Which hardside luggage brands are the most reliable?

Source
Charles Fazzino Carnevale by Heys USA
Charles Fazzino Carnevale by Heys USA
Britto Palm Collection by Heys USA http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/palm-pattern
Britto Palm Collection by Heys USA http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/palm-pattern
Heys zCase Collection in Metallic Silver http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/zcase-spinner-collection-by-heys-usa
Heys zCase Collection in Metallic Silver http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/zcase-spinner-collection-by-heys-usa
Heys Velocity Collection in Metallic Ruby Red http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/velocity-collection-by-heys-usa
Heys Velocity Collection in Metallic Ruby Red http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/velocity-collection-by-heys-usa
Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Collection http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/rimowa-salsa-deluxe
Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Collection http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/rimowa-salsa-deluxe
Rimowa Salsa Air http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/rimowa-salsa-air
Rimowa Salsa Air http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/rimowa-salsa-air
Tumi Vapor - Copper http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/vapor-collection
Tumi Vapor - Copper http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/vapor-collection
Tumi Vapor Black
Tumi Vapor Black
International Traveller Augusta Gold Leopard Pattern - 4 Wheel Spinners http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/augusta-4-wheel-spinner-gold-leopard-collection
International Traveller Augusta Gold Leopard Pattern - 4 Wheel Spinners http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/augusta-4-wheel-spinner-gold-leopard-collection
Heys USA EZ Computer Carry-Ons http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/ez-computer-carryon-by-heys-usa
Heys USA EZ Computer Carry-Ons http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/ez-computer-carryon-by-heys-usa

Which hardside luggage is most reliable?

A fellow Hubber asked me to write a hub addressing their question. The question was which hardside luggage is the most reliable? First, I would like to provide an understandable definition or distinction in product, so that my response is qualified. I’m not a chemical engineer or a science buff, so the fact of the matter is my descriptions will always be in layman’s terms. Polycarbonate is relatively new to the luggage industry. The most attractive properties of polycarbonate are the lightweight, flexibility, and durability characteristics. However, not all polycarbonate products are the same. The distinction is pure polycarbonate vs. polycarbonate composite. Although, most luggage vendors make a decision to produce one or the other, I know of some vendors that offer both varieties. The polycarbonate composite is far more prevalent, primarily because it is much more affordable. A polycarbonate composite is a layered plastic that generally has a ‘cap sheet’ of polycarbonate plastic on the surface layer. Although, a composite can actually have multiple layers, by definition a composite must have at least one layer other than the polycarbonate.

An amazing demonstration of the polycarbonate strength is to have an average sized adult stand up on top of the suitcase and watch the suitcase flex all the way to the floor. Once the person gets off the suitcase, you will miraculously see the suitcase return to the original shape. The outer surface color of a pure polycarbonate is fully penetrated or immersed into the material. Consequently, if there is a stress crease due to excessive weight or an excessive blow, you will notice the color of the crease is the same as the surface color. By comparison a polycarbonate composite will generally show a white crease or perhaps crack under the same degree of impact. Having said this, even the polycarbonate composites perform amazingly well especially considering their lightweight properties.

I would like to start with Rimowa®, the high quality German manufacturer, who was the first vendor in our luggage industry to offer pure polycarbonate in the year 2000. They have actually had their polycarbonate product tested by the German institute TUV. This institute is renowned for the endurance tests they conduct on vehicles for road safety. The outer material is not where Rimowa® stops, in fact they have a patented Multiwheel® system that is designed to roll in any direction on either two or four wheels. Additionally, the wheels are engineered to withstand the wear and tear you can expect from a substantial amount of weight and impact. Rimowa® offers collections with top-of-the-line zipper closures or with aluminum and magnesium frames. This frame adds a little more weight to the suitcase but offers more rigidity and durability. When you buy a Rolls Royce you expect to pay top dollar, well this is no exception. Rimowa® sets the standards in polycarbonate luggage, but they are also among the most expensive. The good news is that you absolutely get what you pay for, if you are a world-class traveler, I recommend that you pay more when you make your initial investment. Chances are you won’t ever have to replace this suitcase….until they come out with more bells and whistles that make your 2011 model look outdated. This pure polycarbonate ranges in price based on collection and size from $475 for their Salsa Air Cabin Multi Wheel Carry-On to $970 for their most deluxe Limbo 32” oversized Mulitwheel Trolley with aluminum frame.

New for Fall 2011 is the Victorinox Spectra™ Collection. The colors featured in North America are Red, Blue, and Black. What I like best about this collection is the bright iridescent finish that is also iconic on their Victorinox Swiss Army Knife collection. The Victorinox shield is clearly one of the most recognized logos throughout the world, so if you are looking for brand recognition, this should be your first choice! This collection is constructed of pure polycarbonate and not composite, as found on many competing lines. This line is an import product like most other polycarbonate brands, and unlike Rimowa® is not made in North America. Consequently, the prices are quite competitive among luggage brands made of pure polycarbonate. The Carry-On Upright is 299.99 and the collection graduates in price all the way up to the $369.99 for the 32" 8-Wheel Travel Case. The quality to price ratio makes this collection a serious contender! A highlight of the key features include a one-touch dual-trolley telescoping aluminum handle system; 8-Wheel Spinner for ease of maneuverability; Zippered closure with Travel Sentry Approved 3-dial combination lock, allowing U.S. TSA screeners to inspect your contents without breaking lock; Features both top and side mounted handles for quick/

Heys USA has had a meteoric growth in our industry. Here is a vendor who offers collections of Polycarbonate that are pure and other collections that are polycarbonate composite. What makes them so attractive is their high fashion philosophy and wide-range of colors and finishes. In my retail stores, we carry four collections: the zCase Collection, the Velocity Collection, the Britto Collection, and our newest Fazzino Collection. All four are polycarbonate composites with extremely high quality components such as the spinner wheels and telescoping handles. Best of all the prices on these collections are more affordable than the more expensive pure polycarbonates. The polycarbonate composite collections by Heys USA range from $180-$350 based on selected size. The Britto Collection actually has unique pop-art designs by the world renowned artist Romero Britto. Besides being durable and light weight, you can now ‘travel with your art’. New for Holiday 2011 is the collaboration with famed artist Charles Fazzino with the introduction of a very attractive Pop Art Collection named after the artist.

Tumi has a very appealing collection of polycarbonate called Vapor. They describe their product as triple-layered with a combination of polycarbonate and ABS Plastic. What I like best about this collection are the raised bumpers that are integrated into the product design. The bumpers are strategically placed at all the obvious stress points to contribute to the strength and durability of this exquisite looking case. This product has a brushed metallic finish that is something you expect to see on an exotic Italian sports car. The $425 through $595 price range on this collection is right in line for the quality they provide. It’s not pure polycarbonate, but you can expect substantial durability as a result of their quality components, bumper protection, and high quality polycarbonate composite. Exactly as you would expect from any Tumi product, this is an eyecatching collection.

Landor & Hawa also has a wide array of polycarbonate composites. Their prices are razor sharp, and this has to be my top recommendation for affordable polycarbonate suitcases. Although this is a composite, I have never had one returned with any issues related to durability. My favorite collection is the Augusta, which offers a 4-wheel spinner collection, and a textured finish that is quite resistant to scratches. We carry both the Black and the Beige/Silver colors, and we hope they add a few brighter colors to the collection. The nice aspect about L&H is that they are constantly moving forward, and just when you get attached to one collection….they move on with something new and improved. For a price of $110 for the 4-Wheeled Carry-on to $170 for the 4-Wheeled 28”, this is an easy decision.

My final comment regarding polycarbonate suitcases is to give consideration to the 4-Wheel Spinner system especially on the larger sizes. The extra weight for the additional two wheels is marginal, yet the benefit of the added maneuverability is well worth the added feature.

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Comments 146 comments

Jason Lee 6 years ago

Thanks for your information.

I am currently working for luggage manufacturer in Vietnam. I would like to know hardside luggage market forecast in terms of ABS, poly cabonate, aluminum luggage. If you could provide me of the information it will be really appreciated or please let me know how to find the market outlook with free of charge.

jasonhlee21@hotmail.com


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your good question Jason, in our US Market we unquestionably see an upswing in both the pure Polycarbonate and the Polycarbonate Composite products. This trend may have started even earlier in the International Market.

Most of the Polycarbonate composites also include ABS, with Polycarbonate Cap Sheets. I will check with the TGA (Travel Goods Association) to see if they have conducted any recent research with regard to recent statistics. It seems that this recent growth has been driven my the light weight characteristics of Polycarbonate. Consequently, Aluminum luggage hasn't quite seen the comparable growth as that of Polycarbonate.

Finally, the 4-Wheels Spinner concept has surpassed the 2-Wheel Cartwheel on this hardside category.


Jason Lee 6 years ago

Dear Sir,

I really appreciated your help and will be waiting for yoru comments in regards to world hardside luggage market forecast.

Thanks again


Jason Lee 5 years ago

Dear Sir,

i would like to know if you have any update regarding my inquires.

i am looking forward to hearing from you soon.


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 5 years ago Author

Dear Jason,

I attempted to reply directly to your email a couple of weeks ago. It doesn't sound like you received my response. Although, the TGA conducted a recent survey, the parameters were specifically for hardside luggage that was imported into the United States. This category has doubled from last year, and now represents 12% of all luggage imported into the U.S. We all expect this category to show substantial growth once again in 2011!


Jason Lee 5 years ago

Dear Sir,

Thanks for your cooperation indeed.

i would like to know if you have world hardside luggage forecast in 2011.

This is what i really need as i am working in luggage manufacturer in charge of TUMI now.

I have checked but all reseach report was not free costing over $2,000 which is too burdon.

Below is my E-mail.

jasonhlee21@hotmail.com

Warm regards

Jason


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 5 years ago Author

Hi Jason,

I responded directly to your email. Please let me know if I can be of futher help!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 5 years ago Author

Hello Eileen,

I like your 2-Piece Set. Thank you for including all of the images and specifications. The Polycarbonate Composite, is generally a composition that includes ABS plastic (Acrylonitr????ile Butadiene Styrene). The corners are more vulnerable to cracking than that of a pure Polycarbonate. Hence, the price differential. Consequently, the corner reinforcements on this particular set gives you some added protection. In the attached image, it also appears that the wheel housing is somewhat recessed, which will also offer added protection. The further the wheels protrude, the easier they are to damage in travel. Thanks for your question, I hope I have addressed your concerns. Enjoy your travels!


Nancy 5 years ago

Hi 4TravelTips:

Wondering if you are available to talk offline about your expertise in the luggage industry...we are just starting a study of the market and looking for some very high level insights, and your comments here indicate you are well informed! Are you available for a a quick phone call in the next few days?

Happy to give you a bit more background offline if that's possible.


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4TRAVELTIPS 5 years ago Author

My email is president@airlineintl.com you are welcome to contact me direct


cyan 4 years ago

Hi,

I'm wondering if you can compare the following three models for carry-on:

Rimowa, Salsa Air Carry-on

Titan, 5th Element 19" Carry-on

Tumi, Vapor Carry-on

Thanks,

cyan219@hotmail.com


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Dear Cyan,

Thank you for your question. I applaud you for your careful research. You've picked out a Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus. In other words, all great choices. The Rimowa Salsa Air and the Titan 5th Element are both pure 100% Polycarbonate and are manufactured in Germany while the Tumi Vapor is Polycarbonate Composite and made in China. The components, lining, design element are magnificent in all three styles. Keep in mind the Rimowa Salsa Air has a single telescoping handle system, while the other two have the conventional double telescoping handle system. This will make a difference in the weight and packing capacity of the case. Consequently, the Rimowa is the lightest of the three. All three are priced similarly, since the Titan is frequently advertised on sale. Also keep in mind that all three of these suitcases are sized to comply with airline carry-on standards. This means that measurements are generally from the bottom of wheels to the top of handle. In some reviews people complain that the cases are too small. However, if you truly want to carry the bag on, without having the airlines surprise you with a last minute 'gate-check', than I recommend sticking with brands that comply with these standards. All three of your choices present no problem in this regard. At the end of the day, it may be all about your personal preference. Such as the color choices, design element or features. I hope I have addressed all of your concerns, and wish you enjoyable travels!


Juan 4 years ago

What about Samsonite?


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Juan,

Samsonite has a variety of hard-sided luggage collections. Their range is quite diverse, as they have everything from Polycarbonate composite to pure Polycarbonate. There is a difference in quality and price depending on the collection. Additionally, they work with two other hard-side compositions that I haven't addressed in this article. I will gladly comment, if you care to provide the collection name of the Samsonite you reference.


Ciel Clark profile image

Ciel Clark 4 years ago from USA

Hello and thanks for the information in your hub--I just posted something about wheeled bags but I have never used a hard-sided bag: Are they heavy?

Happy Travels


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment. The beauty of the new generation polycarbonate hard-side cases is that they are so light, and yet so durable! In years past all of the hard-sided suitcases were generally ABS (Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, and Styrene) Polypropylene (Injection molded), or Aluminum. These were durable, yet not so light. Whether you choose a suitcase in pure polycarbonate or a polycarbonate composite, you will be pleased with both the light weight properties and the durability. Enjoy your travels!


veecee 4 years ago

hi, do you have information if the victorinox spectra collectoin scratch resistant or scratch proof?


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Veecee,

This is a very good question. The most attractive feature benefits of pure polycarbonate luggage is the fact that it is lightweight, yet extremely durable. The Spectra by Victorinox does have a protective coating, which offers scratch resistance. Yet, this and other glossy finishes are not 'scratch-proof'. You will see fewer scratches with textured polycarbonate. However, visually the glossy looks so much more eye catching. I have to admit, I own the glossy finish Rimowa, and after every trip I use a polishing cloth to rub out any scratches. It still looks great, and has traveled the world!


luis 4 years ago

hi just want to ask which is much more Durable and a better material a POLYCarbonate or PolyPropylene??


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Both are great, yet the polypropylene plastic, also referred to as injected molded plastic. This and ABS Plastic were the first two plastic's used in the luggage industry. Although, Polypropylene is especially durable, it will generally be heavier than a Polycarbonate, and is quite easily scratched. I personally favor the Polycarbonate for luggage because of the lightweight properties. Thanks for your good question!


veesmika 4 years ago

Hi there, came across your site searching for reviews on 2 sets. I was considering this Heys Poly composite case:

http://shop.heys.ca/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode... (30" Sketchpedition case)

vs. this Samsonite Poly/ABS:

https://www.samsonite.ca/detail/110 (28" Winfield)

I thought the Samsonite would have been a better purchase as it seemed like sturdier plastic, and had a longer warranty, but I've started reading Samsonite's quality has gone down over the years... From your experience can you advise which would be the more durable case? I travel a lot, and through ports like YYZ which seem to manhandle everything 10x worse than everywhere else.

Thanks in advance!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Veesmika,

You have done your homework. Both are Polycarbonate Composite, which means both have a mixture of plastics. Most likely ABS Plastic and Polycarbonate. In fact, in the Samsonite link that you sent me, Samsonite indicates this fact. The Samsonite and Heys products you reference are both fine products and priced competitively. However, reading between the lines I see that you travel a lot. Any time a business traveler asks me for advise on Polycarbonate Luggage I suggest they consider the 100% Pure Polycarbonate as opposed to a Polycarbonate Composite. Therefore, I would strongly suggest researching the Victorinox Spectra or the new Hartmann PC4 which are the starting price points in 100% pure Polycarbonate. If your budget permits, I would recommend the Rimowa, which is the more expensive, yet well worth the investment. Most of the seasoned business travelers would agree that Rimowa is the 'best in class'. Thanks for your question. Enjoy your travels!


veesmika 4 years ago

Thanks so much for such a prompt response! While I do travel a lot... I'm actually a lowly student, not quite a seasoned business traveller ;) I will def. invest in the Rimowa when I am older, but I was worried about the rumours of Samsonite's quality deteriorating over the years. So in your opinion either of these cases are par for par on sturdiness? The Heys felt "thinner" (more flexible) but I don't know if that was necessarily a bad thing.

Essentially, I want the Heys for the look of it. But if the Samsonite has any edge in durability, I will go with the more logical choice.


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

The nice aspect of Polycarbonate, is that it doesn't have to be thick to offer durability. It is a very flexible material and quite light weight as I'm sure you discovered. If you like the pattern of the Heys, which I have to agree is quite eye catching, I would buy it without reservations. It is my belief that both of the products that you are comparing with perform quite similarly. I noticed that Heys is driven by fashion, and their colors and patterns are constantly changing. That is a good thing, as you should spot your luggage on the conveyer quite rapidly when every other bag on the belt looks exactly the same in the 'sea of black'.


veesmika 4 years ago

Thank you!


Kim 4 years ago

What is the difference between single telescoping and double telescoping handle system? Also which is better...ABS or ABS/Polycarbonate Laminate?


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Kim,

Great questions. Generally, all telescoping handles are at least two-stages. A larger upright suitcase 30" or 32" generally has the telescoping stage that you see, and the other stage is hidden within the construction of the suitcase. By comparison, a wheeled briefcase telescoping handle needs to be roughly 38-42" in height when fully extended. Consequently, this normally requires a 5-stage telescoping handle for adequate height. The general rule of thumb, is shorter cases require more stages on the telescoping handle.

Regarding your second question, the ABS/Polycarbonate Laminate is a fancy name for Polycarbonate Composite. Which simply means it is not a pure polycarbonate. The Polycarbonate Composites or ABS/Polycarbonate Laminates are more popular today than pure ABS. Normally, the pure ABS luggage products require a metal frame, and other components that add to the weight. Where as the Polycarbonate and Polycarbonate composites frequently incorporate a zipper closure, which translates to less weight. Therefore, my first preference is pure polycarbonate, which generally is more expensive and my second choice is polycarbonate composite. Thanks for your great questions. Please let me know if I can help with any other questions or concerns.


Sarah 4 years ago

I was wondering if you had any opinion or information on the Hartmann PC4 and the Samsonite Gravtec collections. I believe they are both 100% polycarbonate. Is the Hartmann worth the price? The Samsonite costs much less, what is the quality like?

Thanks so much in advance for your help.


Kelly 4 years ago

Hi, I'm wondering what are your views on the Delsey Lite Gloss collection and the Roncato Light. Both are supposedly 100% polycarbonate, however, Delsey comes with a zip which I feel might make the luggage less durable. Is this really the case and which should I go with?

Thanks!


Nora 4 years ago

Hi there,

Thank you for this informative article. I am wondering if you have any opinion about the Heys Eco collection.

Thanks,

Nora


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Yes, both are pure polycarbonate. Both are excellent products, yet I do much prefer the Hartmann PC4. The name is actually an abbreviation for PC (Polycarbonate) 4 (4 Layers). Although, the Hartmann PC4 is currently not on sale, Hartmann does have Sale Events. Currently, they are running a Sale Event on their Intensity. Once it goes on Sale, I believe you will justify the value. The belting leather accent trim, colors and design elements set it apart from the 'sea of polycarbonate luggage'. I also like the color coordinated corner protection. These are always the most vulnerable areas.


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

The nice aspect of Polycarbonate luggage is that it does not require a frame. Consequently, you see several have used zipper closures. I like the zipper closure, as it adds more flexibility to the case. Not to mention it is lighter than a metal frame. Additionally, this eliminates the possibility that the frame can be knocked out of alignment. We are just starting to see Roncato in the US market once again, I don't believe they had US distribution for the last several years. Consequently, we have more history with Delsey, and they are a fine company with excellent service. Both appear to be fine products, and I'm sure you can't go wrong with either. My personal preference between these two would be Delsey.


geniescrapper 4 years ago

I've been researching Heys luggage and find that there is a huge price difference from one to another, even in the identical size. Is there a difference in quality between the various lines or are they all about the same?


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Dear Geniescrapper,

Heys USA offers a huge assortment of luggage with a concentration on hardside luggage. For example they offer the zCase and Velocity in the Polycarbonate composite, with great looking appointments. The price is modest considering the quality. However, if you step up to the Fazzino or Britto, the luggage is substantially more, despite the fact that it is also made of Polycarbonate composite. So why would the consumer pay more? The answer is the fact that these collections have works of art on the suitcases. Charles Fazzino is a well-known American Pop Artist that is especially known for his 3D art. Likewise, Romero Britto is a Brazilian Neo-pop artist that is also world renowned for his magnificent art. If you want to step up to the next price range you can purchase the Bio Case or Crown Collection which offers 100% pure polycarbonate. The pure polycarbonate is more expensive than the composites and will indeed perform better. Additionally, there is also a step-up in the quality of the components. This is much like comparing a C-Class Mercedes to and S-Class. Once you narrow your search I would be happy to tell you which collection is the best value. Thanks for your question!


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Nora,

Thanks for your question about the Heys Eco Collection. I particularly like this collection because of the environmentally friendly message it sends. The product is made from 100% recycled ABS plastic. Rather than add to our landfills, these plastic bottles are recycled and turned into luggage. Not to mention the fact that this luggage is priced affordably and looks great. Good choice, Nora!


JaRee 4 years ago

First, thank you for taking the time to answer each & every question posted on this blog. I'm definitely impressed. My question is about the Heys brand luggage. I currently have a 21" hardside carry- on piece which I love, but I'm in the market for a larger piece - possibly 27" or 30". When I've looked at the larger sizes in stores, they seem extremely smaller than their competition, however, the measurements (according to Heys) are supposed to be a bit larger or an inch or so deeper than other brands in the same size. Have you found this to be the case or are my eyes simply playing tricks on me? I'm interested in a large piece that's deep enough for me to pack for a 2-week trip. Are Heys' measurements off? Thanks in advance.


travelWithFamily 4 years ago

I read your article with great interest. I am ready to retire a couple of my old Samsonite 30" hard-sided suitcases which I purchased in 1991 and have used for international trips every year since. The luggage is still usable after all these years but I'm ready for a nice, light, attractive change! The Antler Liquis and Camden Town caught my eye for looks and weight. What is your opinion on this luggage line (as well as between the 2 mentioned) - durability as well as ability to withstand long intl. trips with several transfers? Additionally, my concern with my favorite - the Antler Liquis 32" suitcase is that the total dimensions is more than the airline specified checked in limit of 62"/bag. (Its 67.8"). Would you recommend I look at some other luggage brand of the same caliber? Thank you in advance for your response.


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi JaRee, I love your question. In the last few years travelers have noted that most airline carriers have become quite strict with size and weight regulations. Although, Airline Carry-On standards vary from airline to airline, the standard is a maximum of 45 linear inches (22" x 14" x 9"). However, with the recent popularity of 4-Wheel Spinners, the proper method in measuring a suitcase is from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the handle (all extremities included). As a result the packing space in the typical 4-wheel (carry-on) spinner will actually be smaller, than the packing space in the standard 22" 2-Wheel Trolley. As the 2-Wheel design does not take up as much of the packing space or raise the suitcase as high off the ground. Hey's offer's both 25" and 26" Spinners depending on the series, yet you might be better off with their 30" for a two week trip. If I can answer any more questions you can also reach me at president@airlineintl.com


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Dear travelWithFamily, the actual measurement of the Antler Liquis is 30" x 20" x 10" or 60.5". The manufacturer's have recently started to measure the suitcases from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the handle, which I address in the previous comment to JaRee. However, concerning checked luggage, most airlines do not break out a tape measurer, yet rest assured the suitcase will be weighed. The standard is generally a charge of $25 for 50 lbs. or less and additional feels for 50 lbs to 70 lbs. Consequently, the size of your suitcase is relevant, as the heavier the suitcase the more likely you will pay additional fees. I love your choice, the Antler Liquis 32" is a very attractive case, which does not look like everything else on the market. I stock this collection, along with several other brands, yet it is one of my personal favorites. I took actual measurements of this suitcase to respond with accuracy. Please let me know if I can asnwer any additonal questions, my email is president@airlineintl.com


Wendy 4 years ago

Thank you so much for such an insightful and detailed review! We are about to leave for vacation soon and need to get lighter luggage with 4 wheels for easier travel. I just bought the 30" Heys Duval Hardside Spinner. What are your thoughts on that specific piece of luggage?


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Wendy,

I'm sure you'll enjoy your vacation. The Heys Duval Spinner is an excellent choice. The three color choices are all quite vivid, and easy to spot on a conveyer belt. The Duval is a Polycarbonate Composite with the 4-Wheel System. This product is both durable and lightweight. The price on this collection is very competitive, definitely a good value for your money! If you find yourself traveling more frequently, I would consider stepping up your choice to one of the 'Pure 100% Polycarbonate' products for increased durability and performance. Thanks for your question, I'm sure you'll enjoy several years of travel with your new Heys Duval. Travel Safe!


YoungFam from Oz 4 years ago

Love your article and just wondering whether we should be concerned about the Calafornian Proposition Warning that comes with these bags. I guess if I bought these hardcase luggage from Australia I wouldn't even know about the warning. Would be interested to hear your view.....


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Thanks for your kind comment. The world wide web, has made the world a much smaller place. Merchants who sell and or ship products to the state of California, are required to have the warning label on any product that contains any of the chemicals listed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). As I understand it, this list is growing exponentially, This list pertains to any chemicals that may be used in the manufacturing process or that are in the dyes, fabrics, adhesives, etc. I wish I had a list of luggage or travel bags that were guaranteed to be free from any of these chemicals. If this list becomes available I will be happy to share.


mylittlebrownbag 4 years ago

Hi!

I would just like to ask for your thoughts on the samsonite silhouette 12 22" hard side spinner. What is its quality like? Also, in the description it says that it's 100% polycarbonate but it wasn't specified if its pure polycarbonate or just polycarbonate composite.

Thanks in advance!


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Dear Mylittlebrownbag,

This is a very good question. Although, we are a Samsonite Dealer, I don't carry this particular style Samsonite Silhouette 12, Hard Side Spinners. No doubt it is a very nice looking product, with great styling and competitive pricing. However, I too pull up contradictory information on the product composition. Some of this is because there are countless Samsonite online dealers, and some of them may have product description errors in their copy. I would prefer to further research and answer your very good question accurately. Another large Samsonite Dealer friend of mine will be meeting with Samsonite's Regional Manager and clarify the answer. I found some descriptions calling the shells 100% Polycarbonate, which of course implies that it is not a composite. While another dealer describes the product as ABS/Polycarbonate which means it is a composite. So the only answer I can give you today, is that the product has extremely nice styling, nice color selection, very nice wheels and components. Not to mention it is very feature rich! I'll get back to you if you can stall your purchase for a few days. Kudos, I can see that you have done your homework!


mylittlebrownbag 4 years ago

Hi 4TRVELTIPS,

Thank you so much for the immediate response. Will await for your further update regarding the Silhouette 12 hardside style ;) And oh, I bought the item online, haven't received it though; But while browsing through the site, unlike other samsonite styles, I didn't see any warranty information for that particular style of luggage. I wonder if that comes with a warranty and if ever, how long?

Again, many thanks!


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Mylittlebrownbag,

The Samsonite Silhouette 12 has a 10 year warranty. This warranty offers you protection against manufacturer defects. Therefore, if your suitcase incurs any damages caused by such defects the repair will be covered under warranty. However, this warranty does not cover 'normal wear and tear' or carrier related (airline handling) damage. In such event it is recommended that you file a claim with the airline carrier in a timely manner (usually within 24 hours from the time you reach your final destination).

Concering the material, I believe this collection must be an ABS/Polycarbonate composite. Samsontie's actual description is Matiere synthetique, which is French and translates to 'synthetic material'. Generally, if the product is 100% virgin (or pure) Polycarbonate it is identified as such. Either way, this Samsonite Silhouette 12 is a great value at the closeout price. The new model Samsonite Silhouette Sphere will be out in January 2013.


mylittlebrownbag 4 years ago

Thank you so much for the info ;)


Sanj 4 years ago

Hi, what do you think of the Hartman PC4 collection over the Tumi's?


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Sanj,

Thank you for your question. The new Hartmann PC4 and the Tumi Vapor are both lightweight Polycarbonate 4-Wheel Spinner Upright Suitcases. Both are very fine products, durable, and extremely lightweight. We carry both in our store. However, today I'm leaning towards the Tumi Vapor if you can justify purchasing one of their seasonal colors. The Peacock Blue, Brown, Spruce, and Energy Print are all on sale for 40% off the suggested Retail. I am giving you a link to our page so that you can view the colors I refer to the images: http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/vapor-collectio... Please keep in mind the Black, Silver, Chianti, and Copper are still regular price. The other colors are now 40% off the retail price. I also like the reinforcement that Tumi uses in all the vulnerable areas. This helps protect against the rigors of typical airline travel. The bottom line is you can't make a bad decision with either choice. They are two of my personal favorites. I can also be reached at 1-800-592-1234 (Jerry) if I can answer any more questions. Happy Holidays!


Sanj 4 years ago

Thanks for the response. It appears they both have the same reinforcement along the edges and both are on sale. Now that they are both going for 40% do you still prefer the Vapor?


Sanj 4 years ago

Also, my understanding is that the Vapor is not 100% poly whereas the PC4 is - is that correct?


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Actually, the Hartmann PC4 is now advertised at 50% off the MSRP, and the Tumi Vapor is 40% off the MSRP on only the seasonal colors (while they last). The net price is now very close on both, which is why I recommend that you purchase the style, color and brand that you like the most. Both the Hartmann PC4 and Tumi Vapor are excellent products and well worth the investment. They are both extremely durable and lightweight. You are correct, both have a rubberized reinforcement on the highest stress point areas, which include the top corners and bottom corner wheels. The Tumi Vapor actually has raised bumpers that are part of the design element. This is a nice feature as this rubberized composition is slightly higher than the Polycarbonate Shells. Consequently, the high gloss Polycarbonate is less likely to touch the conveyer belts and scuff and scratch. Both Hartmann and Tumi Vapor are high gloss finish, so they are prone to scuff and scratch with normal wear and tear incured during typical airline travel. It sounds like you are leaning towards the Hartmann, and I will endorse your selection, as both brands and both products are excellent. They both come in a beautiful selection of colors, and speaking as a luggage salesman I must say they are as sexy as an Italian Race Car!


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Sanj,

You now sound like a Hartmann employee or a luggage salesman (ha-ha!). Obviously, you've done your homework, and yes the Hartmann is a 4-layered Polycarbonate, which is exactly where the acronym PC4 came from. By comparison, the Tumi Vapor is a Polycarbonate/ABS composite. Having said that both are infrequent visitors to our luggage repair department. The Tumi Vapor has been on the market for a longer period of time, so we have a bit more history on the Tumi Vapor vs. the Hartmann PC4. Yet, to date they are both outstanding 'workhorses'! They both perform exceedingly well with the rigors of airline travel. I should mention that the Tumi Vapor comes with a removable garment sleeve, and the Hartmann PC4 does not. Although, the sleeve is a nice feature, it may not be something that all travelers use. As mentioned in my above post, you can buy either with confidence. Both Hartmann and Tumi are first rate in the customer service department, and both use outstanding components on the bags you reference. Finally, I must applaud your careful research; this is the key to getting the best value for your money. Travel safe!


Sanj 4 years ago

Thanks for all your responses. I have another question - I just saw the Samsonite Black Label Hommage 3 on sale. How is the quality of the luggage? Is it worth the asking price?


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi Sanj,

Please contact me at president@airlineintl.com I will be more than happy to give you the selling points and feature benefits of the Samsonite Black Label Hommage III. However, the product is classified as soft-sided luggage, and not a Polycarbonate or Polycarbonate Composite (Hardside). Therefore, in an effort to keep this article and related comments focused on Polycarbonate Luggage, I would rather address your questions privately. I do thank you for your questions and recognize the careful research that you have dedicated to finding the best suitcase for your personal needs.


bargainhunter 4 years ago

What are your thoughts on Skyway? Their Nimbus hardside looks quite attractive for the price. According to their website, it's made of high-impact ABS material. The weight is comparable to other 100% Polycarbonate pieces with the same dimensions. Any issues with durability or performance?


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Dear Bargainhunter,

You did find a bargain indeed. Skyway was recently purchased by Ricardo of Beverly Hills (RBH), a first rate company indeed! RBH has the ability to develop cutting edge products at affordable prices. They use nice components, such as wheels, telescoping handles, hardware, etc. ABS is an abbreviation for the three chemicals that this particular plastic is made up of, which is acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. Today ABS can be developed in comparable light weight gauges to that of Polycarbonate. Generally, a pure Polycarbonate Plastic is known to be just as strong on the molded corners of the hardsided shell as that of the front and back surface sheets. Consequently, suitcases made of ABS or ABS composite will be more vulnerable to cracking on the corners if mishandled. The general rule of thumb, is a properly packed hardsided suitcase gains strength. While an under packed or overpacked suitcase is more susceptible to damage.

For the price this Skyway Nimbus is an excellent value and comes in some great color options. Thanks for your question. Enjoy your travels!


earful 4 years ago

Your last comment was very useful re: fully packed to gain strength. I want to do everything possible to preserve my newly acquired 80's Samsonite ABS/magnesium frame luggage. Makes a good point to have more than one size hardside outside the carry-on. I was wondering what my model 24 Traveler was for as it's just larger than carry-on but not so big it needs wheels. For years, since I realized 8+ zippered compartments in soft luggage are more hassle than worth, so I've been keeping an eye out for quality clamshells. Although heavy and arguably dated this Samsonite set made in USA is likely the last time the company produced products that live up to their namesake.


earful 4 years ago

A question with regard to storing hardside luggage. What is your opinion on nesting a matched set? The included manual states they "can be nested... to save space." I am interested in longevity, so when I tried nesting my 24 in the 29, I noticed the divider had to take on a stressed angle.


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4TRAVELTIPS 4 years ago Author

Hi earful,

Thanks for your two postings. I have a 26" size hardside, in fact today the 26" 4-wheel spinner, essentially is only 24" of packing space as the spinner wheels elevate the bag a few inches off the floor. Therefore, the 26" measurement actually refers to the exterior measurement from the bottom of wheels to the top of the handle. Consequently, I am left with 24" of packing space. This size seems to be perfect for the trips that are approximately one week. I can easily fit a sport coat or two, a few dress pants and casual wear, work out gear and a pair of tennis shoes.

Concerning, your next post the subject of nesting luggage had to be invented by the importers of luggage who developed incentives to save on ocean freight charges. By having 3" difference in height and width between the size of a suitcase collection. The smaller sizes will generally nest inside of the larger suitcases. For instance, a 29" suitcase can have a 26" a 22" and even a tote bag nested inside. Therefore, in this example the 26" and 22" and matching tote bag essentially ride for free. If 400 suitcase sets fit in a container you will have 1200 pieces that in theory ride for 'freight free' (3 nested pieces x 400 units). However, once the suitcases have been used and the wheels are soiled with debris, nesting these for storage can cause stains to your lining. Or as you appropriately point out, damage to center dividers. Especially dividers that are not flexible. If you have serious storage issues you might research Lipault, Biaggi or Road Warrior which all offer foldable luggage. Yet I should point out that all three of these brands are softsided luggage, despite the fact that we both seem to prefer Hardside Luggage!


vipan 4 years ago

how about Heys elite cronos series. They say its 100% german pure polycarbonate


jacklined 3 years ago

hi traveler4tips,

I have been going forward and back about 3 luagges that I came across.

1-samsonite pixel cube collection;eventhough I liked it,I believe they are not %100 polycarb.r they?

2-samsonite hyper space spinner..

3-ricardo roxbury-it says its %100 polycard,but I couldn't be sure..

which would be the best pick for durabilty,easy to use and not to be easliy scracthed..(if u could compare them with the polycar material,wheels (rubber or plastic),and handling wise I would really appriate and which one would be ur best pick.thanks from now...


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4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

The Heys Elite Cronos is one of the premier collections from Heys Luggage. It is in fact 100% pure virgin polycarbonate. The appointments, hardware, deluxe interior and TSA combination lock are definitely part of the selling features. The product is also very aesthetically pleasing. I certainly endorse the product.


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4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Jacklined,

The Samsonite Hyperspace Collection is a very attractive and well priced Spinner series, yet the collection is softsided. However, the the two other collections the Samsonite Pixel Cube Collection and the Ricardo of Beverly Hills Roxbury are both Polycarbonate Hardside Luggage. Since my article is focused on Polycarbonate Hardside Luggage, I will make a comparison between the Ricardo Roxbury and the Samsonite Pixel Cube. Both products are represented as 100% pure polycarbonate, which indicates that are not Polycarbonate composite. The pure Polycarbonate's generally perform better and are more resistant to cracks or punctures. The Samsonite Pixel Cube has the 2-Wheel trolley on the carry-on size while the Ricardo Roxbury has the 4-Wheel Spinner on the carry-on. All the other sizes have the 4-Wheel spinner in either brand. Based on the expandable feature, 4-Wheel Spinners on all sizes, and the value pricing I'm leaning towards the Ricardo Roxbury. However, they are all very good products that offer great value for the money. You can't go wrong with any of your 3 choices. Thanks for your question, enjoy your travels!


Victor G 3 years ago

I am planning to buy Samsonite Pursuit set. It says 100% polycarbonate. What you think about this that pursuit series is pure polycarbonate or polycarbonate/ABS. Any drawbacks for this particular model.


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4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Victor G,

The Samsonite Pursuit does not appear to be something marketed in the USA. Although, I read up on the product on the Samsonite Canada website. I have lately seen the description of '100% Polycarbonate', yet it doesn't say 100% 'pure' polycarbonate. However, I have never seen a 100% pure polycarbonate that sells for the economical price range of the Samsonite Pursuit. In fact, the Samsonite products that are 100% pure Polycarbonate are all quite a bit more expensive, such as the Samsonite Cosmolite. I believe this product will actually be a Polycarbonate Composite. Polycarbonate composites are still quite light weight, and most are durable, there is still an advantage to 100% pure. Thank you for your question!


Victor G 3 years ago

Thanks for your opinion for pursuit model. Please give me your opinion for Heys Heritage collection. They say its 100% pure polycarbonate.Which one will you consider from Samsonite pursuit and Heys Heritage


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Victor G,

The only difference between these two products is a matter of personal preference. Neither product is marketed in the USA, it appears to be available primarily in the Canada market. However, neither is a PURE Polycarbonate, I am quite sure that the Samsonite Pursuit and the Heys Heritage are both Polycarbonate Composite. This is generally an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic with a Polycarbonate cap sheet. Therefore, neither product can accurately be described as 100% PURE polycarbonate. The Polycarbonate composites are more vulnerable to cracking than 100% pure Polycarbonate, yet they are far more affordable than 'PURE' Polycarbonates. The polycarbonate composites are particularly more vulnerable as the plastic sheets are molded, which means the corners are generally the weakest area of the bag. The bottom line is you generally get what you pay for in Polycarbonate luggage. Although there are some exceptions, the higher price products all have superior grades of Polycarbonate. In fact, there are even different qualities of 'Pure Polycarbonates'. Thanks again for your question.


Teri 3 years ago

Hi its time for some new luggage and have been researching and found the Travelers Choice Sedona. What's your take on this pure carbonate set?


betweentheeyes 3 years ago

Any thoughts on aluminum luggage - Rimowa and Zero Halliburton are the only two I know. I travel 30 times a year or more and durability is important as well as just liking what I am traveling with. Yes, they are heavier, I understand that.

On with the question: Z H Freewheeler with it's double wheel (2 and 4 wheel system) or the Rimowa Topas (4 wheeler)?


Vishal 3 years ago

Will you please give me your opinion in regards to Samsonite Gravtec set and Heys Elite Pacifica. Are both pure polycarbonate or not. How is Heys brand in the market. Is it suppose to be a reputable company.


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Teri,

The Travelers Choice Sedona is a Polycarbonate, and confusingly described as '100% Polycarbonate', yet it is not 100% Pure Polycarbonate. The product is a Polycarbonate Composite, as mentioned in my other comments a composite is generally more vulnerable as the shells are molded. Therefore, the corners in particular are more susceptible to cracks or punctures. Yet, all things considered, especially the price....this product is a good value for the money. However, you can expect to pay more for the higher quality levels of Polycarbonate. In fact, not even all 'pure polycarbonate' suitcases are of the same quality and performance standards.


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4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Betweentheeyes,

Aluminum luggage is definitely heavier than Polycarbonate, yet there is a certain mystique and elegance to aluminum luggage. Not doubt Rimowa and Halliburton are my two favorites. Although, the aluminum will scratch and scuff, the lighter colors such as Silver, Gold, or Rimowa's Titanium in the Topas collection seems to age quite well. The lighter colors don't show the scratches as easily as the dark colors. However, the aluminum suitcases generally have a magnesium frame which is not only heavier, but more vulnerable to being knocked out of alignment. this is something to consider with your frequent traveler status. I prefer the 4-wheel versions over the 2-wheel, expecially for the larger checked sizes. However, many business travelers still pefer the 2-wheel in the carry-on size. A general rule of thumb is you will give up a couple inches of packing in the 4-wheel carry-on, as the airline carry-on regulations measure the suitcase from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the handle.


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4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Vishal,

Some of the products you are asking about are not marketed in the USA, for instance the Heys Pacifica Elite is curently marketed in Canada. Although, I have noticed that the Samsonite Gravtec appears to be on closeout pricing in the USA. Both are Pure 100% Polycarbonate. However, the Heys is German made pure Polycarbonate, which is generally a higher grade, and more expensive form of the Polycarbonate. However, from the prices I can access in my market the Heys Pacifica Elite is indeed more expensive than the Samsonite Gravtec, which may be different in your market. Both have excellent features and nice construction. I noticed that the Heys Pacifica Elite is lighter, if weight is an issue. I'm actually leaning towards the Heys in this comparison, even though you will probably be paying a bit more. Heys is a reputable company indeed, yet so is Samsonite. You can't go wrong with either choice in this comparison, I recommend that you lean with your personal preference and buy the product that is most appealing to you. Enjoy your travels


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4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Teri,

There appears to be contradictory information on various websites concerning the Sedona. Please fee free to call me at 1-800-592-1234, extension #105 and I will be happy to clarify any confusion. My name is Jerry.


Vishal 3 years ago

Will you please give me your views regarding Kirkland Signature 29" Polycarbonate Spinner selling at Costco for $150. They say it,s 100% Marklon Polycarbonate. Is it a good buy. I need you expert opinion


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Vishal,

Makrolon® polycarbonate is a brand that I believe is manufactured in Asia. Naturally, Polycarbonate comes in various gauges of thickness which will affect the performance and durability factor. However, the product you reference is indeed an excellent value for the money. You can't go wrong at that price! This product also has some nice spinner wheels, nice styling and functional features and appointments as well.


Sammy 3 years ago

Hi, first of all, many thanks for the wealth of information that I've found on your hub. I'm in the market for hardside luggage and your insight has been most useful.

After poring through many of your answers above, I came to the conclusion that the luggage that would best fit my needs and -barely- my budget is the Hartmann PC4. In fact, I literally bought it online an hour ago! However, when I continued to read more comments/answers, I found a mention of very low cost hardside luggage at Costco, so I checked the Canadian Costco website and found a 3-piece Polypropylene Delsey set offered at $199!

Please let me know how good of a deal is this? I know you mentioned your preference to polycarbonate over polypropylene, mainly because of its lighter weight and resistance to scuffing, but I'm more interested in sturdiness and durability since I'm a very frequent traveler. With that in mind, would you still recommend polycarbonate luggage like the Hartmann over the aforementioned Delsey set which are priced at less than half of the Hartmann?

Sorry for droning on and thanks again!


Sammy 3 years ago

One thing I forgot to add; I've been using a hardside Samsonite Silhouette since 1992 and it has been indestructible (used it for literally 100+ transatlantic trips). I don't know the material it's made of, but it's been bomb-proof. Does any manufacturer make anything like that now?


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Sammy,

I'm guessing you are referring to the Delsey Club 3-Pc set. The Polypropylene is a plastic material also knowed as injected molded plastic. The gauge of this modern version is much lighter than that of years ago, as weight is always an issue for consumers today. Consequently, the weight is not a vast increase vs. the Polycarbonate. The Delsey product you described is exceptionally durable and priced at a great value. The Hartmann PC4 is a 4-layered Polycarbonate, high gloss finish and trimmed in leather. Although, you are not comparing apples to apples, I would endorse either product depending on your personal preference and budget. Both will provide you years of dependable travel! You get an A+ for doing your research and homework.


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4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Sammy,

The Samsonite of the 1990's was either Polypropylene (if unlined, and color coordinated interior) or an Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Plastic (if lined and with a Magnesium Alloy frame). Both were very durable, yet much heavier than the product marketed today.


jay 3 years ago

Greetings. As other posters have indicated, your info & your responses to the multitude of questions are incredibly helpful! As with most, I'm in the market for a hard-sided, polycarbonate suitcase.

My online research has exhausted all possible US-sold brands that offer cover-everything lifetime guarantees/warranties such as no-matter-what, simple-as-that, etc. (e.g., Titan, a brand that I have, no longer has US representation & thus, can't honor their warranty.) I'm now looking for other PC suitcases that offer lesser guarantees/warranties & believe that the Delsey Helium Shadow 2.0 offers me as much value-for-weight as any of the Hartman, Rimowa, Tumi, etc. high-end brands. Unfortunately, based upon what I've read in your previous responses, I have feeling that the Helium Shadow 2.0 line is not pure PC. Will you please clarify for me? What is your assessment of the Helium Shadow 2.0 line? If not a good value, I'll need to re-visit some of those high-end brands.


Allan 3 years ago

Thank you for a most enriching and informative site.

My question is: what is the measurement for a suitcase, for being allowed to take it inside the flight cabin, to be stowed away in the baggage lockers above head,

Are exclusively thinking about purchasing a Rimowa case.

Pleas forgive me, if this question have already been asked.

Best regards

Allan

Copenhagen

Denmark


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Allan,

Thank you for your question. The largest allowable carryon is 45" in total height, width and depth combined (22"H x 14"W x 9" D) . This measurement must be from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the handle. This size will fit in the overhead bin of most full size commercial airplanes, yet certainly will not fit in the smaller regional jet overhead bins. In fact, most wheeled carry-on suitcases are entirely too large for these regional jets and will usually be taken away as a 'gate check' upon boarding the plane.

Please keep in mind that each airline carrier establishes their own guidelines, and it is always prudent to check with your airline carrier before travel to see if their carry-on standards vary. Some International carriers have sized down carry-on compliant standards, hence the reasonably new term 'International Carry-On'. Most International Carry-On bags are 20" in height instead of 22". Rimowa offers the best bag in class (this is exactly what I carry). I love my Rimowa Limbo 22" Domestic Cabin Multiwheel Trolley. Thanks for your question, I already know you have excellent taste!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Jay,

I am very impressed by your comment! You are correct, a lifetime warranty is only as good as the company that offers the warranty. I don't believe that Titan is out of business, they simply don't have a current US distributor. Therefore, it isn't practical or affordable to send it out of the country for warranty repairs or replacement. You did reference the 'Simple-as-That' Warranty which is offered by Briggs & Riley, and this company does have a lengthy track record. In fact, they will be offering this warranty on their new Polycarbonate Collection coming out in June or July 2013 (Available in Red, Graphite or Blue). Concerning your question on Delsey Helium Shadow 2.0, Delsey represents this as 100% Polycarbonate. It is lightweight, has an expandable feature, includes the TSA 3-Dial combo lock and has a textured finish, which doesn't seem to show the scuffs and scratches as easily as the high gloss finishes. The PC (Polycarbonate) used in this product is not the same gauge or strength as the German brand Bayer PC, but at the Delsey Shadow 2.0 price it is definitely a good value. I don't believe we ever had a generation 1 Delsey Helium Shadow 1 come back to our retail stores or online store with a problem. You've done your homework Jay!


Lisas229 3 years ago

Thanks for the great public service you provide! I've been exhaustively researching hard sides with the primary goals of lightness and capacity, in the context of quality and attractiveness. I've narrowed it down to Rimowa Salsa Air vs a Heys light composite such as Metallix or Zoom vs Hartmann PC4 (in which case I'd have to get a different third piece, probably a coordinating Hartmann soft side). Factoring in the cost differential, with which of the three options do you think I'd get the most bang for the buck?


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Lisas229,

Thank you for your kind words. We are a dealer for Heys, Hartmann and Rimowa. However, two of the products you refer to by Heys doesn't appear to be available in our market, the Metallix and Zoom. Yet both of these are actually Polycarbonate Composite. This means the product is not a pure Polycarbonate, yet the price and value is very impressive. Each of these Heys collections have very nice components and high-quality Japanese Wheels. Although, the composites generally are more susceptible to cracks, the fact remains that even the Polycarbonate composites perform well and are still light weight. The Hartmann PC 4 is a 4-layered Polycarbonate which is pure, yet the grade of the Polycarbonate is not quite comparable to the 'best-in-class' Bayer brand German Polycarbonate such as that of the Rimowa Salsa Air. Based on the three collections you mentioned I tend to lean towards the Rimowa Salsa Air. Yet, if your budget doesn't allow you to go in this direction you can't go wrong with your other two selectons from Heys or Hartmann.


Lisas229 3 years ago

Thanks! Three more questions:

1). which Rimowa color is less likely to show scratches: navy or white?

2). Is the legendary Rimowa customer service equally available even if I buy online and not from manufacturer's website (ie can I buy it from you!)

3). The dimensions of the Rimowa carryon add up to 45.3". Is it really not a problem to get it onboard as a carryon?

Thanks again, Lisa


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Lisas229,

Since the Rimowa Salsa Air is pure Bayer brand Polycarbonate, the color is through-and-through. Therefore, you won't see the white crease marks that you would normally see on Polycarbonate composites. I just returned from a trade show, and was told that Navy is the #1 color in our US Market for the Salsa Air, it just passed up the Ultra Violet. However, in our geographic market the White sells extremely well. In fact, for us it is second to the Ultra Violet. You can actually wipe most of the surface scratches and/or smudges off with a clean micro fiber towel. I travel with the Midnight Blue in the Limbo series (which is a bit lighter than Navy) yet you have to be right on top of it before you see any scratches, and the deeper scratches are self colored. Therefore, it still looks awesome after all my international travels. We also replaced a top handle on Rimowa Salsa Air in White for one of our customers, and this couple travels extensively. Yet, surprisingly the white still looks great. Certainly, I can help you with your Rimowa needs, as we are an authorized dealer. You can reach me at 1-800-592-1234 Extension #105 (Jerry) or by email at President@airlineintl.com. The Domestic carry-on will fit on all overhead bins of full size domestic planes. None of the wheeled carry-ons will fit in the regional commuter jets, yet can be gate-checked upon boarding the plane.


eric 3 years ago

Hi, I am just wondering which luggage material is more durable and less prone to cracking or piercing - is it polycarbonate or polypropylene? Thanks in advance.


Sammy 3 years ago

Based on info obtained on this very useful website and after a long research, I settled on a Delsey Contour Lite suitcase, which I think is great! It's 100% PC, has a light aluminum metal frame so it weighs more or less as much as a frameless suitcase and it looks great. It also feels very sturdy, much more so than a frameless suitcase, which I couldn't bring myself to buy (or rather keep; I bought -and returned- a Hartmann PC4 and a couple of Heys frameless PC suitcases) since I felt that my belongings won't be properly protected from impacts inside it (I often travel with electronic/electric equipment) and they also seemed much easier to get into by would-be thieves (unscrupulous baggage handlers, etc.) I haven't actually traveled with the Delsey luggage yet, but I have a multi-leg trip to Europe coming up, which should be a good test .

Again, thanks a lot for this website and the wealth of luggage knowledge offered in it, much appreciated.


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Eric,

Both are durable, yet both can crack. Today, the polypropylene styles on the market are a thinner gauge than what was used a decade ago. The advantage is the fact that today's polypropylene (PP) is significantly lighter weight, yet it is more susceptible to to cracks than that of the heavier gauge used in the past. However, many of the Polycarbonate products on the market place are not actually 100% pure polycarbonate and more importantly, not 100% pure German (bayer brand polycarbonate). If the product is bayer brand German polycarbonate it will be identified as such. Of course, this is the lightest and most durable. However, this product does not come cheap, the 100% pure German brand polycarbonate will be more expensive, but well worth the investment.


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Sammy,

Thanks for your comment and kind words. I believe the Delsey Contour Lite was created for another market (Canada). Consequently, I haven't seen it yet. Eventually, we will probably run across one in our repair department as we repair luggage for much of the airline industry. However, based on the information I can pull up it looks like a very nice product. I travel with a Rimowa Limbo, which also has an aluminum frame. The advantage of the aluminum frame is the rigidity it offers, considering the fact that the framless cases in polycarbonate are very flexible since the closure is only a zippered frame. No doubt the aluminum frame will give added protection to your electronic equipment. The only disadvantage to an aluminum frame is the fact that they can be knocked out of alignment with frequent travel, and the frame adds to the weight marginally. All and all, the trade-off is worth it. Delsey has always had a high quality to value ratio, enjoy your travels!


Sammy 3 years ago

Hi 4TRAVELTIPS,

You`re absolutely right; I just checked the tag on my Delsey Contour Light and it's made right here in Canada! It's sold by Costco.ca and other small retailers in malls and such. You're also right about Delsey`s high value offerings; my suitcase even came with a clever folding hanger that the much more expensive Hartmann PC4 lacked :) Its general build quality is also excellent and it has sturdy metal locks that's almost identical to my old, bombproof, 90's Samsonite luggage. The only negative thing that one can say about this suitcase it that it has small wheels, but I don`t mind that and the wheels are stubby and have a metal rod (some of the other suitcases I shopped had plastic rods!), so they're less likely to break.

Keep up the good work and all the best.


Andy 3 years ago

Hi

I just bought this New Arrivals Heys Carbonite 2 Pc Set (21" and 26")

100% Polycarbonate.

https://shop.heys.ca/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCod...

It is my first hardside set and I've been using Delsey softsides set for a few years (20" and 29")

What are your thoughts on this new Carbonite line up from Heys?

Is it virgin or recycled polycarbonate?

Thanks in advance


diane 3 years ago

hi!!help me decide into which hardside luggage to buy between, heys & ricardo? thanks!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Andy,

First I must say that I am so flattered to have a following from Canada. This product is not currently available in our US Market, yet I see that it is available by Heys in the Canada. The product is full featured, lightweight, and comes in a great choice of colors. The divided interior seems to have one zippered curtain divider and adjustable tie-tapes on the opposite side. This is the configuration that I prefer for packing. I like all the components, and the fact that it comes with an integrated TSA Combination Lock. It certainly is a great value for the 2-Piece Set and I'm sure will perform well. However, this is the Chinese version of 100% Polycarbonate. You can't quite compare it to the German Bayer brand Polycarbonate in durability or performance. However, at this price They Heys Carbonite is a good choice for most 'vacation travelers'. By comparison a frequent traveler/business traveler should indeed make sure they look for the genuine Bayer brand pure 100% virgin Polycarbonite. Although, it costs more, it is well worth the investment! Travel safe!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Diane,

Both Heys and Ricardo are excellent companies and both have a very impressive line up of Polycarbonite luggage. However, in order to best answer your question I need to know which two collections you are comparing. Each of these brands has a wide range of product. I will look for your next posting, and hope I can give you some guidance.


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Thanks for your kind words Sammy!


pbfp 3 years ago

This was really helpful. I have been looking for new luggage -- very light weight is important and couldn't understand why luggage such as Heys could be sold at so many different price points -- the information given on the product pages really isn't helpful. Your explanations of the differences between the pure polycarbonate and the layered makes things clearer. Where is your store? I'd like your help in purchasing!


lcwms3 profile image

lcwms3 3 years ago

I just bought some Heys Britto luggage and the plastic coating has bubbled up on the edges and is peeling off already. I have not used the luggage yet. Is there something you recommend to stop the peeling, or is it supposed to be peeled off?

Thank you!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Dear pbfp,

I apologize for my delayed response. I was traveling during the time the post appeared. As you appropriately point out, there are a vast assortment of product and quality ranges in the world of polycarbonate luggage. Consequently, the price points are also quite diverse. My stores are in El Paso, Texas. Please feel free to contact me direct at president@airlineintl.com and I will be happy to assist you in selecting the product that is right for your particular needs.


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Dear lcwms3,

Thanks for you recent post. It sounds like you purchased a Britto suitcase that still had the clear plastic protective coating. Most retailers peel this off, before it is put on the sales floor. However, if you purchased a product that was fresh out of the box, perhaps the retailer neglected to take off this plastic coating. On the other hand, if this clear plastic coating that I refer to is no longer on your suitcase and you still get bubbling on the surface it sounds like a defect. If this is the circumstance please contact mea at president@airlineintl.com and I will give you suggestions on how you can resolve this issue.


lcwms3 profile image

lcwms3 3 years ago

Thanks for your quick response. The peeling stuff is clear, so sounds like it is supposed to come off. Glad to hear it!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

I'm very glad to hear that it was just the protective covering. One of my store managers always leaves this protective covering on the Britto bags until the product is sold, and then asks the customer if they would like us to peel it off. However, my other store manager prefers to peel it off before it is displayed, so the product doesn't have the 'cloudy look'. Apparently, the store that you purchased the product from forgot to mention that it had this clear plastic protective coating. I'm glad it turned out well


Alison 3 years ago

I'm struggling to decide between the antler Liquis or the delsey Helium. Not sure which is the better quality suitcase and both are around the same price (£200) I'm looking at large (volume approx 100) and as lightweight as possible. So far I've narrowed it down to these two. Any advice is appreciated!!!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Alison,

I carry both the Antler Liquis and the Delsey Helium Aero Collection. Both are very nice products, and feature rich for the price. The Delsey Aero is described as 100% Poycarbonate, which implies it is not virgin or pure. While the Antler Liquis is described as 3 layered pure virgin polycarbonate, which tells us the polycarbonate used for this product is not recycled. In my US market you can now buy the two larger Antler Liquis pieces in Blue or Chocolate and get the carryon for free. This extra promotion gives the edge to Antler for all the above reasons. However, I can't find fault with either product, as they are both great products, lightweight, full featured and priced competitively. Futhermore, both luggage companies are a delight to work with, and stand behind their product!


OceanGuy 3 years ago

Thanks for the wealth of information. I am currently considering options for a larger, hardside bag to use in international travel, including in developing island nations. I need to be able to protect snorkeling gear and other materials that are breakable through compression. My old 1990s Samsonite hardcases lost their handles early on, but were robust against baggage handlers until recently, when they gave up the ghost. I liked the "bomb proofing" (as your readers say), but also the fact that the aluminum frame was incompressible, and so the contents were protected against compression damage.

I have purchased a Hartmann PC4 27 inch spinner at a really good price (a further 25% below the current sale price).

I worry about both the scratching on the glossy black finish, and the fact that the contents would be vulnerable to compression, if the suitcase is filled very full (masks and the like). I also worry that the handles don't seem very secure against baggage handler jerks if fully loaded (to 50 lbs). Are these valid concerns? Would the Hartman in lighter colors scratch less? As I assume this is Asian polycarb, how important is it to be "German"?

Are there other 100% pure virgin polycarb hardcases, including perhaps with rigid frames rather than zippers, that I should consider, while still staying less than about $300?

Thanks in advance!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi OceanGuy,

Thanks for your questions. Polycarbonate (PC) really became popular in the world of luggage quickly. Primarily, because it is very durable, lightweight, and still offers the protection of hard side luggage. However, your travel requirements seem to be different than the average traveler.

I can see by your comments that you have researched the subject in quite depth. In answer to your questions a glossy PC will indeed show scratches. Additionally, the German virgin PC will perform better than the Asian PC. Finally, an aluminum or Polypropylene (PP) frame will give far more rigidity to the otherwise flexible PC shells. However, most of the brands that offer this option are more than $300 range.

My concern is the value of your contents, and it sounds like your snorkeling equipment might be very high value and somewhat susceptible to damage from impact. The truth is that Polycarbonate (PC) is prone to compression. Especially, if your suitcase is under packed or if a substantial amount of weight is placed on top of your suitcase. I have a vivid memory of the time I saw a mountain of stacked suitcases on the cruise ship and hoped mine wasn’t on the bottom of that stack. Additionally, you never know how many suitcases could potentially be stacked on top of yours in the belly of the plane. For this reason I believe you should seriously consider a Polypropylene (PP) hard side suitcase. This type of plastic is frequently used for equipment, instrument, or gun cases because of its properties of durability. This type of plastic has high petroleum content and is prone to scratch, yet it is a far better solution in protecting your contents. I have researched the offerings and there are several products in every size that are under $300. Please call me at 1-800-592-1234 (Jerry) and I will suggest some choices that best suit your requirements. I certainly appreciate your kind words, and careful research.


Joyce and Anne 3 years ago

We will be flying Aer Lingus to Dublin, and are concerned about the weight and size of our bag purchase. I prefer to have a carry on bag that will meet their sizing standards. Would you suggest one of these over another...Antler, Hartmann, or Bric's pinafarina?


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Joyce and Anne,

Thanks for your question. Actually, you mention some very fine brands; Antler, Hartmann and Brics. Each of these brands offer smaller international sizes that will meet carry-on compliant standards of Aer Lingus and other carriers as well. However, today I am completing a new article on the subject of 'Spinner Luggage' because many consumers are unaware that they will be losing a marginal amount of packing space in a 4-wheel spinner carry-on vs. a 2-wheel trolley. My article will address this topic so that you can evaluate your priorities and pick the model that is best for your personal needs. Enjoy your travels!


Phillip 3 years ago

Hi, just wanted to know what your thoughts are on the Briggs and Riley TORQ collection. What exactly is virgin Makrolon polycarbonate (how does that compared to bayer polycarbonate)?

It seems to offer a lifetime warranty that includes airline damage which is very enticing.

Thanks,

Phillip


Phillip 3 years ago

Also, aside from the TORQ (which is alot pricier...), I am choosing between that and the Victorinox spectra and the Hartmann PC4 (international carry-on). I think the Victorinox has slightly bigger dimensions but the Hartmann does have bumpers and more internal compartments for organisation. Which of the three would you recommend personally?


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Phillip,

Thanks for your question. The Briggs & Riley Torq is pricier, yet the warranty makes it well woth the investment. I like the Hartmann PC4 and the Victorinox Spectra, which are both quality names and quality products. However, the baggage handlers can be rough on luggage and accidents will happen. I prefer the Birggs & Riley Torq hands down!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Phillip, I must apologize for answering your questions out of order. Yet, in answer to your question, Bayer Material Science LLC produces the product called Macrolon® polycarbonate. Ever thought of going into the luggage business? Good Question!


paulette 3 years ago

Between the 29 Swiss Army Spectra and the 29 Hartmann PC4 which is the better one? They are both about the same price.


Lisa 3 years ago

Hi,

Wow, your site offers a wealth of information. Thank you for sharing. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the samsonite inova/silhouette vs the victorinox spectra with regards to durability. I travel overseas several times a year and would like to make sure my luggage can withstand the abuse. Thanks for your time!

Lisa


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Paulette,

The Victorinox Swiss Army Spectra and the Hartmann PC4 are both pure polycarbonate suitcases, and very comparable in features and benefits. I would base your decision on which product appeals to you from a visual standpoint. If you do lean towards the Victorinox Swiss Army Spectra, I strongly encourage you to go with the new Spectra 2, which comes in a new range of matte finish (not high gloss) colors, such as Red; White, or Black. This newer generation now has corner guards. Enjoy your travels!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi Lisa,

The Samsonite Inova is a Makrolon Polycarbonate, which is both incredibly strong and lightweight. However, a single handle trolley is not for everyone. Although, it lightens up the load it doesn't allow you to 'piggy-back' the tote, business case, or companion bag that you would normally attach to the handle. Because of this I would lean towards the new Victorinox Spectra 2 as described in my comment to Paulette. Yet, if you are not bothered by the single telescoping handle, you can have confidence that the Samsonite Inova will offer both durability and the benefit of being exceedingly light weight.


John 3 years ago

Hi, I just purchased the Victorinox spectra 29 spinner. When I got home I checked for more reviews and a Proposition 65 warning came up on the luggage. I was wondering if all polycarbonate luggage products have this warning, or is their a specific reason the model came with a warning. I tried looking it up but the information is not specific enough to the this brand. Thanks for any insight into this matter. I have two cancer survivors in my family and I want to make the right decision for them and I also do not want to support a product line that is dangerous to anyone.

John


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 3 years ago Author

Hi John,

Thanks for your question. I fully understand your concern, as I too have cancer survivors in the family. Proposition 65 originated in California. However, with distribution throughout the country, and the growth of internet sales, any product that gets sent to California or a California resident should have this disclaimer. If you visit the OEHHA California Proposition 65 website, it will discuss this subject in far more detail and provide a list of the chemicals. Although, I am in no way qualified to answer any medical concerns about this topic, I do know that some of the chemicals used in the production of many products may be found on the list. Unfortunately, if there is a product that is free from any of these listed chemicals, I don't know what it is. Consequently, I am seeing these Prop 65 disclaimers on every product, not just Victorinox. I hope this answers your concerns.


Eva 2 years ago

Hi, I recently purchased the Heys Britto luggage in the carry-on size and 26" online because I love the design and I've heard good things about Heys.

I have a friend who has a Heys hard shell that is 100% polycarbonate and it seems quite durable and stiff. However, when I received my online purchase, I realized that mine was a polycarbonate composition and it seemed a little too flexible for checked-baggage-use.

I recently travelled with my carry-on and I love it, but I'm worried for my 26" since it is not 100% polycarbonate and it seems too flexible that it may be more prone to cracks and damages. I was wondering if you could give me your opinion. Is 100% polycarbonate better? Are the 360 degree spinner wheels durable enough for such a big luggage?

I just don't want to have to stress over a broken luggage during my travels... Thank you!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 2 years ago Author

Hi Eva,

Thanks for your good questions. Of course, the 100% pure virgin Polycarbonate will be the best option, but also a more expensive choice. Especially, if you combine the more expensive material with a designer pattern, that the manufacturer has to pay a royalty to use. Consequently, the Britto collection by Heys was intentionally produced in Polycarbonate composite to appeal to a broader audience and market at a better price point. Of course, it still is not an inexpensive suitcase by any means!

The good news is that Polycarbonate composite is also very durable, yet very light weight. Normally, the 100% pure virgin polycarbonate suitcases do not lose strength when you mold the shells. Therefore, the corners are just as strong as the flat surfaces. By contrast, the Polycarbonate composites may be more prone to punctures or surface cracks (especially on the corners) than a pure polycarbonate. However, the strength of your suitcase comes from the packed contents. It is never a good idea to over pack a suitcase. Yet, if you pack a suitcase to full capacity, without a lot of gaps in the inside the suitcase is less prone to damage and your clothing is less prone to wrinkling. The flexibility of a Polycarbonate case, whether pure or composite, is inherent to this type of plastic. This is actually part of the reason this material is so durable. I view this feature as a benefit and not a disadvantage. Some suppliers use a metal frame instead of a zipper closure, and of course this will make the Polycarbonate suitcase more structured. I still prefer the zipper closure, as the metal frames can be knocked out of alignment rather easily. However, that is simply my personal preference.

Please use your 26" Britto case with confidence. They have a great set of spinner wheels that will perform well without any problem. Fortunately, any of the wheels should be damaged in transit, any qualified luggage repair center should be able to replace the wheels. Although, you might incur a crack or puncture in your suitcase at some point, it should not happen with ease, unless the suitcase is severely mishandled. Enjoy you purchase, and don't worry about checking your suitcase!


Alexiabr 2 years ago from NJ/MNL

Hi,

My family and I are going to travel around Europe in the summer, which means dragging luggage around train platforms and cobblestones and I don't want to have to worry about my luggage breaking when i'm walking. My friend's softside spinner gave up three days into her European vacation and it left her in a bad mood. I'm planning on getting hardside spinners for each member of my family, 4 in all, but I can't seem to decide which luggage to commit to buying. I've sort of come to the conclusion that I should probably get each member of my family a different luggage brand to test out. Is that wise? I'm looking at the Rimowa Salsa Air, the Antler Juno, the Tumi Vapor, the Samsonite Cosmolite, the Delsey Helium Aero, and the Delsey Helium Shadow. Am I looking at the right stuff?

Thank you,

Alexia


Lissa Hisshion 2 years ago

Hi, I 'm planning to buy a Rimowa Trunk for my birthday in 2 weeks. I just couldn't decide if I should get it in matte or glossy finish. I know they will both have scratches eventually, but which finish do you think would be less prone to deep and obvious scratches?

Thank you,

Lissa


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 2 years ago Author

Hi Alexia,

Please excuse my delayed response. The new compositions used in hardsided spinners today is quite incredible. Lightweight and durable. However, you should be aware that the quality of the wheel in hardside spinners will not necessarily be any better than that of the softsided luggage. Especially, if you are dragging the wheels on 'cobblestones'. Having said that, you do mention many great bags, yet I personally am not a big fan of the single telescoping handle system as found on the Rimowa Salsa Air and Samsonite Cosmolite. Naturally, this single telescoping handle does save a marginal amount of weight, but the difference is ever so slight. Both brands also have an entire line up of the more conventional double tube telescoping handle. Since durability is your priority I like the Rimowa Salsa Deluxe, Rimowa Salsa, or Rimowa Limbo. The Delsey Helium Aero is one of the best values for your money, and quite durable, yet not in the same league as that of the Rimowa products. The Tumi Vapor is somewhere in between, and has a skeletal frame as part of the design element that is made of a durable Polypropylene. This framing takes much of the abuse, before the beautiful glossy Polycarbonate body of the suitcase takes any of the scratches or scuffs. My retail store carries all the brands you mention, yet the Antler no longer has a US distributor. They are all great brands with excellent customer support options. You have done your homework, I hope you have a very memorable trip!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 2 years ago Author

Hi Lissa,

I have been traveling myself, so please excuse my delayed response. I hope I am catching you before you make the trip. The question you ask, is actually more about personal preference than aesthetics. Rimowa uses the finest quality Bayer Brand 100% pure virgin Polycarbonate. There is no better, and in fact Rimowa was the company who pioneered this particular type of lightweight/durable plastic specifically for the luggage industry. Prior to Rimowa, this plastic was not used in this industry. You will be happy to know that the color of the inside, center and exterior are all the same identical color. By comparison, the Polycarbonate composites (are mixed with ABS or some other composition) and generally if they have an impact or stress crack you will notice that the 'composites' are usually white on the inside. This is not the circumstance with the pure polycarbonate suitcases such as Rimowa. Consequently, as they scratch they generally don't show the scuffs or scratches very easily. In fact, I periodically polish many of the scuffs and surface scratches out with a microfiber cloth. I personally prefer the glossy finish, and in our region the glossy finish well out-performs the matte finish. Yet both are extremely attractive. I would lean for the finish that you feel has the more pleasing aesthetic appeal. Neither is prone to show the scratches more so than the other. Safe travels!


Abby 2 years ago

Hi,

Could you please let me know the difference between Hartmann's PC4 28'' vs Hartmann's Herringbone 26'' hardside?

http://www.moriluggage.com/pc4-27-mobile-traveler-...

http://www.moriluggage.com/herringbone-hardside-26...

I really like the look of the Heringbone and the size is perfect for me. It is slightly smaller than PC4. However, the current offer of PC4 is very tempting, only cost about $300. You mentioned that it's a pretty strong luggage as it is constructed from 100% virgin 4 layer polycarbonate material. Is the Heringbone one as strong or even better since it cost a little bit more? It is made of Ultra resilient poly-carbonate polymer shell. Does it mean it's not 100% Polycarbonate?

Which one do you think is a better option in terms of durability and functionality?


Abby 2 years ago

Thank you !!!


Juanita 2 years ago

How do you do a "most reliable " list without including Briggs & Riley?? I hear Rimowa is good and all, but is it REALLY better than Delsey, Travelpro, or Samsonite? I think you should do a comparison chart for the brands you think are the absolute best in the industry (kinda like they did on http://thelugage.com). I'd really like to see that


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 2 years ago Author

Hi Abby, please excuse the delayed response. You ask a very good question, and I like the Hartmann Herringbone better as well. The PC4 was Hartmann's first generation of polycarbonate luggage and certainly a good value and nice looking. However, the high polished finish did show scratches much more easily than that of the Herringbone pattern. The Hartmann PC4 is discontinued, so the other disadvantage is that you couldn't readily find additional pieces if you were adding to your set over time. The Polycarbonate Polymer shell is certainly comparable in durability and not a combination of polycarbonate and abs plastic mixture.


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 2 years ago Author

Hi Juanita, we are a full-stocking dealer of Briggs & Riley as well. However, if you check the date this article was created, it was before Briggs & Riley launched their Torq Polycarbonate line. The Briggs & Riley Polycarbonate product has the same 'simple as that' lifetime warranty as the rest of their collection. So is it a 'best value' consideration? Absolutely, you get what you pay for, and this is no exception. The product is robust, one of the only lid opening packing systems in Polycarbonate luggage. While other brands generally are center divide construction. This feature is quite important to many people who are accustomed to packing in soft-sided luggage, as they 'forgot' how to pack in a split-divide case. The wheels, handle, components, telescoping handle, and lining are all true to form as you would expect with any Briggs & Riley case. The Cobalt Blue and Ruby Red Polycarbonate are brilliant colors, and the Graphite Gray is traditional for the more conservative buyer.

Concerning Rimowa, I maintain that it is the best Polycarbonate in the industry, exactly as the price would suggest. The choices and collections are expansive. Yet, like most luxury items the price may be an obstacle to some. I personally travel with the Rimowa Limbo Collection, and that is my preference.

Samsonite offers a host of Polycarbonate luggage collections, some of their collections are actually Polycarbonate composite while others are pure Polycarbonate (The Black Label Collection). Within the Samsonite Collection, the price is usually the best gauge of the quality level. Unless the product is discontinued and at close-out pricing. Travelpro has also entered the arena of Polycarbonate luggage, they too have an excellent product. If you continue to do your homework as it appears you have done, my best advise is to buy the product that fits into your budget, has the features you require, and meets your aesthetic expectations. The bar has been risen in this industry and there is a great deal to choose from.

The newest entry is a 'Made in USA' Polycarbonate product by Revo. I believe it should be hitting my stores next week. I'm sure the Polycarbonate material is imported, yet the product is assembled right in the USA (California). The price is less than Rimowa, and Briggs and falls close to the median price range of the Samsonite or Travel Pro product. However, as I'm writing this response I'm sure new product is being developed. Thanks for your comments, much appreciated!


Susan 2 years ago

I read the article and all your responses and have to say that this is above and beyond the best luggage advice I've found. My family and I travel a lot internationally and we've gone through several sets of luggage - so much so that I'm almost afraid to buy yet another disappointing product.

From your advise to others, I've narrowed my choices to Rimowa, Samsonite Cosmolite and Heys Cronos! We pack up and move every 3-4 years, so every family member is going to try a different brand this time and we'll see which survives the longest! Thanks so much


beerme1 20 months ago

Hi. Do you have any thoughts on Delsey Chatelet series of luggage?

They say it's bayer 100% virgin makrolon polycarbonate.

Thank you


Ronald 15 months ago

what can you comments and give me some of your advise in new caterpillar polycarbonate written is100% pure polycarbonate.thank you...


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 15 months ago Author

Hi Ronald,

Thanks for your question. I haven't seen the new Caterpillar polycarbonate luggage set at any of our trade shows or in store. I did pull it up on line and it is described online and see it is described at 100% pure polycarbonate. This implies it is not composite (a mixture) and the term 'virgin' or 'pure' implies that it is not recycled. Recycled polycarbonate will not have the same impact resistance as that of pure or virgin. It's not a bad price at $746/set of 3. However, visually it does look rather industrial. Which I say is appropriate considering they are using the Caterpillar license. There are definitely various grades of polycarbonate, and I still give my highest mark to the Rimowa German Bayer brand of polycarbonate. There is also a Chinese Bayer brand polycarbonate called Makrolon® polycarbonate and the Revo Luna Collection by Olivet, and it is actually assembled in the USA. This gets my 'best value for the money ranking'. Here is a link for your perusal: http://www.airlineintl.com/product/olivet-revo-lun...


Ronald 15 months ago

Thank you very much!!!


Ronald 15 months ago

Thank you very much!!!


Marissa 11 months ago

Have you heard anything about the Samsonite Cruisair DLX. I want to purchase the 26" or 30" on Amazon (a lot cheaper) but I can't find a lot of reviews. I know it's the updated model of Samsonite Cruisair Bold, has an aluminum frame and 100% polycarbonate. Do you have any recommendations close to this. Good quality and not too expensive.

I read a comment above saying that the quality of Samsonite lugage is going down. I don't want to waste my money in a product that's not going to last. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 11 months ago Author

Hi Marissa,

Thank you for your question about Samsonite Cruisair Deluxe. The product is very attractive and very fair priced. The quality is very good, and well worth the price you see advertised. Something you should know, is that in most circumstances you get what you pay for. The more expensive products generally have improved compositions, higher quality linings, hardware, components, etc. Not all Polycarbonate suitcases are the same, and today there is a great deal of ambiguity. We find that most suppliers have referred to 100% Polycarbonate as product that is not mixed with ABS or other compositions. However, that is not to be confused with 100% pure or virgin Polycarbonate. If the product is 100% virgin Polycarbonate it will be more expensive, not recycled, more durable and proportionately lighter. A better alternative if you travel with frequency.

Most of the Polycarbonate suitcases we see on the market have zipper closures vs. an aluminum frame. The Polycarbonate shell is very flexible and will flex with ease when the closure is zippered. However, with an aluminum frame, you will add weight to the suitcase and take away much of the natural flexibility of the Polycarbonate. Not to mention that aluminum frames are rather easy to knock out of alignment.

There is also a Chinese Bayer brand polycarbonate called Makrolon® polycarbonate and the Revo Luna Collection by Olivet is made of this superior 100% pure Polycarbonate. Best of all, it is actually assembled in the USA. Consequently, this gets my 'best value for the money ranking'. Since it is 100% virgin or pure Polycarbonate it is not recycled. The corners are just as strong as the main shell, which is not the circumstance on recycled Polycarbonate suitcases (even though confusingly described as 100% Polycarbonate). The 100% virgin Polycarbonate is also significantly lighter when compared to the model you reference. Please feel free to read up on this for comparison. http://www.airlineintl.com/catalog/revo-luggage-co...

Wishing you pleasant and safe travels!


beerme1 11 months ago

Hello. I had asked you about 8 months ago ago if you had an opinion on Delsey Chatelet series of luggage?

Have you seen this set or can you speak about it's qualities?

Thank you


beerme1 11 months ago

Also, where can I find your store?


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 11 months ago Author

Hi beerme1,

Sorry I missed your earlier question, must have been traveling. However, I am quite familiar with Delsey Chatelet. In fact, they too use the same Bayer brand polycarbonate called Makrolon® that I describe in my above answer to Marissa. As mentioned in my earlier articles, 100% Polycarbonate is not synonymous with 100% pure or virgin Polycarbonate.

This Delsey Chalet Collection is 100% pure or virgin Polycarbonate and priced very fairly. Since it is not recycled Polycarbonate, you can expect more durability. Once again, you get exactly what you pay for in regards to quality and function. Additionally, this suitcase has Wheel-brakes (which are easy to engage). An excellent idea for Spinner wheels, so that you suitcase doesn't roll away when you are on an incline or otherwise. When engaged the front two spinner wheels will lock. If you have every wheeled your suitcase to a rental car or long-term parking, it is not uncommon to turn around and see that your spinner wheel suitcase is rolling away from you. The brakes are a very clever idea, not to mention it makes it easier if you want to roll the suitcase on the back two wheels like a Trolley Bag. I also like the high quality wheels, and practical lining. Good decision, you did your homework!


4TRAVELTIPS profile image

4TRAVELTIPS 11 months ago Author

Hi beerme1,

We are in El Paso, Texas and our site is www.airlineintl.com

Thanks again for your great question!


beerme1 11 months ago

Thank you sir!

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