Luggage Preferences: Hard versus soft


With lots of fun summer travel coming up, I’m in need of new luggage. In the past few years, there has been a rise of suitcases with a hard outer shell, as opposed to the soft nylon like material that was the norm for many years. So which one should you get? There are pros and cons to both.


Pro: A soft cover gives you more flexibility, because it has the ability to expand based on what’s inside it. If you most value the idea of squeezing in a few more items than what technically fits, then this might be for you. Also, the flexibility often makes this type of luggage easier to cram into overhead compartments on planes.

Con: I am shopping for a new suitcase because I dragged mine around so much and filled it so much that it has actually ripped at the bottom, leaving a few gaping holes. This won’t be a problem with hard luggage.


Pro: Sturdiness. The cover might scuff, but it won’t rip. Also, security. Hard luggage is safer if you packing fragile items. And, let’s be honest, luggage gets thrown around all the time. Finally, you’re more likely to see more bright colors and designs on hard case luggage.

Con: I’ve seen people say that a con of hard luggage is that it ends up not looking as nice more quickly. It can easily scruff and then you have a piece with a bunch of marks across it. If you do tend to be an over packer, this case is not for you. Once you’ve hit the limit, you’ve hit the limit — there is no room for anything else.

Another consideration

I also saw somewhere the idea that hard luggage takes up more space to open. That’s because it has two shallow sides for packing in things instead of one big space.

The verdict

So, what’s the verdict?

At the end of the day, I think it comes down to personal preference. You have to consider what kind of packer and traveler you are, and make the choice that is best for your habits.

We’re curious to hear whether you have hard or soft luggage and why you like what you have. Or, if you were to get new luggage, what would you get? Let us know in the comments.

As for me? I’m still deciding.

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