Hardside vs Softside Luggage: What You Need to Know

I can still remember the first time I went shopping for a luggage. The idea of going to my first destination with the perfect luggage excites me a lot!


But the moment I arrived at the store, oh boy I felt like I have just arrived in a foreign country, I don't understand the language they are speaking. They kept asking me what do I look for a luggage, do I want it soft or hard?


This made me really think, so I went home and I made sure I know the ins and outs of luggage. I’ve researched which luggage would be perfect for my trip. I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between hardside vs softside luggage and this is what I want to share with you today!


If you’re planning to purchase your first luggage this weekend, make sure to read this first!

What’s the difference between Hard-Side Luggage and Soft-Side Luggage

Well, the right luggage is generally a personal preference based on your prior travel experience, but if it is your first time to travel then you need to know the difference between hardside vs softside luggage.

1. Hard-Side Luggage

Hardside vs Softside Luggage

Tumi V3 Short Trip Expandable via Amazon

Hard-side luggage is designed using high-tech plastics like polycarbonate, ABS, and aluminum which are durable and lightweight. ABS is much lighter than polycarbonate, though polycarbonate is much sturdier. Aluminium is the most durable material for hard-side luggage but they are the heaviest too.

1. Soft-Side Luggage

Hardside vs Softside Luggage

Lucas Luggage Ultra Lightweight Large Softside 28 inch Expandable via Amazon

Soft-side luggage, in contrast, is created using fabrics that are flexible, this means it is much easier to fit this luggage into tight spaces and can also expand well whenever you want to squeeze in more belongings.

This type of luggage is usually designed with woven nylon like ripstop, ballistic or Cordura. Luggage made of Cordura is much softer and even more resistant to abrasion. Ballistic, on the other hand, is a lot shinier and smoother; though it can abrade through time, abrasions will not compromise the strength of the fabric. Ripstop nylon is the most lightweight of the two materials.

What is the Perfect Luggage for Your Travel Needs

There are plenty of factors that you need to consider before you decide which luggage would be ideal for your upcoming trip.

I have listed down below some questions to help you!  I suggest you go through these questions a step at a time so you can be sure you are not missing any details and you will invest in the right luggage for you.

Where are you heading to? 

Is it to a place where your luggage will most likely be exposed to various elements? If you think there's a possibility that your luggage might get wet along the way, then I recommend you opt for hard-side luggage as it can provide you better protection, particularly to your electronics or gadgets on board.


How long will your trip be? 

Though this question may vary as some may have access to laundry during their trip, this is still important to consider since this will determine how much you have to pack.

For this, I highly recommend soft-side luggage, I like how it provides more room for expansion. Unfortunately, hard-side luggage is not flexible enough for you to squeeze some extra pair of jeans.


What is going to be your mode of transportation?

What are the possibilities during your travel? Do you need to be hopping from one public transit to another? Do you have to frequently shove your luggage under the bus? Will you be required to squeeze your bag into an overhead compartment?  These are just a few things you need to think of.

What’s great about soft-side luggage is that they are flexible enough to quickly fit into overhead compartments. Hard-side luggage, on the other hand, will hold up to being thrown around if you need to make frequent transfers.

Also, if you need to be frequently moving or lifting your luggage around, a soft-side luggage is a great choice since they are lighter. Hard-side luggage bargains protection for weight and this is something you should seriously consider.

But let me just remind you not to make the mistake of overestimating what difficulties can stuffed soft-side case give too, I’m afraid you might find yourself trying to jam an extra-large carry-on into your compartment while people are starting to get impatient waiting behind you to get it done.


What are you going to pack in your bag?

Are you going to pack anything that is delicate? Are you going to bring fragile presents or souvenirs on your return trip? It is very important that you consider what things you will possibly get in the course of your trip as well as the kind of protection these things require.

Well, you can always use a pile of clothes to cushion delicate materials, or you could also just resort to hard-side luggage – it can perfectly protect your things.


How often do you trave​l?

If you're a frequent traveler, hard-side luggage will ultimately be the more sturdy choice for you; though soft-side luggage can also be long-lasting, depending on the material used.

Final Thought

In the battle of hardside vs soft-side luggage, which one is the real winner for you? Well, I must say luggage is definitely a huge investment in terms of trip planning and budgeting. Price can range as low as $100 to a whopping $2000 from reputable brands and they all have certainly different offerings designed for every traveler.

Of course, we are not going to buy a luggage for just one trip, so make sure you align your choice of luggage with the type of travel you do most often to get the most value of your investment.

So what luggage are you going to choose? Why do you think it would be the perfect choice for you? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

And please don’t forget to share this article with your friends.

    Tony Anderson

    My name is Tony and I am sitting on a mountain of experience that I would like to share with you! I’ve been to so many incredible places and done some pretty cool things. So I am hoping that you will find inspiration through my travel experiences to help you get started with your adventure and make travel a priority. I will also be talking about different travel and outdoor gear available in the market today that will make your trip and outdoor experience better.

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