Some expensive luggage brands, like Hartmann, Louis Vuitton, and Bric’s make suitcases that are only good for occasional vacations and usually aren’t durable enough for frequent traveling. An expensive price tag doesn’t always mean that the product itself is well-made. In fact, quite often when you compare a 1000$ case with a 400$ one, the cheaper one is more durable.
In this article, we’ll share 11 durable luggage brands, ranked from most to less durable, although all brands mentioned in this list offer well-made suitcases that should withstand frequent travel.
But before we do that, we’ll share 7 suitcases from these brands that we consider to be the most durable ones.
Most Durable Suitcases in 2022
- Indestructible & waterproof: Pelican 1650 Rolling Case
- Most durable (hardside, aluminum): Rimowa Classic
- Most durable (hardside, plastic): Briggs & Riley Torq
- Most durable (softside): Briggs & Riley Baseline
- Durable & affordable (hardside, aluminum): Level8 Gibraltar
- Durable & affordable (hardside, plastic): Travelpro Platinum Elite
- Durable & affordable (softside): Travelpro Crew Versapack
Pelican 1650 Rolling Case
Briggs & Riley Torq
Briggs & Riley Baseline
Travelpro Platinum Elite
Travelpro Crew Versapack
Most Durable Luggage Brands (In Descending Order)
1. Pelican (200-400$)
Pelican is a well-known protective case manufacturer that also sells a wide variety of suitcases. They’re most commonly used by people who need to protect expensive gear, such as photographers, videomakers, technical workers, professional athletes, and so on. They make some of the sturdiest suitcases out there, which are close to indestructible.
You’ll find a wide range of suitcases and briefcases offered by Pelican – ranging from carry-ons to large checked bags, with and without wheels, with large padded compartments and multiple smaller ones for organizing specific gear, and so on. They’re an especially smart choice for checked luggage because checked bags often get damaged by harsh baggage handling conditions. Another bonus is that they’re zipperless and that they come with TSA-approved locks, which means that they’re much harder to break into while they’re checked in.
And what’s even better – Pelican sells their cases for quite reasonable prices. When you consider how durable they are and how long they last, Pelican offers some of the best value for money among all the luggage brands out there.
The only downside with Pelican cases is that they’re quite heavy, weighing 50-100% more than a similarly-sized fabric alternative and that they’re quite limited in design. For example, we imagine it might be a bit weird for a Business traveler to travel around with a Pelican case.Shop Pelican on Amazon
2. Briggs & Riley (400-800$)
Briggs & Riley is a premium luggage brand, which is especially famous among flight crews, pilots, and frequent travelers. In fact, in our Best Luggage Brands ranking, Briggs & Riley took first place among all other brands. From our own experience, they make the most durable fabric suitcases out there.
Even though their suitcases are fairly expensive, we don’t consider them a luxury luggage brand. Their products are fairly priced because they use only premium materials and they come with many useful and innovative features. For example, they have an innovative compression system that utilizes two latches, and most of their suitcases come with suiter compartments that get the least amount of wrinkles.
But where they really shine is their lifetime warranty, which is hands-down the best one among all luggage manufacturers. All defects are covered, even airline damage, shipping costs are covered, and you don’t even need to show a receipt in order for it to work. The only thing that isn’t covered by this warranty is normal wear and tear.
The only downside with Briggs & Riley is that their suitcases are somewhat heavy (although not as heavy as Pelican cases) and their style variations are minimal. In terms of design, they’re targeting only business travelers, so you’ll find color options only in dark, classic styles.Shop Briggs & Riley on Amazon
3. Rimowa (800-2000$)
Rimowa is also a very old luggage brand, established in 1898. They pioneered the first aluminum suitcases, which became a travel icon with their distinct parallel grooves. They offer a wide range of aluminum and polycarbonate hardside suitcases, which are extremely durable. If you get a suitcase from Rimowa, you can expect it to last for decades.
From our own experience, Rimowa makes the most durable hardside suitcases. However, over the years, they’ve considerably changed. Two decades ago everyone knew that Rimowa is the go-to brand if you were looking for durable luggage. However, now it’s turned into more of a luxury item. They’re one of the most expensive brands out there and we’d say that their products are marked up about twice as much as they should be (when compared to similar alternatives), only because of their brand. That said, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t durable – they’re still one of the most durable luggage brands, just expensive.
Rimowa used to offer a basic 5-year warranty, but since 2022, they’ve now started offering a limited lifetime warranty, which is a bit better. Essentially, it covers any physical defect, except accidents, misuse, and damage by third parties.
So to sum up, Rimowa still makes very durable suitcases, but they’re marked up fairly high.Shop Rimowa on Amazon
4. Tumi (500$-1200$)
Tumi is another luggage brand that makes very durable suitcases – both fabric and hardside ones. They use premium, innovative materials, such as their patented Tegris material, and they come with many unique features. Tumi is a brand that’s often used by pilots, flight crews, and frequent travelers.
But similar to Rimowa, Tumi has also changed over the years, though not as much. They used to offer a lifetime warranty but when they were bought by Samsonite, the lifetime warranty was cut and now it covers only five years. That said, the warranty terms are still very good, only for a shorter time.
In terms of quality, they still make similarly durable suitcases, except now they’re priced more. You can expect to get a similar case as you would from Briggs & Riley, except you’d pay about 200-400$ more only because of the brand. That said, they definitely aren’t as expensive as Rimowa.Shop Tumi on Amazon
5. Thule (200-500$)
Thule is a high-end brand that many outdoors enthusiasts are familiar with. They’re best known for making car accessories, such as roof racks and bike carriers, but not many people know that they also make all kinds of other travel and outdoors products, including luggage. You’ll find various softside and hardside suitcases, as well as backpacks and duffel bags. Even though they added luggage to their product line just several years ago, back in 2010, they’ve been making durable car accessories since 1942.
And what’s even better – Thule isn’t really that expensive either. Although their suitcases are somewhat expensive, they aren’t overpriced too much. That’s because their suitcases are made from premium materials, and they’re usually really durable. Many people have kept using Thule’s products for over a decade without any significant issues.
Another awesome thing about Thule is that all of their luggage comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Although it doesn’t cover airline damage, it’s still a really solid warranty, which covers most other defects.Shop Thule on Amazon
6. Away (200-600$)
Away is a somewhat new luggage manufacturer, which gained popularity by making durable smart suitcases. Although their suitcases aren’t really that smart (they just come with a removable power bank and charging ports), they’re really good-looking and they’re very well-made.
Away makes only hardside suitcases, made either from polycarbonate or aluminum. People have been using them for many years now without any significant durability issues, which is why we’ve included them in this list.
Another great thing about Away is that all of their suitcases come with a lifetime warranty. Although it’s named “limited lifetime warranty”, it’s actually much closer to an unconditional one, such as the one you’d get from Briggs & Riley. It covers any cracks in the shell, broken-off spinner wheels and handles, broken zippers, and fabric tears that render the usability of the suitcase. Furthermore, airline damage and accidents are also covered. It doesn’t cover only normal wear and tear and damage due to being locked out of the suitcase (forgetting the TSA keycode).
And lastly, Away suitcases aren’t actually that expensive when compared to other premium brands. Their aluminum model is quite expensive at first glance, but when you compare them with similarly-durable alternatives from Rimowa or Tumi that cost twice as much, it ends up being a really good deal.
7. Osprey (100-300$)
Osprey is best known in the outdoors community for making super comfortable backpacks for hiking and traveling. However, they’ve recently started selling a few wheeled suitcases as well, which have gained a lot of popularity.
Their suitcases don’t resemble the typical suitcase looks. Instead, they’re going for a backpack/suitcase hybrid, and some of their models even come with shoulder straps, which means that you can carry them on your back as well. Due to the soft frame and other lighter elements, their suitcases are extremely lightweight – about 1-3 lbs lighter than similarly sized, lightweight fabric alternatives.
In terms of durability, Osprey has always been making durable products. Their backpacks usually last 5-10 years of moderate use and you can expect something similar from their luggage because they use the same elements in manufacturing.
In addition to that, all Osprey products come with their “All Mighty Guarantee”, which covers any defects for any reason free of charge for a lifetime. Their warranty terms are very clear about this and there aren’t any hidden clauses. If the suitcase is beyond repair, they’ll send a replacement.
Another thing about Osprey is that their suitcases are somewhat affordable. They aren’t cheap, but they aren’t expensive either. For a suitcase that’s this durable, their prices are very adequate.Shop Osprey on Amazon
8. Travelpro (100-400$)
Travelpro is another durable luggage brand that’s popular among pilots and flight crews. In fact, Travelpro supplies over 90 different airlines with luggage for their flight crews, and they even offer a line of suitcases that are available only for flight crews. The reason why they’re so popular among flight crews is simple – they’re affordable, durable, and packed with useful features.
They offer a wide range of products – hardside and softside suitcases, totes, duffel bags, and backpacks. Even their cheapest line of suitcases – the Maxlite 5 – is quite sturdy, which is why we usually recommend the Maxlite 5 carry-on for our readers as the best fabric carry-on for most occasions.
On their premium suitcases, Travelpro even offers a limited lifetime warranty, which covers most defects except accidents, misuse, and normal wear and tear.
But what really makes Travelpro so good is that they’re priced very accordingly. You’ll get a very well-made suitcase that will last you for years for a not-that-high price tag.
Another bonus for Travelpro is that their suitcases are very lightweight, especially the fabric suitcases from the Maxlite 5 line. They aren’t the lightest suitcases on the market but compared to the competition, they’re much lighter.Shop Travelpro on Amazon
9. Eagle Creek (100-300$)
Eagle Creek is a brand that’s very popular among outdoors enthusiasts. They’re better known for backpacks, duffels, and packing organizers, but they also offer a few fabric suitcases, which are priced really affordably.
Although their line of suitcases has only been added recently, their other bags have always been really durable, and many people have reported that their suitcases are similarly durable.
All of their suitcases are backed up by their “No Matter What Lifetime Warranty”, which covers any defects that make the product unusable. Note that lifetime is defined as the lifetime of the product, not lifetime as in your lifetime. This is determined by checking the condition of the suitcase – if the color looks discolored over time if the wheels look worn down and so on, the suitcase will probably be deemed as reached the end of its lifetime. That said, Eagle Creek will still provide repairs at reasonable costs if needed for all of their suitcases.
The only downside is that Eagle Creek’s design is not for everyone. It’s targeted towards adventurous people, not business travelers.Shop Eagle Creek on Amazon
10. Samsonite (100-300$)
Samsonite is the most popular luggage manufacturer, and their suitcases usually last 5-10 years. Similar to other Samsonite companies (Tumi, American Tourister), their quality used to be a bit better two decades ago, but they’re still pretty durable even today.
They sell a wide range of suitcases, backpacks, duffels, totes, and more. Their suitcases range anywhere between 80-600$, but personally, we think that anything from Samsonite costing over 250$ is overpriced. Their more expensive models are pretty similar in terms of durability to the ones in the medium price range. If you manage to catch some of their mid-tier suitcases on sale for 120-200$ (Omni PC, Winfield, Freeform, or Centric), you’re getting a pretty good deal.
Samsonite has always been known for good customer support and good warranty terms. Even though their terms aren’t as good anymore (manufacturing defects covered for 5 years), quite often they repair damages that shouldn’t be covered free of charge. Also, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a Samsonite dealer within 50 miles of your current location, and their products can be sent over to warranty through any of their dealers.Shop Samsonite on Amazon
11. Delsey (100-300$)
Delsey is another really popular luggage manufacturer, similar to Samsonite which makes durable luggage. They sell suitcases in the medium and high price range, and similar to Samsonite, we think that their premium models over 250$ are a bit overpriced. Their premium suitcases and made from similar materials and are pretty similar in terms of durability, only look a bit more luxurious.
Delsey’s suitcases in the medium price range (100-200$) are somewhat durable and they should last anywhere between 5-10 years, so if you’re going with Delsey, stay within this price range. They also come with a 5 or 10-year warranty, which covers manufacturing defects.Shop Delsey Paris on Amazon
How to Know if a Suitcase Is Durable or Not
It Needs to Be Made From Durable Materials
The frame of the suitcase should be made from durable materials, such as aluminum, polycarbonate, or nylon. Otherwise, hardside suitcases may crack too easily and fabric ones may tear along the seams. For fabric suitcases, it’s also important that the seams and all the stitching look and feel sturdy.
Another thing that helps a lot with durability is various protective elements. For hardside luggage, this usually means having corner guards. For fabric luggage, reinforced seams and corners will do the trick. Skid plates and protective elements around the retractable handle and wheels are also important.
It Needs to Have Good, Sturdy Wheels
The next most important thing to watch out for is the wheels. 4 spinner wheels will always be less durable than 2 rolling inline wheels because spinner wheels usually “stick out” from the main frame, which makes them very easy to pop off, especially if the bag is checked in and could be damaged by baggage handling. Another thing is the wheels themselves – tiny, plastic ones will be less durable than larger, beefier ones with rubber coating.
The Handles Can’t Feel Wobbly
Another important thing is to get a suitcase with a sturdy retractable handle that doesn’t feel wobbly when it’s fully retracted. If you’re shopping for a bag online, just read through the reviews to find out if some people are complaining about this. If they do, then it’s a sign that the retractable handle might break in the near future. The retractable handle should be made from aluminum, feel sturdy, and shouldn’t wobble.
Also, look at the side handles – they shouldn’t “stick out” from the main frame too much, and they should be made from sturdy plastics or in the case of fabric luggage – they should be properly stitched to the main frame.
It Should Ideally Come With YKK Zippers or Latches
And lastly, the suitcase should come with durable zippers. Preferably, they should be made by YKK, as it’s the most durable zipper brand, although SBS is also somewhat durable. The zippers should feel sturdy, have large enough zipper heads, and they should unzip very easily.
You’ll find that some aluminum cases don’t have zippers at all. Instead, they have a simple closure system with two latches, which is much more secure, and much less likely to break. If you’re shopping for a suitcase with a latch system, preferably get one that has metal latches, instead of plastic ones.
Frequently Asked Questions About Durable Luggage
Which brand makes the most durable hardside luggage?
Hardside luggage is split into two main groups – aluminum and plastic luggage. In the case of aluminum, Rimowa clearly makes the most durable luggage. In fact, they created the first aluminum suitcases and are responsible for their popularity in modern days. Even today, they still make the best aluminum cases, which usually last over a decade of frequent use.
As for hardside plastic luggage, many brands make durable options, but one that really stands out is Pelican. They essentially specialize in hardside cases that need to protect expensive sporting or camera gear. However, they also make a few wheeled options, which are heavier than traditional plastic hardside bags, but much more durable and even waterproof. And what’s even better – their luggage is somewhat affordable.
Other luggage brands that make really durable hardside luggage include Briggs & Riley, Tumi, Travelpro, and Away.
Which brand makes the most durable softside luggage?
There are two brands that stand out when it comes to softside luggage – Tumi and Briggs & Riley, which both are favorites by flight crews and frequent travelers. Both of them make top-of-the-line softside luggage from ballistic nylon, with various protective elements. If you get a bag from them, it’s likely to last decades.
However, of the two, Tumi’s luggage is more expensive. In fact, their luggage costs 65% more on average, while providing the same amount of durability. Although Tumi’s bags look a bit better, Briggs & Riley has a much better warranty, which essentially covers any physical defect on their bags for a lifetime. So if you’d have to choose between the two, unless you have a very large budget, definitely go with Briggs & Riley.
Other luggage brands that make really durable softside bags are Thule, Osprey, Travelpro, and Eagle Creek.
Which is the best luggage brand for frequent travelers?
The best luggage brand for frequent travelers is hands-down Briggs & Riley. Although their suitcases are fairly expensive, they aren’t overpriced. They’re built from extremely durable materials, like ballistic nylon or polycarbonate, they’re built within the right size requirements to fit most airlines, and offer a lot of smart packing features. So if you have the budget, it’s definitely worth it to invest in a bag from Briggs & Riley, because even when used daily, it should last more than a decade.
Another good option is Travelpro. They’re much cheaper than Briggs & Riley but still offer really durable options. They won’t last as long as Briggs & Riley, but compared to brands that sell suitcases at similar prices, Travelpro’s bags are expected to last much longer. They’re also a favorite by frequent travelers, and in fact, supply over 90 airline crews with their luggage.
Which are the most durable luggage materials?
For hardside luggage, the most durable material is definitely aluminum. However, aluminum is very expensive and heavy, so most hardside suitcases are made from various plastics instead. Polycarbonate is the most durable plastic used in luggage. In real life, it doesn’t feel as sturdy because it’s very flexible and lightweight, but it’s more durable than others because it’s more resistant to cracks.
For softside luggage, the most durable materials are genuine leather and canvas. That said, because these materials are very heavy and expensive, they’re mostly used only in duffel bags and backpacks. For suitcases, usually, Nylon, Polyester, and Oxford fabrics are used instead. Out of these, Ballistic Nylon and Cordura Nylon are the most durable fabrics for lightweight suitcases. Both of them were developed for military purposes and later extended to retail applications, like luggage.
Which are the least durable luggage materials?
For hardside luggage, the least durable materials are ABS and polypropylene, although polypropylene is a bit stronger than ABS. Usually, the most affordable hardside bags are made from ABS because it’s the least expensive plastic used in luggage. It’s less durable than polypropylene or polycarbonate because it’s very stiff and doesn’t flex much. This makes it prone to cracking when bent.
For softside bags, the least durable materials are polyester and Oxford cloth (which is another form of polyester, just weaved differently). It’s the most common fabric used in affordable and even medium-class luggage, due to low production costs. It’s less durable than nylon because it’s less abrasion resistant and more likely to eventually tear. That said, it isn’t actually that much worse than nylon, and if you find a polyester bag that’s stitched properly and protected in the right areas (most likely from Samsonite, Delsey, or Travelpro), it still should offer plenty of durability. The difference in quality between polyester and nylon definitely isn’t as high as it is with ABS and polycarbonate in hardside luggage.
Which luggage brands offer a lifetime warranty?
Some luggage brands that offer a lifetime warranty include Briggs & Riley, Pelican, Rimowa, Away, Osprey, Eagle Creek, Travelpro, Thule, and Patagonia. However, not all of these warranties are equal. Most (specifically, limited lifetime warranties) cover only manufacturing defects and not accidents or damage by third parties. The best warranties cover any defect, regardless of the cause. Some brands that offer worry-free lifetime warranties include Briggs & Riley, Away, Pelican, Osprey, Eagle Creek, and Patagonia.
Is softside luggage more durable than hard shell luggage?
When compared to aluminum luggage, softside luggage is actually a bit less durable. However, when compared to plastic hardside luggage, in general, yes, softside luggage is indeed a bit more durable. That’s because luggage, especially checked bags, get exposed to various physical risks, like luggage handling and accidents. Because fabric luggage is flexible, this isn’t an issue. Plastic luggage, on the other hand, isn’t, so it’s more likely to crack. Plus, the wheel and handle attachment points are also more likely to fail due to being integrated into the plastic frame. So if you’re looking for the most durable option, go with a well-made softside bag or invest in an aluminum hardside suitcase.
Which are the least durable luggage brands?
Usually, all the outsourced, no-label brands are the least durable. If you’re shopping on Amazon – Mia Toro, Rockland, and Lucas are among the least durable ones. No-brand suitcases sold in fashion stores, Walmart, and other large shopping centers are also usually pretty bad.
Another thing worth mentioning is that a lot of luxury brands, such as Guess and Louis Vuitton aren’t really that durable either – they’re definitely more durable than no-brand alternatives, but for the price that they’re selling at, they aren’t worth it.