colour in the vinylised polyester fabric & welded seams. Largely bomb-proof and very robust zippers & padlocking arrangments. For trips where I'm likely to be more on the road than in the air, I've a preference for an american manufacturer named for a generic raptor and small river, Broadly similar to the Scandinavian manufacturer, except they are squarer and come with multiple attachment and tie down points, being designed for use unprotected on a roof rack, they are pretty weather proof as long as you place them sensibly. I tend to use extra coloured luggage straps around them helps to ID them and saves lookiing for something to tie them onto the roof rack if needed.
ZFT has good advice too. I've a couple of Walmart origin 2 wheel expandable cases that I got about 20 years ago for not much money that have done sterling service. Also I'd suggest that you might want to pre-distress your case. If you can put some distinctive marks on it, it makes it easy to pick out at the other end.
It would be a lot easier if you just gave us the manufactures names -
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 11:08
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In 2010, Bought a Large Hardside Spinner, from a very well known manufacturer, Model name Termo. Does not have zips, just 3 locks. This case has been all over the world, wheels fallen off and even the telescopic handle broke. It has endured many airport tarmac in Africa and the Artic, suffering wheel melting and freezing, its a bit like triggers broom (for those of us from England). In all cases the manufacturer has replaced the parts at no cost to me, even thought I have offered to pay on several occasions.
As a result, we have 3 more large cases off them, for when we go on holiday, my flight bag is theirs as well and I would recommend them to anyone.
The make, well Victor Mature played him in a 1949 film, with Hedy Lamarr as Delilah, and the rest i'll let you guess.

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Old 4th Dec 2023, 11:33
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I think that I have decoded all the manufacturers so far on this thread, but agree, it would be easier to mention the maker and model (if possible). As always, quality and sturdiness comes with expense and weight and in these weight restricted times, you've often lost nearly 4kgs before nary a sock has been placed within said bag or case. I suppose that it makes you disciplined, but taking presents of non-clothing items becomes a real challenge. Out of interest, when did the modern day weight limits come into being ? I can't remember tbh, but must've experienced the change.

As mentioned, the 4-wheels are great in civil surroundings, but a portable large duffel (possibly with wheels) covers most situations. When I was travelling a lot, TUMI ticked a lot of boxes for me, although they didn't do hardshell cases back then. Reassuringly expensive and part signalling to others as one might do with clothing or a car etc. That Kevlar material was heavy, luckily I never had it's strength tested by some miscreant with a knife looking for valuables. Of late I have taken the cheaper solid case route bought in reputable department stores, sort of own-brand. You can feel that the quality is inferior to the well-known names, but at a fraction of the cost and so far........so good. For more 'off-grid' stuff, a large portable duffel that is waterproof. The French sports cahin Decathlon have several very decent bags, some with wheels. Only downside too large decals for my taste, but easy to see.
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 20:03
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The finest case ever has these wheels. They are 15cm / 6" in diameter and are protected by the guard plates - which take the damage. I bought this in Munich in 1999 and have never seen it on sale again - anywhere. The company no longer sell this style. Yet, it must be readily apparent that these two wheels are brilliant for all regular roads and so forth.

This case is mid-sized, you can do a week if it's summer, or possibly even longer. I have constantly searched for a full sized version with these kind of wheels but nothing has revealed itself. All those silly spinners. Incidentally, this case was given a VERY serious workover by FCO/airline/LHR to the point where I was given a full price replacement voucher. That was in 2004. The case is still going strong as it is 'old school'.


Another Victor Mature production.
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